One of the cardinal lessons the Western democratic states should have learned from the last century in the sphere of geostrategic politics is that there are regimes where diplomacy and compromise offer promising avenues toward conflict resolution, and there are regimes where employing those techniques will only lead to a worst possible outcome. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a classic example of the latter. As we shall see, the very nature of the regime precludes even the possibility that the goals of the P5+1 can be achieved without severely heightened economic sanctions backed by the threat of military force.
A year after the popular revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, the Iran-Iraq War (9/80 – 8/88) commenced when Saddam Hussein’s Iraq launched an air and land attack. In an attempt to stem early losses on the ground, Iran organized human wave attacks.
Kenneth Pollack in his 1994 book, Arabs at War, Military Effectiveness: 1948-1991, states that, “Since the Iranians suffered from a shortage of heavy weapons but had a large number of devoted volunteer troops, they began using human wave attacks against the Iraqis. Typically, an Iranian assault would consist of the following: First, the poorly trained Basij [a volunteer militia consisting of mostly young Iranians who serve in exchange for benefits] would launch the primary human wave assaults…on some occasions even bodily clearing minefields. They would be followed by the more experienced Revolutionary guard Infantry…”
To tempt the greatest number of volunteers to join the Basij, New York Times executive editor, Joseph Lelyveld, wrote on October 28, 2001 that, “The latter day cult of martyrdom that may date from the Iran-Iraq War, in which Iranian teenagers, sent out by the thousands to be human minefield sweepers, were given keys to wear around their necks. Those keys, they were promised, would open the doors of paradise.”
Citing intelligence estimates, Drew Middleton reported on 2/18/84 in The New York Times that using such “tactics” in the Basra region in the summer of 1982, the Iranians lost, in two attempts, a hundred thousand men and boys.
While the faces may have changed, the regime remains the same. And while most are familiar with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denials and genocidal threats directed at Israel, most are unaware of the background of current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s terrorist-linked past.
On July 18, 1994, in Buenos Aires, a car bomb destroyed the headquarters of the umbrella organization of Argentinian Jewry – Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), killing eighty-five and wounding almost three hundred. In 2006, after a multi-year investigation, the special prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, handed down an indictment charging two agencies of the Iranian government with planning and funding the terrorist attack – The Supreme National Security Council (SCNC) and The Committee for Special Operations (CFSO). He further charged that the Iranian surrogate in Lebanon, Hezbollah, executed the operation. Six high-ranking Iranian government officials were indicted in absentia.
Although not formally indicted, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, was named as a member of both committees, and the personal representative of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, on the SNSC. In American legal parlance, Rouhani would be referred to as an unindicted co-conspirator. The indictment can be found here. Rouhani’s role is delineated on pages 164 and 178.
Alberto Nisman, the Argentinian prosecutor, was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head on January 18, 2015, hours before he was scheduled to present evidence before an Argentine court accusing President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman of covering up the Iranian connection in the case.
Iran, under its current president, continues to direct and fund Hezbollah fighters in Syria and finance Houthi rebels in Yemen in their attempt to overthrow the pro-Western Abd Rabbuh Hadi government. All of the major Western intelligence services agree that Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
No sooner had the ink dried on the agreement that Iran’s Supreme Leader stated: “Even after this deal, our policy toward the arrogant US will not change…US policies are 180 degrees opposite Iran’s.” Indeed, there is no reason to believe that Iran which has been caught violating UN sanctions on more than twenty occasions will suddenly decide to change course.
While there are a host of demons in the details (as I’ve outlined in previous blog posts), the real devil is in the very nature of the regime itself.