For two years the United States has helped splinter groups among Iran’s ethnic minorities to blow up buildings, assassinate Revolutionary Guards and kill civilians in an effort to destabilize the Tehran regime. In short, the United States does to Iran what it accuses Iran of doing in Iraq.
The hardliners in the Bush administration, led by Cheney, see a dwindling opportunity to bomb Iran before Bush leaves office. They hope to launch a massive bombing campaign which will so weaken Tehran that the regime will fall and Iranians will see the United States as their savior. Does this sound the faintest bit familiar?
In reality, a U.S. attack would be disastrous. Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz, through which 25 percent of the world’s oil supplies pass. Oil prices would skyrocket. Iran could encourage Hizbollah to launch missiles into Israel. Muslims would hold demonstrations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Iran could mobilize that anger and encourage Shiite parties in Iraq to attack U.S. troops.
In a truly nightmare scenario, Iran could encourage terrorist attacks inside the United States and in allied countries. When I interviewed Syria’s President Bashar al-Asad in 2006, he said, “If you do a military strike, you will have chaos. It’s very dangerous.”
The people of Iran, leading democracy advocates and even conservative Iranian-American exile groups oppose an attack. They understand that U.S. bombs falling on Tehran will only rally people behind the current government.
In an open letter to the United Nations, former political prisoner and Iranian opposition leader Akbar Ganji wrote, “Even speaking about the possibility of a military attack on Iran makes things extremely difficult for human rights and pro-democracy activists in Iran. No Iranian wants to see what happened to Iraq or Afghanistan repeated in Iran.” READ MORE