Iran drew concern worldwide for refusing to respond in a timely fashion to the West’s offer of an incentives package in exchange for Tehran’s abandonment of its nuclear program. Iranian officials brushed aside the June 29 deadline set by the West and said Iran would respond on August 22. Some, including Farid Ghadry of the Reform Party of Syria (as I reported several weeks ago) and Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis, suggested that Iran may have chosen that date in order to establish a connection with the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s fabled Night Journey, during which Allah is said to have miraculously illuminated the night sky over Jerusalem to facilitate the prophet’s journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and thence to Paradise. Would Iran’s answer to the West’s tribute package be to illuminate the night sky over Jerusalem again, this time with a nuclear device?
Obviously not on August 22. Some advocates of Western appeasement seized on this to condemn right-wing hysteria. Brian Whitaker, a columnist for The Guardian, sneered: “The purpose of all this scaremongering is obviously to build up fears about an Iranian nuclear attack.” But Whitaker neglected to consider one possibility: that the “scaremongers” were correct.
How could this be, when doomsday didn’t materialize on August 22? Because the Iranian regime has made clear its desire to illuminate the night sky over Jerusalem. The fact that they first set the date for their reply as August 22, and then delivered a reply that made it clear that they had no plans to give up their nuclear ambitions, suggests that such an attack is still in the cards. When Whitaker and his ilk dismiss “fears about an Iranian nuclear attack” as “scaremongering,” they ignore both Iran’s present bellicose activities and clear indications it has been giving of its future plans:
- According to the Times of London, Iran “is seeking to import large consignments of bomb-making uranium from the African mining area that produced the Hiroshima bomb.”
- On August 22 itself, an Iranian warship fired upon a Romanian oil tanker moored in the Persian Gulf; Iranian troops occupied the ship.
- Lethal roadside bombs strong enough to penetrate American and British tank armor are being turned out in large numbers by three Iranian factories. A large cache of other Iranian-made weapons and materiel were discovered last Monday in the Iraqi city of Um Qasr.
- After decisively altering the balance between Hizballah and Israel by supplying military hardware to the Lebanese Shi’ite terror organization, Iran continues even after the ceasefire announcement to ship arms and materiel to Hizballah.
- Ahmadinejad continues to indulge his now well-established taste for pugnacious rhetoric, declaring last week: “If you want to have good relations with the Iranian people in the future, you should acknowledge the right and the might of the Iranian people, and you should bow and surrender to the might of the Iranian people. If you do not accept this, the Iranian people will force you to bow and surrender.”
- The Iranian President also threatened George W. Bush during his recent interview with Mike Wallace. Referring to the letter he sent several months ago to Bush inviting him to accept Islam, Ahmadinejad said to Wallace: “We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate.” This accords with Islamic tradition. Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, tells his followers to call people to Islam before waging war against them. Ahmadinejad followed Muhammad’s instruction to the letter both by calling Bush to Islam, and then by warning that his refusal would have bad consequences.
- Iran has in the last few days conducted large-scale military maneuvers and tested a new short-range missile.
- Ahmadinejad continues to call for “elimination of Zionist regime.”
August 22 has come and gone. But the threat of Iran continues to hang over the world. Those who choose to ignore or downplay it may be in before too long for a most unpleasant surprise, courtesy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.