How Dangerous Is Iran?

Israeli threats of war on Iran are not aimed at eliminating a nuclear bomb or even the imminent building of one, but rather to destroy Iran’s “capability” to build one in the future because Iranians are deemed irrational. But filmmaker Sean Stone says that’s not the Iran he saw in a recent trip.

By Sean Stone

According to the doctrine of pre-emptive war, Iran can be attacked based on its alleged desire to develop nuclear weapons, just as Iraq was attacked in 2003. In fact, Congress is currently debating whether a nuclear capability alone (which Brazil, Japan, and other countries enjoy) could justify the ‘preventive’ attack.

I believe it is time to negate this doctrine by postulating that Iran in fact has a right, as a sovereign nation, to a nuclear capability.

A scene from the Iranian revolution in 1979

Having traveled to Iran recently, I can attest to the Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey’s reference to Iran as a “rational” actor. The Iranians have no interest in destroying America, or Israel, at the expense of one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world, dating back about 2,600 years.

Iran is currently surrounded by over 40 U.S. military installations, not counting Israel’s still-unaccounted nuclear arsenal. To assert that Iran would jeopardize its culture for a one-shot nuclear attack is a complete miscalculation of the Iranian spirit; that spirit gave rise to a revolution in 1979 against what they perceived as Anglo-American imperialism in the form of the Shah, much as our own revolution opposed British imperialism.

I agree with General Dempsey that an attack on Iran would not only be imprudent, it would be “destabilizing,” and for more than just Iran. What is at stake is much larger than Iran’s right to become a nuclear power; and based on the attitude of the political figures I spoke with in Iran, they understand this very well — should Israel, with or without American support, attack Iran’s nuclear or military infrastructure, it would be considered an act of war that may prompt World War III.

What I believe is currently being played out is an “endgame” scenario, by failing West European and American economies, threatening to explode what has historically been referred to by British imperialists as the Heartland of Eurasia: stretching from the Horn of Africa (guarding the shipping lanes of the Gulf) to Afghanistan and Pakistan (in Russia and China’s underbelly).

The Russians know this “Great Game” well, having played it with the British since at least the Crimean War of the mid-19th Century. So when Russia says it cannot accept the ongoing destruction of the Syrian government, or an attack on Iran, it is based on the understanding that such destabilization of this “Heartland” could ignite war between Shia and Sunni Muslims across the region, even affecting the Muslim populations of southern Russia and western China.

Iran is currently accused by the West of being a rogue state involved in spreading amorphous terrorism abroad. In reality, Iran has seen the destruction of the sovereign states in Afghanistan and Iraq, on its borders; and now, the Obama Administration is calling for the downfall of Iran’s ally, President Assad’s secular Syrian regime.

That country is quickly going the way of Lebanon in the 1980s, which could reignite sectarian violence from Lebanon to Iraq, and beyond. The chaos ensuing the overthrow of Assad will not only serve to radicalize the religious factions, as the Iraq war did after the fall of the secular Ba’ath Party, but such a strategy seems to have been predicted; retired General Wesley Clark reported in his 2003 book that the imperialist ‘neo-con’ faction within the U.S. Defense Department had plans for regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon and Iran, dating back to before Sept. 11.

In such a meltdown of nation-states, Israel will not be safe from retaliation by Hezbollah and Hamas; unless of course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to use such violence to attempt an extension of Israel’s borders toward the Euphrates, according to the right-wing “Greater Israel” doctrine which desires an Israeli state from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates in Iraq.

It would then seem the logic of this current escalation to war with Iran really has nothing to do with protecting Israel; the escalation will more likely sacrifice the Israeli people for the sake of a game of empire.

It is no wonder that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called the Anglo-American policy in the Middle East a “cult of violence.” As Putin understands, if we do not respect national sovereignty, who are we left to cooperate with in order to stop the radical political groups we allege as our enemy?

In point of little irony, most radical Al-Qaeda elements are derived from Saudi-style Wahhabism, which gave rise to the Taliban regime. Considering that Iranian Shi’ism is long-opposed to this brand of Sunni Islam, would it not make more sense for America to cooperate with Iran against Al-Qaeda and related extremist groups?

