The presence of Jewish community in Iran, formally Persia, dates back to the time of First Temple, 6th century BCE

In 1948, the Jewish population of Iran was around 100,000. By 2006 it dwindled down to around 22,000  

13 Iranian Jews were arrested in July of 1999 accused of spying for Israel.  The accused received sentences ranging from 4 to 13 years despite demands for a fair trial from the international community.

On May 18, 2001, in a televised speech, Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei, called Jews the enemies of prophet Mohammad and  threatened them with expulsion.

Jews of Iran were forced to agree to the contract with authorities that would allow them a limited practice of their religion in exchange for complete loyalty to the Islamic Regime. Even if one individual breaks that contract the limited privileges can be revoked for the entire community.

A Dhimmi is a a term which refers to legal and social inferiority of the religious minorities living in Islamic countries governed by a Sharia law. Dhimmis were excluded from public office and military service. They were not allowed to testify against the Muslims, ride horses or drink in public. They were also forced to pay a dhimmi tax called jizyah and wear a distinctive clothing that identified them as a  religious minority. Jews, for example, had to wear yellow badges.  




On a Collision Course with Iran

"As Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map... The Islamic world will not let its historic enemy live in its heartland".

These chilling words are spoken by the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinijad, as often as there is an audience to be found.  The Imam he was referring to was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It was Khomeini who in 1979 declared the last Friday of Ramadan as al-Quds day, an annual event in which Iranians protest against Israel and call for the liberation of Jerusalem (called al-Quds by the Arabs). As an added bonus the demonstrators also shout "Death to America" and once in a while "Death to Britain". In the aftermath of the publication of Mohammed cartoons, hearing "Death to Denmark" would not be uncommon.

Mahmoud Ahmedinijad is not shy about spreading the anti-semitic venom. Here is waht he said in one of his visits to Isalmic conference to Mecca. "Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces... Although we don't accept this claim... If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe, like Germany, Austria and other countries to Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe".

The condemnations came from all over the world. In the past such remarks would have produced a yawn and an obligatory criticism from the European capitals. But these are not 70's and 80's when the Third World countries, like Iran, were confined to their borders. In the post 9/11 world terrorism is a global threat.

The fruits of Islamic radicalism left behind scars of distraction in many countries and on every continent. Iran, one of the major sponsors of terrorism around the world, is only within few years from developing a nuclear arsenal and when its president publicly speaks about destroying another country, even as unpopular as Israel, it sends a scary signal to the rest of the world

Down with the Jews

History teaches us that over the last millennia few issues had the power for inspiring the masses like calls for killing the Jews and if Mr. Ahmedinijad is trying to solidify his base in Iran by invoking anti-Jewish sentiment he is not being very original.

He simply knows this one is a can't miss strategy.   So Mr. Ahmedinijad wants to move the Jews of Israel back to Europe! I hate to disappoint him but the European Jewish experiment has been tried for many centuries and failed miserably. It took the lives of six million Jews, killed during the Holocaust, to finally come to that realization.

Of course with the Iranian president denying that the Holocaust ever took place we are back to the square one. Well, maybe we could all make small donations and send him on a trip to Auschwitz, Treblinka and other former concentration camps around Europe. Some of those are still preserved as museums to human ignorance. Or maybe someone can slip the venerable president the book written by another world leader about 65 years ago.

He was also calling for elimination of the Jews. The book is called Mein Kampf and it was written by the architect of World War II and the Holocaust - Adolph Hitler. In that book Mr. Ahmedinijad may find a lot of his own thoughts and feelings. He should not have any problems finding the book as this Nazi bible has been on the best seller list in the Muslim world for many years.   

Tony Blair, the prime-minister of England, has invited the Iranian president to visit Europe and see the evidence of the Holocaust with his own eyes. But Mahmud Ahmedinijad will not be making this trip any time soon. For now he is busy planning the special conference to examine the "scientific evidence" supporting the "myth" of Holocaust. Iranians are planning to invite the world's "leading historians" to participate in "free and democratic debate". It's pretty obvious that he has no interest in seeing the evidence with his own eyes.

For now this anti-Jewish propaganda wins him a lot of points for leadership in the Islamic world, especially when compared to other more "moderate and politically correct" Muslim leaders who call for the destraction of Israel only when the cameras and microphones are not on.

f I had an opportunity to ask Mahmud Ahmedinijad a question I would inquire. OK, so you would move the descendants of the European Jews back to Europe. But where is he going to move the descendants of the 700,000 Jews kicked out of the Arab countries right after the creation of the State of Israel ? Also, would he accept back the Iranian Jews who had to run for their lives after an Islamic Revolution of 1979?

The Jewish community of Iran can trace its roots back to the 6th century BCE but once 100,000 strong it is down to less then 25,000. Many Iranian Jews today preside in Israel. What is he going to do with them?   Incidentally the idea of relocating the Jews was not born in Europe. The very first one to introduce it to the world was the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar who in 596BCE conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple and exiled many Jews to Babylon, that's how Jewish Diaspora was born. Ironically it was Cyrus the Great, King of Persia and the ancestor of the present day Iranians, who in 539BCE defeated the Babylon and allowed some Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Of course the Iranian president would deny that as well. The present day Islamists do not only deny the Holocaust but also the fact that there ever was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.   

