The head of the US Republican Party said Tuesday that Iran's nuclear program threatens Israel, the Jewish people and the United States, and "we must confront an evil ideology head on." Ken Mehlman, in a speech to the American Jewish Committee's annual meeting, invoked the anti-Semitism of recent history in focusing on Iran, lauded the progress in Iraq and addressed pre-emptive military action. "Just as we did during the 20th century, we must confront an evil ideology head on," Mehlman said. "And just as we did, we will prevail." In Tehran, a Revolutionary Guards commander said Israel would be Iran's first retaliatory target in response to any US attack, a remark that underlined Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's past call for Israel to be "wiped off the map." "This is not about politics, this is not about left vs. right, or East vs. West, or Democrat vs. Republican. This is about a man who would like to see Jerusalem destroyed and may soon have the power to do that," Mehlman said. The Republican National Committee chairman said the United States must remember the lessons of World War II. "When we wait until an attack is imminent, we have waited too long," he said. Mehlman defended the war in Iraq despite insurgent attacks and one of the deadliest months for US troops. He said more than 30,000 new Iraqi business had registered since Saddam Hussein was toppled and that Iraqis are now using credit and debit cards as well as ATMs. "Property values have risen over 1000 percent in the last three years," Mehlman said. "These are important steps for the new Iraq."