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Iran Third Option

Reader comment on item: Deterring Tehran

Submitted by Paul Lawrence Rose (United States), May 9, 2006 at 15:20

Dear Daniel

You may recall our short conversation when you visited Penn State a couple of years ago. I enjoy (if that's the word) your newsletter and generally agree with them, but I can't accept your Third Option. My own work on German history and the attempt at a Nazi nuclear weapon on Heisenberg's part, as well as my Israeli history research, convince me that any attempt to solve the crisis by evading the military is bound to fail.

Firstly, I have a strong suspicion (based on my first hand knowledge of the secret German work and its resourcefulness) that Iran is far closer to a crude nuclear device than any of the intelligence estimates suggest. One does not need pure U235 nor as large a quantity as is usually assumed to make a nuclear bomb that is not miniaturized for a warhead or suitcase bomb. Secondly, when a regime is in the grips of a delusion no rational argument or diplomatic threat will suffice to deter it. Clearly there are some military and political circles in Iran that are afraid of the recent stance taken by Ahm., but to expect any effective resistance to the policy - which enjoys a nationalistic quality - is as unrealistic as expecting the German people to have got rid of Hitler in the 1930's. Yes, if the West had called Hitler's bluff on Munich the generals might have got rid of him. But short of such a military confrontation, there is no way that Iran will remove its current regime, no matter how much Iranians resent some of its oppressiveness.

I must confess that as a historian I've always been wary of attempts to compare various tyrants tand regimes to Hitler, but for the first time I see now parallels emerging between the present and the 1930's. There is a general spirit of denial and recalcitrance (including Bush himself after the Iraq mess) that is gaining ground. I would say we are now in about 1937. There really isn't that much time left, and one can be assured that the trahison des clercs will gain more and more support with every passing month. The more one tries to evade the military option, the more inevitable it becomes.

Best wishes Paul Lawrence Rose

P.S. Did you receive my pictures of the London Muslim Peace Demo with posters calling for "Exterminate Europe", "Europe Your 9/11 is on the way" etc?? I've no idea why a prosecution hasn't been brought under the various incitement to hatred acts. This sort of thing, as you know, can only encourage Muslim contempt for a West that can't even defend itself.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

If Tehran can be deterred, that is better than going to war. The Cold War, after all, was won that way.

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