Prophet Mohammed removed the Jews by killing or expelling all the men of Yatrib (present day Medina) and enslaving their wives and daughters. The Jews of Medina lived there for over 500 years but committed a terrible sin by not accepting Mohammed as the messiah. Once a substantial Jewish community does not have a single person living today in Saudi Arabia. There is not one synagogue, church or Buddhist temple left in the land of the Prophet. It's been purified.  

During the 15th century King Ferdinand and Qeein Isabella removed the Jews from Spain. The ones that stayed had to convert to Christianity or face the Inquisition. But Jews were not the only victims. Muslims, who along with Jews and Christians lived in one of the most progressive societies of that time, were also forced out of Spain.

In 1934 Joseph Stalin decided to resolve the Jewish problem by persuading them to move  to one of the coldest and desolate places in Eastern Siberia called Birobidjan. He even gave it a legitimate name, Jewish Autonomous Republic. Stalin died before fulfilling his dream. He was able to relocate only some of the Jews. But before he died he removed the entire population of Chechens from their ancestral land in Caucuses and the majority Tatars from the Crimea. And by the way both peoples, Chechens and Tatars, were Muslims.  

Does anybody think that Iranian mullahs will stop with eliminating the Jews? While calling for a destruction of Israel an Iranian president also adds "there would be no Zionism in the world and Muslims can breath freely when Islam rule the globe"...  

This guy has a design for an entire globe and Jews are only an appetizer ! He wants to kill off the Zionists so the Muslims can breath better. I hate to put a scare in the rest of the world but there are only about 5 million Israeli Jews and eliminating them would hardly give Mr. Ahmedinijad much more breathing room. He'll need to go after Christians, Hindus and other religious denominations to get an air quality to his acceptable levels. As Rabbi Abraham Cooper said "The Nazi Holocaust was but the latest reminder that Jews are often the first victims but never the last".

If Mahmoud Ahmedinijad's ideas sound familiar its because we heard them before from Usama bin Laden and his Wahhabi comrades. We all know how far they took their quest for Islamic justice. Ahmadinijad's ranting would not be as alarming if Iran's aggressiveness was limited just to the ignorant rhetoric by their government officials. But Iran is far from being an benign loud-mouth. Behind the rhetoric is an ideology of militant Islam Khomeini style and it's not about love and peace.

 Imam Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution

Ever since the return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran from his exile in France in February of 1979 and an eventual Islamic Revolution the entire region has not been the same. The ideas that Ayatollah Khomeini brought with him appealed to millions of Muslims both Shia and Sunni despite the differences and problems between the two major offshoots of Islam. It provided a great inspiration to the beaten down jihadists movements from Algeria to Indonesia.

The reason for that is that majority of of Muslims today live under the brutal regimes and are ruled either by their monarchs or dictators. Most of the Muslims live below the poverty level, a lot of them are uneducated and have zero prospects. Many hate their governments, who are usually corrupt to the core, obscenely rich and not shy about pursuing a very lavish life style. For those reasons the majority of Muslims would not mind dramatic political changes in their countries but is the present day Iran something to aspire for?  

At the beginning of the revolution, the promise of more political and economic reforms won Khomeini a widespread support from different segments of the Iranian society including the religious and secular, communists and liberals, students and factory workers. They thought that by bringing back Khomeini they would build a country based on social justice with an Islamic twist.

But as the time went by it became clear that it was not what Khomeini's had in mind. Just like Mahmoud Ahmedinijad said during his presidential campaign in June of 2005 - "We did not have a revolution in order to have a democracy".

But in 1979 the Iranian people most likely did not know that Khomeini never intended to create anything other than an Islamic State based on the principle of sharia or Islamic law. In March of 1979 the Iranians held a national referendum to determine the kind of political system to be established in their country. Khomeini rejected requests to have a choice of several types of political systems to be voted on. At the end, only one choice ended up on the ballot - an Islamic Republic.

In April of 1979 it became the official political system of Iran with it's new constitution that gave Khomeini a title of the Supreme Leader and unlimited powers that the deposed Shah Reza Pahlavi never dreamed about.   The establishment of the Islamic Republic and the seizure of power by the hard-line religious clerics was not achieved peacefully. Far from it. The blood-letting began early on and it started out with the remnants of the Shah's regime. As the euphoria of the revolution swept Iran, the masses demanded revolutionary justice.

The Judges appointed by the Revolutionary Council were issuing death sentences on a massive scale. The sentencing process more resembled the lynching then the legitimate judicial process. No lawyers were allowed to defend the accused and in many cases the executions were performed immediately after the verdict was given. Some executions took place on the roof of the very building that served as Ayatollah Khomeini's headquarters.  

Only a little while later, some of the same people who were screaming for the blood of the royalists, were facing the firing squads themselves. It did not take the opposition groups very long to realize that they were duped. Once the new constitution was drafted it was clear that it would institutionalize the clerical domination of the state. What did they think the name "Islamic State" meant when they were voting for it? Moreover the new regime sent out the message that it would not tolerate a public expression of any dissenting thoughts when many major newspapers were banned. Anyone calling for Iran to be anything other then an Islamic state was considered to be an an enemy and dealt with accordingly.

