For Iran, Hatred of the U.S. is “Neither Transient nor Emotional”

This year, the Shiite holiday of Ashura coincided with another Iranian national holiday: the anniversary of the takeover of the American embassy on November 4, 1979. Iranian leaders used the occasion to make clear their attitudes toward Israel and the United States and thereby respond indirectly to President Obama’s fourth personal letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. The following excerpt, introduced and translated by A. Savyon, Y. Mansharof, and E. Kharazi, is from an interview with Ahmad Khatami, a close associate of Khamenei:

As Western [officials] say, “Even if the nuclear issue is resolved, the other issues will remain.” We too say that even if the nuclear issue is resolved, we will continue to say “Death to America,” because this motto is anchored in our faith. The Western side is the symbol of arrogance, and the motto “There is no God but Allah” is the repudiation of the arrogance. . . . This year, the chant of “Death to America” will be more fundamental and more profound than in previous years. . . . The claim that we use religious slogans to preserve the regime is wrong. The Iranian nation uses mottos from Islam and the Quran properly and appropriately. . . . Those who misunderstand [the religion] and are passive vis-à-vis America [i.e., Iran’s pragmatic camp] call this passivity wise. But it is not wise. It is humiliating. . . . The mottos “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” are taken from the tenets of the religion.

Read more at MEMRI

More about: anti-Americanism, Anti-Zionism, Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran

If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy