Photo: Reuters
Matthew Bronfman
Photo: Reuters
Shahab 3 missiles
Photo: AP

Enough of global flaccidity

Cooperative international response to Iranian threat is needed now, before Iran develops capacity to inflict destruction

The timing and scope of Iranian war games held two weeks ago demonstrates the growing threat emanating from Tehran. The provocative exercises and Iran’s recent expansion of its nuclear program further accentuates the regime’s violent rhetoric, making the Iranian threat to the civilized world increasingly poignant.


With a progressively more sophisticated military capability, it is only a matter of time until Iran’s capacity to inflict destruction equals its stated ambition to do so. The international community must actively confront this threat and end its internal discord.


The Iranian war games showcased a sophisticated array of weaponry that even in its present form could inflict substantial harm. The Shahab3 long-range ballistic missile test fired during the maneuvers, has the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead to Israel, Central Asia, US military installations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, and Bahrain and every other Middle Eastern state including traditional Iranian rivals such as Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.


In addition, Iran tested improved naval missiles capable of striking seaborne targets in the strategically important Persian Gulf. Iran has a past record of sharing such weapons with international terrorist organizations such as Hizbullah. Iran has also indicated that it is willing to share its missile systems with those “friendly” to its interests, making the threat from these weapons more diffuse and global.


Irresponsible thinking has become norm

More worrying than these conventional weapons is Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capability.


Iran recently expanded its uranium enrichment capacity by installing a new cascade of centrifuges at its Natanz facility. Far from halting enrichment activities, this advancement of Iran’s nuclear program failed to draw even minimal international repercussion.


Despite supporting UN Security Council resolution 1696, Russia and China continue to block attempts to exact substantial consequences from Iran for violating the Security Council resolution as well as its obligations under Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and International Atomic Energy Agency rules.


When asked whether Iran posed a potential threat to Russia, the Russian army’s chief of staff typified his country’s short-sightedness on this issue by saying “everything depends on where (the missile) will fly.” Unfortunately, such irresponsible thinking has been the norm for many in the international community when dealing with Iran.


Following Russian obstinacy, China has so far failed to replicate its strong and constructive role in responding to North Korea’s recent nuclear provocations. The world can ill afford to wait for Iran to conduct a nuclear test before China acts to support a robust international non-proliferation regime.


Incitement to genocide

Global flaccidity has increased the Iranian regime’s confidence. Following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s lead, Iranian officials have taken an increasingly belligerent and hostile tone in a systematic campaign to denigrate the foundations of civilized society.


Ahmadinejad repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel, which is both an incitement to genocide and a complete contravention of the UN Charter. The regime issues direct threats of revenge against the West for its attempts to halt Iran’s nuclear program and its support of Israel.


In addition, the very legitimacy of the UN and the historicity of the Holocaust are regularly brought into question. With the support of the Iranian government, an international cartoon contest dedicated to demeaning and denying the Holocaust was held in Tehran. Worse than the abhorrent content of the cartoons, the exhibit’s curator left no doubt about the event’s true motivation when he stated that the contest would continue to be held annually “until the destruction of Israel.”


Iran’s growing conventional military capability and steadily advancing nuclear program is a dangerous threat. When given over to radical extremists who glorify and celebrate death on all sides and preach an ideology that undermines the very foundations of civilized society, it is an existential threat.


During the 1930s, another radical regime began building up its military might while spewing hateful propaganda against the civilized world and the Jewish people. To prevent disaster, the internal international discord must now come to an end. A serious cooperative international response to the Iranian threat is needed now, before Iran is allowed to further develop its capacity to inflict destruction on the rest of the world.


Matthew Bronfman is a member of the World Jewish Congress Steering Committee


פרסום ראשון: 11.21.06, 10:24
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