People took to the streets and some even engaged in armed resistance; but it was too late. The Khomeini regime crushed the opposition groups one by one. Some were simply beaten down by the gangs of young radicals, called "Hezbollah Helpers", whom the regime uses even today against the demonstrating students. Others were accused of treason and jailed.

Bloody purges, show trials and summary executions did the rest. Gone were the democrats, the liberals and the communists. Even some of the moderate religious clerics had to go into exile. Khomeini needed all these people to seize power. He ruthlessly discarded them when their services were no longer needed.   The last nail in the coffin was the impeachment of the elected president Abolhassan Bani Sadr, who in the 1980 elections got a 75% of the popular vote and even the blessing of the Ayatollah Khomeini.

But when he tried to limit the powers of the clergy in favor of more centralized government, and became vocal against the violence Khomeini's followers used against the opposition his presidency was doomed. While being a president he publicly accused the regime of using torture and charged that people were executed "as easily as drinking water". 

He was an Independent and once part of the Khomeini's circle in French exile. How ironic that in July of 1981 he fled back to France this time escaping from the wrath of his former compatriots.   The clerics won because they had an undisputed leader in Khomeini who provided them with ideology and the guidance. In May of 1979 Khomeini authorized an establishment of paramilitary force named Pasdaran better know in the west as the Revolutionary Guard.

This was an important step in protecting the gains of the fledgling Islamic Republic. Pasdaran was critical in crushing the opponents of the regime. They heavily recruited among the religiously inclined youth who were ready to give their lives for the Imam. The Revolutionary Guard was a separate entity from the regular army. By 1981 they represented a formidable force of 100.000 strong.  

Khomeini and his supporters were also better organized and more united then any of the other groups. They also knew how to manipulate the public opinion. The best example of that was the seizure  of the American embassy in Tehran in November of 1979 by the radical Iranian students. It happened after an ailing Shah came to the US for a medical treatment.

He was sick with the cancer and was moving from country to country begging for a political asylum. Iranians demanded his extradition and when US refused to comply the students stormed the embassy and took 63 American diplomats hostage.   Khomeini's aim was to to radicalize the public against the West and especially the United States. He did not have to wait very long. In no time thousands of Iranians were demonstrating in the public squares of Tehran chanting "Death to America".

The hostage crisis forced the resignation of the moderate provisional government of prime minister Mehdi Bazargan, who was one of the architects of the Iranian revolution. People now turned to Khomeini, the savior, to lead them to the promised land. And he did not disappoint them. He gave them an Islamic Republic with himself as a Supreme Leader with unlimited powers.

He gave them a society where there is no freedom of speech, press or political affiliation. He gave them a judicial system where all judges are the religious clerics who also act as the prosecutors. The mullahs decide what people watch on television or read in the papers. The women who once were screaming out Khomeini's name as if he was a rock star now had to wear a headscarf and cover themselves from head to toe or face the "Mobile Units of God's Vengeance".  

Was this really the paradise the people of Iran were dreaming about when they got rid of the Shah?

Terror Merchants

In September of 1980, following a border dispute, Saddam Hussein invaded Iran starting a war that lasted for 8 years. The Iran-Iraq war was about control of the Persian Gulf and specifically over the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, heavily populated by an Iranian Arab minority. That conflict took over a million lives, had a price tag over a trillion dollars and did not win any territory for ether side.  

But even while engaged in the deadly fight with Iraq, the clerics spared no expense to export the Islamic Revolution by any means possible. It involved ideological propaganda, support of known terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad and creation of new ones like Hezbollah. But the one tool that proved to be the most effective was by killing their enemies in a very public way.

The 9/11 attacks on America made an Islamic icon out of Usama bin Laden. Blowing up civilians in buses and pizzerias in Israel eventually made Hamas the winner of Palestinian elections. It seems that nothing has as much effect on the minds of the believers as the spilled blood of their enemies.   The idea of suicide bombing was not the brain child of Usama bin Laden or even Hamas. It was the Iranian trained Hezbollah that introduced it to the Middle East on a level not seen since the World War II when Japanese pilots navigated their planes into American ships.

The idea of modern martyrdom on a grand scale came from Iranians who used it against the Saddam Hussein's army. Ayatollahs used to send battalions of unarmed youths to attack the Iraqi front lines. They were armed only with keys around their necks which Ayatollahs promised them would open the gates to paradise as soon as they were killed.  

The American hostage taking experience of 1979 taught Iranians a very important lesson. Using terrorism as a weapon against their enemies can pay big dividends. Even a country as powerful as the U.S. can be brought to it's knees. Moreover it sent a message to the other Western countries not to mess with the new regime.

Their calculation that the world will turn a blind eye to their murderous activities was right on the money. In the following years Iran has used terror tactics without any hesitation. The most amazing was the diversity of the enemies they wanted to strike at. The hit list included many countries, political and ethnic groups and even individuals.  

