In an appearance September 01 on NPR’s All Things Considered, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte indicated that Iran is 5-10 years away from manufacturing the bomb, but carefully hedged his assertion since intelligence-gathering in Iran is difficult. Other experts consider the time-frame much shorter.
In any case, the UN Security Council will be hamstrung by China and Russia with regard to enacting sanctions against Iran. China imports much of its oil from Iran and signed a contract in 2004 to develop an Iranian oil field, while Russia is currently working with Iran on a billion-dollar nuclear-development contract signed in 1992. The UN is not a player in the current picture. UN Secretary General Annan’s recent trip to Tehran was a meaningless gesture.
With the Iranian refusal on the August 31 deadline – set by the UN – to foreclose its nuclear operations, the ultimate goal of which is development of a bomb, notwithstanding claims to the contrary by President Ahmadinejad, the United States and other nations, either individually or collectively, are forced to consider action since Ahmadinejad has made it clear that both Israel and the United States (by extension, all other infidels) are in Iran’s crosshairs, to be erased from the Earth.
According to Radio Free Europe/Liberty in an article last December, “Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last month expressed support for Ahmadinejad and said criticism of the president must stop.” Ahmadinejad says nothing without the permission of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spiritual ruler in Iran, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and actual head of government. Last December, Khamenei also said, “Achievements of the Palestinian nation [Hamas-controlled] over recent years, particularly expulsion of the Zionists from Gaza Strip, are owing to their resistance and Jihad against the Zionist regime."
Combined with Iran’s and Syria’s recent use of Hezbollah as their proxy force in attempting to destroy Israel just weeks ago, Khamenei’s acknowledged acceptance of the militant Hamas organization as conducting a Jihad, defined as “a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty,” further expands the proxy and tightens the noose around Israel on its west side.
The greater proxy-expansion, however, is seen now in Iran’s flagrant use of the Iraqi Shiites to expel the United States from Iraq and guarantee that the Iraqi government will be controlled by fellow Shiites. As noted August 31 in Iran Focus, a non-profit news-service provider that focuses on events in Iran, Iraq and the Middle East, “In a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh on Sunday, Iran's national security adviser, Hassan Rowhani, said the Iranian presence in Iraq was a sign of ‘strong bonds’ between the two Shiite neighbours, adding that Iran wanted to be involved in ‘bringing security’ to Iraq because the two countries’ security interests were ‘tied to each other.’”
According to a January 2005 account in Iran Focus, sources within the Iranian opposition confirmed that Iran's intelligence and security apparatus was connected to insurgents carrying out attacks in Iraq, and its personnel reported to a senior commander in Iran. There can be no doubt that Iran, equal in land area to Alaska and sharing a porous 500-mile border with Iraq, is supplying the Iraqi Shiites with war materiel and physical help in their fight with the Sunnis over control of the Iraqi government.
To the extent that the combination of Shiites of both countries impacts the Coalition, Iraq acts as Iran’s proxy in dealing with the U.S. and the West, thus in effect declaring Jihad regarding the infidels. An attack by North Korea on South Korea would be an attack on the United States, since nearly 33,000 American troops are stationed there. The similarity with the Korean circumstance is obvious.
The most ominous element has to do with Iranian motivation for mischief, i.e., as a religious undertaking authenticated by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and well documented. The only thing worse than a fanatic is a religious fanatic. A fanatic believes the ends always justify the means. To an Islamic fanatic, destruction of an infidel (9/11, for instance) is a means to an end, the announced Islamic reconfiguration of the world. For this reason, the West is on notice by a nation – not just a terrorist outfit such as Al Quaeda – that no holds will be barred by Iran and other Islamic nations in attempting its downfall. Iran has fired the first shot.