Last Thursday I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Hugh Cort, author of The American Hiroshima: Iran’s Plan for an Attack on the United States. Related to this interview, readers may listen to my interview with CIA agent Reza Kahlili, who agrees with Dr. Cort that a nuclear Iran cannot be deterred by the threat of Mutual Assured Destruction. According to Dr. Cort, “[D]eterrence will not work with the fanatical Islamic radicals that rule Iran. These rulers are like suicide bombers, who do not care if they die, as long as their victims get blown up as well.”
In his analysis of Islamist motivation, Dr. Cort follows the work of Reza Kahlili, who affirms that the leaders of the Islamic Republic believe in a ruthless ideology. “If you read [the] Koran, many verses talk about killing enemies of Allah and infidels,” Kahlili explained. “And there is no mercy, absolutely none, unless you convert to the religion. Nobody can say otherwise. Allah is a dictator…. Many Muslims will be offended, but many do not even know what the Koran says.”
Radical Islam is not afraid to use nuclear weapons against America, explains Dr. Cort: “The top newspaper in Iran, Kayhan, that is supervised by Supreme Leader Khamenei, said ‘If Iran is attacked, there are elements in America who will detonate nuclear bombs in American cities.’” Cort adds, “This may seem suicidal, but the Supreme Leader, Khamenei, the Iranian Mullahs and President Ahmadinejad, are religious fanatics, and to them it is glorious to die as martyrs for radical Islam…. Also, their fanatical views must be understood in the context of their belief in the coming of the ‘Mahdi.’”
Cort says the Islamic Republic has created the “Jerusalem Force.” This is one of Iran’s most secret paramilitary organizations. It is tasked with intelligence operations related to targeting the United States with nuclear and biological weapons. Some of the Jerusalem Force agents have been working undercover in the United States for more than a decade. “There is a strong possibility,” says Dr. Cort, “that Iran’s American Hiroshima will not only be a nuclear attack, but a chemical, biological, and [involve] assault troops…. In addition, there may also be an EMP attack. Iran has chemical weapons, and there is evidence Iran [has] biological weapons as well, including anthrax.”
The smuggling of WMDs into the United States is not original to Iran. During the Cold War, the Soviet KGB and GRU invented the whole idea (just as they invented airline hijacking). During the 1970s and 80s the Soviets prepared ways of smuggling nuclear and biological weapons into the United States (see GRU Colonel Stanislav Lunev’s Through the Eyes of the Enemy). In 1998 Lunev explained that the chosen routes for smuggling WMDs into the U.S. would be those used by narcotics traffickers. According to Dr. Cort, Iranian agents are currently working with drug cartels in Mexico, digging tunnels under the border. Curiously, GRU defector Viktor Suvorov says (in his book Spetsnaz) that the Soviets conceived of organizing something called “Gray Terror,” in which the United States would be attacked by terrorists with no traceable connection to Moscow. These terrorists would be “mercenaries recruited by intermediaries,” wrote Suvorov, explaining that this terrorism would divert the intelligence and military resources of the West away from Russia, paving the way for successful Russian moves.
There is a great difference, however, between Iranian nuclear strategy and Russian nuclear strategy. Unlike the Iranians, the Russians thoroughly understand the principle of winning a nuclear war. Their idea is simple, and elegant. It is unwise to openly engage in a nuclear war with a nuclear power. Only a covert nuclear attack promises safety for the attacker. If nuclear bombs are detonated against American cities, it’s best if the Americans cannot identify the attacking country? Better yet, if the Americans misidentify the attacking country. In other words, imagine a group of radical Islamists who support international terrorism and are working to build a nuclear arsenal – raising fears, tensions, and oil prices. Wouldn’t these radical Islamists stand accused in the event of a nuclear detonation against an American city? In light of this analysis, one might even call the Iranian regime a “nuclear lightning rod.”
I asked Dr. Cort about the support Iran receives from Russia, China and North Korea. He affirmed that these countries have been supporting Iran. I asked how we would know if a nuclear weapon detonated in America had been planted by Iranians, Russians, Chinese or North Koreans. Of course, explained Dr. Cort, Iranian official sources have publicly implied that they have such a capability and are preparing such an attack.
Are the Iranian leaders stupid, or merely crazy? Perhaps someone with greater strategic sophistication, and a real nuclear arsenal, has been using Iran as a cat’s paw. One strategy has been used, again and again through history. It is the strategy of playing two sides off against each other. Why would non-Islamic countries like Communist China, North Korea or Russia give support to Iran? Are they crazy? Whatever the answer to these and other questions, the threat from radical Islam is real. Whether this threat has been amplified by third parties or not, Dr. Cort’s book is important and deserves to be read. (A full audio version of my interview with Dr. Cort will be linked to this column in couple weeks.)