Candidate Donald Trump was critical of the deal reached with Iran by then-President Barack Obama and referred to it as the "worst deal ever." Trump felt that it gave Iran too much for a very little in return. As president, Trump was later in a position to rescind the lopsided treaty.
As a product of the decision to reinstitute sanctions on Iran, its leaders have increased uranium output, a move that has escalated the festering pressure in one of the most dangerous regions of the Middle East. In early May 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened that if a new deal was not reached within 60 days, Iran would dramatically increase its uranium production beyond that which was permitted in the original accord.
Iran's response to U.S. moves in the region took a more decided turn earlier this month when two heavily-laden oil tankers—one from Japan and the second from Norway—were attacked by Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boats in the Gulf of Oman. The situation became even more ominous on June 20 when an unmanned $130 million American RQ-4A Global Hawk drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile in what American sources call an unprovoked attack while flying over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Trump administration has blamed Iran for both incidents, at least one of which is said to have been carried out by use of a limpet mine similar to devices previously displayed in Iranian military parades. Iran has denied involvement, calling the accusation "a lie."
The tanker incidents were similar to an attack on a tanker off the United Arab Emirates in May. The U.S. military also accused Iran of firing a modified SA-7 surface-to-air missile at an MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Gulf of Oman as it surveilled the attack on the Japanese ship. The attack was unsuccessful.
Iran's naval operations include a fleet of approximately 23 mini-subs operated by only a handful of men. Bryan Clark, a former submariner, describes them as being small and "able to operate submerged in the [shallow] Persian Gulf pretty easily." He continued, "it's hard to find on sonar because it's pretty quiet when running on battery and because of its size, active sonar doesn't give you a great return." The mini-sub's drawback is the inability to stay submerged for more than about two days at a time.
In 2017, Iran added a semi-heavy submarine with surface-to-surface missiles. The projectiles have a range of about 1250 miles—enough to reach Israel and U.S. interests in the region. U.S. Central Command also reported that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have gotten into the fray by shooting down an MQ-9 Reaper drone over Yemen using a surface-to-air missile in an attack that "was enabled by Iranian assistance." A power plant was also targeted by an Iranian cruise missile near the border of Saudi Arabia.
There is no question what the stance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on Iran's nuclear pursuits. In response to the report that Iran had increased nuclear production, Netanyahu reiterated that a nuclear-equipped Iran would endanger the entire world and that Israel would not allow this to happen. Iran could attempt to preempt an attack by launching its Iranian missiles provided to its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon, Gaza and Syria at Israel but that would signal to President Trump that the handwriting is on the wall.
The IRGC has stated that the entirety of Israel is now within Hezbollah's scope. The proxy now possesses more than 150,000 rockets including the long-range Zelzal, Rateh 100 with a range of several hundred kilometers and the Fajr. It also has in its arsenal shorter range Katyushas. Hezbollah also boasts the SA-7 anti-aircraft system which was used to shoot down the U.S. drone on June 13.
President Trump has also made his opposition clear. Our nation's Fourth of July commemorates America's courage to stand against tyranny. This year, the week of the Fourth might well be a week of fireworks for Iran. Israel and the U.S. do not have to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. The truth is that Iran is economically bankrupt with few funds to produce bombs. A quick mission to destroy Iran's navy, shipping ports, and oil refineries would bankrupt Iran and open the door for the Iranian people to overthrow their nation's current regime.
I have written three books on what type of approach and attack on Iran might take. One of the books was endorsed by Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, former chief of staff, Israeli Defense Forces. He wrote: This is "the most detailed account of the Iranian regime's determination, policy and plan to acquire military nuclear capabilities. Mike Evans delves into the roots of the Iranian revolution and explores Iranian history to better understand a major challenge to the western world. He compellingly analyzes policy option for confronting this threat."
An attack by the U.S. could include electronic attacks volleying across cyberspace, leading to the shut-down of Iran's entire power grid. It might also involve the electronic jamming of airwaves, degrading communications and control across military networks.
Iran might, in turn, use swarms of small boats, drones, and underwater mines to harass and deter the U.S. naval fleet. This would be especially effective at choke points such as the Strait of Hormuz, which is a key passage connecting the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
To counter such maritime harassment, the U.S. military could employ surface vessels, airborne intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance assets to find, evade, and eradicate those hazards. Iran's naval assets, though, would have to be demolished with a first strike.
The U.S. would likely use such weapons as the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile, standard missiles and the RIM-162 Evolved Sea-Sparrow missiles to reduce Iran's inventory of anti-ship cruise missiles.
U.S. stealth aircraft would need to be used to drop a bomb on specific Iranian locales in order to bypass Russian-made S-300 missile air defense systems, as well as Iran's domestically-produced Bavar 373 surface-to-air missiles. The F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II might be used because of their stealth potential. An air campaign similar to that of Desert Storm that averaged more than 1,200 sorties per day could also be employed.
Iran, however, has touted its own defense competence in recent months. Its military leaders have boasted of rockets, drones, submarines, limpet mines and cruise missiles. It is well-known by many sources that Iran spends little on its army—approximately $16 billion in 2017. Israel's defense budget is about $19b. while the US spends some $600b.
The ayatollahs prefer to arm and fund Iran's proxies, that is, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, paramilitary groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. The Iranians have provided precision guidance technology to Hezbollah to ensure that rockets fired at Israeli targets are more accurate.
I have met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. If called upon to support a U.S. attack against Iran, these two countries alone have over four times the number of aircraft as Iran, 1,400 of the most advanced military aircraft compared to Iran's less than 50 such aircraft.
For Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Fourth of July is also the anniversary of the date that his brother, Jonathan, was killed defending his countrymen. A heart-broken Benjamin had to inform his beloved father of the death of his eldest son.
Any attack on Iran would need to include crippling its navy. An operation by either the U.S. or Israel might include Kharg Island, the location from which Iran's oil and gas is exported, or Bandar Abbas, the site of its container port. Iran's infrastructure might also be targeted. The imposition of a no-fly zone or a naval blockade would add to the crippling of Iran's already distressed economy. In addition, Iran's ballistic missiles would need to be taken out.
The outcome of Iran's evil and provocative attempts to foolishly prod Donald Trump into a presumptive election-losing war could mirror that of the ancient King Belshazzar who cowered in terror when presented with the handwriting on the wall in Daniel 5:25-28 (NIV):
"This is the inscription that was written: Mene, mene, tekel, parsin
"Here is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."
Mike Evans is a No. 1 New York Times' best-selling author with 89 published books. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, of which the late President Shimon Peres, Israel's ninth president, was the chair. He also serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.
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