Living With a Nuclear Iran

“Our people say ‘Death to America,’ and this is like saying, ‘I seek God’s refuge from the accursed Satan,’ which is recited before any chapter of the Koran, even before ‘In the name of Allah the compassionate, the merciful…”
—Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei
Iranian Television, March 14, 2005

When Islamists overthrew the Shah’s government in Iran in 1979, they established a revolutionary state whose sole operating premise is to conquer the lands of the infidel for Islam. That means the United States, the West in general, and of course, Israel. It also means that Iran will try to accomplish this by whatever means necessary, including the acquisition of nuclear weapons, which would bring their goal within reach a lot faster.
President Bush has said repeatedly that a nuclear Iran is “unacceptable.” Imagine his surprise, then, when he got wind of retired General John Abizaid’s comments this week. “I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear,” he said. “There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran. Let’s face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we’ve lived with a nuclear China, and we’re living with (other) nuclear powers as well.”

He continued: “Iran is not a suicide nation. I mean, they may have some people in charge that don’t appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon.”

There are so many problems with Abizaid’s comments, one barely knows where to begin.

First, while it is true that we were able to deter the Soviet Union and China, that was in large part because they were secular states. Their communist governments may have been evil, but they were rational and intent on surviving in order to spread their ideology.

The Iranian regime is a theocracy. Any religious-based government is not going to have the same survival rationality as a secular one, particularly a revolutionary Islamic state that exalts martyrdom. It is a regime based on the Islamic premises of convert or kill the infidel and the only way to Allah is through death in jihad. Not exactly notions on which to negotiate deterrence.

Second, the Iranians have been working on developing a nuclear weapon since at least the 1980s, according to some reports. Iran’s primary short-term geostrategic objective is to have the weapon as leverage to establish itself as the Islamic power center, offsetting the American, Russian, and Chinese power centers. All of the “diplomacy” in which we’ve been engaged through European intermediaries has failed to stop their quest. The Iranians play the ultimate cat and mouse game, while their centrifuges spin 24/7.

Third, as to Abizaid’s comment that they “don’t intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon,” let’s consider the Iranian track record.

In 1979, that Islamic government took 52 Americans hostage and held them for 444 days.

It has and continues to sponsor terrorist groups of all stripes—Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda—by giving them money, weapons, men, training, and spiritual justification.
It has harbored these same terrorists, feeding them, giving them shelter, protecting them from retaliation, including, by its own admission, hundreds of al Qaeda.

It is plotting to groom Osama bin Laden’s successor.

It has killed innocent Americans, Israelis, and others by bombings, beheadings, suicide attacks, and other means.

It continues to kill Americans in Iraq by shipping in arms, terrorists, and money.

It bought nuclear technology and know-how from such sterling members of the international community as North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia.

It destabilizes the fragile government in Iraq by targeting Muslims there trying to work with the United States, or at least trying to build some semblance of a normal life.

It is lying and cheating and deceiving—and has for two decades—about its nuclear weapons program.

It cries “Death to America” and says Israel should be “wiped off the map” and means it.

It takes Americans and British citizens hostage and holds some of them to this day.

This is the history of Iran over the last 28 years. And yet, the distinguished General somehow believes they will change their actions and intent once they acquire a nuclear weapon.

In fact, their behavior will only become more belligerent. If Iran can extract diplomatic and other concessions now, imagine what they will be able to extract when they have the bomb. Their leverage will be boundless. And so will their aggression. As to what we will be able to do then, as Ayatollah Khomeni said during the 1979 hostage crisis, “America cannot do a damn thing.” It is imperative that the United States not be resigned to “living” with a nuclear Iran and stop it in the short time we still have a strategic advantage.

In March, Newsweek reported that the New York Police Department was concerned that Iranian agents were canvassing the city, targeting bridges and tunnels, and Jewish organizations and Wall Street. In November 2003, Ahmad Safari and Alireza Safi, described as UN Iranian Mission “security” personnel, were detained when they were seen videotaping subway tracks at 1:10 in the morning. Ever since, the NYPD has been on heightened alert for Iranian terrorists.

Since Iran is the Number One exporter and supported of Islamic terror, this should come as no surprise. It should also come as no surprise that if it acquires a nuclear weapon, targeting New York’s bridges and tunnels becomes a lot easier.

With a jihadist regime like Tehran, there is no negotiation, no diplomacy, no treaty, no incentive that will dissuade them off their course. There is no deterrence where one side believes in martyrdom for its cause. There is no “living” with a nuclear Iran. There is only “dying” with one.