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“A Nuclear Iran & the Return of the Mahdi”
August 21st, 2010

If reports are accurate, in less than 48 hours the Islamic Republic of Iran will begin feeding uranium into its first and only nuclear power plant. 

The moment this “irreversible step” is taken, stated Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for the Russian nuclear agency assisting Tehran, the “Bushehr plant will be officially considered a nuclear energy installation.” If all goes well, Iran will be producing fissile material by October. 

Across the world, news of Bushehr’s activation has been met with emotions ranging from apathy to alarm. The indifferent argue that Bushehr’s activation was merely a matter of time, and that the facility will not pose a significant threat because it will be used for the production of nuclear energy for civilian consumption. Many others, such as Michael Anton in the Weekly Standard, are deeply concerned because Bushehr, once fueled and operating, “will produce plutonium 239, which can be used to make nuclear weapons.” 

While there is dissension over the tangible contributions a fully operational Bushehr will provide to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, any thinking person can see that Saturday’s activation is a milestone in Iran’s quest for nukes. Speaking to the Jerusalem Post this week, John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the UN, warned that this is a “very, very big victory for Iran. This is a huge threshold.” 

Many agree that inside Iran the opening of Bushehr will provide a moral and psychological boost to supporters of both the conservative regime and the nuclear program. On the global playing field, Bushehr’s activation will be seen as a symbolic victory for Iran in its confrontation with America and the West over its quest for nuclear weapons. But it also comes with ramifications beyond politics. 

Ultimately, the advancement of the Iranian nuclear program thrusts Mahmoud Ahmadinejad one step closer to achieving his goal of setting off nuclear Armageddon! 

Under the circumstances, it’s worth considering the primary motivation behind Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s quest for nukes. Inside Iran, the belief of a returning Mahdi, or Twelfth Imam, is a defining doctrine within the most populous group of Shiites (known as Ithna Ashari, or “Twelvers”), the Iranian president included. Moreover, as a staunch adherent to the mahdaviat, Ahmadinejad doesn’t merely believe the Mahdi is about to return—he considers it his responsibility to bring about the apocalyptic conditions that will surround his return! 

As Joel Rosenburg, former aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, put it last year: “[I]n order to bring about this Islamic messiah, the Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam, Islamic leaders need to hasten his coming by destroying little Satan, Israel, and the great Satan, the United States. … [T]he leaders actually believe they need to create bloody carnage, the death of millions of people in order to create the conditions for the Mahdi to bring peace” (emphasis mine throughout). 

Notice that: The state-sponsored goal of the Iranian republic is to bring about global carnage! 

When Bushehr is activated Saturday, Iran will take a significant step toward producing the nuclear material required to bring about this chaos! 

In 2005, Scott Peterson wrote about the centrality of the Mahdi’s return to Iranian foreign policy: “From redressing the gulf between rich and poor in Iran, to challenging the United States and Israel and enhancing Iran’s power with nuclear programs, every issue is designed to lay the foundation for the Mahdi’s return.” Many in America and the West often fall into the trap of thinking Iran is pursuing nukes for strictly political and strategic reasons. This misconception leads them to believe they can negotiate some sort of agreement with Tehran about its nuclear program. 

Reality is, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pursues nukes as a means of laying the foundation for the Mahdi’s return. 

He considers the acquisition of nuclear weapons a religious mandate—one he must not compromise! 

Amir Mohebian, political editor of the Islamic Resalat newspaper, discussed the influence of Ahmadinejad’s religion on his leadership: “This kind of mentality makes you very strong. … If you think these are the last days of the world, and [the Mahdi] will come [again], this idea will change all your relations.” Putting himself in Ahmadinejad’s shoes, Mohebian stated, “If I think the Mahdi will come in two, three or four years, why should I be soft? Now is the time to stand strong, to be hard.” 

Ahmadinejad’s spiritual conviction is so firm that in 2004, when he was mayor of Tehran, he instructed the city council to build a “grand avenue” in preparation for the Mahdi’s return. When he became president in 2005, he allocated $17 million for a blue-tiled mosque in Jamkaran (south of the capital) closely associated with mahdaviat. Inside Iran, he’s quite literally preparing the ground on which he believes the Mahdi will return. In an address before world leaders at the UN last year, Ahmadinejad prayed publicly that Allah would supply him with the “strength to hasten the return of the Promised One.” 

Despite these terrifying ambitions, and Iran’s systematic march toward acquiring the means to carry them out, the United States and much of the West still pursue a policy of negotiation and compromise! 

Back in 2005, Charles Krauthammer warned of the ominous result should Ahmadinejad be allowed to acquire nukes: “[A] Holocaust-denying, virulently anti-Semitic, aspiring genocidist, on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons of the apocalypse, believes that the end is not only near but nearer than the next American presidential election. … This kind of man would have, to put it gently, less inhibition about starting Armageddon than a normal person.” 

When Bushehr is activated Saturday, this “holocaust denying, virulently anti-Semitic” will be another step closer to that goal.

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