One of those individuals was an the Indian writer Salman Rushdie who in 1988 wrote a book called "The Satanic Verses" in which he depicted Prophet Mohammed in less then a respectful manner. Ayatollah Khomeini personally issued a fatwa against Rushdie calling for his assassination. In 2005 the Khordad Foundation, an Iranian religious charity that put a $2.8M bounty on Rushdie's head, declared that fatwa remained valid. Mr. Rushdie has been lucky and is alive and well today maybe because the mullahs want him to live in fear all his life. Many other targets of the Iranian regime have not been that fortunate:

October 23, 1983 - Beirut, Lebanon

A delivery truck loaded with explosives drove through the gates of the compound that housed U.S. military personnel stationed in Beirut for the peacekeeping mission. The huge explosion that followed killed 220 marines and 21 other U.S. service members. The driver of the truck was an Iranian national. The bomb maker was Lebanese who was trained by Pasdaran, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The entire operation was supervised by Iranian ambassador to Syria, Ali-Akbar Montashemi, right out of Damascus.

The U.S. never retaliated and few months later president Reagan ordered the American peacekeepers to withdraw from Beirut. The Iranians got assistance for organizing this attack from Hezbollah, which they founded and financed. Today Hezbollah is the most powerful terrorist organization in the Middle East and the enforcer of the Iranian polices in the region.

July 18, 1994 - Buenos Aires, Argentina

A car bomb destroyed the 7-story AMIA Jewish cultural center. At least 85 people died and more then 200 were injured. In September of 2003, nine years later, a judge in Argentina issued an arrest warrant for the former Iranian ambassador to Argentina Hadi Suleimanpour and a number of other Iranian officials for their role in the bombing.

Mr. Suleimanpour was not only the ambassador but also one of the original members of Pasdaran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. In July of 2002, the New York Times ran a report about about persisting rumors that Carlos Menem, then president of Argentina, took a $10 million bribe from Iranians to cover up the investigation. Mr. Menem, himself of Syrian decent, had close business ties with the Iranian regime for years.

On November 10, 2006 Judge Rodolfo Corral said he had ordered the "international capture" of former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani and eight others for their role in the bombing of the AMIA Center. Judge Corral was also seeking the help of Interpol in his effort.

Few weeks earlier Alberto Nisman, the lead prosecutor, said that the decision to attack the Jewish Center "was undertaken in 1993 by the highest authorities" of the Iranian government at the time, and that the actual attack was entrusted to Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. Along with Rafsanjani he named former intelligence chief Ali Fallahijan, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati and former Hezbollah security chief.

June 25, 1996 - Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

A fuel truck exploded near the Khobar Towers complex at King Abdul Aziz Air Force Base. The explosion was so powerful that it destroyed building #131 located 100 feet away. 19 American servicemen died and an estimated 300 people were injured. In June of 2001 thirteen Saudis and a Lebanese national were indicted by the U.S. on charges of murder and conspiracy. While the indictment did not name any Iranian officials, it explained that "elements of the Iranian government inspired, supported and supervised the members of Saudi Hezbollah". One of the organizers of the bombing Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Mughasil, the head of the military wing of Saudi Hezbollah,

By 1983 the Iranians already got rid of any potential opponents inside Iran but there were thousands of Iranians living abroad. Many were former Shah supporters who escaped the prosecution right after the revolution. Then there were former revolutionaries representing different parties who fled Iran fearing retributions from their former allies. All these groups represented a political diversity in exile that did not exist in Iran. It was more than an insecure regime in Tehran could tolerate.  

The mullahs had many tools at their disposal to take care of the undesirable dissidents. Besides the Revolutionary Guard the regime also enjoyed the services of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security or MOIS for short. MOIS played a major role in the deadly purges of the 1980s inside Iran. Under it's leadership thousands of political prisoners were arrested, sentenced to death and executed. Amongst them were hundreds of dissident clerics opposed to the totalitarian nature of Khomeini's rule..  

For MOIS no job is too dirty. In many ways it resembles the Soviet KGB. The difference is it's not a Communist but a high ranking Mullah always in charge of an Iranian version. The bloody trail they left behind is long and not very well camouflaged. The list of victims is too long to name them all but a few must be mentioned:

July 13 1989 - Vienna, Austria

Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, the secretary-general of Democratic Party of Iranian  Kurdistan (PDKI), was murdered by a Iranian assassins posing as a diplomats. The Iranian agents invited him to negotiate a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish problem in Iran. Obviously peace was the last thing on their mind.

August 1991 - Suresnes, France (suburb of Paris)

Former Prime-Minister of Iran Shahpour Bakhtiar and his secretary stabbed to death. Six Iranian agents were found guilty. Amongst them an Iranian government official convicted in absentia. One of the convicted murderers was released by French authorities in 1998 right before the planned visit to Iran of the French Foreign Minister.

September 17, 1992  -  Berlin, Germany                                                          

Dr. Sadiq Sharafkeni, the secretery-general of PDKI and a successor of the above mentioned Dr. Ghassemlou, was assassinated along with three of his associates in Mikonos Restaurant by an Iranian hit squad. The lead assassin, Mohammed Sahraroudi, was promoted to the post of the brigadier general in the Revolutionary Guards Corps upon his return to Iran. In 1997 the German court sentenced two of the assassins, an Iranian Kazem Darabi and a Lebanese Abbas Rhayel, to life sentences.

