Many of Iran's neighbors are not as worried
about Iranian nukes as they are concerned about a more aggressive Iran
attempting to seize bits of disputed terrain throughout the region (as it has
already been doing with small islands in the Persian Gulf), and asserting its
traditional role as the regional superpower. Iran already has weapons of mass
destruction (chemical weapons developed during the 1980s war with Iraq), but
has never put them in play. Iran has never let terrorist groups have any of
their chemical weapons, nor has it openly threatened to use this stuff against
its neighbors. This is consistent with past behavior of Iranian leaders, who
are not known for rashness. Iranian extremists, especially the Islamic
militants, are another matter. They are kept under control, just barely. They
are the wildcard that makes everyone, including many Iranians, nervous.
October 21, 2007: Western
troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a more aggressive stance against
Iranian efforts to supply Islamic extremists in both countries with weapons.
These included the deadlier armor piercing roadside bombs and portable
anti-aircraft weapons. American and British commandoes have been tracking and
attacking the smugglers right on the border, and often inside Iran itself. Not
only has this left over a hundred smugglers dead, but it has resulted in many
of these weapons being brought back and displayed for journalists. The major
objective of these attacks is to terrorize the smugglers, and cut back on the
number of weapons shipments.
October 20, 2007: Iran's top nuclear weapons negotiator, seen
as a moderate, has resigned. This is an indication that the Iranians are done
with negotiations, and are just going to stonewall the UN while they proceed
with nuclear weapons development. Western efforts to impose sanctions on Iran
have not worked well because the Iranians have, over the past two decades,
developed an efficient smuggling network. This costs them more money, but with
the rising price of oil, they can afford it.
October 18, 2007: Russia
openly defended Iran's right to do whatever it wanted with nuclear technology
(which Russia is selling to Iran.) This made it clear that Russia would veto
any UN attempts to punish Iran further.
October 17, 2007: In the
southwest, police arrested three members of Arab separatist groups and accused
them of participating in terror attacks involving bombs.
October 15, 2007: In southeast Iran, rebellious Baluchi
tribesmen have kidnapped a Japanese graduate student and demanded ransom, the
release of a fellow tribesmen from jail. The government has refused this, but
has been unable to track down and free the foreign captive. That pretty much
sums up the situation in this part of the country.