Conservatives and reformists are openly challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hard-line nuclear diplomacy – an unusual agreement across Iran’s political spectrum, with many saying his provocative remarks have increasingly isolated their country. — from this article
This should not distract or be used as an excuse to do nothing. Those who wish nothing to be done include those who, like Lt. Gen. Odom (ret’d.), think that the “only way” to get Iran to disarm is to force Israel to also give up its nuclear weapons, so that Iran “will follow suit.” And that tells you all you need to know about Lt. Gen. Odom, ret’d., and his sinister views of Israel and its right to continue to be able to defend itself and to exist.
But there is also the siren-song sung by those who insist that if no measures are taken, then within Iran a better regime will come to power. And so what? Had the Shah acquired nuclear weapons — and he certainly wanted to — then the Khomeini regime would have inherited those weapons. And even if the Shah’s son were somehow to take over from those now running the Islamic Republic, given the makeup of the population in Iran, who can say that the Shah’s son would not be followed by a regime similar to the one now in power?
One has to plan for the future, the long future. No Muslim country can be permitted to acquire weapons of mass destruction. And where a Muslim country — i.e. Pakistan — has managed to do so, with the collaboration of some Westerners and the criminal negligence of several Western powers, then all measures must be taken to ensure that that country lacks the ability to deliver that weaponry. All measures must also be taken to ensure that constant pressure is put on that country to put those weapons, for “permanent safekeeping,” into the hands of a powerful, insistent, and if necessary most ferocious non-Muslim power.
It is not only a question of the current regime, but of future regimes in Iran. And it is not only a question of regimes but of groups and groupuscules and individuals who, inspired by their faith, might lay their hands on such weaponry or help other groups to do so. That is the problem.
And that is why those reports of some dissension within the ranks may be of interest, but cannot be allowed to prevent sensible action against that nuclear project itself, however tenuous one may guess or know that a particular unsavory regime is in power.
The existence or possession of such weapons by a state populated by Muslims, whatever the regime in question, is what must not be forgotten.
But of course, much more than a little dissension in the ranks of the Iranian leadership is being used as an excuse to do nothing. Consider: Shah Abbas forced the Armenians and Jews of Tabriz to convert overnight. And there is a direct line from that incident to the sign, required by a law of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the window of a restaurant that Ms. Nafisi mentioned en passant — very much en passant. Ms. Nafisi is of course still counting her royalties from the inspirational “Reading ‘Lolita’ in Tehran,” the book that shows there is nothing to worry about because Literature Offers Liberation and a Way Out. But she does casually note, in her uplifting and feelgood narrative, a sign in a restaurant window that let would-be diners know that they should watch out, because the owner was Armenian and hence “najis,” unclean.
One wonders how many intelligent people in Iran, or among the Iranians intelligently in exile, wish that Islam had never arrived. For it was a “gift” from far more primitive people, a gift that for the Iranians keeps on giving — trouble, pain, anguish, mental desarroi. How many secretly would wish they could tow their own country out to sea somewhere, away from the Arabs and the other Muslims, adopt Zoroastrianism or Christianity or nothing at all but the cult of poesy (Sa’adi, Hafiz, Firdowsi, Omar Khayyam) and let Persians, as they see it, be Persians?
But even that wish from so many hearts, unfortunately, is no excuse to do nothing.