March 16, 1993  -  Rome, Italy

Mohammad Hossein Naghdi, a former Iranian diplomat in Italy who defected to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), was murdered in broad daylight by two gunmen on a motorcycle working for the Iranian Intelligence (MOIS). It is believed that Mr. Naghdi was targeted for exposing the human rights violations in Iran. In June 2005 an Italian Criminal Court held a trial in absentia of Amir Bozorgian, an Iranian intelligence officer posing as diplomat. It was alleged that Bozorgian was instructed by Tehran to organize the assassination.

May 27, 1996  -  Creteil, France (another Paris suburb)

Former deputy minister of education during the Shah's era Reza Mazlouman was found with two bullets in his chest. He was involved in the journalistic activities critical of the Iranian regime. A video-shop owner with close ties to the Iranian embassy in Germany was extradited to France and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

For a while the Iranian assassins felt very secure doing their dirty work on European soil. But in April of 1997 a ruling finally was issued about the Mikonos killings. A German court issued a sentence in which it concluded that the highest levels of Iran's political leadership ordered a September 1992 killing of exiled Kurdish dissidents in Berlin.

Judge Frithjof Kubsch ruled that the killing was orchestrated by the Committee for Special Operations in Teheran. Although the Judge did not identify the Iranian officials by name, the German prosecutors during the trial named the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei, President Hashemi Rafsanjani, Foreign Minister Ali Velayati and Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian as the individuals who devised and ordered the assassination.

The verdict also mentioned other killings that took place in France and Austria.   This verdict did not go over well in Iran. The customary massive demonstrations on the streets of Teheran followed as the Iranian officials denied any involvement. But the Europeans, who for a long while ignored the killings in their back yard, finally found a spine and recalled their ambassadors (with the exception of Greece) from Iran while expelling four of the Iranian diplomats.

Of course the diplomats were back in Iran only a few months later when the EU was assured that no more assassinations will take place in European capitals. The carrot the Iranians waved in front of the Europeans was very difficult to resist. At the end the desire of doing business with Iran was too difficult to overcome; greed won over common sense.   The assassinations that took place inside Europe got a lot of bad publicity to the point that even Europeans, known for their lenient treatment of terrorists, had to do something even if it was cosmetic. But for the people living inside Iran there is no one to complain to.

There are thousands and thousands of silent and nameless victims who were tortured and sentenced to death by the Iranian kangaroo courts, or simply murdered by the agents of  MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence and Security). Where was the world when all these atrocities were going on? Well the world was too busy selling their services, including the most sensitive technologies, to the same murderers that were ordering the assassinations.

Although, some crimes committed inside Iran saw the light of day due to complete indifference of the regime to the world opinion :

November 22, 1998  -  Teheran, Iran

The so called "chain murders" of prominent Iranian intellectuals took place during 1998. But the one that caught the most attention was the brutal murder of the leader of Iran People's Party Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh in their Teheran apartment. In 1979 Dariush Farouhar accompanied Ayatollah Khomeini on his return from the exile in France.

Years later he fell out of favor for his criticism of the regime. Mr Farouhar was stabbed 15 times in the heart and decapitated. His wife was stabbed 24 times and her breast was cut off. A few weeks later the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) officially declared that the some of their rogue agents were responsible for the murders. One of those agents,

Saeed Eslami, was arrested three months later and supposedly committed suicide in prison. Nine years earlier Mr. Eslami was appointed as a deputy for security affairs to the then Minister of Intelligence Ali Fallahian, the same Ali Fallahian who was mentioned during the Mikonos trial in Germany for ordering the killings of the dissidents in Europe.   

The trail of blood left behind by the Iranian regime over the years is very difficult not to notice. One would think that the world would take notice and treat the mullahs with the disdain they deserve. But expecting rational and logic from world leaders is wishful thinking. Instead of keeping the regime that wishes them harm at the arms length the so called leaders were beating each other to the punch in order to do business with the mullahs while the blood of the Iranians killed on the streets of the European capitals was barely washed away.  

Nuclear Iran  

On December 14, 2004 Ayatollah Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, the former president of Iran and still one of its most powerful leaders made the following comment: "If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in its possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world" In the last Iranian election there were two hand picked candidates.

Mr. Rafsanjani, who is considered a moderate in the West, and Mr. Ahmedinijad who is considered to be a hawk. As we know Anmedinijad has won the election and since then he has been talking non-stop to the point that even the members of the European Union began to understand the threat this guy presents to the world. The "moderate", Rafsanjani, is openly talking about the nuclear holocaust as the way of dealing with enemies of Islam and specifically with the Little Satan, Israel, who is a lone power in the Middle East that can challenge Iran militarily.  

After all, it was Israel who destroyed Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor in Osirak on June 7th, 1981 when their jets pummeled the site and made it useless. It is a pretty well known fact; what is not a well known fact is that the Iranians also tried to destroy the Hussein's nuclear plant just 10 months earlier but failed.  

