An Inconvenient Truth About Iran

What "inconvenient truth about Iran" could there possibly be that might have escaped even our present, unusually intelligent, political leadership?

Very simply, it is that we are dealing, once again, Hitler-like, with a highly dangerous and obsession-directed leader -- Ahmadinejedad -- of a well-armed and economically important (oil-rich) country, Iran. Furthermore, that particular leader of his country, Iran, sees the world -- again, very Hitler-like -- single-mindedly through the lens of an all-consuming and highly personal obsession of his own making: the absolute need for the destruction of what he calls "the Zionist entity," in other words, the State of Israel.

Contrary to Hitler, though, and not altogether unbelievably, he claims to have, personally, nothing against the Jewish people, as such. He points, for instance, to the, thus far, undeniable fact that thousands of Iranians of Jewish ethnicity are living peacefully and unharmed among their non-Jewish, Iranian fellow-citizens. Iranian Jews, he says -- without anybody having, thus far, been able to prove him wrong -- suffer no discrimination in his country (for instance, no "Nuremberg racial laws" in Iran, as in Hitler's Germany). Much less are Iranian Jews subjected to persecution and harassment as had been true, from the very beginning, in the case of Nazi Germany. Nor are there, as Ahmadinejedad likes pointing out, any restrictions to the personal freedom of Jews, nor of the safety of their property, in Iran. In fact, Jewish Iranians are treated not only by law but in actual, daily life, just like any other Iranians -- and what foreign journalist or other impartial observer has been able to present evidence to the contrary?

So, what is Iran's problem with the Jews all about? Nothing, as much as one can see: For, there simply is no Iranian problem with the Jews, as such, at all!

Iran's "Jewish problem" -- or at least President Ahmadinejedad's, as well as Iran's "Supreme Leader," Ayatollah Ali Khameini's and that of most of the rest of Iran's high-ranking, religious "Mullahs" -- simply is not with the Jews themselves. Rather, it is about the existence of what they call "the Zionist entity" -- in other words, the State of Israel itself!

Their argument is that the State of Israel has, in their view, no legitimacy, as such. That is supposedly so -- if you can twist your mind into the contorted thinking of Iran's present leadership -- because the State of Israel is, to them, a totally artificial creation. As that argument goes, it was settled by people who did not "belong" to that region at all -- that is, according to that distorted view of history -- what eventually became the state of Israel is really Palestinian land, now occupied by "foreigners," that is, principally European Jewish immigrants who, in Iran's view, do not "belong" there.

Put differently, it is in the present Iranian leadership's view a "fact" that these mostly Jewish foreigners of European origin have simply settled on land that belonged to others -- Palestinians, in this case -- which the European, Jewish immigrants and their offspring usurped by either stealth or force. They, then, drove (according to the same argument) most of the original, legitimate occupants of this area -- the Palestinians -- off their land and properties, appropriating them as their own.

It actually is an argument that could be much more easily made in the case of the European settlers of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and above all, Africa. In all those cases there was no pre-history of former European presence, history, culture, and occupancy of any of these vast, overseas areas.

In stark contrast, as far as the disputed Palestine is concerned, one would have to disregard entire millennia of former Jewish occupancy of this entire area, from earliest Biblical times on, to make the Iranian argument stick. However, that is the perverted historical view the present Iranian leadership under Ahmadinejedad -- from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the highest religious establishment on down -- have chosen to adopt. Consequently, once having taken that position, no matter how historically wrong it happens to be, the present Iranian leadership see it as nothing less than their religious duty to do away with the hated and, in their distorted view "illegitimate," so-called "Zionist entity," in other words, the State of Israel, itself.

For the same reason the present Iranian leadership, represented by President Ahmadinejedad, is not interested at all in any so-called "two states" solution: To their way of thinking, the only acceptable solution is plainly and simply to, as Ahmadinejedad bluntly enough put it again and again, "wipe the state of Israel ('the Zionest entity') off the map," drive any survivors back to where they had come from, such as Germany, Russia, Romania, or whatever, and return the land to its rightful owners, the Palestinians.

It is safe to assume that the Iranian government's desperate rush to complete the construction of an atomic bomb is to be seen in that light, as well. The Iranian leadership is, of course, fully aware of the fact that Israel already has such an atomic weapon, as well. So, are we to conclude that the Iranian leadership thinks they can, if in possession of the Bomb and perhaps some help from other, friendly states in the area, successfully wage a total war against Israel and so get rid of it, once and for all?

