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Opinion

Tension between Iran, Israel forces U.S. involvement

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October 5, 2012

Lately, Iran has been the focus of ridicule for many American politicians. Some Congressmen have even called Iran “enemy No. 1.” Such statements, due to the events in the last week, do not seem that far from the truth. For the last seven years, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been spewing disturbing anti-American rhetoric that has been perceived as threats towards its allies, and the Western world. The U.N. speeches from Israel, Iran and the U.S. have emphasized that the friction between Iran and the Western World has increased with the fall of the rial.

Iran is a unique country in the Middle East, housing the largest Shi’a population in the Sunni dominant Middle East. It has been speculated that the hate speech against Israel is fueled to keep the Sunni neighbors of Iran pacifi ed. The friction between the two different fractions of Islam is notorious for their religious division.

Besides the religious differences between Iran and the Middle East, there is also an ethnic difference. Iranians identify as Persian, while citizens from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the like, identify as Arabs. These interesting differences between Iran and its neighbors could possibly infl uence their politicians to act irrationally towards Israel, the odd country in a Muslim dominant region.

Many Americans recognize Iran as a country that hates Americans and America. However, during the rule of the Shah, the relationship between Iran and the United States was a positive one. Both countries engaged in economic and diplomatic relationships that supposedly benefited both nations. Iran benefited from U.S. trade and the U.S. gained an asset with having a strategic location so close to the then No. 1 enemy, the U.S.S.R. However, with the rise of economic disparity and religious zeal in Iran, the Shah left in 1979 and was protected in the United States until his death in 1980.

The Iranian Revolution, which overturned the monarchy, established a theocracy that had some democratic principles. However, the absolute atrocities that happened, such as the destruction of the Iranian-U.S. embassy, and the later anti- American hate speech, have not been so easily forgotten. Instead, the friction between the U.S. and Iran has increased along with the solidifying of Israel-U.S. relations.

The most current topic is Iranian nuclear power and the potential for nuclear weapons. Back when the Shah was still in power, the U.S. utilized their Atoms of Peace program to start educating the Iranian people of nuclear technology. The 1950s foreign aid program has become an issue for the Israel and the Western World. No matter how much Iran and its people reassure that their nuclear program is only for “green energy,” President Ahmadinejad’s rallying “death to Israel” public speaking has scared Israel into becoming a very defensive state. Even with all of Israel’s faults and bubbling acts, one could relate the state between Iran and Israel to that of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

If another country openly says it dislikes a country and wants that country to be gone, and have potential nuclear weapons, wouldn’t the threatened country start spending more money on their military? From U.S. history, it is evident that this is exactly what happens. Fear is the greatest weapon when it comes to war.

Last week the U.N. and its members gave their speeches. President Obama defended the American Constitution and tried to settle the violent reaction to the “Innocence of Muslims.” Of course Israel and Iran went at each other, making the “red line” and stating that the U.S. would be involved, whether the U.S. wanted to be involved or not. They referred to Ahmadinejad’s speech where he stated the U.S. would be attacked if a war between Israel and Iran ensued.

Now Iran is having currency issues. The rial has become infl ated to the extent of 23.5 percent according to Mr. Salehi-Isfahani (a source from the New York Times). This could be due to the economic sanctions on Iran, or that the interest rates for lenders and borrowers cannot exceed the interest rate in Iran. As the U.S. witnessed in the Great Recession, it is usually more than one action that causes economic downturn and currency decline. Unlike the U. S., the Iranian government and its people seem to blame foreign sanctions for their troubles.

A government does not always represent its people. Iran’s continuous threat of war may not be idle, but the cost of Iranian lives, as well as Israelites and possibly Americans, is nothing to scoff at. The last war Iran was involved in was the Iran-Iraq war, where both countries were devastated with the loss of practically a generation. The escalating friction between Israel, Iran and the U.S. has taken years to get to this point, but is this the apex for Iran? Will Iran and Israel go to war?

Katrinna Dodge is a freshman and is majoring in history. She works part time at a Kwik Trip in River Falls.