Expect the Unexpected from Iran
Iran's hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently warned that his country will deliver a harsh blow to "global arrogance" on Thursday, February 11, the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. But what on earth did he mean?
Heritage Middle East expert Jim Phillips weighs in on what Iran's latest provocation likely means. He writes:
In Ahmadinejad's twisted mind, Iran is a world power that leads a global alliance against a United States that seeks to dominate the world. Any action that signifies Iranian independence and progress on the political, military, nuclear, technological or economic fronts therefore is a blow against the United States. Ahmadinejad already has lauded the launch of an Iranian research rocket [last week] -- a "big event" and more ballistic missile tests may follow. Or perhaps an announcement on the nuclear front.
One thing seems certain: the "annual regime-supported demonstrations in support of Iran's Islamic revolution, with their customary chants of 'death to America', will not be the harsh blow that Ahmadinejad has in mind," Phillips explains.
Some signs suggest the blow will be "an announcement on the nuclear front."
Just today, Iranian officials announced that they have initiated the process for making higher-grade nuclear fuel. The Obama administration announced today that it is pushing for a new U.N. Security Council resolution targeting Iran's nuclear program more directly and firmly. But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Fox News that, though the process would be expedited, it could take weeks. This announcement also sparked concern overseas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Iran's defiant nuclear progress with a call for "crippling sanctions [which] must be applied right now." Even Russia, which has often defended Iran, scolded the rogue country for its nuclear provocations.
Iran may be faced with a harsh blow itself, not from the free world but from within. Iran's opposition leaders and their Green Movement, who made their debut to the world during the controversial elections last summer, continue to bravely demand long-overdue reforms in Iran.
"If large numbers of Iranians demonstrate on February 11 in support of the Green Movement," writes Phillips, "that will be a harsh blow to Ahmadinejad and his thuggish regime."
» Get the latest on Iran plus all the facts at Heritage's Iran Briefing Room