The rhetoric against Iran seems to be increasing by the day.
As if the situation wasn’t complicated enough, now we have evangelical Christians almost begging Iranian Jews to leave because their situation is apparently life-threatening:
Evangelical Christians in the U.S. have brought dozens of Iranian Jews to Israel in recent months, offering cash incentives and claiming that Iran’s tiny Jewish community is in grave danger.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a charity that funnels millions of dollars in evangelical donations to Israel every year, is promising US$10,000 (€7,000) to every Iranian Jew who comes to Israel, said the group’s director, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
The project is another example of the alliance between the Jewish state and evangelical American Christians, many of whom see the existence of Israel and the return of Jews to the Holy Land as a realization of Biblical prophesy that will culminate with Christ’s Second Coming.
But an Iran expert said the money would not be enough to draw Iranian Jews, who do not perceive themselves to be in grave danger.
Eckstein said his group has helped bring 82 Jews to Israel from Iran since the project began this year, and hopes to bring 60 more by year’s end.
Earlier this year, Iranian Jews categorically rejected any incentives to leave (and many Iranian Jews told me likewise when I was there in June.)
For those of us who have been writing for years about the likelihood of a US military strike against Iran, only a fool would believe it isn’t becoming more likely by the day (and war-mongers are virtually praying for it, claiming that victory in Iraq is near, if only those pesky Iranians would butt out.)
So, what’s the current equation? Time.com’s Tony Karon paints a grim picture:
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the situation as it perceives them, under the circumstances responsible leadership in Tehran has an obligation to understand the thinking of those who might launch military strikes on their territory. And to understand, also, that in President Bush’s fevered imagination, causing a recession (that may already be in the works regardless of the state of conflict with Iran) may be an acceptable price to pay for stopping what he perceives as an epoch-defining power-shift as a result of Iran attaining the ability to enrich uranium. Deranged as that reasoning may be, it may yet drive the U.S. to war. More rational voices may nonetheless prevail, of course, particularly those of the U.S. military all the way up to the Joint Chiefs (with the exception of General David Petraeus in Iraq, who appears to have been entirely conscripted by the neocon party of war), who correctly see war as more dangerous than even a nuclear-armed Iran. But the voices of rationality and restraint on the U.S. side will not be helped by Iran appearing to harden its position.
If the 2006 Lebanon war helped Iran, just imagine how emboldened the mullahs will be after limited strikes?
And would Australian journalists like to ask our government if, as reported, Australian SAS forces have already operated inside Iran?