If Iran Gets the Bomb

(Wall Street Journal) Editorial - The International Atomic Energy Agency this week released its most detailed assessment to date about Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. The report lays to rest the fantasies that an Iranian bomb is many years off. The serious choice now before the Administration is between military strikes and more of the same. As the IAEA report makes painfully clear, more of the same means a nuclear Iran, possibly within a year. It is perilous to assume that Iran is a "normal" regime that wouldn't dare use nuclear weapons. Iran's regime was born in revolutionary religious fervor and routinely vows to annihilate Israel and its "Great Satan" protector, the U.S. All of this adds up to a far more dangerous world - in which Iran becomes a regional hegemon, Israel faces a threat to its very existence, the Middle East embarks on a nuclear arms race, America's freedom of action is curtailed, and the dangers of a nuclear exchange rise to levels above what they were even during the early Cold War. Opponents of a pre-emptive strike say it would do no more than delay Iran's programs by a few years. But something similar was said after Israel's strike on Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981, without which the U.S. could never have stood up to Saddam after his invasion of Kuwait. A strike that sets Iran's nuclear programs back by several years at least offers the opportunity for Iran's democratic forces to topple the regime without risking a wider conflagration.

2011-11-11 00:00:00

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