Three years ago in this space, I warned that "the biggest development of the last decade is being overlooked: Russia is renewing her relations with America's enemies." In specific, I cited the fact that "the Russians are binding themselves tightly to Iran and North Korea … "
In three years, the situation has grown no less frightening. In fact, the Russian government has expanded its ties with the still-existent members of President Bush's "Axis of Evil." This week, the UK Telegraph reported, "Former members of the Russian military have been secretly helping Iran to acquire technology needed to produce missiles capable of striking European capitals. The Russians are acting as go-betweens with North Korea as part of a multi-million pound deal they negotiated between Tehran and Pyongyang in 2003. It has enabled Tehran to receive regular clandestine shipments of top secret missile technology, believed to be channeled through Russia." A senior American official explained to the Telegraph, "I think Putin knows what the Iranians are doing."
Of course, the Bush administration has been worried about Iran's development of weapons of mass destruction since its election in 2000. The newest member of the Bush foreign policy team, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, recently reiterated the administration's concerns in the British media, stating that Iran is "determined to get nuclear weapons deliverable on ballistic missiles it can then use to intimidate not only its own region but possibly to supply to terrorists."
But concern means nothing without the credible threat of action. And since the rise of the Ayatollahs, America has offered little but empty threats. During the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, America's interaction with Iran was restricted mainly to arms dealing through the Iran-Contra linkage and supplying arms to both sides during the Iran-Iraq war.