12
Oct
07

The Big Lie: ‘Iran Is a Threat

The Big Lie: ‘Iran Is a Threat
By Scott Ritter
Common Dreams, 10/08/07

Iran has never manifested itself as a serious threat to the national security of the United States, or by extension as a security threat to global security. At the height of Iran’s “exportation of the Islamic Revolution” phase, in the mid-1980’s, the Islamic Republic demonstrated a less-than-impressive ability to project its power beyond the immediate borders of Iran, and even then this projection was limited to war-torn Lebanon.

Iranian military capability reached its modern peak in the late 1970’s, during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlevi. The combined effects of institutional distrust on the part of the theocrats who currently govern the Islamic Republic of Iran concerning the conventional military institutions, leading as it did to the decay of the military through inadequate funding and the creation of a competing paramilitary organization, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command (IRGC), and the disastrous impact of an eight-year conflict with Iraq, meant that Iran has never been able to build up conventional military power capable of significant regional power projection, let alone global power projection.

Where Iran has demonstrated the ability for global reach is in the spread of Shi’a Islamic fundamentalism, but even in this case the results have been mixed. Other than the expansive relations between Iran (via certain elements of the IRGC) and the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, Iranian success stories when it comes to exporting the Islamic revolution are virtually non-existent. Indeed, the efforts on the part of the IRGC to export Islamic revolution abroad, especially into Europe and other western nations, have produced the opposite effect desired. Based upon observations made by former and current IRGC officers, it appears that those operatives chosen to spread the revolution in fact more often than not returned to Iran noting that peaceful coexistence with the West was not only possible but preferable to the exportation of Islamic fundamentalism. Many of these IRGC officers began to push for moderation of the part of the ruling theocrats in Iran, both in terms of interfacing with the west and domestic policies.

The concept of an inherent incompatibility between Iran, even when governed by a theocratic ruling class, and the United States is fundamentally flawed, especially from the perspective of Iran. The Iran of today seeks to integrate itself responsibly with the nations of the world, clumsily so in some instances, but in any case a far cry from the crude attempts to export Islamic revolution in the early 1980’s. The United States claims that Iran is a real and present danger to the security of the US and the entire world, and cites Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear technology, Iran’s continued support of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran’s “status” as a state supporter of terror, and Iranian interference into the internal affairs of Iraq and Afghanistan as the prime examples of how this threat manifests itself.

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