Attacking Iran: Intention, Possibility and Limitations

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour
University Faculty Member, International Issues Analyst

The publication of the latest report of International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano on Iran's nuclear case has been followed by a lot of hype from Israel and the Western countries, especially the United States. The Israeli regime has gone as far as talking about a possible military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Amano’s new report did not contain new information for the nuclear experts and everything mentioned in it had already appeared in past reports of the UN nuclear watchdog. Even Amano himself admitted that the information dated back to 2003. The important question, then, is “what is the main purpose behind this immense volume of propaganda hue and cry?” It should first be noted that neither this report, nor other reports released by the Agency can be used as political or legal ground for attacking a country.

The propaganda hype, however, is telltale sign of the true intent of the Zionist regime and the United States. Therefore, identification of true intent of political players involved in the new scenario along with their possibilities and limitations deserves due attention and is the main analytical axis of this article. In other words, this article seeks to find the answer to the question that how so much outcry in the western media can be analyzed?

When answering the question, one must first pay attention to possibilities and limitations of the Israeli regime and the United States as well as other political players which accompany them in this political game.


Intention and capability are the most common concepts raised in any strategic discussion. When strategists have accurate information on capabilities, they can assess the other side’s true power and operational capacities. Some strategists even go beyond this point and believe that capabilities should not be the sole factor taken into consideration, but intentions are also very important and determine practical power and possibilities. Even when a certain player lacks adequate power, its intention should be considered properly.

Recognizing true intent of political players is a complicated task and there are no clear international mechanisms, especially in such international bodies as IAEA, to assess intents of political players. Therefore, what Western countries allege about Iran's intent is faced with fundamental bugs. However, even the existing framework of their allegations about Iran's intents can be used to judge their own behavior. This is more acceptable under the present conditions that anti-Iran propaganda is at its peak and Western countries are well aware that the country has no plan to build nuclear weapons. Therefore, it is a good time to analyze true intent of the United States, the Zionist regime of Israel and the Western countries about Iran.

What the Western countries and Israel allege about Iran's nuclear program is that the world should not stop on Iran's true nuclear capabilities, but its intent should be also taken into consideration. This argument suffers from many legal and strategic flaws. However, even this flawed framework can be used to analyze the intent of the West and Israel which has been hidden behind the existing heap of media propaganda and one may ask what their true intention is?

On the whole, there is no doubt that the Israeli regime is playing a key role in launching this propaganda campaign. Of course, the United States is helping it. Although the overlap between their propaganda efforts may not always exist, especially between certain US and Zionist circles, on the whole, they constitute a single propaganda machine.

The main intentions of the United States and Israel in their propaganda campaign against Iran include:

1. Restricting Iran's power and preventing growth of the country: There is no doubt that restricting Iran's power is the main goal of all relevant players and through this propaganda hype, they aim to create a special psychological atmosphere in order to limit growth and development of Iran. The main issue here is the power of Iran and their assessment of that power. They argue that the power should not be allowed to increase and get the upper hand.

2. To make a scarecrow and spread panic among regional countries in order to build up their military presence: In parallel to presenting the new scenario, it was announced that the US government has asked for the Congress’ permission to sell 4,900 bunker buster bombs to Israel. Like all other military sales undertaken by the United States, this request would not have been possible in the absence of the image of a regional threat like Iran. Let’s not forget that withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq has led to their concentration in the Persian Gulf littoral countries and increased military presence of the United States on the southern rim of the Persian Gulf needs psychological as well as strategic justification. Iran, therefore, has been presented as the scarecrow to promote the West’s arms sales.

3. Multilateral and multilayered crises surrounding the Zionist regime of Israel: Following collapse of the world bipolar system and developments resulting from numerous rounds of the Palestinian intifada in the Occupied Territories, Israel has been grappling with serious crisis of identity which has been admitted by its own scholars. A solution to that identity crisis is to pose a major threat through which Israel will be able to cover its internal divides. Iran, therefore, is not only used as a threat to regional security, but also as an excuse to explain Israel’s domestic problems. An attack on Iran or Iran's attack on Israel can be interpreted within framework of the said profound identity crisis.

