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Is Iran next?
By Carol Devine-Molin
One way or another, the fanatical mullahs of Iran will be toppled. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but soon, and undoubtedly within the next few years. The only question is whether the popular pro-democracy insurgents will have the wherewithal to oust the dreadful Islamo-fascists themselves, or, if ultimately, it will fall upon the US to effectuate needed "regime change". Of course, Americans prefer that the Iranians snatch back their own nation from the ayatollahs - and my hunch is that most Americans would be in favor of supporting an Iranian grassroots rebellion in myriad ways.
During the past few years, scholar Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute has been a pivotal voice in keeping us apprised of Iran's raging political protests that began with students, but have continued to garner widespread momentum and influence among the mainstream populace. It's very telling that mass demonstrations in Iran now include all segments of the citizenry. Clearly, it's imperative that the US bolster the forces of freedom inside Iran to generate a sort of critical mass, a tipping point if you will, that will induce a full-fledged rebellion and overthrow of the mullahs. Sadly, the students and pro-democracy activists who have regularly taken to the streets risk harassment, beatings, arrest and systematic torture while in custody by government thugs.
Of course, Iran's frightful human rights record and history of oppressive rule are just the tip of the iceberg when discussing its array of sins. Ronald Reagan was certainly prescient when he characterized this post-cold war era as the most perilous period in global history, rife with emerging threats. In surveying the geopolitical landscape, Iran is at the top of the chart of rogue nations that aid and abet terror groups - It represents the undisputed hub of state-sponsored terrorism, bar none. To make matters worse, Iran refuses to set aside its nuclear ambitions and is apparently bent on developing nuclear weaponry circuitously, in violation of the multinational non-proliferation treaty. Moreover, Iranian agents are diligently inciting violent Iraqi opposition to the US, which continues to endanger our troops in Iraq. All-in-all, Iran's ruling class is incredibly despicable and deserves to be ousted forthwith.
The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), the UN's "nuclear watchdog", has been attempting inspections in Iran for the purpose of conducting water, soil and air samples at suspected nuclear sites. However, Iranian officials are busy doing the Saddam shuffle, involving duplicity and manipulation, in order to stymie the efforts of the IAEA inspectors. Although Iranian authorities now maintain they are ready to cooperate with inspections, given their exceedingly poor track record any and all Iranian collaboration with the IAEA remains a dubious undertaking.
Through its nuclear power plant program, there is growing evidence that Iran is engaged in reprocessing spent fuel and "uranium-enrichment" for the purpose of producing weapons grade fuel. And that is precisely why the IAEA inspectors need to intensely examine the situation in Iran. President Bush has emphatically stated that Iran will not be permitted to possess nuclear weapons. And the Bush administration's national security bigwigs are out-and-about singing from the same hymn book to reinforce the severity of this matter. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John R. Bolton have vociferously rejected Iran's claims of "peaceful" fuel reprocessing efforts, which are in fact integral to Iran's nuclear weapons program.
As noted by Michael Ledeen in his May 14, 2003 article for National Review Online, "Finally, looming over the entire issue (internal strife) is the Iranian crash program to acquire nuclear weapons. A couple of months ago an Iranian team flew to China and traveled on the ground to North Korea, where the mullahs offered Kim Jong-il billions of dollars for nuclear weapons and technology. Shortly thereafter, top leaders of the Revolutionary Guards were informed by the National Security Council that Iran would soon have nuclear weapons". Importantly, any nuke could be directly utilized by Iran or passed on to a surrogate terrorist organization.
Why does Iran want nukes? Simply because nuclear weapons would be instrumental in helping Iran fulfill its Jihadist mission to annihilate all infidels. And, besides its radical philosophy, the Iranian regime poses an even greater threat due to its close ties to a host of Islamic terror groups including Hezbollah, the militant organization that Iran founded and exported to Syria, and the al-Qaeda remnant that Iran continues to harbor.
Are the crazed mullahs willing to engage in nuclear "first strike" against Israel, or America for that matter, even if it means a catastrophic retaliatory hit on Iran? Possibly, since these radical Islamists have both homicidal and suicidal inclinations. With the Iranian people growing increasingly disenchanted with ayatollah rule, and inching ever-closer to ousting these hardliners, it's not inconceivable that the mullahs would rather see Iran decimated in a blaze of glory than their precious "Islamic Republic" overthrown. Congruent with this notion, some mullahs have reportedly espoused the death penalty for Iranians engaged in street demonstrations against the ruling regime. In a Reuters piece dated June 20, 2003, entitled "Iran Cleric Calls for Death Penalty for Protesters", journalist Paul Hughes noted the stance of Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi: "'They (the protesters) are rioters, hooligans and they have created insecurity and they are corrupt on earth. The judiciary should confront them as corrupt on earth', he said. The loose term 'corrupt on earth', a charge which has been leveled at political dissidents in the past, carries the death penalty in Iran."
Clearly, the tyrannical mullahs of Iran are not going to reform their ways. In fact, they possess a thoroughly entrenched perspective, resistant to change, and will undoubtedly continue their odious policy of crackdowns on dissidents. In their quest for freedom, the Iranian people must be willing to make concerted efforts to topple the current regime - and other freedom loving people such as the Americans must help them.
How can the US assist the Iranian dissidents? Of course, we can depend upon President Bush to make notable use of the bully pulpit, for the purpose of encouraging pro-democracy voices in Iran. And the US should provide monies, weaponry, training and technology that can be utilized by the Iranians seeking "regime change". This is all common sense, isn't it? And, while we're at it, why can't we send in some special forces to help organize and train these freedom fighters? Ollie North has already done this himself in Nicaragua. His input would certainly be insightful, as long as the conversation doesn't drift to any creative income-producing ventures for the cause. Surely, our foreign policy experts can come up with other effective ideas besides the notion of sanctions that only seem to hurt the populace rather than the ruling class.
Radio Free Europe was the voice of freedom for multitudes before the fall of the "iron curtain" - Similarly, we need to keep pumping information into Iran to promote both "regime change" and democratization. As Michael Ledeen notes, "There are several excellent radio and TV stations in California that broadcast directly into Iran. Due to limited resources, they are only on the air for a few hours a day. The Bush administration could accomplish a lot with a small investment in these broadcasters, who have many millions of Iranian listeners and viewers, and whose words carry an authority and an intimacy that no official US broadcaster can hope to match."
Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.
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