Iran and US National Security

Iran has certainly been in the news since I started my research. There has been much discussion of whether or not Israeli will launch a pre-emptive strike. Furthermore, we have seen much diplomatic sparring between Iran and Israel. During the course of my research, I found a few particularly interesting facts in regards to this.

First and foremost, Ahmadinejad and the IRGC use this diplomatic sparring to increase their political power inside Iran. The Iranian leaders want the people to focus on the idea of national pride and an Iran vs. Israel and America. This in turn leads the Iranian people to focus less on important domestic issues, such as the economy and unemployment. In short, the more the world focuses on Iran and rattles the sabers the better it is for the Iranian leadership.

It is also important to remember that while Ahmadinejad may threaten to wipe Israel off the map, that he is not ultimately in command. Indeed, the true control of nuclear weapons would lie in the hands of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. Ahmadinejad can threaten as much as he desires, but he has no real power over Iranian foreign policy. This supports the idea that the public attention and threats against Iran empower Ahmadinejad. He is using the nuclear issue to increase his own political power. The entire world is listening to the words of Ahmadinejad despite the fact that nothing he says is of relevance.

Israel may also be fanning the fire at bit more than it should when it threatens military attack. The Israeli government inherently wants the United States and Europe to tighten sanctions against Iran to prevent a nuclear weapon. It is in the best interests of both the United States and Europe if Iran does not produce a nuclear weapon. Nevertheless, by continuously threatening attack, Israel is giving ammunition to Ahmadinejad. Israel must be careful to achieve its goals of preventing a nuclear Iran, while not empowering Ahmadinejad.

In short, the important lesson I have learned in my reading is that states need to be careful of how they deal with the Iranian situation due to the complex internal politics of Iran. The goal of preventing a nuclear Iran requires a detailed understanding of how the Iranian government works and the power struggle between the various factions, including Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader.

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About tclinger1

I am a Senior at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fl. I am pursuing a degree in Political Science and am writing my thesis on Iran and US national security. My research here will analyze the potential solutions to Iran's nuclear ambitions and the consequences of a nuclear Iran.
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