The Danger of a Tehran Winter
Image Credit: Daniella Zalcman

The Danger of a Tehran Winter


‘Welcome to the earthquake!’ boomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to our congressional delegation last month in Jerusalem.  ‘An Arab earthquake,’ he told us, ‘that has been shaking the Middle East politically, affecting all countries in the region except Israel.  Why?  Because Israel represents the only existing democracy in the Middle East where all of its citizens—Jew and Arab—already have a voice in their society.’

‘But,’ he added, ‘do not be distracted from the single most important pre-existing threat to Israel and the United States:  Iran.’

In the midst of what some are calling the Arab Spring (after the 1968 Prague Spring) the United States should heed Netanyahu’s warning, and redouble efforts to contain and defeat the nuclear threat posed by Iran.

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But it’s about more than Iran’s nuclear programme. The revolutionary spirit of hope and democracy that is now filling the Arab street must not be hijacked by radical fundamentalist thought fuelled from Tehran. Sustained and unwavering US support of Israel, while refocusing on the threat from Iran, will keep the pressure on this repressive regime, retard its nuclear development, and hopefully stunt ideological and materiel support to anti-democratic forces seeking to end the Arab Spring.  

Of course Netanyahu’s warning isn’t new—he was warning about Iran as far back as 1996, when he addressed the US Congress during his first tenure as prime minister.  US Sen. James Inhofe, who led our congressional delegation and is a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, has also been making such warnings on the Senate floor since 2002. But it’s clear that events in the Maghreb demand refocused attention on halting Iran’s nuclear and radical Muslim fundamentalist ambitions.

There’s no time to lose. Netanyahu said that we are in a ‘pivot of history’ where, unless we do something now, Iran will become the first militant Islamic regime to possess nuclear weapons.

Regardless of such warnings, it’s clear that the public at large doesn’t fully realize the nuclear threat posed by Iran to Israel and the United States (or as the Iranian mullahs call us, the ‘Little and Big Satan’). And to date, Arab ‘earthquakes’ haven’t interfered with Iran’s ability to fund terrorist organizations or develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. The swift and deadly punishment meted out to Iranian Green Movement revolutionaries after their 2009 presidential election with no international repercussions speaks for itself. 

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