The US must end the Iranian nuclear threat

The Islamic Republic directly and through its proxies threatens stability in Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Iraq and the Gulf area.

By
August 19, 2012 22:11
4 minute read.
Iran's Sajil 2 missile

Iran's Sajil 2 missile 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Only a truly credible threat of overwhelming force against Iran will peacefully prevent a potential doomsday scenario from becoming reality, and only the United States can deliver such a threat. Paradoxically, if Iran truly believes that the US is about to launch a massive attack, it will back down and no force will be needed.

If, on the other hand, Iran doubts American resolve, it will not only continue to develop an independent nuclear capability, but it may also take a shortcut to the “zone of immunity” by purchasing nuclear weapons from Pakistan. Such an acquisition would make it impossible even for the US to stop Iran from becoming yet another nuclear proliferator. The Iranian regime must understand that it will face devastating consequences if it attempts – by any means – to acquire nuclear weapons.

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The threat of force should be used to achieve something far more effective than the illusory arrangement settled on with North Korea in 1994.

The goal with Iran must be a Libya-style total disarmament, removing equipment and material from Iran’s nuclear weapons program, with independent verification by the IAEA.

A verified and total disarmament is the only way to eliminate the many perils of a nuclear Iran.

These dangers include: (i) nuclear proliferation, because other countries in the volatile and commerce- critical Middle East will want their own nuclear programs in response to the Iranian nuclear threat, (ii) the risk of nuclear materials being passed from Iran – the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism – to terrorist organizations and/or states, and (iii) an even more aggressive Iran that flexes its nuclear arsenal to: export its radical Islamic ideology, acquire disputed territories and resources from neighboring countries, and/or undertake actions like blocking the Strait of Hormuz to increase the price of oil.

Iran violently quelled the democratic movement in its own country in 2009 and has actively supported the brutal crackdown on protesters in Syria.



The Islamic Republic directly and through its proxies threatens stability in Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Iraq and the Gulf area.

Iran is also responsible for countless deaths of American and coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As clear as it is today that a nuclear weapon in the hands of the Third Reich would have spelled catastrophe, so should it be clear with the Iranian theocracy. Allowing Iran to acquire or develop nuclear weapons could lead to horrific destruction on an unthinkable scale. Even reformers with the best of intentions and most reassuring words will need time to change the governing system and political culture in Iran, and the world must be patient and skeptical before concluding that Iran has changed so dramatically for the better that it can be trusted with the world’s most dangerous weapons.

To be fair and to show good faith to Iran, the threat of overwhelming military force for noncompliance should be complemented by generous rewards for Iranian cooperation. In exchange for the verifiable dismantling of Iran’s entire nuclear program, the US should offer to compensate Iran financially for related losses and provide a variety of other economic and political benefits that are collectively far more advantageous to Iran than a nuclear weapon would be.

These benefits could include, for example, (i) replacing all economic sanctions with European Union and US free trade agreements, (ii) providing a written security guarantee – adopted by the UN Security Council, if needed – that neither the US nor any of its Middle Eastern allies (including Israel) will initiate an attack on Iran. If the Iranian regime truly has peaceful intentions, then it should readily accept such an attractive bargain.

But if Iran rejects this offer, then its regime is clearly on a nuclear warpath that must be stopped by the only world power that can do so swiftly and decisively, and without producing a nuclear war that consumes the entire region and leaves many millions dead.

Iran has frequently called for the destruction of Israel and has – despite the sanctions against it – actively worked to acquire the means to annihilate Israel whenever it chooses. Tiny Israel doesn’t have the luxury of ignoring such a threat, and unfortunately, cannot wait much longer for other solutions to work.

Every day, the circumstances move the Middle East closer to a doomsday-type showdown that could force Israel’s hand. Only the United States has the power to resolve the matter peacefully, with a grand bargain, and decisively, if necessary, with overwhelming force. Our world depends on such an intervention and history is watching.

The writer is the author of the novel The Last Israelis, a doomsday novel about the Iranian nuclear threat.  His editorial is largely based on the epilogue to that book. .

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