No, Mr. Netanyahu, Iran isn’t trying to Take over the world & it isn’t ISIL

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanahu charged last week that Iran was the major sponsor of terrorism in the world and that it wants to take over the whole world. He also likened Iran to the faux caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Iran is not trying to take over the world. Here are some replies to Netanyahu’s silliness:

1. One sign Iran is not trying to take over the world is that, as I have written before, “it has a small military budget, about $10 bn., on the order of that of Norway or Singapore. It has no air force to speak of. The US military budget is roughly 80 times that of Iran.”

2. As I noted earlier this year, Iran’s leader, Ali Khamenei, disavows any such ambitions:

“According to the BBC Monitoring translation of , Khamenei said:
The Islamic Republic is not a threat to any country. We have never been a threat even to our neighbours, let alone to distant countries. Our contemporary history clearly shows this. Even when some of our neighbours treated us not in a neighbourly manner, we showed restraint. Iran has never invaded a country and never will. The fake myth of nuclear weapons has been devised by America and then Europe and some other bootlickers in order to portray the Islamic Republic as a threat.”

3. When Iraq invaded Iran 1980-1988, Iran showed restraint and did not attempt, when it gained the upper hand, to make any claim on Iraqi territory

4. The deal on inspections of its civilian nuclear energy facilities makes it very difficult for Iran to acquire nuclear weapos. An aggressive state would never make such an agreement.

5. With regard to Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), Iran is one of the few effective countering forces. It has helped the Iraqi government kick Daesh out of Diyala Province and half of Ninewah Province. Iran ally Hizbullah is driving Daesh out of the mountains on the Syria/ Lebanon border. Israel doesn’t appear to have done anything practical to vanquish Daesh, unlike Iran.

As for supporting Hizbullah & Hamas, neither would even exist without brutal Israeli occupations to provoke them.

In contrast, Netanyahu’s country illegally occupies Gaza and the West Bank, refused to sign the Nuclear non-Proliferation treaty, has several hundred nuclear warheads, and launched wars in 1956, 1967, 1982, 2009 and 2014.

Related video:

Euronews: Did Iranian Air Force strike Daesh in Iraq?

18 Responses

  1. I might add that Iran showed considerable restraint when, in 1988, the US Navy shot down an civilian Iranian airliner killing 290 passengers, including 66 children and 16 crew. This event ranks eighth among the deadliest disasters in aviation history. (Wikipedia)

    Imagine if Iran had taken down an American passenger plain killing 290 American civilians.

    • You mean the airliner shot down by the US complete with footage of bodies and wreckage in the sea? The one in which every one of my office co-workers at the time explained to me was most likely faked by the Iranians to hurt the omni-benevolent US of A? No restraint involved – instantly sunk into the contorted-explanation hole that sticks to the narrative of an omni-Greatest.Country.In.History.Ever.

      • Yes that’s the event.

        All one needs to reevaluate that awful moment is to recall the video taken on the bridge of the US Navy ship which shot it down with a surface to air missile. At the first moment the men are jubilant at having done their wartime duty successfully, but almost immediately they hear over the radio that it is a civilian airliner. The expressions change instantly to those of shock and something akin to grief. No contorted explanations after the fact would ever work for those men.

  2. Netanyahu’s utterances are never reflections or even approximations of truths, they are veils raised to obscure the relentless and unceasing pursuit of his purposes. I met Ben Gurion a year before he died, and we talked of de Gaulle who he claimed to respect within a measure of detachment for having always put French interests above all others, which was what any leader should ever do.

    • One is not to confuse or conflate any country’s *perceived* interests with the real McCoy. It was Ben-Gurion who oversaw both the ten years of planning and the execution of the Nakba.

      There are limits to what one may think of as justified by love of country. The ideological rigidity which he was utilizing to justify a massive ethnic cleansing was not in fact justifiable.

  3. His memoir should make the NYT’s best seller list….Khamenei “How We Took Over the World On a $10 Billion a Year Military Budget.”

  4. The US military budget is roughly 80 times that of Iran.

    Only 80 times Iran? The Pentagon had better send some of its bemedalled top brass to Congress to get a raise. How can they sleep at night leaving us to face such overwhelming odds?

    • Were we to change our underlying foreign policy convictions from the use of force at pretty much the first resort based on something akin to a missionary calling (most recently of the neoconservative type) what proportion of our military budget could be cut without courting disaster? Half?

      Were we to make that cut, can you imagine that it would result in an invasion and colonization of North America? I think not and doubt than anyone here does. So why the hell are we appropriating it without much debate on underlying principles, year after year?

      And why is it that the faction we describe as conservative supports this monstrous mulcting of the American people without a question? Have they an interest which demands it which is different from that of the rest of us?

      So what is it about our perception of the American mission which is so fundamentally screwed-up?

  5. Worth adding that Iran’s military is designed for defense not offense. Even the U.S. Defense Department acknowledges this as a January 2014 Pentagon report states that Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is “designed to deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor, and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities while avoiding any concessions that challenge its core interests.” link to

  6. The best ally the US could have is Iran. The advantages stare out from any map.
    What advantages do Israeli policies confer on us? Widespread International condemnation save a few suppliant allies.

    • Of course you are spot on, Bob. Not only does the nature of the relationship deny us immense opportunities and cost us huge and irretrievable out-of-pockets, it is flat-out humiliating. At the end of World War II we were the acknowledged global leader and the greatest of great powers. Today we struggle and we’ve done it to ourselves. We’ve thrown away both our substance and our self-respect.

    • Is the US the best ally for Iran? Should the Iranians ever really trust the United States? I don’t think that would be wise.

      The Republicans, Israel and the Saudis will try and kill this nuclear deal so they can have a war, a big one. American politicians and the defense industry can not justify such a huge military budget without starting new conflicts. Peace is bad for their business.

      • A big war to maintain the status quo. Remind them of how that turned out for the Hohenzollerns, the Romanovs and the Hapsburgs.

  7. From the point of view of the Apartheid regime, Iran’s lobbying for international law to be applied to the regime does make it the sort of threat that Daesh is. And, from the point of view of the US and its ME axis of oppressive, anti democratic regimes, its support of pro democracy movements, and modelling of a democratic government that serves the interests of its population, rather than Washington Lobbies, is a plan and active campaign to take over the world, or at least a significant portion of it. So, despite the deranged nature of Netanyahu’s (and the Republican ‘leadership’ in the US) positions and comments, they do resonate with significant parts of the American population, the same way that Roof’s deranged positions and comments once would have.

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