The other entity the Iranians fear is the US, or a Big Satan, who has historically shown the willingness to get involved militarily whenever its global interests are at risk. The Gulf war of 1991 when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia is a perfect example. In fact the US was part of the huge coalition of nations that participated in the liberation of Kuwait. The question is how many participants would that coalition have if Saddam's nuclear plant was not destroyed 10 years earlier. I suspect not too many.  

Hashemi Rafsanjani was the one who convinced Ayatollah Khomeini that possession of the nuclear technology would ensure the survival of the clerical regime. Iran already had an atomic program that started under the Shah. With the help of Germany Iranians were building a nuclear power station in Bushehr, a town located on the shores of the Persian Gulf.

Nobody at that time complained about Iran's desire to join the nuclear club. Even though Shah was unpopular at home he was not regarded as a threat to his neighbors and to the outside world. After the Islamic revolution the Iranian nuclear industry was in shambles and the many Iranian scientists have fled the country in fear of of retributions from the mullah regime.  

The western intelligence services suspected for awhile that Iran was taking the steps to restart their nuclear program. But in November of 1985 it became obvious when the Iranian government announced that they would hold a technology conference in Bushehr. All the exiled Iranian scientists were invited. Not only was their safety assured, Rafsanjani also offered to pay their travel expenses. He himself was a keynote speaker at the conference.

One can say that Rafsanjani is thr father of the Iranian nuclear program.   Just months before the conference Rafsanjani hosted a now infamous A.Q. Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist who build the first Islamic bomb by stealing technology from Western countries. He is also famous for selling his know-how to anyone who was willing to pay for his services. His best customers were Libya, North Korea and Iran.

Meeting with Mr. Khan proved to be very important for the Iranian nuclear ambitions. Not only did he provide the Iranians with the blue print on what needed to be done strategically to acquire needed technology he also advised them on how to handle it politically in order to avoid a backlash. He showed them how to build a nuclear bomb by pursuing both the plutonium and the uranium paths and in fact today Iran has potential capabilities for both. In addition during the 1990's Mr. Khan transferred as many as 500 gas centrifuges to Iran and procured for them number of other important hardware components primarily through the nuclear black market which Mr. Khan had an intimate knowledge off. Iran's nuclear race was on.

Iran also got a helping hand from the most unexpected source, the IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA was created in 1957 as a non-subsidiary body of the United Nations. It's purpose for existence is to "accelerate and enlarge the contribution of the atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity of the world" and "to ensure that assistance provided by it is not used in such way as to further any military purpose".  

In 1987 the IAEA, under the leadership of Hans Blix, arranged the deal between Argentina and Iran. Under the terms of the deal Iran has acquired a nuclear fuel for a small reactor located in Tehran. Iranians made commitments that would allow them to use uranium enriched only to 20%. The nuclear weapons grade uranium has to be enriched to 93%.  

IAEA leadership was thoroughly convinced that Iran would never be able to go beyond that capability and even if they tried the nuclear watchdog would know about it. Hans Blix and IAEA decided to take that risk on the behalf of the world that they were suppose to look out for. The fact that Iran by 1987 was a well known terrorist state and its regime was responsible for the violent deaths of thousands upon thousands of its own citizens did not seem to play any role during the decision making process.

 The game of hide and seek between the IAEA bureaucrats and the Iranian mullahs was no contest; the mullahs beat them every time. Over the years the Iranians lied and cheated when needed and made threats when pushed too hard all the while secretly spending billions on the most sophisticated bomb making equipment money can buy.  

The small reactor in Tehran was just a window dressing. The Iranians started building the sites all around the country some of them deep underground to avoid the fate of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program. Iranians decided early on that they wanted to build a completely self sufficient nuclear industry and they would go through any lengths to get it done.  

They knew they were going to need a lot of help. Their dream project was not going to be completed based on what the IAEA had provided them with. Ayatollah Rafsanjani himself went to Moscow to make deals with the Russians. Eventually in 1995 an $800 million contract to complete the unfinished nuclear power station in Bushehr was signed.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei went to North Korea where he signed a $500 million trade agreement on nuclear and missile technologies. Hundreds of Iranian agents were sent to the all corners of the world to procure the necessary equipment to fill the secret sites. Money was no object and the sellers came rushing in. Equipment was purchased from China, Pakistan, Sweden, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and Hungary just to name the few. Some of it was purchased legitimately but most equipment was purchased in violation on non-proliferation treaties.   Iran's nuclear capability has come a long way since 1987. Just how far can be judged by simply looking at their main nuclear sites and what their potential capabilities are:

Bushehr - Nuclear Power Plant.
The deal with Russia calls for completion of two nuclear plants at this location. One is already near completion. It's expected to generate 1,000 MW of electricity in it's initial phase of operation by 2007.

Ishafan - Uranium Conversion Plant.
When completed this location will be used to reprocess uranium to be used in the gas centrifuges or as a fuel for the nuclear reactors. It can also be used to reprocess uranium into the metal. Reprocessed metal can not be used as a fuel for nuclear plants but it can be used in the cores of nuclear bombs.

Natanz - Uranium Enrichment Plant
This gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant was kept in secrecy until August of  2002 when an Iranian opposition group revealed its existence. Natanz can accommodate 5000 to 50,000 advanced gas centrifuges which can be used to produce weapons grade uranium. With that kind of capacity Iran can manufacture 5 to 25 nuclear bombs a year.

