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The Iranian Threat - Part 3

Israel, Channel 10

By Nadav Eyal and Tal Rimon

On the Iranian motivation to reach nuclear capability, the complex history between the Islamic Republic and the State of Israel, and what the Iranians are going to do with the bomb – if and when they get it... In a new series of four parts, Israeli Channel 10 foreign news editor Nadav Eyal explains what stands behind Iran’s nuclear threat.


Translated by Viktoria Lymar

Edit pending


October 2012


Part 3: The history of Israel and Iran before the Islamic revolution


This series will endeavor to deal with the reasons, with the effects that lead Iran to the nuclear weapons; not only with the nuclear program, the threat of an Israeli attack – the things we hear every day in the news – but also with the motives behind these phenomena which at the moment dictate the happenings not only in Israel, but in the whole world.

Israel and Iran used to be, as a matter of fact, very important allies. This alliance could actually be analogized to one Israel had in 1990s–2000s with Turkey – an alliance that is also gone. The bond with Iran was a bond of common fate. The Iranians were ruled by the Shah; the Shah was a secular leader who wanted the reform, the liberalization of Iran, [yet] he was also very corrupted and cruel leader. And he developed relationships with the Israeli leaders under the slogan, very simple from his standpoint: neither loving nor hating, we are just like you, – he said, in fact; we Iranians belong to a great civilization, like the Jews. You are a nation that has come back to the region, we are a nation that has always been in the region; but both of us are fought by the Arabs, and both of us are fought by the Sunnis, and in a certain sense, he also said that both of us are fought by the Muslims – for he was a secular person.

And on the basis of these partnership interests, in practice, there arose a most significant strategic alliance. During the sixties-seventies, Iran and Israel carried out almost open connections, including, at some stages, hundreds, maybe thousands of Israelis who stayed in Iran, and hundreds of Israelis lived there on a permanent basis – and these Israelis provided services for the Iranians in every matter, mainly in the field of engineering, of industry, even of chemical industry in some cases, and of course, weapons. A whole lot of weapons flowed from Israel to Iran in the times of the Shah – Israel wanted to sell weapons. Also, Israel from the vantage point of the Persian Shah was his advocate before the Americans, because the Shah thought that the Jews have a tremendous power, – so despite he was a friend of Israel, he had somewhat anti-Semitic worldviews: he thought that the Jews basically run the entire world, and therefore, it’s important for him to have a relationship with Israel.

The only issue was that the more years passed by, it became apparent that the Shah, who for the whole world was a solid rock of stability – including a [New Year Eve state] dinner in the White House, where President Carter is saying to him to what point Iran is “an island of [regional] stability,”* – so the more years passed by, it turned out that beneath the surface, very much protest swarms against the Shah; primarily because he started the reforms, but he didn’t finish them completely. He wanted an open and liberal society, he wanted an educated society – but he didn’t want to pay with democracy, he had a secret police named SAVAC which was a very brutal police; Israelis cooperated with all the things I just mentioned. And this bitterness grew, but it didn’t explode because there was no economic crisis.

In the middle of the seventies, Shah’s Iran sinks into a huge economic crisis that in a few years leads to buds of revolution which are steadily growing. The Shah eliminated the liberal, secular opposition, liquidated all of its leaders, assassinated them, tortured them, turned them into traitors in the eyes of their own people, if you want; and all whom he couldn’t touch – it’s the Muslims, the ayatollahs, the Shiite leaders of Iran, the traditional defenders of the weak against the rule…

And when the Shah begins to fall into this void, where there are no secular opposition leaders, no democrats, no republicans, – the religious leaders, ayatollahs, step in. Starting from the 1979, even a little before – ’78, there begins the Islamic Revolution; this revolution is led by the iconic Ayatollah [Ruhollah] Khomeini: he was perceived as a symbol the people could unite around, a sort of a ‘father of the nation’. The liberals, democrats, students don’t believe that he will really take over Iran and is going to turn into its official, terrifying ruler – but this is the way it happens. This old man becomes an ultimate leader of the Revolution, of Iran, the Imam who would dictate Iran’s fate not only during his life, but also after his death; the man to whom the leaders of the revolution would turn over and over again, – to his teaching, in order to find answers to dilemmas disturbing them in the course of these days as well. Iran becomes the first Islamic Republic in the annals of history of the modern world.


Original Hebrew video article:


Image/video credit: Channel 10


The series ‘Why Iran Needs Nuke?’ has been originally created for cellular phones and Channel 10 application in the end of September 2012


See also: The Iranian Threat - Part 1

                              The Iranian Threat - Part 2