The Iranian Threat – From an Ancient Empire to a Modern Power

Article by: Roy Cahanovich

This week, senior diplomats reported to the Bloomberg news agency that IAEA inspectors found uranium enriched to the level of 84% in the nuclear facilities in Iran.

The dramatic jump in Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity to 84% should worry and encourage the decision-makers in Israel and the free world to take action before it is too late.

A brief historical review of the “Iranian threat” reveals that since ancient times Iran has seen itself as a “great civilization” and significant in the region (in Persian: Tamadoon-ye Buzorg). Iran’s self-perception has stayed the same for about 3500 years. Iran tirelessly strives to obtain nuclear weapons whose primary purpose, according to its government leaders, is to “deter the Great Satan from attacking it”. According to this concept, the “great Satan” is the United States.

Iran is a country with a rich culture, extensive literature, and an ancient language, alongside which there is an excellent academy in various teaching and research fields. This academy is a hotbed for the young educated generation who mostly turn to the West while continuously calling for separation of the state from the rule of the clergy. This generation contributed and turned Iran into a key country in the Middle East in many ways, including in the technological-nuclear context.

Iran, which considers itself a regional power, has been striving for regional hegemony and global influence for years. For this purpose, it directs many resources to the nuclear program’s development (which began in 1956 under Pahlavi’s rule). This country has an area 80 times larger than Israel and a relatively young population of 80 million people. Thanks to oil and gas fields, Iran is also a “super-energy” power (thanks to oil and gas fields). To this, it should be added that the heads of state, including the supreme leader, the president, or other Revolutionary Guards senior officials, are very knowledgeable in global diplomacy as well as in the intricacies of politics and the power games on the chess board between the countries of the world; An element that gives them a significant advantage. This Iranian leadership, which monitors North Korea, India, and Pakistan, as well as the behavior of Western countries in the war between Russia and Ukraine – concludes that the West lacks ambition, ability, or desire to act against it.

Since May 2018, when Trump’s administration withdrew from the nuclear agreement, Iran has continued to defy the IAEA and the West and do whatever it wants in its nuclear facilities.

A breakthrough in the nuclear field will be a real jackpot for the regime’s representatives and the supreme leader (who is solely responsible for this plan), since they are only one brave (from their point of view) and critical decision away from realizing their vision. Although we are not sure, the latest headlines are accurate. In my opinion, no Iranian “mistake” or “error” here resulted in enrichment to a military threshold level, as other researchers and colleagues may suggest. Iran has been conducting itself for years in a goal-oriented manner and according to a precise script.

Iran’s main gap, even after they reach military-level enrichment, i.e., over 90%, is the issue of mounting the enriched uranium on the missile. This knowledge can be acquired from China, North Korea, or even Russia; the Iranians strive to achieve this. The return for the UAVs Russia received from Iran may be in this area.

Here it is important to say that the decision-makers in the free world,  need to determine a strategy for dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue. Iran is not only a center for gathering military intelligence but primarily a country with historical and cultural wealth that must be considered when making decisions. Adopting an approach according to which Iran is a complex of one whole will bring benefits in understanding its ambitions and dealing correctly with it. Currently, there are no discussions surrounding a new nuclear agreement, and therefore the military option is on the table more than before.

Such an attack on Iran will require preparation and real-time intelligence gathering. And above all, a deep, thorough understanding of what is happening inside a country that has an ancient heritage as a regional empire since the reign of Cyrus and Ashwarosh and therefore represents a serious challenge to the world’s nations in general and the region in particular.

In this context, it is essential to emphasize that the Iranian threat does not refer only to Israel. And in light of the progressive level of enrichment and Iran’s cooperation with Russia on the issue of Ukraine, it is clear that the military option should not be exclusively Israeli.

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