Iran: We Know Nothing


November 16, 2009: The government is pressing Russia more, to get the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles that were ordered two years ago, delivered. There is more urgency to this because public, and government, opinion in Israel is turning more towards a military solution. There is less belief in the West, particularly in Israel, that sanctions will have any impact on Iran's bad behavior. Since the government signed the S-300 deal, some missile base construction has taken place in Iran, and some Iranian military personnel have received training, in Russia, on how to operate and maintain the missile system. But pressure from the West, particularly the U.S. and Israel, has persuaded Russia to hold off on delivery. Once Iran has its S-300 systems operational, any air attack on Iran will become more costly, and require more aircraft, and electronic warfare mojo, to succeed.

The government has been having problems getting uranium back from Syria. Iran provided Syrian with the radioactive material several years ago, but Israel discovered Syria's nuclear program, and bombed the research facility in 2007. Syria refuses to return the uranium, and Iran and North Korea are threatening to cease assistance to Syria's chemical weapons program until Syria gives in.

In the last year, at least half a dozen Iranian ships, carrying weapons to Hamas, Hezbollah and Yemeni Shia rebels, have been sunk or captured. Iran denies any involvement, and dismisses all this evidence as just another Western plot to discredit the religious leadership of Iran. At the same time, the Iranians have to be wondering how the Westerners are getting information on all these arms shipments. Someone is talking.

In the southeast, police are arresting those believed to be supporters of Baluchi terrorists. This includes at least one Sunni cleric, and many Sunni civilians. India has agreed to cooperate in fighting Sunni terrorism, like the Baluchi Jundallah group, based in Pakistan. India is also willing to do joint economic deals with Iran. While Sunni Islamic conservatives are quite hostile towards Hindus, Shia Moslems are more laid back about the religious angle.

While Iran is feared by the Arabs in the Gulf, there is also a lot of popular support among the Gulf Arabs for Iran's nuclear weapons program. This is part of the centuries old unease at how the Moslem world was, and still is, falling behind the West scientifically, militarily and economically. Even though most Arabs fear Iranian domination, they dislike Western (non-Moslem) power as well. An Iran armed with nukes would show those Western kaffirs (non-Moslems)  a thing or two. And maybe the infidels and Iranians would kill each other off. For Arabs, that would be a perfect solution to many problems.

Police officials believe that Iran is gaining new drug addicts (mostly to opium and heroin) at the rate of 130,000 a year. The police believe that are at least a million addicts in Iran, although unofficial estimates put the number at several million (out of a population of 70 million). Most of the drugs come from Afghanistan. The government considers the drug addiction a less damaging choice for Iranian youth, than active opposition to the government. Yet more and more young Iranians are choosing revolution over drugs. Street demonstrations against the government are growing in size and frequency.

November 12, 2009: Yemen is calling for some kind of international retaliation against Iran for supporting Shia rebels in Yemen. Iran denies everything, despite growing evidence to the contrary.

November 10, 2009: Israel released the German container ship it had seized off Cyprus, after removing dozens of containers and the Iranian weapons they held. The ship then went to Lebanon, where the government there began to conduct an investigation of the incident. Iran calls it all a Western plot to discredit the Islamic Republic of Iran.

November 8, 2009: The government has decided to accuse three American hikers, who, while visiting northern Iraq last July, wandered across the border into Iran, of espionage. By threatening to send the three Californians to jail, some favors can be extracted from the United States (which will come under intense pressure to avoid convictions.)  

November 5, 2009: UN weapons inspectors believe that Iran has developed a more compact implosion (a ball of explosives with the nuclear material in its core) warhead design, which makes possible smaller warheads that can fit inside a missile warhead. Iran denies everything, although Iranian agents have been seeking this technology (especially in Russia) for years.

November 4, 2009: In the capital, the annual anti-American demonstrations (to celebrate the storming of the U.S. embassy in 1979, and kidnapping of 52 diplomatic personnel) was usurped by anti-government demonstrators. This was a great embarrassment for the government, and Revolutionary Guards were ordered to arrest all foreigners they found near the demonstrators. At least four were picked. The government wants to make the case that the unrest was caused by foreigners. Over a hundred demonstrators were arrested, but only a few foreigners could be found.

November 3, 2009: Israeli commandos seized a German container ship off the coast of Cyprus, searched its cargo and found over 300 tons of Iranian weapons apparently headed for Hezbollah or Syria.

November 2, 2009: Revolutionary Guards commanders warned people, especially students, to not try to disrupt upcoming (official) anti-American demonstrations. These warnings were ignored.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close