Magazine article Insight on the News

Iran Remains Likely to Provoke a Confrontation with the West

Magazine article Insight on the News

Iran Remains Likely to Provoke a Confrontation with the West

Article excerpt

"I believe that some kind of conflict with Iran is inevitable," a senior Pentagon official said in December. Contingency planning for such a conflict, he said, has been under way for some time because Iran is regarded as a potential adversary. The United States maintains a military presence in the Persian Gulf and can be expected to do so for the foreseeable future. "We take Iran's war-making power and hegemonic ambitions seriously," he said.

The Pentagon official offered no scenarios that might spark a military confrontation between the United States and Iran. Pentagon planners assume, however, that at some point Iran will make a move that will call for a measured military response by the United States. The Iranians might fire their Chinese missiles into Saudi Arabia or at an American warship in the Persian Gulf, or assassinate some major political figure in the Middle East to prevent fulfillment of the Israeli-PLO peace agreement. America apparently is the only country in the world that takes the threat of Iranian military aggression seriously.

Iran has been a multibillion-dollar arms buyer for a decade. Absent the U.S. Navy, it is today the strongest military power in the Persian Gulf, with three Soviet diesel-powered submarines at its disposal. As a super-terrorist government, Iran has projected its fundamentalist imperialism, usually under diplomatic cover, into the United States, Britain, France, Germany, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and other countries. From December 1979 to August 1993, 103 assassinations, bombings, kidnappings and riots could be attributed to the Iranian government.

No Iranian in any country who openly opposes the Tehran regime can consider himself or herself safe from reprisal by its assassins. Take the case of Maryam Rajavi, who has been elected "future president" of the Iranian Republic by the Iranian National Resistance and whose husband is the leader of the Iraq-based, armed Iranian opposition. In November, the government of President Hashemi Rafsanjani had the audacity to demand that France agree to extradite her, or at the very least to expel her. The French government rejected that demand, explaining that she had been let into the country as a political refugee.

It can be assumed that Rajavi is as much under armed guard as is Salman Rushdie, target of an Islamic fundamentalist fatwa, a death threat so stringent that President Clinton felt he had to apologize for meeting with Rushdie for a few minutes in December. …

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