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1) When the US leaves the Persian Gulf, Iran will fill the power vacuum.

2) Iran is the true victor of the two wars America has fought in the Persian Gulf. Iran now controls the larger and more important parts of Iraq (Basra), and has consolidated its influence on Syrian and Lebanese politics. On top of that, Hezbollah has defeated the Israeli army in open battle (in 2006).

3) The best option for the USA is to get Israel and Iran to the negotiating table and to divide the Middle East into spheres of interest between the three of them - but why should Iran agree? They are the true victors of these wars. In the meantime Israel may do something foolish.

4) Hezbollah are training Hamas. If they succeed, they will have Israel surrounded.

5) Only the US Navy's Fifth Fleet stands between Iran and the oil resources in the Arab Gulf States. There will be no Arab Spring revolution there, because the poor migrant workers are non-citizens.

6) Iran is a police state, a paranoid and divided society run by a group of mullahs. The mullahs make the laws, control the military, and run the intelligence services. Their praetorian guard, the Revolutionary Guard, is a part-military part-commercial organization.

7) The presidency is just a facade, like the post of prime minister in Russia.

8) Iranian students are held and tortured in secret prisons by the thousands. They can turn the revolution around, but they rely on support from people living in the countryside.

9) SAVAMA, the successor to the Shah's SAVAK, is even larger than the former organization and just as brutal. Like its Israeli counterpart, Mossad, SAVAMA regularly engages in assassinations abroad. But unlike Mossad they mostly kill their own people.

10) Iran is a country actively seeking to acquire the same nuclear capability as Israel. They are doing this using ex-Soviet and Chinese expertise and Western equipment sold on by third-party companies, some of which are located in Pakistan.

11) Iran has a vast organizational structure for managing terrorist operations and spreading anti-Western propaganda. The country can mobilize all the world's miseries against the West if it decides to do that. In just hours it could cut off all movement of oil out of the Persian Gulf. In days it could set off explosions across the planet. The USA does not even want to contemplate the thought of attack. ... and as it is election year in the US Iran will not risk a provocation, only show their capabilities

12) Some years ago, the Iranian foreign intelligence carried out a number of bombings in Paris as a reprisal for not being allowed to kill their own nationals in France. So now when SAVAMA/VEVAK/MOIS want to kill their own people, the local intelligence services wait outside in their car. ... There is a delicate balance in the dealings between the world's leading intelligence services. When Mossad killed the wrong man in Norway in 1973, they had to give something in return: they revealed Israel's nuclear plans (admitting that they had used Norwegian heavy water to build a bomb), a secret only leaked to the public thirteen years later by Mordechai Vanunu.

13) Iran does not like its neighbouring Arab States. Their Islamism is anti-Saudi. Iran does not even have an embassy in Saudi Arabia.

14) Iran is dominated by a hundred thousand rival mullahs belonging to the Shiite sect. Shiite ideology has many similarities with Communism. The Shiite minority fights to liberate all of humanity (Thual 2002: 18). It is in part to blame for the conflict in Afghanistan, the struggle for power in Syria, continual unrest and insecurity in Lebanon and in Saudi Arabia, the chaos in Pakistan, and opposition to secularism in Turkey. The list is long.

15) Islam is a religion which aims to conquer new land. It is a powerful weapon that Iran cannot dispense with. One could imagine Iran returning to a more secular structure, combined with its Zoroastrian tradition, at some time in the future, but not now. If it had, this would have made the relationship with the West less problematic. After the age of petroleum has passed we may consent to Iran setting the agenda for their neighbouring Arab states. After all, Iran is the only player which could bring real stability to the region. The Arab Spring has yet to deliver in this part of the world. Syria is not Iran.

16) Be aware, the Americans hawks are bent on revenge in the Middle East. They want to bomb Iran, and they will come up with reasons to do so.

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