July 17, 2017


Understanding Iranian threat perceptions : Rather than perpetuating mantras about Iranian expansionism, the United States and its regional allies should take a closer look at the origins of Iranian threat perceptions.
(Seyed Hossein Mousavian, July 14, 2017, Al Monitor)

Broadly speaking, six factors have shaped Iran's threat perceptions since 1979.

First are the challenges of the 1980s, namely the Iran-Iraq War and separatist rebellions in Iran's Kurdistan and Khuzestan provinces, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. The United States and allied Persian Gulf littoral states played a decisive role in exacerbating these crises, including by buttressing separatists and providing Saddam Hussein with every means of support, including ballistic missiles and chemical weapons, which were used to deadly effect. Toward the end of the war, the United States also directly attacked Iranian oil platforms and even shot down an Iranian civilian airliner.

Second, Iran has faced a military buildup on its borders since the Islamic Revolution. Iran is not only ringed by US military bases, but US-made weapons regularly flow into the region -- especially the Persian Gulf. Under Barack Obama, the United States sold Saudi Arabia roughly $115 billion worth of weapons, which is more than any previous administration. Donald Trump is poised to outdo his predecessor. Yet Iran spends one-fifth of what Saudi Arabia spends on defense -- despite having twice the population. Even the United Arab Emirates, with a native population of 1.4 million, has double the military spending of Iran.

The third factor is the unparalleled sanctions Iran has been subject to since 1979. Even as Iran is carefully abiding by the historic July 2015 nuclear deal, Congress is pushing through a set of sanctions. Such sanctions have long been promoted by Israel and Saudi Arabia, who wish to cripple Iran's economy.

Fourth comes covert warfare in the form of cyberattacks, assassinations and the propping up of terrorist organizations like the notorious Mujahedeen-e-Khalq. Such tactics are set to be stepped up with the recent creation of a special CIA unit focused on Iran under the leadership of the ultra-aggressive Michael D'Andrea. Indeed, every US administration has since 1979 pursued an "all options on the table" policy against Iran.

The fifth factor involves Saudi Arabia's confrontational stance toward the Islamic Republic while apparently establishing a strategic relationship with Israel. 

Posted by at July 17, 2017 6:27 AM


« | Main | ...AND CHEAPER...: »