Iranian Intentions

by on December 20th, 2005

In the latest theatrical example of anti-Western arrogance, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “has banned Western music from Iran’s radio and TV stations.”

According to, popular classics like The Eagles and Eric Clapton – and perhaps less tragically George Michael and Kenny G – will no longer grace the airwaves of the Islamic Republic.

Though this particular development is on the surface entertaining, it is but one in many recent bold and calculated moves by Ahmadinejad. His statements that the WWII Holocaust is an engineered myth and that Israel must be wiped out – or at least relocated – are serious, considering that Israeli military intelligence and IAEA’s ElBaradei estimate nuclear weapon capability by March 2006 (few months away).

A few months ago, Iran had the upper hand in claiming the legal right to develop nuclear energy. While playing cat and mouse with UN’s IAEA, Iran would hide just enough to conceal evidence of its military intentions and reveal just enough to scare the West into negotiations. By pretending to cooperate and then reneging on its promises, Iran held the proverbial “circumstantial evidence” card, which made our European friends morally uncomfortable in a confrontation and bought Iran more time.

However, Ahmadinejad’s recent statements have tipped the scales of reason against Iran’s claim of peaceful nuclear intentions (or sanity, for that matter). Each statement seemingly backed Iran further into a corner, pushed away their European allies, and gave the Israelis more credibility for a preemptive strike.

So what in the world is Ahmadinejad doing?

Iran has positioned itself as the new radical leader of the anti-Western, pan-Islamic movement, replacing the deposed Saddam and marginalized bin Laden. The anti-Semitic rhetoric is a familiar rallying tactic, stepped up to the level of the ridiculous for the purpose of unification. Jon Lewis explains this as a “trend in Arab-Islamic political life, namely a retreat from historical reality and societal responsibility and into the fundamentally anti-democratic politics of the irrational.” The move is very calculated, “employed both to disparage Israel’s existence and to present a narrative by which Arabs [and Muslims]… were the primary victims of Europe” and later Washington.

Driven by the threat of revolutionary elements in the Middle East, the failing state of the Syrian dictatorship, and now encouraged by the results of Iraq’s election – Iran is going for the money shot, gearing for a war against all things western.

So much for peaceful intentions.

John McDonald