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Cacophony of Voices Produces Discordant Iran Policy

By Peter Huessy
JINSA Visiting Fellow

Despite an ever-growing mountain of evidence conclusively indicating that Iran is hell-bent on obtaining nuclear weapons, many former and current officials in Washington continue to urge the Administration to use the lever of diplomacy to convince Tehran to "negotiate" a deal without conceding that Iran seeks to possess nuclear weapons in the first place.

Some "experts" do concede that Iran may indeed be pursuing nuclear weapons but they claim if Tehran is doing so it is in reaction to U.S. policy. Others assert that Iran has not decided to build a nuclear weapon - yet - but if the United States does not pursue a diplomatic solution other voices suggest Tehran surely will.

Still other voices suggest that Iran may be seeking a nuclear weapon, but it is forced to do so for nothing less than regime survival. Or, that America forced them down this path because the United States supported a coup in Iran in 1953. Some even suggest that Iran legitimately sees itself as surrounded by hostile American and allied forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and, therefore, Tehran seeks nuclear bombs to defend itself.

Further confusing American policy makers are ideological narratives suggesting that those who warn of Iran's quest for nuclear weapons are either desirous of war with Iran, are seeking to justify spending more defense dollars, are being critical of the current Administration for political purposes, or are using the Iranian program as an excuse not to give the Palestinians a state.

Critics of preemption say that even if Tehran obtains a nuclear weapons capability, the West has nothing to worry about because "it's only for status"; or that the mullahs would not use a nuclear bomb because "that would be the end of the regime;" or if Iran gets the bomb, Israel will take care of it. Or, since the regime is "rational," they will not use such a weapon but keep it "for leverage."

Many observers thus support sanctions, assuming that if life is made unpleasant for the Iranian government they will strike a deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as required by signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The assumption is the regime will "deal."

What is missing from these myriad views? Not one of them reveals an understanding of the nature of the Iranian regime.

Americans believe "al Qaeda" alone attacked us on September 11, 2001. Not true. Yes, the hijackers were trained and inspired while in al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. But they received assistance from Saudi Arabia, say the two chairmen of the 9/11 Commission. And a Federal District Court has ruled that there is overwhelming evidence of senior Iranian and Hezbollah cooperation with the hijackers as well. The question should not be who is working for the terrorists but for whom are the terrorists working? And the answer there is predominantly Iran.

And who are the mullahs ruling Iran?

A newly uncovered 2009 memo from the leaders of Iran's anti-regime Green movement to the U.S. Government concludes: "The regime is a brutal, apocalyptic theocratic dictatorship that tries to survive by means of suppression of its own people, military force, theft of national resources and economic stealth."

The regime, say the memo's author(s), sees as its mission the destruction of both Israel and the United States, a mission sanctioned and required by Allah himself-it will not change and cannot be reformed. A 2007 Claremont Institute report confirms in detail Iran's proxy war against the United States from the 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon to the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa, to their training and financing of terrorism against American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The regime sees nuclear weapons as a new terrorist tool. Hans Ruhle, a former high ranking German defense official, writes March 4, 2012 in Die Welt that western intelligence sources believe North Korea exploded two nuclear bombs in 2010 for the benefit of Iran. What would be the consequences of Iran getting the bomb and deliberately arming its terrorist surrogates?

What if that means launching a ship-borne rocket some 100 miles high over the eastern seaboard of the United States, detonating a nuclear weapon at that height, and creating a catastrophic electro magnetic pulse (EMP) blast, what National Geographic termed an "Electric Armageddon"?

Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is rooted in the hegemonic nature of the regime itself. Negotiations will continue to prove a dead end - to be used by Tehran to extend the time needed to complete the development process. Pondering the causes for the present situation will not lead to a breakthrough resulting in program abandonment. What is needed now is a clear policy for denying Iran both a nuclear weapons capability and nuclear weapons and this will require regime change in all likelihood.

Peter Huessy, JINSA Visiting Fellow, is President of GeoStrategic Analysis and the senior defense consultant at the Air Force Association. For more information on the JINSA Visiting Fellows program, click here.

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