Tehran, Iran (Accredited Times) – It is 3am in downtown Tehran and yet it will be many hours before I can afford the luxury of grabbing even a few minutes of precious sleep. Back home, my family and loved ones are ‘worried sick’ about my latest assignment: reporting from the frontline of the Axis of Evil.
‘Be careful out there’ they implored me, ‘make sure to blend in with the crowd and don’t draw attention to yourself.’ I tried my best and took whatever precautions I could but the Accredited Times travel budget is tragically limited. I fear that, in my anxiety, my fake ‘Fitra’ beard will fall off due to the sweat pouring off my brow. My clothes also feel heavy and ill-fitting, adding to the sense of oppression. As for the red “object” that comes with the outfit, I’m at a loss to know how to hold it according to the local custom. Note to self: get a refund from Walmart for my ‘disguise’ if I ever make it back.
I dare not imagine the consequences of being caught by Iranian military officials. As the accredited media routinely reports, Iran is a country where the rule of law simply does not exist; were I to be caught, I fully expect to be found guilty of spying by a kangaroo court, and sentenced to a cruel and prolonged death.
I try to remember why I agreed to come here in the first place, at such short notice, and it all comes flooding back: to be an eye-witness to the terrible danger that Iran poses to world peace. The undisputed facts are the following:
Since the 1970s, Iran has been on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. Were this to happen, the consequences do not bear thinking about.
In the late 1970s, for example, the US received ‘credible intelligence’ that the Shah had “set up a clandestine nuclear weapons development program.” This was of admittedly little concern at the time given that the Shah was largely friendly to Western interests and enjoyed the support of his people, who had overwhelmingly voted him in as leader in democratic elections.
There then followed a violent revolution of a non-progressive kind, however, as the highly popular Shah was deposed. In his stead came the spiritual leader, the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who took an iron-grip on the country. Relations with the West have never been the same since, largely due to the war-like posturing the Iranian people have always taken. Ignoring the pleadings of a twentieth century world which had recently seen too much war, the Iranians continued plotting to make The Bomb.
As the Council on Foreign Relations reports, “The April 24, 1984, edition of the British defense publication Jane’s Defence Weekly informed its readers: “Iran is engaged in the production of an atomic bomb, likely to be ready within two years, according to press reports in the Persian Gulf last week.”
In the years and decades which followed, Iran has always remained on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power. At times, the country was only ‘a few days away’ from having nuclear capability according to the accredited press, which printed coherent and fact-based articles, headed with photos of missiles like that in our featured image above. Although it has never actually produced a Bomb, and its leaders claim it has no intention of doing so, were it to do so, the results would be catastrophic. Reliable sources inform us that Iran has designs on recreating the infamous ‘Tsar Bomba’ device which, with 50 megatons, was the most destructive bomb ever built and would be the equivalent of 3,800 Hiroshima bombs.
Whilst Iran has technically never invaded any other country (at least not in the past 150 years or so), anonymous intelligence sources credibly report that ‘it is just itching to do so’, having missed out in taking part in the six-day war against Israel, for example. Besides, if Iran was not a threat to World Peace, why would so many accredited news publications all report just how dangerous and unpredictable the place is?
Having access to the internet is a mixed blessing, in the context of learning about the Iranian threat. For example, people can learn random bits of data such as the amount of Iran’s military spending, which was $12.3 billion in 2016. Such people might then look further and see that this spending appears to be dwarfed by the $611 billion spent by the US, or even the $63.7 billion invested by Saudi Arabia. Where exactly is the threat, their little brains start to wonder?
However, such data is misleading and needs to be put into context. Unlike Saudi Arabia or Israel, Iran is widely reported to be a state sponsor of terrorism. Saudi Arabia and Israel are also true friends of the United States and key allies. When Saudi Arabia spends five times as much money on weapons as Iran, it does so in order to preserve the peace and deter aggressor nations like Iran.
We also need to bear in mind that the brave people in our intelligence agencies, and the courageous operators of drones, all have access to confidential and top secret information that we do not have. We need to trust them and our politicians to preserve the freedoms which we all cherish, the very freedoms that Iran wants to take from us.
As I lie here in my urban bunker, about to file this report, I remember that any sacrifices I may be making in this moment pale in comparison to those made on a daily basis by our leaders.