Their insatiable appetite for nuclear weapons has brought the nation to a tipping point. Despite diplomatic pressure, they refuse to give up a uranium-enrichment program that can be converted easily from civilian to military use. Now that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has voted overwhelmingly to refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council, it appears that Iran will have to decide sooner rather than later which road it will take.
To gain a better understanding of this crisis -- not only what it means for the United States but also the world at large -- an insightful paper from The Heritage Foundation, “Confronting Iran’s Nuclear Challenge,” is a must-read. Heritage foreign-policy experts James Phillips, John Hulsman and James Jay Carafano provide alarming evidence of just how serious the Iran problem has become.
The current president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, considers the U.S. “a failing power” and a threat to the Muslim world. He is a true believer in the revolution that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini inspired in Iran in 1978.
Under Ahmadinejad, the Heritage experts note, Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. It has close ties to the Lebanon-based Hezballah terrorist group and it has supported a wide variety of Palestinian terrorist groups and Afghan extremists. It has been causing trouble inside Iraq and has reportedly recruited thousands of volunteers to carry suicide bombs against its enemies. In short, it’s a dangerous regime even without nuclear weapons.
Iran must agree to terminate permanently all aspects of its nuclear program. If not, several courses of action remain, the Heritage experts say. The U.S. should:
1) Forge a coalition to impose targeted economic sanctions. Deny Iran loans, foreign investment and favorable trade deals. Cooperate with other countries to deny Iran loans from institutions such as the World Bank.
2) Rally international support for Iran’s democratic opposition. Discreetly aid all Iranian groups that support democracy and reject terrorism.