Time to Replace the Mullahs

[Telegraph-UK] Editorial - Although Israel has disavowed reports that it is planning a direct strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, there can be little doubt that Tel Aviv would authorize such attacks if the only other option were a nuclear Iran. From an Israeli point of view, the ayatollahs are not a putative threat but a proven aggressor. They have armed terrorist proxies in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Iraq, Lebanon, and even Argentina, where a bombing at a Jewish community center in 1994 killed 100 people. Iran's Shahab-3 missile has a range of 1,500 miles, but why worry about delivery mechanisms when you have paramilitaries? We have seen Teheran's readiness to equip Hizbullah with rockets. Can we be confident that they would not, if they could, tip these devices with nuclear warheads? It is now too late to prevent Iran from acquiring the know-how and materials it needs. Ten years were wasted in futile discussions with the EU, which believed that it could talk the mullahs out of their nuclear ambitions. In between the present policy of passing milk-and-water UN resolutions and the nuclear option is an escalating scale of pressure: targeted sanctions, asset seizures, and the kind of armed siege that paralyzed Saddam during the 1990s. Above all, we should be sponsoring Iranian dissidents: students, secularists, monarchists, non-Persians. It is time to replace the mullahs with a regime that is capable of dealing with other states on the basis of territorial jurisdiction, human rights, and international law.

2007-01-08 01:00:00

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