4. Creating more pressure inside the United States on President Obama to impose more sanctions against Iran: This issue is only pursued by the Zionist regime. In fact, as a rightist congressman said, the US Congress is an American territory occupied by Israel. As a result, Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, use this tool to pressure Obama. This will cause US policies become more inclined toward Israel at a time that the latter is facing more profound problems in the region. Imposing sanctions on Iran is a major goal of those pressures. As a result of discussions about a possible military strike against Iran followed by arguments about high cost of such strike, the US government will be convinced to avoid of military attack and impose more international sanctions against the country. This is also a means used by the Israeli strategists to further restrict the growing regional clout of Iran.

5. External and foreign conditions facing Israel: As put by Kishore Mahbubani, the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, in an interview with the Guardian, the Zionist regime is facing a diplomatic intifada. This means that the entire region and the world have risen up against Israel and policies adopted by its prime minister, Netanyahu. Even Obama and his French counterpart, Nicolai Sarkozy, have chided Netanyahu in a personal conversation. This means that even Israel’s closest allies are fed-up with his policies. Israel is under tremendous pressures as a result of Palestine’s membership in UNESCO and the wave of change that has followed the Arab Spring and the Islamic Awakening. As a result, Tel Aviv is facing profound regional crises and a good way to get rid of those crises is to raise the issue of Iran threat in order to allay both internal and external crises.

However, as the issue of military threat and strike is involved here, one must not suffice to discussing intents alone and should see whether such intents are accompanied with practical possibilities and limitations as well.

Possibilities and limitations

Undoubtedly, it is not easy for Israel and the United States to achieve what they intend to do because external conditions do not allow them. From the viewpoint of military operations, the United States and Israel have designed various scenarios not only for Iran, but also to implement various military operations as possible military response to various conditions. Some revelations in the United States show that, at least, feasibility studies have been conducted in this regard. For example, Colonel Leife Echolm has conducted a study for Hoover Institute of the University of Stanford entitled “Invading Iran: Lessons from Iraq.” Such studies prove that feasibility of such operations has been tested, but all of them have pointed to difficulty of a possible attack on Iran and even simply on the country’s nuclear facilities. Therefore, they are facing practical limitations for such an attack.

Limitations mostly stem from the fact that Iran is an active player and will not leave any possible attack unanswered. Even speculation over the quality of Iran's answer to a possible attack has led to a lot of controversy. Some strategists maintain that a conflict with Iran may unleash a big regional war. Anyway, Iran's role is considered as the most important factor which prevents military strike plans against the country to be put into action. Apart from that, one may not forget that the dire economic situation in Israel is another impediment on the way of an Israeli attack against Iran. Clal Finance is the name of a very important finance corporation in Israel which has recently published a report on Iran's issues from a purely economic standpoint. The report has been written by a person called Kahanvich who believes that from an economic angle, a possible military strike against Iran will be too costly for Israel. A second consideration, he added, was the situation in global oil markets, especially under current conditions of world economic crisis. He maintains that oil markets will be hit so hard that its real extent cannot be imagined and global oil price may suddenly jump up to, at least, 250 dollars per barrel.

It should be noted that even inside the United States, some circles insisted that the US government should impose sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran. However, possible aftermath of the measure for global oil markets and sudden upturn of international oil price dissuaded the US Congress and government from pursuing the plan. As a result of the above facts, any threat against Iran may be ensued with considerable economic problems. Therefore, economic dimension of a possible strike against Iran should be taken onboard in any analysis of such attack.

Another issue, which should be taken into account, is regional political limitations. Although a number of regional countries are aligned with the United States and Israel for attacking Iran, unpredictability of the aftermath of such attack has served as a major obstacle which has practically forced them to think twice before taking such an insane step.

On the whole, the main issue which takes precedence over possibilities and limitations of the Zionist regime and its western supporters is their intentions which are quite evident in this case. Despite their intentions, however, we must be militarily and operationally ready for all kinds of possibilities. At the same time, we must guide regional conditions through human and diplomatic means in a direction that will not only preserve the current regional influence of Iran, but also increase it.

Source: Iranian Diplomacy
Translated By: Iran Review

More By Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour:

*Libyan Developments and International Politics:

*Arab World Uprisings: An Iranian View:

*Obama and the Middle East: Two Speeches & Three Challenges:

طراحی و توسعه آگاه‌سیستم