ThreatsWatch.Org: Commentary

Talk Iran's Walk: A Start

Terrorism Is Inseparable From The Iranian Nuclear Crisis, Yet Absent From Discussion

By Steve Schippert

The debate surrounding the Iranian nuclear program continues to proceed without the proper context of the pervasive, persistent and proven Iranian support for terrorist groups and attacks, regardless of any religious ideological differences. Yet the two issues – Iranian terrorism and the Iranian nuclear program – remain inseparably intertwined. And while the West continues to talk of talks, the foremost sponsors of international terrorism continue to walk the walk. It is time for the West to at least ‘talk the walk’ and discuss the Iranian nuclear crisis within the context of Iranian terrorism, for the latter must be addressed before any plausible solution to the former can be realistically entertained.

In a Reuters article appearing in the Washington Post and elsewhere, IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei criticized the UN Security Council's sanctions on Iran, warning that they are exacerbating the crisis rather than solving it. ElBaradei said, "I don't think sanctions will resolve the issue. I think sanctions, in my view, could lead to escalation on both sides."

The article is one of the Western reports appearing in the mullahs' regime-controlled Tehran Times English language site, as it furthers their own objectives of lifting sanctions and returning to talks for the purposes of consuming more time, crucial months as the Iranian program bounds toward weapons grade enrichment.

ElBaradei elaborated, "The idea that a dialogue is a reward for good behavior, I disagree with that. A dialogue is a prerequisite for changing behavior."

Dialogue, however, is productive toward sincere resolution when there is genuine discourse, something Iran has clearly failed to engage in.

The bombastic remarks made regularly by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have served to steel Western resolve to the debatable degree that such resolve is visible now. It is certainly more measurable than could have been said just a few short years ago.

In light of this, Ahmadinejad is currently enduring much criticism from Ayatollah Rafsanjani who, not coincidentally, has ambitions of being appointed by the Council of Experts to Supreme Leader amid Ayatollah Khameini’s failing health. Rafsanjani – and, almost certainly through his directive and/or influence, several state-controlled newspapers – has been sharply critical of Ahmadinejad’s demeanor and stirring up Western resistance to Iran’s nuclear program.

Yet, it is critical to note that Rafsanjani (and others) are not saying that Iran should negotiate its way toward a solution nor surrender its nuclear program ‘one iota,’ as Ahmadinejad so often puts it. The aspiring would-be Supreme Leader affirms that the program is Iran’s right and must continue apace. The displeasure is in Ahmadinejad’s openness – the absence of 'taqiyya' (dissimulation) – rather than in his beliefs. This can not be overstated, as an emerging Rafsanjani is likely to be portrayed in the West as a more reasonable figure to deal with.

While reviled and despised in the West, it is precisely Ahmadinejad’s lack of ability or desire to cloak his inner thoughts that makes him particularly useful to the West. Should he be unseated in a move to replace him as president, it is this quality that will be sorely missed, though few in the West realize it just yet.

With the potential of a Supreme Leader Ayatollah Rafsanjani along with a ‘more suitable’ president, the return of the mask of taqiyya will intentionally play to the West’s sensibilities, luring it back into more continued and prolonged talks and negotiations while the nuclear program proceeds unimpeded.

As do others, ElBaradei fails in his criticism of sanctions to recognize that the concern over an Iranian nuclear program has less to do with atoms and weapons than it does about already-proven state sponsors of terrorism that would control them.

Others such as US Senator Hillary Clinton who, while calling for swift UN sanctions on Iran, alluded to direct US talks with the Tehran regime when she said, "I believe we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations." She then added, "I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines." Under President William Clinton, the North Korean crisis was addressed in the 1990's through direct talks and concessions only to see the North Korean nuclear program mature into weapons production.

More importantly, there was not a word about Iran’s global web of terrorism.

With the Iranian material support for Hizballah and others, the intent of the Tehran regime is clear, including fueling both the Shi'a and Sunni sides of Iraqi sectarian violence, supplying al-Qaeda in Iraq with shaped copper IED explosives used to kill American troops and the harboring of top al-Qaeda operatives under 'house arrest.’ No talks leaving their nuclear program in place - with or without supposed 'verifiable oversight' - will serve to ease tensions or pull the Middle East from the precipice of a bloody regional conflict.

Jordan's newly-stated desire for a 'peaceful nuclear program' is certainly not based on the generation of electricity any more than is Tehran's. Jordan joins now Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the Middle Eastern nuclear race.

We may not be able to stop a region hurtling toward a conflict that was not of our creation. But can we at least address the situation with sober honesty? The ends of preventing the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism from achieving nuclear capabilities is far more important and decidedly more critical than achieving the comfortable but ineffective means benchmarks offered by Mohamed ElBaradei or United States Senators.

‘Deterring’ Iran will not bring enough sense of security to Arab Middle Eastern states and others to affect their emerging drive toward their own nuclear solution. Preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons may, however.

This would not require a US invasion of Iran and not simply be a regime change in Iran. It could be brought about through a Regime Change by Iranians.