In the process of such diplomatic engagement, is it not possible that we make peace with the Iranian regime through a commonality of purpose and an exchanging of ideas?

The Iranian people, like the American people, are reasonable, but proud; if they believe in a right to nuclear capabilities, it is because they feel they have the same national right as do the Israelis or Pakistanis, both of whom have already weaponized the region. And according to their Supreme Leader, Iran is not desirous of nuclear weapons, for he has said that even “the production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin.”

If we are thus serious about the Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran has signed, I’d personally like to see a nuclear weapon-free zone across the Middle East, which would mean accounting for the Israeli arsenal.

But if we continue on the current trajectory of giving “unconditional support” to Israel and its illicit nuclear arsenal — and if we continue to support the overthrow of nations who have not declared war on us — are we not creating the conditions for Iran to eventually desire a nuclear weapon, to prevent the destruction of its national sovereignty?

If we can succeed in staving off an imperialistic war in the coming years, I foresee a future of cooperation between Iran, Israel and America, based on a common republican spirit and tradition.

But if Anglo-American imperialism chooses to continue to smash nations and disregard borders, that imperial spirit will only breed more terrorism, not less. If we create a world without sovereign states with authority of law to rule over their people, who will we have left to deal with?

Countries do not always get along, but failed states never do. And should we risk war over the excuse of Iran’s nuclear program, we will be looking at a region of radicalized groups of all denominations, with very little authority over them, and tremendous resentment at what they will perceive as foreign imperialists. Such a day would be much worse than seeing a nuclear Iran.

Sean Stone is an actor, filmmaker and co-founder of Film Funds. [This article originally appeared at HuffingtonPost and is reprinted with the author’s permission.]

13 comments for “How Dangerous Is Iran?

  1. Judah the Lion
    March 17, 2012 at 16:43

    Is Iran Responsible For The Attacks On Gaza?

    Ronn Torossian

    Largely disregarded by the Western media are recent reports indicating that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was advised by Iranian officials to deflect worldwide criticism from him by diverting attention toward Israel and the Palestinians. Emails intercepted by Syrian opposition and released by The Guardian show that the bloodshed in Syria is being orchestrated by a mightier power.

    The coincidence of the increased terrorist activity since last Friday, firing approximately 200 rockets at Southern Israeli towns and cities from Gaza and the email chains, leave little to manufacture. This is a well coordinated attempt to distract the West from Syria’s mass killings and Iran is pulling the strings. One email urges Assad to center on: “Resistance”; “Hostility to Israel, the first enemy of the Muslims”; and “Protection of Palestinian people’s rights (real prayers should be in the direction of Jerusalem).” The email then added “Maybe here the president can reiterate his stance by condemning forcefully the recent Israeli practices and policies to Judaise Al-Quds (Jerusalem).”

    The Iranian advice to Assad is to use “powerful and violent” language in his opposition to Israel. If such language, email messages or other revelations ever emanated from even the furthest right-wing elements of the Israeli government, what kind of international uproar would be heard?

    The memo further stated:

    “Here the subject of Israel comes up and it becomes necessary to put stress on the particular merits of the president by linking the foreign pressures on Syria, which differs in its toughness and content to other countries in crisis, with the geographical proximity to Israel and the position of the people and the regime towards Israel.”

    Would it be absurd to believe that the Arab world is similarly asking Gaza’s Hamas to fire missiles at Israel to deflect the mass killings in Syria. Thankfully, at least for now the attacks were stymied by the Iron Dome system, and they have stopped for now. Egypt helped broker the tentative truce. Yet, few in the media asked the simple question of why the Palestinians were attacking from Gaza if they control Gaza? There is no “occupation” in Gaza – its controlled by the Palestinian Arabs, who elected the terrorist organization Hamas in 2007, and until today refuse to recognize Israel – a bit duplicitous.

    What did the terrorists in Gaza want? Could it really just be to kill Jews and eradaicate the Jewish state?

