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The Real Threat of a Nuclear Iran

iranian flag with nuclear missiles in background
(Serhii Milekhin/Dreamstime)

By Friday, 24 July 2020 01:16 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Shabtai Shavit is the former head of the Israeli Mossad. The Mossad is the Israeli equivalent of the CIA and MI-6. For years, the identity of Mossad personnel past and present remained a guarded secret. But times have changed and Shavit recently granted an interview to the Times of Israel.

When a former head of the Mossad speaks, it is always worth paying very close attention. It is not about the "intel" he discloses, it is about the analysis. As part of his job, the head of the Mossad briefs the prime minister daily on the threats and the nuances of threats and the potential for future threats facing Israel. The head of the Mossad lays out all potential future attacks and advacens plans on how to disrupt the blueprints for attack that their enemies have constructed.

In this interview, the most important item that Shavit dissected was Iran's nuclear interests and nuclear program.

In his estimation, try as they might, try as they are doing, Israel cannot prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons and "joining the nuclear weapons club."

Under the umbrella of nuclear weapons are also non-conventional weapons like ballistic missiles, biological weapons, chemical weapons and cyber weapons. In fact, Shavit emphasized that cyber weapons are very much a part of the nuclear "non-conventional armory."

Iran is committed to attaining nukes and other weapons. They want these weapons, Shavit explained, not to immediately use against Israel, which is Israel's worst defense nightmare. Iran wants the weapons to ensure Iranian safety and to expand Iran's influence and power.

Shavit said: "I'm not one of those who say that the moment they [the Iranians] have a bomb they will physically threaten Israel's existence. No. But a state with the bomb can use it to create all kinds of axes of influence to advance its interests."

Once any country, and certainly Iran is included in this axiom, has these powerful nuclear capabilities, they are viewed very differently in the world of foreign affairs. Power and cache increases exponentially. A nuclear strong and capable country becomes a magnet that attracts other countries and industries.

Shavit asserted that Iran's decisions to fiercely pursue military prowess were shaped by their eight-year war with Iraq. He said: "They [Iranians] didn't emerge with flying colors from the eight-year [Iran-Iraq] war [in the 1980s]. The results of the war were the trigger for the Iranians to make the strategic decision to go for the whole gamut of non-conventional weapons — not only nuclear.

"Nuclear, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological, cyber … Cyber too, in professional terminology, is part of the non-conventional armory."

I trust Shabtai Shavit, trust his instinct and his expertise. After obtaining a nuke, Iran's first move will not be to launch it and attack Israel. But that in no way means that Israel can breathe a proverbial sigh of relief. It means that Israel — and all those whom Iran considers to be enemies, and the list is long — must devise a defense strategy that plans for a potential strike and for a worst case scenario.

Nuclear weapons signify power. Iran craves power. Israel's possession of nuclear weaponry is an open secret. No other country is supposed to know, but every other country does.

Say what they will, Iran does not want nuclear technology for energy, they want nukes because nukes are military muscle and they want the military and diplomatic machismo nuclear power brings.

Diplomatically speaking, Iran is insulted that the United States and other Western countries patronize them and have decided that Iran may not have nukes. And that makes Iran's devotion to pursue and obtain a strong nuclear arsenal even stronger. To spite the West and especially the United States,

Iran wants not just to have nukes but to sell and distribute them to whoever they want and to whoever comes knocking on their door. And that is where Iran becomes even more dangerous. They have no compunction about selling or supplying nuclear arms to any county who desires or to terrorist organizations.

That is the real power. Non-conventional weapons will be a huge potential industry for Iran. They will export more weapons than technology. Nuclear plants and nuclear energy is much less in demand than are nuclear weapons.

And with that power Iran dreams of becoming the leader of an alliance of all countries that despise, as they do, the United States and Israel. That is Iran's real goal in attaining nukes.

The threat to Israel if Iran becomes a member of the nuclear club is real. But the threat is not simply to Israel, the threat is to the entire world. There are a lot of countries that have a lot of enemies out there. And those countries and those organization are the friends and the clients of the very dangerous Iran.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.

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Friday, 24 July 2020 01:16 PM
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