In all the controversy about the Iranian nuclear deal and Iran’s nuclear aspirations, it has been little noted that the leaders of the Islamic Republic may have reasons of their own actually to want to nuke Israel.
And their motivation is not in spite of the fact that Iran would almost certainly be nuked in retaliation … but because of it.
Sounds crazy? Of course. But once you enter into the wild and weird world of Shi’ite Muslim eschatology, it all begins to make sense. As I show in my new book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran, there are specific conditions in Shi’ite tradition for the return to earth of their messiah-like figure — the Twelfth Imam.
Jafar al-Sadiq, the sixth Imam and central figure of Shia jurisprudence, prophesied that the Twelfth Imam would not return “till you are severely tested.” Jafar added:
At that time you shall be severely examined and you shall be differentiated and sieved. There will be famines. A person will become a ruler in the morning and put to death in the evening.
The return of the Twelfth Imam, Jafar went on, would come at a time when the Shi’ites were experiencing persecution to a terrible, unprecedented degree:
That which you look forward to will not be until you are tested … That which you look forward to will not be until you are sieved … That, which you look forward to, will not be until you are sifted. That which you look forward to will not be except after despair.
How severe would this test be? Jafar said that the Twelfth Imam’s return “will not occur till two-third population of the world is not destroyed.”
Presumably, then the Twelfth Imam will return when one-third of the world’s population has been destroyed.
This time of massive death and destruction, however, will herald the consummation of all things. A prophecy attributed to no less an authority for Shi’ites than Ali ibn Abi Talib, the foundational figure of Shi’ite Islam, says:
In the last period of time, the Almighty Allah will raise a man among the illiterate masses whom he will support by his angels and protect his helpers, help him through his signs and he will conquer the whole world. All would enter the fold of religion willingly or unwillingly. He would fill the earth with justice, equity and proof. No disbeliever will remain without accepting faith.
The emphasis on the Twelfth Imam only returning at a time of immense persecution of the Shi’ites has given rise to speculation that the leaders of the Islamic Republic might try to hasten his return by provoking that persecution.
The Iranian leader Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was president of Iran from 1989 to 1997 and remains influential in the Iranian government, said in December 2001:
“If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing [sic] in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.”
It could also, with millions of Muslim dead, bring back the Twelfth Imam.
The Cold War deterrence strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction has no teeth in a situation in which one side welcomes death. One side is sure not only that Allah will reward martyrdom, but that such large-scale carnage will hasten the final victory of their party over not just one, but all of its enemies.
The Iranian leadership clearly takes the prophecies regarding the Twelfth Imam very seriously.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran from 2005 to 2013, had a highway built between Tehran and the Shi’ite holy city of Qom, approaching the Iraqi city of Samarra — the city in which the Twelfth Imam disappeared and from which he will return.
The highway is apparently intended for the Twelfth Imam himself, so that immediately after he does return, he can make his way to Tehran quickly to begin waging global war against the enemies of the Shi’ites.
The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in June 2014: “The coming of Imam Zaman is the definite promise by Allah.” Imam Zaman is Imam of the Time, a title of the Twelfth Imam. But, Khamenei said, for the Twelfth Imam actually to return would require some changes, including “regional preparedness.” The Islamic Republic, in any case, “without a doubt will be connected to the worldwide revolution of Imam Mahdi.”
In light of former president Rafsanjani’s words about nuclear war and the prophecies about the persecution that would trigger the Twelfth Imam’s return, Khamenei’s term “regional preparedness” takes on a decidedly ominous cast.
Might the mullahs actually be willing to nuke Tel Aviv and take a retaliatory nuclear strike that could kill tens of millions of Iranians?
If it would hasten the Mahdi’s coming, why wouldn’t they?