    Even the Jewish Telegraphic Agency seems to miss the point with a headline which reads “Israeli retaliatory strikes hit Gaza amid cease-fire,” as if Israel was hitting a real country, run by good, decent people who ceased fire. Media never questioned whether Al-Qaeda was to blame when America hit back following the attacks of 9/11. When innocent people get attacked and killed, a free and sovereign nation has the right – and the responsibility to respond. Considering that a terrorist organization controls Gaza why is it a surprise that the Israeli Army protects its people? A simple continued double standard.

    For months on end we heard about peace flotillas when Israel protected itself from Gaza’s previous attacks. It is still amazing that none of those concerned advocates have organized a flotilla to Syria – despite the facts that thousands have been killed by the Syrians, by their own president. Few remember that in the mid 90’s Israel received tremendous pressure to surrender the Golan Heights to Assad. President Clinton at the time said of Assad “I think he has reached the conclusion that in the interest of his people, his administration and his legacy can make a meaningful and lasting peace.”

    Is the man we see today the same one whom Mr. Clinton spoke about? How much more vulnerable would Israel be had it ceded the Golan? Even our religious and “right-wing” community desires peace. Hasbara Fellowships, a project of Aish International, created “Israel Peace Week” on 65 university campuses in the U.S. to counter the BDS and Israel equals Apartheid activities. The leftist media still ignores the fact that Israel wants peace, while others want to destroy the Jewish state.

    Is there a way for Israel’s publicity machine to be more effective in showing the glaring hypocrisy of certain media and anti-Israel pundits and advocates?

    Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest PR Agencies in the US

  2. Tyrone B
    March 17, 2012 at 16:43

    As a Racial Minority in the United States, I find it shocking that so many (undoubtedly) White Folks (worst of the Hypocrites) are condemning Iran, Syria, Russia, etc., so self-righteously, but without acknowledging their own Cruel, and Inhumane history. Tens of Millions of Blacks and Native Americans (the so called “Red Indians”) were systematically Worked to Death or Massacred for over 400 years in the USA for Greed and Profit.
    Even now in the 21st century (each year) Millions of Black and Hispanic young men are Illegally Racially Profiled and Hundreds are Brutally Murdered in the USA by (predominantly) White Police/Sheriff/Troopers officers and the “Internal Affairs Divisions – IAD” of the respective departments cover-up the Racist-Crimes with little or no punishment for the officer(s) (most of the time).
    So before you Hypocrites start shouting words like anti-Semite, Holocaust-denier, etc., talk about how White Americans owe American Minorities (Blacks and Native Americans in Particular) more than a Trillion Dollars in Reparations for 400+ Years of Crimes against Humanity. And just because Obama is now President (after 230+ years of rule by White, Male Presidents), it doesn’t rule out the “Worst-Ever” Crime against Humanity– the “Black Holocaust.”
    And since you Whites value Women’s Rights so much, Tell Me: How come our Country (USA) has never elected a Female President or Vice-President yet? After all, Pakistan (Muslim Country) and India (Hindu Country) have had Presidents and Prime-Ministers who were Women. Where is your Self-Righteous “moral compass” when you can’t vote a Female leader into power in over 230 years, but have the gall to condemn other foreign countries for violating women’s rights.
    First attend to the “Dirt at Home” (skeletons in the closet) before you start pointing fingers at Foreign Countries you Fake-Ass Hypocrites and Sell-Outs.

  3. Judah The Lion
    March 14, 2012 at 17:00

    typical brainwashed Arab apologist nonsense

    • Flat 5
      March 16, 2012 at 20:57

      Judah the Lion you are anti-Samitic

      • Judah the Lion
        March 16, 2012 at 21:08

        a phony flat5 speaks!

