Washington Times – Editorial: The symbolic resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency board Saturday calling for Iran’s referral to the United Nations Security Council is just the latest evidence that the Islamist regime is on a collision course with the United States and its allies.
The Washington Times
The symbolic resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency board Saturday calling for Iran’s referral to the United Nations Security Council is just the latest evidence that the Islamist regime is on a collision course with the United States and its allies.
A senior State Department official dealing with nuclear proliferation issues suggested last week that Tehran may transfer a nuclear weapon to a third party. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, (signaling that she wants to move away from the neo-appeasement policies toward Iran that were pursued by her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder) made explicit the analogy between the current Iranian regime and the Third Reich.
Mrs. Merkel warned against a repetition of the complacency demonstrated by the international community during the early years of Nazi rule. “Looking back to German history in the early 1930s when National Socialism was on the rise, there were many outside Germany who said, ‘It’s only rhetoric — don’t get excited,’ ” she said on Saturday, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements calling for Israel’s destruction and questioning the Holocaust.
Mrs. Merkel added that the world cannot afford to demonstrate toward Iran the kind of weakness shown toward Hitler prior to World War II.
But the fact is that the Western democracies’ current approach toward Iran does not match the German leader’s rhetorical urgency. After protracted negotiations with Russia and China, the United States, Britain and France agreed to a compromise: that Iran will not be referred to the Security Council for 30 days. This gives Moscow and Beijing, Iran’s protectors, time to persuade Mr. Ahmadinejad and his boss, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to cooperate (or at least pretend to).
Thus far, Tehran has responded with a mixture of threats and conciliatory-sounding pablum. In the past 48 hours, Iranian officials have denounced U.S. leaders as “terrorists”; threatened to bar oil tankers from the Persian Gulf; vowed to bar the IAEA from visiting Iranian nuclear facilities; and declared their intention to go forward with uranium enrichment. Iranian representatives have both rejected outright and said they were willing to negotiate over Moscow’s suggestion to shift Iranian uranium enrichment activities to Russia.
As Iran thumbs its nose at the international community, it is important to keep several facts in mind: 1) Time is on Iran’s side. Every day that goes by without a resolution is another day that Tehran has to continue to develop an indigenous capability to produce nuclear weapons and perfect the missiles capable of delivering them to targets in Europe, Israel and elsewhere. 2) While a democratic revolution to overthrow the Iranian regime would be welcome, it is difficult to see how this will be accomplished given that the regime possesses virtually all the guns inside the country. Still, it’s also well past time for the United States government to provide pro-democracy forces inside and outside the country with serious technical and logistical assistance to bring their message to the Iranian people. 3) As Iraq illustrated, sanctions are of limited use in influencing the behavior of rogue regimes bent on flouting the will of the international community. There is ample reason to doubt the willingness of European governments to pursue a sustained policy of sanctions in the face of economic pressure and threats from Iran.
But as Robert Joseph, undersecretary of state for arms control, pointed out last week, the stakes are too high to allow for the possibility of failure. “Iran is at the nexus of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism,” Mr. Joseph said. “If Iran has fissile material or nuclear weapons, the likelihood of their transfer to a third party would increase — by design or through diversion.”
In short, a nuclear-armed Iran is certain to make the world a much more violent, dangerous place for Americans and a more comfortable place for jihadists.