From Japan to Iran: Something to Think About

Avi Melamed ~ Inside The Middle East
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March 16, 2011

by Avi Melamed

As the world closely and anxiously watches the nuclear drama unfold in JapanI would like to share with you the following thought provoking story, which clearly has much relevance.

A couple of weeks ago a series of massive explosions rocked the city of Kum in Iran. That was not a terror attack.  The blasts were caused by gas leaking from the huge gas system infrastructure located in the area.  The reason for the explosions was simply the poor and deteriorating conditions of the massive Iranian gas infrastructure.  The Iranian President was alarmed; he knew that this time the regime was lucky, because there were no fatalities.  If such event repeats itself, and causes fatalities, it will likely be a totally different scenario.  In fact, that could be the spark that would lead to the downfall of the Iranian regime.

Iran’s most strategic facilities and assets are owned and controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG). A special corporation within the IRG, known as the “Hatem AlaAnbyia Corporation,” is responsible for the administration and maintenance of Iran’s strategic facilities and infrastructure, including of course, the energy infrastructure.

The energy and gas infrastructure in Iranis in terrible condition.  It is not maintained, it is old and it’s falling apart.  Billions of dollars that are required for the maintenance and improvement of the infrastructure are not allocated for that purpose.  The money is allocated to other purposes, mostly to finance the activities of the “Jerusalem Force,” the IRG’s elite unit that spearheads the Iranian Mullah regime’s efforts to export its Islamic Revolutionary ideology and to further the radical regime’s interests worldwide (for example, funding the Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in Gaza) – or to private bank accounts of IRG senior officials.

Much has been said about the threat of an Iranian military nuclear capability, and rightfully so.  There are many reasons to be deeply concerned with the possibility that this scenario will be realized.

If Iranian nuclear capability alone is not enough cause to be concerned, the catastrophe unfolding inJapan’s nuclear facilities brings to mind another reason why the Iranian nuclear ambition should be addressed extremely seriously.  An editorial published today in the leading Saudi major newspaper, Alashark Alawsat, makes a very cut and dry and clear argument:  The frightening nuclear catastrophe in Japan could easily happen in the Gulf area.  This position is not new.   Concern about a nuclear Iran is presented time and again by the Arab Gulf states that are enormously fearful ofIran’s nuclear ambitions.

The Iranian leaking gas pipes present a huge environmental hazard.  This time the Iranians – both the residents of Kum and the Iranian regime – were simply lucky.   The next explosion of a leaking Iranian gas pipe in not a matter of if, it is a matter of when….it is just a matter of time.  And the environmental outcomes could be way more devastating than what we are seeing today in Japan.                                .

This story is about gas pipes that leak because of a lack of maintenance.  Think of an Iranian nuclear reactor or reactors located next to the Arab Gulf, one of the most strategic areas in the world.

Something to think about…


Avi Melamed is the Founder and Principal of Feenjan – Israel Speaks Arabic – a unique, groundbreaking and unprecedented non-profit initiative.  Using the internet Avi presents contemporary Israeli society and culture to the Arab world in Arabic and aims to be a bridge builder through developing as a platform for a constructive dialogue between Israelis and Arabs.

March 16, 2011

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