  4. Mad Adam
    March 13, 2012 at 11:30

    I find it ironic that the alleged terrorist groups mentioned by Judah are indigenous people whose primary purpose is to resist Zionist/Jewish colonization of their homelands. I have seen no factual evidence to support the claim that Hizb’allah or Hamas have been involved in any “world wide” terror plots. They are local nationals,, who are fighting against a common “local” enemy. Judah seems to be confused as to their purpose. I see no reason to doubt the moral efficacy of their cause. As for Iran’s intransigence, I believe the case is being misstated by the western media. I understood Achmadinejhad as questioning the current interpretations of the holocaust narrative, rather then denying it’s occurrence. For example; how often do you see any mention of the Romany people in discussions of the holocaust, or the euthanasia of the physically weak, crippled, or mentally disabled members of the occupied societies? The impression I got is that he was denying the “exclusive” Jewish character of the holocaust narrative. For example, the Romany lost upwards of 70% of their population during the same time frame. As for threatening the United States, I’ve only heard Iran threaten to defend itself if attacked. The current range of their missile capability is roughly 1500 miles, which would be somewhere around the coast of Cyprus [Cyprus, feel free to complain. : )] How do you initiate an aggressive war with such a limited capability? Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and has the right (initially with our support) to peaceful (non-military) research and development of nuclear energy. As an American citizen, I can not support an attack on Iran, under the current circumstances!

  5. Judah The Lion
    March 13, 2012 at 08:04

    naivete on steriods. Iran backs terror groups such as hezbollah, hamas, and has been implicated in terror plots worldwide. Its “president” has denied the Holocaust, and has called for Israel’s destruction, threated the US, et al… no civil rights, abuse of women, minorities

    • Lantern Rogue
      March 13, 2012 at 09:57

      I guess you missed the part in the article about Saudi Arabia and Israel. Interesting, Iran has the third largest jewish population in the world and they are protected by the Iranian government. There is also a growing women’s rights movement in Iran which would last exactly ten seconds in Saudi Arabia.

      • Pascal Molineaux
        March 14, 2012 at 14:01

        Iran has, alas, even before the Iranian Revolution, but with much greater enthusiasm than before, meted out a harsh and prejudiced treatment to its Bahá’í minority (more than 500,000 Bahá’ís in Iran,the country where the Bahá’í Faith was born), with many hundreds of martyrs and thousands being deprived of the most basic human rights.This theological regime has been so extremely violent towards the Bahá’ís it is a Shame unto the extraodinary cultural achievements of Iran. How can we trust such a government, that blatantly misrepresents the truth in the way its treats this religious minority? I certainly don’t.

    • Jay
      March 13, 2012 at 10:04

      Nope, Iran’s president did not call for the destruction of Israel.

      Terror, well of course the US supports all of that “terror” surrounding Iran.

      It’s only terror to you when it attacks something you value, when something you value attacks a “threat” well that’s “justified”.

    • Eddie
      March 13, 2012 at 21:45

      Gee, ‘flat5’, when did you change your name to ‘Judah The Lion’? Where’s you been – – at a troll convention under a bridge somewhere?

    • Ma
      March 13, 2012 at 23:50

      You also seem to deny the Holocaust. People who suffer learn lesson and avoid causing suffering to others,but in your case no such thing appears to have happened from where you could learn a lesson.

      Hezbollah, Hamas with their slings and stones you think are comparable to USA- EU-UN-backed nuclear Israel? If you are still afraid of these non-entities then go commit suicide instead of dying every day with fear.

      Salahdin offered his horse to Richard ‘the lion hearted’. You first disarm people and then attack and kill. what a difference.

    • Insaf
      March 17, 2012 at 11:28

      Judah the Ignorant, I am so sorry that the main stream media has done such a wonderful job in brainwashing you peanut sized brain. Must have been ez as you dont seem to be very well informed. I am of Persian desent and i heard Pres Ahmedinejad very clearly say that one day the zionist regime ruling Israel will disppear from the pages of time. Main stream media immediately put a spin to it and misinterpreted it by saying Pres Ahmedinejad wants to wipe out Israel. It is merely through ignorance (lack of awareness) of people like you, that evil is fed & promoted.
      And so what if Iran helps Hezbollah and Hamas. They are defending their homeland from the robbers who want to rob them of the property they have owned for over 2000 years.
      On the same note, the U.S. of A (should be renamed USI) provides the most sophisticated weaponry to Israel which is well known in this world to be the most brutal war monering nation on earth! They even kill women & children and with such impunity that it makes me wonder whehter they are truly human!
      Align yourself with the Truth and you will be a happier person!

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