Iran: Insiders See Doomsday Approaching

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October 2, 2007: Efforts to impose more sanctions on Iran are gathering more adherents. France, and most European nations are willing to make it more difficult for Iran to smuggle in components for weapons, particularly nuclear bombs. This forces Iran to be more dependent on Russia and China for their weapons and industrial needs. That suits Russia and China just fine, as they compete with European firms all the time, and it's nice to have an edge in Iran.

Meanwhile, Iran is increasing its violence against Iraq. In the north, Iranian artillery has nearly doubled the range of its artillery shelling against Kurdish separatists inside Iraq. Iranian shells are now falling up to 17 kilometers from the border. More Iranian patrols have been spotted inside Iraq, as well as Iranian recon aircraft. When the Iraqi government protests, Iran just denies any of it is happening. This seems to work.

Further south, American troops are capturing more Iranian weapons, including portable (SA-7 like) Iranian surface-to-air missiles. Iran dismisses such evidence as American fakery. But within Iran, an increasing number of Iranian officers are discussing the likelihood that the Americans would try to use the same tactics. Iranians already believe American agents and Special Forces have been responsible for unrest in southeastern and southwestern Iran. No evidence has been obtained, but none is needed if you're Iranian and condemning the United States. Iranians fear that American smart bombs will just start going off, destroying high value targets (like where senior leaders happen to be at the moment). Government officials, used to passing around fantastic tales, are now terrorized by stories that Israel and the Americans have electronic warfare devices that blind radar, and enable smart bomb attacks to be made at will. If such attacks were carried out, the next escalation would be for Iran to attack oil shipments in the Persian Gulf. But this comes with some serious strings attached. If the smart bomb attacks just hurt the hated Iranian leadership, they can't declare an "American Invasion" and get the expected wave of popular nationalism support. Then, if oil shipping is interfered with, Iran loses its oil revenue, as well as imports of refined petroleum products and food. All of this is taken more seriously inside Iran, than outside. But these discussions in the corridors of power, and on Farsi language message board and listservs, do have an impact on decision making inside Iran.

Meanwhile, economic conditions inside Iran are getting worse, not better. The increasing oil prices enrich the clerical dictatorship and their followers. Most Iranians are screwed around every day by the greed and incompetence of the clerics, and the thugs used to keep people in line. As Winter approaches, the political climate is warming up.

 

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