Why does the United States, with a military budget almost equal to the rest of the world combined, fear countries such as Iran? Why does the United States take Tehran, with not a single nuclear weapon and a military only capable of squelching dissidents, as seriously as it did the Kremlin, with a nuclear stockpile that rivaled the US and promised mutually assured destruction, during the height of the Cold War?
The fear is irrational and unfounded at best. Iran has not waged a “war of choice” in over 200 years, nor would they want to for two reasons: geography and a principled stance against preemptive war. Bordered by Iraq, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, the immense military presence of the US in that region would make any attack by Iran a suicide mission. Ayatollah Khamenei has said, “We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any government.” We are told to fear a man who says that, but not to fear a man who says, “So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace.” The latter was said by President Obama while receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
Contrary to popular belief, Iran is serious about peace. Iran extended itself in good-faith to the US by offering to give them a two ton pile of low-enriched uranium in exchange for higher-enriched uranium to be used at an IAEA-inspected, US-built nuclear reactor for scientific purposes. If the US did not accept, which it didn’t, Iran would enrich the uranium on its own to the 20% threshold that allows for the production of a very crude nuclear weapon. The US refused to compromise which begs the question: Is the United States serious about diplomacy with Iran? And is Iran’s subsequent enrichment of uranium something to be feared?
The answer to both questions is no. After the Iranian Revolution of 1979 that ousted American-supported Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, all diplomatic ties with Iran were severed. Efforts have been made by the US to restore relations, but they have come with one very significant string attached: Iran must stop its nuclear program. As of now, there is no evidence that Iran is weaponizing their uranium. An overwhelming amount of evidence proves that Iran is using its nuclear program for peaceful purposes.
Constantly inundated with exaggerated and faulty “evidence,” it is no surprise that more and more Americans are becoming fearful of Iran. Since 9/11, our mentality has changed drastically. We fear countries with a fraction of our economic and military power. Rationality and liberty have been sacrificed for “safety.” If we wish to avoid another Iraq War, we must reject irrational and unfounded fear and embrace peace and diplomacy.