Commentary Magazine


Facing Facts on Iran

On Sunday, an official spokesman for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards admitted that Iran arms “liberation armies” in the region–i.e., provides weapons to mass murderers, terrorists, and militias of all kinds in places like Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen. We knew that already, but we appreciate the candor. One question, though, more for our Western leaders than for our Iranian truth-tellers: how exactly is this Iranian role as a spoiler going to serve Western interests in the region? And how will things change once Iran becomes a nuclear power? After all, this is becoming a distinct possibility.

If Israeli intelligence is correct in its most recent assessment, Western powers will fail to halt Iran’s nuclear bid, because no military attack will be launched and no tougher sanctions will be imposed on Tehran. That will leave every Middle Eastern militia currently on the payroll of Iran under the distinct impression that their mischief will now be further protected by Iran’s nuclear umbrella–something that will enable them to escalate their actions with impunity. Of course, Western leaders can delude themselves about Iran’s true intentions. Or they can believe what Council of Foreign Relations president Richard Haass believes, as Shmuel Rosner reported in his recent post. If they choose to believe what Iran is saying, they might wish to reconsider their options and prove Israeli intelligence wrong. What’s wrong in the region currently pales in comparison to what’s going to go wrong.