Iran: A Threat that Can't Be Outsourced Any Longer

(Wall Street Journal) Editorial - Iran's announcement this month that it has enriched uranium to reactor-grade levels marks a watershed. Iran now owns the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Technically, uranium enrichment to reactor-grade constitutes the most difficult phase of the process; moving from there to bomb-grade is much easier. President Ahmadinejad claims Iran is "conducting research" on an advanced centrifuge obtained from rogue Pakistan scientist A.Q. Khan, indicating that Iran has a more extensive covert nuclear program than previously recognized, and that it is much closer to its goal than generally assumed. Put simply, the idea that Iran is still a decade away from a bomb - as was suggested by last year's National Intelligence Estimate - now looks like wishful thinking. The threat of comprehensive sanctions might persuade Iran's religious leaders that there is a prohibitive price to pay for going nuclear. But we doubt it. The chances of the international community imposing sanctions - and sticking to them - are vanishingly small. Iran has consistently lied to the IAEA, trashed its agreements with Europe, openly flouted a UN Security Council resolution, provided explosives to insurgents in Iraq, developed ballistic missiles of increasing range, selected a president with apocalyptic religious impulses, and engaged in vitriolic anti-American and anti-Semitic rhetoric. This is not the behavior of an ordinary state that aims to "normalize" its position in the world through diplomacy. Rather, they are the acts of a revolutionary regime seeking to spread its ideology and power by force and intimidation. The President must begin to educate the American public about what is at stake in Iran and what the U.S. might be prepared to do about it. Until he does so, he will be hostage to a series of increasingly distressing Tehran "announcements," the pace and timing of which will be dictated by the clerics and zealots who wish us ill.

2006-04-21 00:00:00

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