The sheer number of panel discussions, guest lectures and expert news appearances on Iran’s nuclear program in the past month is indicative of the magnitude of the threat this nation poses to the world. Nearly every speaker presents the threat in a similar manner, underlining the irrational leaders of this Muslim nation.
These pundits are right on target. The combination of Iran’s irrational leadership and its desire to acquire a nuclear weapon demands that this quest for weapons of mass destruction come to an end.
What a state does to defend itself, especially when that means testing nuclear weapons, can be an immediate threat to other states. According to reports in the past few weeks: on March 31, Iran tested it’s own Fajr 3 stealth missile; on April 2, Iranian leaders boasted of testing a powerful underwater missile and they gloated again on April 4 of another radar-shirking surface-to-sea missile; on April 5, Iran disclosed yet another missile, which can be fired from all its military helicopters and jet fighter planes. All of these missiles could, one day, carry the nuclear warheads needed to destroy entire cities, and threaten the security of the Middle East and America.
Numerous countries have nuclear weapons, but the United States has not been as concerned about potential proliferation in those states compared to Iran’s grasps for strategic nuclear power. Most of these countries are allies of the U.S., members of the United Nations and nations who historically abide by international law. To the contrary, Iran has hidden its nuclear program from international inspection for 18 years and scoffed at U.N. demands for more stringent arms control.
One must look at the entire equation, not just Iran’s military capabilities, to understand the magnitude of this state’s threat to global stability. Iran is a country lead by a clerical regime that has appointed every one of its political leaders and has no problem lying to or deceiving the international community.
In early February 2006, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary-General Ali Larijani said at a televised press conference, “We recommend that (the West) learn a lesson from history … the Iranian people is zealous and brave; do not toy with the national pride of the Iranians … your interests in the region will be harmed.” Reports have also said that he has referred to America as the “great Satan” and threatened that Iran will respond harshly to the West if it feels threatened.
This past October, reports said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Regardless of your position on Israel, no rational or credible leader would call for the total destruction of another country, and that the last thing I would want to hear from the leadership of a country in possession of a nuclear arsenal.
A free, liberal and democratic Iran would not pose the threat it does now. Thus, it is not the nuclear weapons themselves that are of concern to the U.S. and the world, but Iran’s readiness to use these weapons to destabilize the world.
The solution to this problem must involve regime change, one way or another. Take radical Islam out of the equation, and it seems that the international community would not be so worried. Unlike most Arab states – whose leaders are pro-western but whose people are not – Iran has a general population that is far more pro-western than its leadership. It is likely that Iran’s radical leadership is causing the problem.
The solution lies in the hands of time. If radical Islam can be removed from the situation before Iran has nuclear weapons, then the international community can sigh with relief. If regime change does not occur or fails to produce a more rational, democratic leadership, then the nuclear capabilities must be removed by the U.S., a European power or Israel. A watered-down demand for the suspension of uranium enrichment from the U.N. Security Council will not be the solution, and will only ensure the possibility of an unstable Middle East and world.
-The writer is a freshman majoring in international affairs.