Update on Corrupt Iran’s 21st-Century Nuclear Threat, Part II

Update on Corrupt Iran’s 21st-Century Nuclear Threat, Part II
A truck carries an Iranian “Fattah” hypersonic ballistic missile during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980–1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in Tehran, on Sept. 22, 2023. (-/AFP via Getty Images)
Austin Bay

In May, CIA Director William Burns declared Iran could “probably develop (its) stockpile of weapons-grade enriched uranium in a couple of weeks.”

“Develop” translates into Iran building a nuclear weapon in 14 days.

In August, I began a column series with the working title “21st-century war in the nuclear shadows.” The first column examined Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine.

Russian romanticism laced with Russian Orthodox rhetoric drives Putin—ultimately, it’s a Marxist romanticism that claims History (capital H) has cheated Russia. Putin vows he will rectify History’s error.

Hitler suffered from a similar psychosis. Hitler died before Hiroshima.

Since 1945 the atom bomb has reshaped warfare, with a few extremist exceptions.

Putin’s Ukraine War, like the Cold War, is waged beneath a nuclear shadow. So far Putin has played by Cold War restraints. Unfortunately, the 21st century has two to three dozen real or potential nuclear-armed combatants.

The nuclear-weapon-seeking Ayatollah Islamic Revolutionary Iran portrays itself as a messianic regime fulfilling God’s Will. Claims on God are typical fanatic propaganda. Messianic zeal is a human energy every human group—cult, tribe, corrupt government, pseudo-secular-academic ideology—can abuse.

Apocalyptic fervor often empowers imperialist expansion—it encourages stealing territory and killing people. In the 21st century, corrupt dictator-led regimes use its fanatic clout to kill.

In the 7th century, Muslim Arabs were the world’s premier messianic imperialists. They overran North Africa and the Near East. Three centuries or so later, Western European Christian crusaders—with a messianic pulse—contested Islam’s imperial expansion.

After the Ottoman Turks seized Constantinople, Islamic fervor degraded. Turk sultans cynically used messianic propaganda to dominate their devout Arab Muslim subjects.

Cruel and degrading behavior? Yes.

Which brings us to Ayatollah Islamic Revolutionary Iran—the 21st century’s premier cynical messianic nuclear threat.

Ayatollah Iran is a completely corrupt messianic threat. The ayatollahs’ gods (small case) are money and power.

Unfortunately, in our time a detonated nuclear weapon that kills tens of thousands/millions of perceived human adversaries guarantees a very dangerous planet with cratering economies.

Not all our nuclear adversaries—current and potential—understand Balance of Terror restraints.

Islamic State/al-Qaida terror organizations are messianic mass murderers who have created so many powerful enemies it is unlikely they can obtain a detonatable nuclear device. Poll Washington, Beijing, Moscow, New Delhi, Cairo, Jerusalem, Riyadh, Ankara, Tokyo, etc.

Unfortunately, Ayatollah Iran’s corrupt and cynical fanatics assist fanatics of all stripes. They also rule an educated nation-state that has the petrodollars to turn nuclear knowledge into weapons.

Since Ayatollah Iran has been threatening Israel with incineration.

Iran has also attacked Saudi Arabian oil facilities with conventional drones and cockily suggested Saudi Arabia is a nuclear target.

Earlier this month an open source reported the Ayatollah Regime “has accelerated the expansion of its nuclear program ... and undertaken research and development activities that would bring it closer to producing the fissile material needed for completing a nuclear device following a decision to do so.”

Damning claim but not new. In 2011 an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear program confirmed the regime knows how to hide a nuclear weapons development program in plain sight.

How to stop Iran’s nuke threat? The ayatollahs are corrupt, so bribes might work. The Obama and Biden administrations have tried bribes.

But the ayatollahs demand more money.

The Israelis have used covert means to disrupt Iran’s nukes. Analysts credit Israeli scientists with creating the Stuxnet malware that damaged Iran’s nuke program but did not destroy it.

In a recent Fox News interview Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman indicated Saudi Arabia might get a nuke to counter Iran. He also indicated an Israeli-Saudi alliance might be in the works. Israel already has nukes.

Nuclear war in the Persian Gulf would lead to a global economic depression. There is another option: a “simultaneous strategic bombing strike” (SSBS, first described by StrategyPage.com in 2003). In a short time frame, aircraft, cruise missiles, drones, and perhaps ballistic missiles with conventional warheads deliver hundreds of precision weapons, hitting nuclear targets and air defense sites.

Are the weapons and strike craft Israeli? Saudi? U.S.? Turkish? Iraqi? Emirati? Egyptian? The European Union?

The Ayatollah Regime deserves its difficult enemies. And an SSBS.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Austin Bay is a colonel (ret.) in the U.S. Army Reserve, author, syndicated columnist, and teacher of strategy and strategic theory at the University of Texas–Austin. His latest book is “Cocktails from Hell: Five Wars Shaping the 21st Century.”