Thursday, August 14, 2003

New Developments in Iran

Another interesting NYT article, this time on efforts at reform within Iran. According to the article, Iran's Guardian Council has just rejected 3 bills that were passed by parliament, two of which would have mandated the adoption of UN conventions on torture and the rights of women, and the third of which would have limited the power of the Guardian Council to vet electoral candidates.

While the continuing frustration of all attempts at reform from within is noteworthy in itself, something else in the article caught my eye:

The internal conflict comes as international pressure increases on Iran to clarify its nuclear programs.

Hard-liners have proposed that Iran should withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty while reformers close to President Khatami are trying to ease tensions over the issue (emphasis added).

If there was any doubt about the urgency of the threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions, this certainly ought to dispel them. The ongoing fixation amongst the commentariat on the Iranian reform movement is, as far as I am concerned, strictly a sideshow. Of far greater importance to the rest of the world is the dismantling of Iran's nuclear program, and I don't see that happening other than by sheer force. I realize that I'm beginning to sound like Cato the Elder with my recurrent calls for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, but some threats are simply too grave to dawdle over.

Lest I be misunderstood, let me state that I am not advocating a full-scale invasion of Iran, in the same manner as with Iraq. For one thing, I realize that the appetite for such an undertaking simply isn't there, either in the U.S. or in Europe. What I'm calling for is a massive air attack on all identifiable Iranian nuclear installations, with as much ordinance dropped as is thought necessary to ensure their complete destruction. This might then be followed by some sort of nuclear ultimatum to the Iranian government: either let in the weapons inspectors we choose, to look wherever they please, straightaway, or prepare to go the way of your former neighbor and adversary. The world simply hasn't the time for the sort of interminable haggling for which UN-mediated disarmament efforts have become notorious.