Although a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program is preferable, a clash between the West and the Islamic Republic on the issue in the coming years is inevitable, an Israeli expert on Iranian affairs said Tuesday.
"It is not possible in the world today for one nation to have world hegemony. Someone will be worried and there will be a clash," said Dr. Eldad Pardo, an Iranian affairs specialist at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
"A nuclear Iran would sell weapons to terrorists, and a clash [to prevent this] will be inevitable," Pardo said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post
during a conference held at Hebrew University on Iran, which was sponsored by The Israel Project, a nonprofit Washington DC based organization which promotes Israel.
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He noted that Iran's main goal was to create a united Islamic Empire or a "new Islam" which would unite both Shi'ites and Sunnis under one Pan-Islamic ideology and with one spiritual vision.
"They are aggressively exporting this Islamic revolution," he said, listing Lebanon, Syria and Iraq as countries where Iranian weapons and munitions are free-flowing, "putting their money where their mouth is."
Pardo added that Iran, which sees themselves as the leaders of this Islamic superpower, would likely use nuclear weapons against Israel if attacked by either the US or Israel.
He added that, like Nazism, there was a built-in element of destruction, sacrifice and martyrdom as part of their culture.
"Let us not forget that the whole phenomenon of suicide bombings started with Iran and Hizbullah," he said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has dismissed the Holocaust as a "myth," has repeatedly called for the destruction of the State of Israel.
In 1981, Israel destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in a surprise air attack, which was met at the time with international condemnation.
Any strike on the Iranian nuclear site, which is considered to be a last resort, is bound to be more difficult since it is scattered and built in part in underground bunkers, leading some to question the success of any such mission.
Despite his dire predictions, Pardo, who founded the research group, "Iran in Global Perspective" at the university's Truman Institute maintains that he is "guardedly optimistic" about the outcome of Iran's nuclear programs provided that the international community keeps up its "small but growing" pressure on the regime, which he said was creating a lot of pressure within the Islamic Republic amidst an ongoing "spiritual war" between the West led by the US and Islamic extremism.
"The world can - and does influence what is going on there," he said.
Pardo credited the much-criticized American policy of promoting democratic ideology in the Middle East, under the leadership of US President George W. Bush, noting there was a very strong debate going on in Iranian newspapers over democracy as a result of the American-led war in Iraq.
"It is far-fetched to imagine the US entering into and concluding fruitful negotiations with Iran," said Hebrew University's Dr. Raymond Cohen in his address.
American efforts to contain Iran's two-decade old nuclear program was the main reason that it still does not have nuclear weapons, Tel Aviv University Dr. Efraim Kam said.