Is Iran stronger than the West believes?

Tehran says it not only will, but is ready to, counter attacks from Israel and the United States. They are angry about the new sanctions and have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. Devote 6 minutes to watching an interesting video with Seyed Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran explaining how Iran looks at the current stand off:

After watching the video do you believe Iran is not only stronger, but also more of a threat, than the West wants to believe? Is Tehran capable of causing more trouble than the world needs at the moment? Do you agre with Seyed Mohammad Marandi that it's actually the United States that's being provocative? Who's actually at fault here, Iran, the US, both of them or a more complicated scenario?

With Iranian scientists being assassinated and the regime squeezed financially are they actually provoking an attack? Is it in their interest to unite Iranians against an outside enemy? Will Iran go ahead and close the Strait of Hormuz? If so, will the US attack? Is Iran capable of launching an attack on Israel? Will there be war in the Persian Gulf? What's your opinon? If an armed conflict starts will it involve the whole region? Or is the threat of closing the strait just sable rattling and the issue will be resolved peacefully? Or maybe it's all just a media hype?

Video: RTAmerica/RussiaToday – You Tube

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34 Responses to “Is Iran stronger than the West believes?”

  1. orlandogh Says:

    Sure, Iran is the under dog but to be honest Iran is much powerful than the West projects but I am not sure Iran can stand the full strength of a USA – Nato attack. I believe it will be resolved peacefully bcs Iran will not close its own powerful(probably solely) source of money – oil. It is just a threat. There not be a war.

  2. maroun Says:

    well catarina, coming from lebanon i kind of know the iranian regime fairly well.
    my general comment is that they are in deep trouble and signs of it is showing in their threat today for saudi's and emirati's to cover the potential oil shortage coming from iran.
    my second point is iran as well as syria and hezballah always use the same narrative when they get attacked by isreal or the USA "that they will choose the right time to response" and they never do, at least not till now
    and third and finally dont underestimate the iranian opposition against the regime, its hasnt been much time since all the riots were happeneing

    at the end of the day time will tell who wins, the west of course has its internal problems. whose internal problem will explode first will be the sore looser

    regards
    maroun

  3. catarinaalexon Says:

    Agree with you Orlandogh.

  4. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good points Maroun that I agree with.

  5. GuyW Says:

    My view is that the oil passing through the Straits is just too important to the world to allow it to be blocked, and there would be a near-universal global response should Iran try to block them.

    Having said this, what are the motivations?

    Could it be the Iranian government trying to pull the majority of the population behind them by adopting an Orwellian approach of identifying a "strong enemy trying to damage the country" and so move [a portion of] the internal opposition to backing the government? Or, could it be that the Iranian government is trying to cause the global oil price to rise strongly on these threats and so increase revenues? I seem to recall the view that the production price of Iranian crude is $95 per barrel (so, about twice the number for most other Gulf states) and so they need to get the oil price back into the $120 range as it has been steadily declining for a few months (albeit slowly).

    How strong is Iran? Numerically, they have a huge army – larger than that of the US if active, reserve and paramilitary forces are all included. However, technologically they are well behind – aging aircraft and other equipment means they are unlikely to prevail in modern warfare.

    So, I have to assume this is more sabre-rattling than anything else – either to try to get the oil price back up, or to try to refocus the internal opposition on a common enemy, or both.

  6. catarinaalexon Says:

    Srinivas, have lived and worked all over the world. Mainly with international relations and leading newspapers. Hence this post that has a different approach than Western media. It looks at Iran from the Iranian point of view. Far too many Westerners believe what politicians tell them, or as you say they read in Western media.

    But what the man on the street in Tehran says is not as important as what the regime is up to. They will most likely carry on and make a mess in the Gulf as they have done for years. But they will not go too far because then the US will attack them.

  7. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good and correct points Guy. Personally believe Iran will continue to cause problems in the Gulf but not go far enough to make the US attack them.

  8. Susan Oakes Says:

    Hi Catarina,

    I think the west probably knows how dangerous Iran is but we do not hear about it. I also do not think the US wants another war and as others have said the strait is too important to be put in danger of closure. Do you know what they are doing behind the scene to keep Iran in check?

  9. Dean Says:

    The strategic reality is that Iran can inconvenience and disrupt the Strait, it is highly doubtful that they could "close it" for any extended or sustained period of time. Any direct attack on the American fleet would make life very exciting for the attackers…for a short period of time.

    The biggest single threat would be the economic disruption to the global economy. Higher oil prices would result, more from speculation than from actual reductions in production or disruption of service, but that would probably be enough to tip a number of regional economies over the edge. This has the potential to impact Iran as well as the west so is a weapon that is best not leveraged.

    Interceding in the Strait would also negatively impact one of Iran's few supporters – namely China – which more and more is economically dependent a steady supply of foreign oil to help its industrial base and due to their growing importance in international finance.

    At the moment, I suspect it is bluster designed to cow internal political pressures on the part of the Iranians, and pre-election posturing on the part of the US. Here's hoping no one does anything too stupid…

  10. Lilach Bullock Says:

    Thanks Catarina this is very interesting. As an Israeli (British too, I have dual nationality) I get so frustrated with it all. Particularly living in the UK as they tend to show a very different stance than the US.

    I truly wish there was world peace… something I doubt I will ever see but hope my daughter will:)
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  11. Anon UK Says:

    Why is everything referring to Iran vs 'The West'… The world can't be divided into neat boxes, despite what many people would have you believe.

  12. keepupweb Says:

    Catarina, I honestly find the threats by Iran to be a show of bravado on their part to intentionally provoke the US. That's just my opinion.
    My recent post What Impact does Social Media Have on Businesses?