Arak - Heavy water plant
Another secret nuclear site also revealed in 2002 is also nearly completed. It houses a heavy water production plant which will be supplying the nuclear research reactor located nearby. Heavy water reactors can be used to produce significant amounts of bomb-grade plutonium.  

In addition Iranians discovered large deposits of uranium in the province of Yazd. They are mining those reserves with the help of their new best friends, the Russians. Coupled with nearly completed processing and production facilities within few years Iran will be a fully independent nuclear power.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. But Iran is not an energy poor country. In fact, it is one of the largest oil producers in the world who has access to the huge oil reserves in Persian Gulf to the south and almost as large reserves in Caspian sea to the north. They will, without question, build an arsenal of nuclear bombs.

The games that the Iranians have been playing with United Nations, the IAEA and the European Union, for years now, will not end any time soon. The game plan aim is to use lies and deceit to prolong the process of so called negotiations up to the point when the nuclear capability is achieved and there will be nothing else to negotiate. Iranians are masters of empty promises.  

In February of 2006 Iran announced that it is ending the cooperation with the IAEA when the nuclear watchdog, after many unfulfilled threats, finally announced that it will refer Iran to the UN Security council over fears that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb. Iran's biggest suppliers and regional economic partners, Russia and China, immediately came to their best customer's aid. China said that Iran is fully cooperating with the IAEA and Russia offered to enrich uranium for Iran on the Russian territory. Predictably the Iranians refused after taking months  to think it over.

No amount of offers or the referrals will deter Iran from archiving its goal. Iran feels confident that the West will not dare to do anything other then to offer a lot of empty rhetoric. Just like Ahmedinijad recently commented - " The West is not in the position even to give us a dirty look".   In April of 2006 Mahmoud Ahmedinijad announced that Iran has produced a small amount of enriched uranium and that he is determined to achieve uranium enrichments on the industrial-scale level. He also openly told the world that nothing will stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. I do not know how much clearer he can be about Iran's intentions.  

Even if the miracle takes place and the UN imposes sanctions against Iran it will not have the desired effect of swaying Iranians to abandon their nuclear program. The price of oil is at it's historical high and there are too many countries hungry for oil. Moreover, it's very unlikely the Iran's "nuclear partners", Russia and China, would actually stick to those sanctions. Try to remember Saddam Hussein's "Oil for Food" program and how many people, including UN employees, have illegally benefited from it.

How to Deal with the Iranian Threat ?

There is no simple answer to this question. The answers fall into the category of damned if you did and damned if you did not. Certainly even though the UN sanctions are not going to make Iranians abandon their goal of building a nuclear arsenal it would still be an important step in isolating them. Unfortunately the chances of the UN Security Council coming together on this issue are not very good.

 If one reads the newspaper articles from around the world written ten years ago, you'll see sentences like "Iran will be isolated" or "Economic sanctions are considered against the Iranian regime". If you open up any of the news publications today, you'll see the same sentences: economic sanctions, isolation. The inability of the Western world to do something about the murderous mullah regime is not new. They are still talking about it ten years later and they will be talking about it ten years from now.

Unfortunately by then Iran will be a nuclear power and all the talking in the world will not reverse that fact.   There is of course the military option of destroying the Iranian nuclear facilities. If that happens Iran would strike back with a vengeance. They can use its leverage with Iraqi Shia militias to attack US forces in Iraq. Iranian officials made it known that if attacked they would activate their secret cells around the world to wreck havoc the acts of the sabotage. Being the #4 oil producers in the world they can cut the oil production and thus substantially raise prices in order to hurt the West economically.

 They can attack the tankers carrying oil from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE and literally shut down any oil traffic out of the Gulf. It would be catastrophic for the West. The U.S. will act to protect it's national interests if provoked in such a way but its doubtful that the rest of the world would have a stomach for it. Additionally the Iranians, without any doubt, will use a Saddam Hussein strategy of attacking Israel.  

As we can see Iran holds a lot of cards in their hands while the rest of the world can not even agree on a simple UN Resolution. Where Iran is most vulnerable is not from the outside threats but rather from the internal dissent. Iran's clerical regime is considered to be a corrupt entity by many Iranians. It is very unpopular with the young generation of Iranians, the majority of whom are more interested in the western pop culture then than building upon the fruits of the Islamic revolution. Iran has experienced a demographic explosion after the 1979 revolution in part because of the encouragement from the clerics.

The majority of Iran's population is under 25 years old. Many of these young people graduate from the universities but are not able to to find jobs as stagnant the Iranian economy is producing very few of them.   Conversely the ruling mullah regime enjoys a lot of privileges that regular Iranians lack. It resembles the Communist elite of the Soviet Union who had all the advantages by mere fact of belonging to the ruling class while the rest of the country had to settle for the leftovers. We all know what happened to the Soviet Union.

The Iranian regime knows it too. They need to build upon something to unite the country otherwise they will find themselves next to the ex-Soviet leaders in the garbage dump of history.   For now that unifying issue is Iran's nuclear program. Apparently the majority of Iranians from all walks of life are in support of it. It's a source of the national pride that can catapult Iran to the status of elite countries in the world. But this is not a soccer game in the World Cup where winning a match can lift the nation's spirits.  Everything has its price. Once again Iranians are supporting the cause that would come back to bite them.

