How much of a threat does Iran pose to Israel?

Iran and Israel flag

Is there any justification for the behaviour Iran has demonstrated towards Israel throughout the last couple decades?

Certainly not.  However, many supporters try to downplay the behaviour of the Islamic Republic; even though they have proven themselves to arguably being the most brutal, callous and murderous regime in the Middle-East.

Starting with the reprehensible vitriol they propagate over the airwaves, to the disgusting posturings they have made towards Israel – it’s clear to see why Bush labelled the country as part of the axis of evil.

Over the years, Iran has certainly done little to conceal their ghastly disdain and utter contempt towards Jews and Israelis.

Many leaders or decorated figures have called for the annihilation of Israel – including the past President in Ahmadinejad, who remarked that Israel should be “wiped off the face of time.”  Many rallies in Iran are held specifically for the purpose of promulgating Israel’s hate. Tens of thousands of people take place in these rallies where effigies and Israeli flags are set ablaze all the while chanting ‘death to Israel‘.  Ayatollah Khameini, Supreme Leader of Iran, who holds the country’s highest figure of authority, has also openly called for Israel’s destruction many times and is a Holocaust denier.

Regardless of the reasoning or geopolitical strategems that may belie these abhorrent actions, no person holding a semblance of rationality can deny that murdering innocent women and children is iniquitous and unjustifiable.  Everyday they continue to pose a serious threat to Israel’s sovereignty and it’s clear they will, and have gone great lengths to achieve their goals.

These goals which include ‘further[ing] the revolution‘ (or in other words, restoring the glory of the Persian Empire), rallying the world’s Muslims behind their cause and eliminating the ‘cancerous tumour’ that is Israel are one’s which deserve a little elucidation in order to provide some insight into the barbarous regime that is Iran.

During the post 9/11 Iraqi war, Iran has and up until this day is playing a large conflict in that country.  Throughout the US invasion, Iran trained, armed and funnelled millions of dollars into many extremist Shi’ite militias whom greatly contributed to the instability of the country.  At the same time, Syria funded al-Qaeda and many Sunni extremist rebels and this, along with Iran’s actions, created a melting-pot of instability which resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s.  Actions like these demonstrate the brutality of the Iranian regime.

Currently in Iraq, in the fight against IS, Iran has formed a coalition of around 150,000 troops called the PMF, which have been arguably dictating the policy in Iraq, under the Shi’ite rule of al-Abadi.  Militias in the coalition are said to be committing atrocities against Sunni civilians in cities like Fallujah and al-Karmah.

In Syria, Iran, along with Russia, is seeking to eliminate and ethnically cleanse the Sunni population that make up a large percentage of the populace in Syria.  Sunni’s oppose Assad and his secular way of rule, and Iran, in committing such atrocities, hope to limit any sort of uprising against the Alawite government.

Iran seeks to uphold Assad’s rule, as his collapse would weaken the regional dominance of Iran, negatively impact its ability to send funds and weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas in Palestine, and would undermine their role as global Shi’a protector as there are holy Shi’a monuments situated in Syria.

However, in doing so, Iran has shown no regard for the hundreds of thousands of innocents who have been unfortunately murdered in this deadly conflict.

Hezbollah buildup in Syria also provides Iran with another platform to attack Israel.

Iran has also been engaging in many proxy wars through the region.

The Qods Force – a government branch responsible for exporting terrorism – has funded, armed and trained Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have overthrown the Yemeni government and are greatly contributing to the instability of the conflict – which has so far left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands impoverished.  In Bahrain, Iran has been accused of arming and training radical Islamic Shiite factions, who have been designated as FTO’s (Foreign Terrorist Organization’s), in attempts to overthrow the Sunni government.  Khameini himself stated that, “Bahrain is an Iranian province and should be annexed.”

Iran has also been training many Shi’ite militias in Afghanistan, has provided millions of dollars to its government in Hamid Karzai, and have funded the Taliban  – this however is in attempts to keep ISIS out of Iran.

Iran also seeks to radicalise many disillusioned Muslims in Azerbaijan (which holds a large Shi’a population), Tajikistan, Russia and other Central Asian Republics.

The point of all this being, is that if Iran is willing to show no compassion or restraint in killing their Muslim brothers to achieve their goals, if given the chance, they would assuredly, show no restraint against Israel.

Indeed, they have already inflicted a serious amount of harm against Israel, especially in Lebanon, where the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, currently resides.

