The Iranian threat

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Washington Times: Speaking before the Democratic Leadership Council recently, former President Clinton urged “more diplomacy” as a way to ameliorate America’s hostile relationship with countries like Iran. Simply waving a diplomatic wand in front of this enemy won’t make the problems it is causing in Iraq and elsewhere disappear. The Washington Times

Editorial

By Tom McInerney and Fred Gedrich

Speaking before the Democratic Leadership Council recently, former President Clinton urged “more diplomacy” as a way to ameliorate America’s hostile relationship with countries like Iran. Simply waving a diplomatic wand in front of this enemy won’t make the problems it is causing in Iraq and elsewhere disappear. The principal aims of Iran’s ruling theocrats are to drive the United States out of Muslim countries; destroy Israel and fragile U.S.-supported democracies in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon; and create a power base of like-minded regimes stretching across the upper tier of the predominantly Sunni Muslim Arab world.

Beginning with the Carter administration, a series of U.S. presidents, including Mr. Clinton, have failed to devise and implement effective policies to counter the belligerent activities of Iran’s Shi’ite regime, which practices a brutal form of Islamic fundamentalism.

Iran’s rulers have waged a one-sided war with the U.S. for 28 years. Their minions seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and kept 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, bombed U.S. embassies in Lebanon and residences in Saudi Arabia and kidnapped and murdered Americans. The regime currently manufactures and supplies lethal roadside bombs to Shi’ite militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan which kill and maim American troops.

In response to these aggressive acts, the United States broke diplomatic relations with Iran in 1979, declared it a terrorist state every year since 1984, and imposed economic sanctions and export controls. The United States also worked through the U.N. Security Council in attempting to curb Iran’s nuclear development program and recently held meetings where U.S. and Iranian ambassadors to Iraq discussed that country’s security situation.

These actions haven’t diminished Iran’s ambitions and troublemaking capabilities. In the absence of doing business with the United States, Iran’s trade with other countries increased to about $110 billion for 2006, with China, Japan, Germany, France and Russia among the leading traders. Two permanent U.N. Security Council members, China and Russia, continue to provide the regime with dangerous weapons technology and arms. And U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker reported an “escalation not de-escalation” of Iranian support for Shi’ite militias after recent discussions with his Iranian counterpart.

This lack of progress illustrates the futility of relying solely on diplomacy, sanctions and the international community as primary weapons against this terrorist juggernaut. The United States could intelligently recalibrate overall Iran strategy by taking the following actions:

n One, inform Iran that it must stop: (1) developing its nuclear program immediately and verifiably; (2) providing ordnance and training to Iraqi Shi’ite militias like the Mahdi Army, the Badr organization and others; (3) supporting foreign terror groups like Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad; and (4) providing sanctuary to al Qaeda leaders and operatives. If Iran fails to cease these activities, the consequences will be selective U.S. air strikes on nuclear facilities and anything that supports them; IED factories; and the special navy, air force and ground force units of the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

n Two, encourage Iranian opposition and resistance groups and dissidents to combine efforts to peacefully change Iran’s government. The time appears ripe. The regime doesn’t allow 65 million citizens basic political rights and civil liberties or a free press. And poor governmental policies have created high unemployment and inflation. Additionally, the regime is resorting to a wave of repression against trade unionists, teachers, journalists, students and intellectuals. During the past four months, it reportedly arrested more than 1 million people and hanged and stoned several hundred of them to death.

n Three, after congressional consultations, revoke the 1997 Clinton/Albright State Department decision to place the multiethnic Mujahidin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) on the United States terror list. The MEK is the largest, best organized, and most feared of all Iranian resistance groups and more than 50,000 members have been killed by the Islamic regime.

This group helped expose Iran’s secret nuclear program and currently provides the United States with critically important intelligence. The Clinton administration blacklisted it, apparently hoping the move would foster better relations with Iran. The MEK’s leader, Maryam Rajavi, is a Persian Muslim who advocates creation of a secular, democratic, nuclear-free, and death penalty-free state. The 2006 book “Appeasing the Ayatollahs, Suppressing Democracy” debunks the prime reasons given for the group’s blacklisting.

Iran poses a clear and present danger to the United States. And President Bush appears poised to act if its behavior is not modified. During the dark days leading to World War II, many European and American leaders mistakenly thought they could bargain with or isolate their countries from sinister forces threatening mankind. Their failure to recognize right from wrong and good from evil prevented them from promptly acting collectively against that gathering threat. As a result, 60 million died, including 6 million Jews. History shows appeasement is a failed policy. Let’s ensure it doesn’t repeat itself.

Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney is a Fox News Military analyst and former assistant vice chief of the United States Air Force. Fred Gedrich is a foreign policy and national security analyst and served in the departments of State and Defense.

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