Whatever the intentions are of President Obama, if the Lausanne framework agreement is ratified, and the sanctions on Iran are removed, it will save Iran from possible bankruptcy and give it the means to finance a breakthrough and acquire an atomic capability within a few weeks.
Iran is broke, unable to feed its people or pay for its costly weapons programs. Khomeini destroyed its agriculture, a mainstay of its economy, by imposing heavy price controls. This forced millions of destitute farmers to move into shantytowns, where they live on welfare. About 60 million additional citizens are heavily subsidized. Twenty-five percent of families have no working member. Iran has a 30% annual inflation. Its welfare bill consumes almost its entire income from oil, 30% of its GDP.
The regimes’ only lifeline is current income from oil. With oil prices falling, and sanctions, it faced collapse. Therefore it agreed to suspend work on its costly atomic project, but maintained the necessary infrastructure and even the right to continue development work. Once sanctions are removed and oil exports replenish its reserves, it could abrogate the agreement and build a bomb in a few months.
Without understanding why a near bankrupt Iran wants a bomb so badly the West may underestimate the determination of Iran’s fervently religious leaders to establish a world-dominating Shiite Islamic caliphate and impose, as Islam requires, “the (rule of) the house of Islam on the house of war,” namely on Christianity, by economically subduing America and Europe through controlling the price of oil, or by the sword (the bomb, really) if necessary.
To control the flow and price of oil Iran would have to impose a blockade on the straits of Hormuz and prevent anyone from breaking it. It can do so by threatening that if opposed it could use a bomb to incinerate Saudi oilfields. It can be assumed therefore that Iran will do all it can to get a bomb, and cheat, as it habitually did, on any deal. Once the lifting of sanctions will allow it to gather enough resources to survive for the year it needs for a breakthrough, it will build the bomb.
Iran’s repeated threats to destroy Israel, the small Satan, have distracted attention from its ambition to destroy the big Satan, America, despite mass “Death to America” rallies and Khomeini’s assertion that the Islamic revolution had to be exported until the whole world will accept its true faith. Iran does want Israel destroyed because it blocks it from dominating the Middle East. But Iran’s first priority is to control of the flow and price of oil, so that it can neutralize or subdue the West. Rational secular people do not take seriously such “crazy” plans, but the mullahs do.
With sufficient oil revenues Iran could cover its welfare needs and finance its costly atomic and ICBM development projects. With its ICBMs it could impose a balance of terror permitting it to activate worldwide terrorist networks, based on American and European Muslim radicals. They could perform spectacular 9/11-type attacks, inflicting immense damage. Iran could then also take over Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates.
To become the dominant force in Islam, Iran will try to take possession of Islam’s holy places, Mecca and Medina, and if possible the Saudi oilfields. It will unite Muslims worldwide under a Shiite jihad against the West.
By blocking the straits of Hormuz, Iran can make the price of oil soar. Iran has taken possession of the islands that sit astride the straits, and armed them with land-to-sea missiles. If the Houthis take over Yemen, they will also control the Bab El Mandeb. Iran held several exercises simulating how to resist Western attempts to lift their blockade of the straits. It established bases in the horn of Africa to prevent American reinforcements from assisting in this task.
Initially, Iran may demand a small passage fee, and gradually increase it. No one is likely to go to war with a nuclear Iran over repeated small increases. Eventually, these “fees” will affect a huge transfer of wealth from the West. Europe will become economically and politically weakened, unable to resist Iran’s assaults.
The mullahs are very determined and very capable. Their ambitions should be taken seriously. So should their effort to build a large arsenal of ICBMs, not needed for use against Israel.