Iran, who assassinated former Lebanon prime minister Rafic Hariri, has essentially gained control of Lebanon’s army, and government through Hezbollah. Hezbollah, was instrumental in the role of electing current President, Michel Aoun.

Hezbollah, who receives hundreds of millions of dollars a year from Iran, have engaged in previous conflicts against Jewish people and Israel.  Most recently, in 2006, they encroached upon Israel’s border and killed eight soldiers while kidnapping two, which resulted in a month-long conflict that killed both Lebanese and Israeli civilians, as Hezbollah had decided to start indiscriminately firing rockets into Israeli territory.

Hezbollah won the conflict, and through doing so, Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, generated more popularity than any other leader in the Middle-East.

Currently, it is estimated that Hezbollah have around 100,000 rockets pointed at Israel, and although war is not imminent, considering Iranian resources are tied up in Syria, the possibility of further engagement is definitely on the table.   Deputy Commander Salami of the IRGC posed this warning to Israelis:

“only in Lebanon, more than 100,000 Qaem missiles are ready for launch… so that any time the Zionist regime seeks to repeat its previous mistakes with miscalculations, these missiles would… come down on the heart of the Zionist regime and be the prelude for a big collapse in the modern era… They are just waiting for the command, so that when the trigger is pulled, the accursed black dot will be wiped off the geopolitical map of the world, once and for all.”

Furthermore, in Palestine, Iran continues to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into Hamas, and one spokesperson for the designated terrorist organisation considers Tehran to be their top supporter.  Hamas refers to Jews as ‘pigs’ in their charter, continues to refuse to recognize Israel as a country and attempts to commit genocide on innocent civilians.  More so, Iran also has their hand in funding other extremist groups like the PFLP and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad who like Hamas, have murdered innocent civilians, call for Israel’s destruction and continue to radicalise many Palestinians, inculcating the idea of jihad amongst young children.

In Palestine, as support for the ‘moderate’ Fatah party wanes, Iran continues to broker the Hamas party in hopes for them to achieve political dominance in not just Gaza but the West Bank as well.  If Hamas were to obtain a stranglehold in the West Bank, this would further inflame tensions and violence and reduce any possibility for a potential peace plan.

Iran has also pledged thousands of dollars to any Palestinian willing to commit a terrorist attack against any innocent Israeli citizen, whether it be man, woman or child.

It’s clear Iran seeks Israel’s annihilation.  Rallies calling for Israel’s destruction only further solidify this point.  The Iranian government also held and supported the third annual ‘Holocaust Cartoon Festival’, proving that Rouhani’s facade of moderation – is only that, a facade.

Ayatollah Khameini, who’s policies have resulted in the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Sunnis, has proven he is able to overcome theological differences with his Muslim counterparts (as long as it involves attacking Israel or US) by funding extremist Sunni militias.

Iran has funded al-Qaeda elements, Hamas, the PIJ, PFLG, Taliban insurgents and have facilitated the movement of al-Qaeda militants into Syria.

Moreover, Iran’s recent nuclear deal with the US, which was heralded by the Obama administration as a success, has proven to be tenuous, as Iran might very likely be in possession of a nuclear weapon.  Intransigence to comply with the IAEA raises doubts as to whether Iran is keeping up with promises made.  Furthermore, Iran’s testing of nuclear ballistic missiles, in defiance of a UN resolution, which carry an engravement reading, “Israel must be wiped out”, raise serious doubts as to whether Iran will continue to abide to the agreement.

Overall, Iran’s current plans to establish a stable axis between Iran, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, would allow for easier coordination, deployment, funds and artillery – especially to Hezbollah, Hamas and other Shi’ite militias.

A Middle-East dominated by Iran, is more of a proven threat to Israel then a Sunni-led Middle-East.  Two Sunni countries in Jordan and Egypt have made peace agreements with Israel, and Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf States in the GCC – have proven to be able to cooperate with Israel and the West.

It’s clear that Iran has made their intentions known – so why do people continue to defend the largest state-sponsor of terrorism, when it is clear, if given the chance, they would destroy the West.

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About Jake Beaumont 55 Articles
BA in Media Studies from the University of Guelph. Graduated from the University of Guelph-Humber with a Diploma in Journalism. Former Research Analyst for Honest Reporting Canada. Published in the Huffington Post, Vancouver Province and many other newspapers across Canada. Specializes in Middle-East politics. Currently situated in Toronto.

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