Less than 1,000 miles east of Tel Aviv a new Auschwitz is being prepared, as the world looks on and does virtually nothing to stop it. Instead of the gas chambers being fired up, centrifuges are being installed. In place of Zyklon-B gas, the agent of choice is now uranium. And while the language spoken by its architects may be different, the threat to the future of the Jewish people, and that of the entire Western world, is no less grave than it was six decades ago in Europe. Indeed, with each passing day the would-be Hitler of Persia draws perilously closer to his goal of obtaining a nuclear arsenal, threatening everyone, and everything, that all of us hold dear. The press loves to mock the Iranian president, portraying him as a nut, a kook, and a fanatic. But I take him at his word. He has made quite clear what his objective is, telling us over and over again that he plans to eliminate Israel and destroy the West. Like it or not, we are all in his crosshairs, and we ignore him at our peril. And that is why it is time to show a little more courage and a lot more determination, and to tackle this threat head-on. It is time for Israel or the US to bomb Iran now. Not next week, next month, or next summer, but now. As quickly and as hard and as painfully as possible. THE ALARM bells are ringing, and the danger signs are near. In recent days it was reported that Teheran has installed at least the first two sets of 164 centrifuges to enrich uranium at its underground nuclear facility in Natanz, part of its plan to fit nearly 3,000 in all. You don't have to be a nuclear scientist to understand that the large-scale use of centrifuges means a country can produce more enriched uranium in a shorter period of time. And that is exactly what the Iranian leadership is vowing to do. In a speech on Sunday in Teheran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised his audience an "April surprise." "From now until April 9," he said, "you will hear frequently about the great progress of the Iranian people and the unique developments in the fields of industry, agriculture, and especially nuclear energy." "This is the nuclear celebration," Ahmadinejad promised the crowd. His idea of a "celebration," of course, is our idea of a funeral. According to the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies, once the 3,000 centrifuges are operational it will take possibly as little as nine months for Iranian scientists to produce enough highly-enriched uranium to make an atomic bomb. And so, by the end of this year, the atomic ayatollahs could very well have their hands on the ultimate weapon of mass terror and destruction. This cannot and must not be allowed to come to pass. And the only way to stop it is with military action. DIPLOMACY has run its course. Its only effect has been to give the Iranians still more time to progress toward achieving their surreptitious and malicious aims. After the UN Security Council passed a resolution in December insisting that Iran end its uranium-enrichment program, Ahmadinejad dismissed it as "a piece of torn paper" and vowed to expand his country's nuclear program; which is precisely what he proceeded to do. For more than a decade Iran hid its nuclear program from the international community. It has interfered with inspections of its nuclear facilities and repeatedly defied demands to cease and desist from its dangerous actions. Does anyone really think another UN resolution is going to do the trick? The effects of the world's inaction have already begun to be felt, as other Arab countries in the region now speak openly of pursuing their own nuclear capability. On Sunday, the secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council announced that six Gulf Arab states are moving ahead with plans to build their own nuclear power plants. These same countries have oil coming out of their ears, so there is hardly a pressing need for them to develop nuclear energy resources. But they are undoubtedly looking on with alarm at their Iranian neighbor to the north, nervous at the prospect that he will be allowed to succeed in his quest to obtain nuclear weapons. So now, thanks to the failure to shut down the Iranian nuclear program, we have the beginnings of a good, old-fashioned Middle Eastern arms race on our hands. Furthermore, the Iranians have grown so emboldened that they now feel comfortable enough to start sharing their nuclear know-how with other rogue regimes. As the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported last week, "Iran's ambassador to Belarus on Friday expressed Teheran's readiness to explore cooperation in construction of a nuclear plant in the country." And according to reports last month in the British press, Iran is cooperating with North Korea on nuclear research and ballistic missile technology. THE FACT is that Iran is out to assert its power and dominance, and to sow instability for the US and its interests far and wide. Last summer, Teheran orchestrated the war in Lebanon through its proxy group, Hizbullah, and it is now waging war against the West by sending arms for use against US and coalition troops in Iraq. At the same time, the ayatollahs are busy expanding their military arsenal so they can create an ever-greater arc of terror and fear. Back in November, Iran test-fired dozens of missiles, including the Shihab-3, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and can hit targets up to 1,200 miles away - meaning that all of Israel is now within reach. And lest anyone still doubts Ahmadinejad's intentions, he made them abundantly clear at the Holocaust denial conference he hosted in Teheran back in December. In his closing speech, the would-be Persian executioner gleefully declared that "The life-curve of the Zionist regime has begun its descent, and it is now on a downward slope towards its fall... The Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated." And once he dispenses with the Jews, as we know, it is the West that will be next. So this is not just Israel's battle, it is everyone's war, and it is time for the decision-makers in Washington and Jerusalem to act. Sure, the thought of striking Iran is scary, particularly in light of the trouble America is having next door in Iraq. But as frightening as the idea might seem, it pales in comparison with the ayatollahs having their finger on the button and being able to threaten the world with nuclear blackmail and destruction. So like it or not, time is of the essence, and there is not a moment to lose. The US or Israel should bomb Iran now, before it proves too late.