Now, as far as the possession of atomic weapons is concerned: Well, Russia and the United States both have had hundreds of atomic weapons at their disposal, for a very long time. In fact, both countries still have large arsenals of such "doomsday weapons" but without either of them ever having used them against each other. Only once, during the Cuban missile crisis, did they come within a hair of just such a conflagration. The basic fact, though, remains that both countries were fully aware that if either one or the other or them were crazy enough to start an atomic war, it meant "mutually guaranteed destruction." Since neither one nor the other side had any such suicidal impulses, the fact that both sides possessed the capacity to destroy each other, did have (and still has) sufficient restraining effect for preventing any such catastrophic event from happening.

In the Iranian case, though, the same cannot be assumed with the same degree of assurance. What if the Iranian leadership does not have the same survival instincts, as did, fortunately, have the Russian and American leadership, as well as their two countries' populations? Fortunately, neither the Russians nor the Americans have ever had any such concept as "martyrdom" -- much less any desire for experiencing its promised afterlife glories or sensual pleasures, such as eternal, sexual bliss, for those who become "martyrs."

However, can the same be confidently said of the present Iranian leadership?

Furthermore, and in complete contrast to Hitler's Germany, the Iranian leadership, fortunately, cannot count with the absolute loyalty of the vast majority of its population -- especially its large under-30 years old sector. This alone constitutes a great weakness for the Iranian leadership -- whether they care to admit it or not. In fact, this may be the only truly effective deterrent we can count on, in this case.

The truly worrisome point for the authors, though -- one of whom (EK) has had firsthand experience with Hitler's Germany -- is that there may be just enough suicidal ("martyrdom") potential, at least among Iran's leadership, that "mutually guaranteed destruction" may not be a sufficient deterrent -- even absent the absolute loyalty of much of the population.

We consider it, hence, highly risky to allow Iran to come into possession of an atomic weapon. Nor should our forever optimistic Obama leadership give too much weight to such considerations as Ahmadinejedad having, at one time, said he would not mind giving the Israelis 10 years to vacate the country. Hitler also did give the majority of Jews quite a few years to leave Germany -- provided, of course, they were prepared to leave their real estate and other valuable assets in Germany.

The difference between Hitler's monomania against the Jews and that of Ahmadinejedad against the "Zionist entity" (the State of Israel rather than the Jews, as such), is purely psychological and semantic. Politically, though, it is of no consequence: Hitler's hatred of the Jews, as such, seems to have been highly personal, having apparently been based on his fear that his own blood had been polluted by the seduction of one of his female ancestors by the son of her Jewish employer (hence the origin of the myth of "the lecherous Jew, seducing innocent German women!").

In contrast, Ahmadinejedad's obsession with the State of Israel is much more impersonal or ideologically motivated. In the final analysis, the end result, though, amounts to the same thing: "Juden raus!" -- meaning in Hitler's case, ethnic cleansing of the German population (and, eventually, the whole world), from the Jews themselves.

In Ahmadinejedad's case, "Juden raus!" simply means, out with the Jews from Palestine, the land that they, in his opinion, illegally occupied and where they have no right being.

In our opinion, Ahmadinejedad's monomania with the destruction of the State of Israel, though, is no less dangerous than that of his predecessor, Hitler's obsession with the ethnic cleansing of Germany (and, by implication, of the whole world) from the Jews themselves. Let no one kid himself or herself, though -- (Hillary, are you listening?) -- that Ahmadinejedad's obsession is any less dangerous than was, once, Hitler's obsession with the Jews, as such (in fact, Hillary, if anybody, ought to have plenty of personal experience with the power of personal obsessions, such as, for instance, those of her own husband with sex and food!). It should have immunized her against being overly optimistic to prevail over any obsessions with purely logical arguments. She certainly did not succeed, in that respect, in the case of her own marriage, so why should she be so optimistic in the case of Iran?

Let us just hope that we are dead wrong and that there is still some wiggle room to arrive at some kind of rational compromise with the present Iranian leadership! At the same time, it might be the better part of wisdom to be prepared that rational arguments might not be able to prevail over the Iranian leadership's obsession with what they seem to consider the "absolute necessity" of destroying what they like calling "the Zionist entity" -- that is, the State of Israel.

One thing seems sure already: Breaking through this obsession of the Iranian leadership with the destruction of Israel will not be nearly as easy a task as our own "best and brightest" seem to assume. They are, in our humble opinion, not giving nearly enough attention to the psychology involved, in this particular case. Instead, they appear to let themselves be mostly guided by the so-called "facts on the ground," which all seem to indicate that -- giving the problem proper, personal attention -- a rational solution to the Iran problem ought to be possible. The inconvenient truth, though, may -- alas! -- turn out to be otherwise.

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