Building nuclear capability for the clerics is not about pride but about the very survival of their regime.   A nuclear arsenal in the hands of the mullahs will be a huge deterrence against any pressure from the outside world. That will in turn allow the regime to crack down even more on any dissent internally as the international community will not be able to press Iran on human rights issues. Come to think of it nobody is pressing Iran too much on human rights now.  

Iran armed with nuclear warheads would seek to expand their sphere of influence in the Muslim world. Iran is already doing it now through their proxies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shia militias in Iraq. They literally own a weak regime in Syria. They already have threatened Azerbaijan, an oil rich former Soviet republics. The two sides almost came to blows already over the oil production rights in the Caspian Sea.  

Then there is an array of other former Soviet republics in Central Asia, such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan. All oil and gas rich, corrupt to the core and dominated by ruling family clans. All these countries are predominantly Muslim but secular and very vulnerable. . But the biggest prize is the Persian Gulf itself or the so called Gulf states. Saddam Hussein was not the only one salivating in the anticipation of conquering the richest piece of real estate in the world. But for Iranians it is more then just oil rich provinces.

Saudis are also in control of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and are the biggest promoters of the Wahhabie brand of Islam in direct competition with the Shiite faith.   The Saudis are also universally disliked by Arab masses. After Israel and America the Saudi regime is the most hated entity in Iran. On July 31, 1987 Iranian pilgrims rioted during the annual hajj in Mecca.

The ensuing clashes with Saudi police left 275 Iranians dead. In response Ayatollah Khomeini swore to overthrow the Saudi royal family and memory of that massacre is not lost on Iran's current leaders, especially Ahmedinijad for whom Khomeini's wishes are written in stone. In addition there is a substantial Shia population in Saudi Arabia that has been dominated by Sunnis for centuries. Iran has been supporting the Saudi Hezbollah for years.  

Iranians armed with nuclear weapons and the unwavering believe that their brand of Islam should dominate the world will not hesitate to go to war if deemed necessary, because historically that's what totalitarian regimes armed with both ideology and military power do.   While the Americans are doing everything in their power to build something resembling democracy in Iraq, the Iranians are as determined not to allow it to happen. A democratic Iraq next door is not an option for the mullahs. One of the ways to make sure that it will not happen, despite several successful elections, is by inciting the sectarian violence.  

The reports from Iraq at first glance are difficult to take seriously. Shia Iran providing arms and explosives to a Sunni insurgency? How can it be when the Shia Iraqis are the biggest victims of the suicide bombings and random shootings. At the same time the Iranians support the Shia militias like Mehdi Army and Badr Brigades that go into Sunni neighborhoods and slaughter dozens of innocent civilians almost on a daily basis. Well, for the Iranians the more carnage that takes place in Iraq the better.

A divided Iraq will pose no threat to Iran and has no chance for establishing a democracy. The most likely future for Iraq will be the disintegration of the country into Kurdish, Sunni and Shia enclaves. No doubt the Iranians are already preparing themselves for a fight to support their Iraqi Shia brothers most of whom are already taking orders from Tehran.  

Iran's short term goal is to finally acquire a nuclear weapon and become a major military power on the same footing with United States, Russia, China and Great Britain. Its long terms goal is to take control of the Middle East with half of world's oil reserves and spread the Islamic revolution as far as they can reach. A new Ottoman Empire? Quite possible.  

The 20th century gave us Stalin, Hitler, Mao and the string of lesser mass murderers who had visions of world domination. The desire to spread their respective ideologies beyond their borders cost the lives millions upon millions of people. If the world is not careful Iran has all the potential to become such a threat, the first one in the 21st century.   There is one potential obstacle that may slow them down. Few days before he was killed Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi gave a sermon in which he offered the following wisdom:

"Oh Sunni people, wake up, pay attention and prepare to confront the poisons of the Shiite snakes who are afflicting you with all agonies since the invasion of Iraq until our day".

There are people out there calling to kill as many Shiites as they can. Sunni hatred of Shia is not anyhting new; it's as old as Islam itself. Moreover, Sunnis represent the majority of Muslims in the world and it is hard to imagine that they ill sit back and allow Shia Persians, whom they do not even consider to be true Muslims, dominate the Arab world.  

The 20th century gave us Stalin, Hitler, Mao and a string of the lesser mass murderers who had visions of world domination. The desire to spread their respective ideologies beyond their borders cost the lives of millions upon millions of people. If the world is not careful Iran has all the potential to become such a threat, the first one in the 21st century.  

After listening to what the Zarqawis and the Ahmedimijads of the world I have to say it is very difficult to be optimistic about the future. Those two are sworn enemies but yet they have something in common, an unabating hatred of humanity for the sake their narrow-minded murderous ideologies. To allow such people to acquire the power to create a nuclear holocaust is nothing short of insane. There is still time to do something about it. It took 9/11 for America to wake up and fight back. I hope the world realizes the danger confronting them because the next wake up call could be in the form of a mushroom cloud.