The Iran Threat by Alireza Jafarzadeh offers an extensive political history of modern Iran with a special emphasis on why it poses a threat to the Western world. In particular, this book offers detailed information on Iran's uranium enrichment activities and a deluge of facts corroborating why Iran's activites are surely not for peaceful purposes. This book also details the structure of the government of Iran, a brief history of the Iranian Revolution and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's professed infatuation with the ideals of the Iranian Revolution. In terms of presenting a large amount of facts against Iran, there is much value to gain in reading this book.
This book is written by the very terrorism expert who blew the whistle on Iran's underground uranium enrichment program back in 2002. The author is an Iranian exile, a Middle Eastern affairs analyst and a Fox News Foreign Affairs Analyst. He is also the president of Strategic Policy Consulting Inc. in Washington D.C. and is also the former media director for the Washington D.C. office of the parliament-in-exile, the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI). Jafarzadeh is probably one of the foremost experts on what is happening in Iran.
The author details many important points regarding the Islamic Republic including:
- The Iranian Revolution of 1979 and how Ayatollah Khomeini converted Iran into a brutally fanatical theocracy.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's shadowy rise to power, his regular meetings with Ayatollah Khomeini as a student and his connection with the student organization that helped orchestrate the 1979 hostage crisis.
- The oppressive, anti-Western reforms of the Ahmadinejad regime.
- The stated radical and globally ambitious ideology of the Iranian mullahs.
Iran's role in the Iraqi insurgency.
- The history and present capability of Iran's Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Nuclear Weapons Capability.
- The extensive measures Iran has made to defend their underground enrichment facilities (e.g., spreading them out, placing them deep underground, strategically positioning anti-aircraft technology).
Jafarzadeh also offers his opinion on what policy actions should be taken against Iran. Despite making a few decent observations. Jafarzadeh does identify that the current theocratic regime must go and that it is "beyond negotiation". He promotes "regime change", specifically meaning handing over the keys of Iran to the NCRI. According to their platform on their website, the NCRI stands for the separation of Church and State, capitalism, human and minority rights, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and democratic elections. This sounds like a considerable improvement over the current Iranian regime. However, the NCRI's leadership is intertwined with that of the militant group MEK, which has several cultish/irrational aspects. Thus, Jafarzadeh's proposed solution is unfortunately more pragmatic than principled.
Another significant concern of mine is that, although this work is dense with citations, the author often attributes vital information to "his sources", which makes it difficult to accept this information as truth. However, we also must recognize the reality of the author's situation, as he is probably not able to safely reveal all of his sources at the time of his writing. These vague attributions are not too frequent, and when they are made, the allegations are consistent with the overall character of the Iranian regime. As a whole, I think the factual content of this book is pretty sound.
In summary, I highly recommend this book for its factual content, especially to those with strong interests in foreign policy who are seeking a deeper understanding of Iran.
You can read the version of my review of The Iran Threat, which is intended for a general audience, on Amazon.com here.
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