Commentary Magazine


Topic: international terrorism

Terror Gives the Lie to Iran’s Pose as Rational Actor

The terrorist attack on Israelis vacationing in Burgas, Bulgaria yesterday ought to change the nature of the conversation about Iran. If, as Israel is asserting, the bombing which took the lives of five Israelis and left 33 wounded, is the work of Iran’s ally Hezbollah, then those counseling further appeasement of the Islamist regime are going to have to explain why the West should believe more feckless diplomacy will restrain Tehran and its Lebanese auxiliaries from further outrages or persuade them they should give up their effort to get a nuclear weapon. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear his country’s intelligence sees the long arm of Iran as being behind the slaughter.

There are those who will treat this incident as merely a tit-for-tat attack in which Iran was retaliating for the assassinations of its scientists and other Western and Israeli efforts to set back their nuclear program. But it should be remembered that Iran and its terrorist allies have a long record of targeting Jews. Tuesday was the 18th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community building in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in which 85 persons were murdered. The role of Iran and Hezbollah in that atrocity has long been established, but both the Lebanese group and its Iranian sponsor have escaped international retribution for its crimes.

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The terrorist attack on Israelis vacationing in Burgas, Bulgaria yesterday ought to change the nature of the conversation about Iran. If, as Israel is asserting, the bombing which took the lives of five Israelis and left 33 wounded, is the work of Iran’s ally Hezbollah, then those counseling further appeasement of the Islamist regime are going to have to explain why the West should believe more feckless diplomacy will restrain Tehran and its Lebanese auxiliaries from further outrages or persuade them they should give up their effort to get a nuclear weapon. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear his country’s intelligence sees the long arm of Iran as being behind the slaughter.

There are those who will treat this incident as merely a tit-for-tat attack in which Iran was retaliating for the assassinations of its scientists and other Western and Israeli efforts to set back their nuclear program. But it should be remembered that Iran and its terrorist allies have a long record of targeting Jews. Tuesday was the 18th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community building in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in which 85 persons were murdered. The role of Iran and Hezbollah in that atrocity has long been established, but both the Lebanese group and its Iranian sponsor have escaped international retribution for its crimes.

The trouble with the discussion about the effort to stop the Iranian nuclear program is that foreign policy realists and many diplomats treat that issue as a separate matter from Tehran’s history as a state sponsor of terror when the two are intimately related. The worldview of Iran’s leadership is one that sees it locked in a long struggle with the West and Israel with terror just one tool in its arsenal. The vicious anti-Semitism at the core of the political culture of the Islamist regime makes it clear Iran needs no excuses to justify its efforts to kill Jews.

The Burgas attack ought to serve as a wake-up call for the West as it finds itself locked in meaningless dead-end nuclear negotiations with Iran. International terrorism didn’t die with Osama bin Laden. Nor can we pretend that the Iran that many imagine can be trusted to refine uranium for peaceful atomic purposes is not the same government that employs terrorist mercenaries to kill Jews all throughout the world. The idea that the same nation that slaughters Jewish civilians is a rational actor is one that cannot be sustained.

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