  13. catarinaalexon Says:

    True, Sherryl,. But they will unfortunately continue to cause problems in the Gulf. For sure.

  14. catarinaalexon Says:

    Anon, I personally don't see it as Iran versus the West. Have lived and worked in the Gulf. However, the regime in Iran is causing a lot of problems in the Gulf. Deliberately.

  15. catarinaalexon Says:

    Agree with you Susan. Iran knows where the line goes and they will not cross it. The Saudis are doing things behind the scenes that work. Prince Bandar went to Tehran in 2006 and told the Iranians to tell Hezbollah to stop fighting in Lebanon. And it worked.

  16. catarinaalexon Says:

    Steve, the world unfortunately never has been and never will be perfect. Money makes the world go round as they say. And human nature is at fault. Once one generation has learnt what's important in life another take over that is yet to learn. And greed is back. Lamentable but unfortuntelely reality. Iran knows where the line goes and will not cross it because they know they will be up against the world. Not only the US and the West. By the way it's not Iran per se that's the problem but the current regime.

  17. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good points that I agree with Dean. The Iranians know where the line is and they will not cross it since they would be up against not only the US but the world. However, they will continue to cause incidents in the Gulf to show their power.

  18. catarinaalexon Says:

    My heart is with the Iranian people Natalie. When the Islamic revolution took place they believed they would be getting socialism. But Khomeiny really conned them.

  19. Jayne Kopp Says:

    HI Catarina, as you know I'm not astute in your area of expertise. I do however feel Iran is more powerful than the US feels it is… or maybe they just don't want us to know how they feel.

    As far as Iran closing the strait, not sure if they would as it would certainly gain unwanted revolt but they do have that to hold over the heads of the rest of the world.

    The thoughts of their mentality certainly isn't a comforting one from my perspective. I, along with most people would hate to see another war.

    My recent post Starting an Online Business? Feeling Overwhelmed? Be Careful Who You Listen To!

  20. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good points Jane. Agree with you that I would hate to see another war.

  21. catarinaalexon Says:

    Lilach, I once said to a friend of mine, who used to be minister of foreign affairs in Mexico, that I wished that all children in the world would be able to eat 3 meals a day. His answer was that it will never happen because vested interests will prevent it. The same unfortunately goes for world peace. It has never happened throughout history and never will. Human nature is to blame. Once one generation has learnt what's important in life another one takes over and we are back to square one.

  22. catarinaalexon Says:

    Kostas, the Saudis can and have offered to sell more oil to Iran's customers such as China. So if Iran goes too far China will most likely make a deal with the Saudis and so will the European countries you mention.

  23. Joyce Says:

    Thanks for sharing your insight on this topic. I hope things get settled.

    This is a really frustrating story for me.
    My recent post Oh Life Suck! How To Survive When Life Is Not Going Your Way

  24. catarinaalexon Says:

    No Easther, they cannot. But they will continue to cause a lot of problems in the Gulf. And you will pay for that when you buy petrol.

  25. Stacy Says:

    Hi Catarina,

    I appreciate you sharing a different point of view. I don't follow this topic very closely and it's really interesting to see different perspectives. I don't feel that I have enough information all around to make an educated decision on the issue but I you've given me something to think about.

    Stacy
    My recent post A Letter to the Nervous Blogger Want-to-Be

  26. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad I gave you something to think about Stacy.

  27. Matthew Burgess Says:

    Iran does have friends in Russia and China that wouldn't like to see America get too big a foot hold in the Middle East. Iranian military strength wouldn't stand the test of an American assault in my opinion. However if American troops were to set foot in Iran they wouldn't be welcomed with open arms by the general populace despite how much many of them may not like their own leadership at the moment.
    It would be too much of a gamble and and a stretch of resources that could easily backfire if Israel was either dragged into a shooting war or even pre-emptied one with a first strike.

  28. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good comment and points that illustrate the situation, Matthew.

  29. catarinaalexon Says:

    Kostas, don't you think the winner of all this is the Iranian regime? By doing what they are doing they have managed to stay in power and are making the price of oil go higher i.e their main source of income. Besides the current scenario would not be taking place if it wasn't for the Iranian regime.

  30. John Coghlan Says:

    The Toyota systme five whys:
    First: why is Iran so angry at the US? Because they do not want large , external powers controlling he Middle East.
    Second why are they particularly bitter about this control?
    Because they're nationalist and external powers destroyed their democracy in 1953..
    Third: why did foreign powers do this?
    To control the oil – a srategic resource that could have fallen into Soviet hands.

  31. John Coghlan Says:

    Fourth: why is oil such a strategic resource?
    Certainly probable that large corporations supressed alternate technologies. GM bought up , then destroyed , street-car companies in the US to make people dependent on their cars. Why not oil companies threatening innovation?
    Fifth: Why would such interests get away with inhibiting innovation?
    Lobbyists can present politicians with sacks of money to say "pass this bill."
    The soluion: The Swiss have outawed corporate contributions to political parties. One need not go that far. A law could state that corporations (considered by certain legal systems to be "a person") could contribute but must do openly and can only give up to a prescribed amount. Second antidote: public referenda forming a counterweight to political-corporate dealings. It's called separation of powers. The fathers of the US Constitution would want this. It would do much to cut Middle-Eastern anger toward the US.

  32. catarinaalexon Says:

    Thank you for conveying your interesting points of view, John. Coming back to the subject of this article, do you believe Iran is stronger than the West believes?

  33. Joe Says:

    It's simple…IF Iran were weak, the US would have invaded like they did in Afghanistan and Iraq (very weak military) long time ago. Iran has mastered asymmetrical warfare.

  34. catarinaalexon Says:

    Maybe, Joe.

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