The European deal--which is said
to include the sale of civilian aircraft and membership for
Iran in the World Trade Organization--rests on the notion that
no one would put abstract goals or principles ahead of gaining
a steady flow of economic loot. And so, if only we could negotiate
a deal that gives Iran a sufficiently juicy carrot, it would
forgo its ambitions.
But to believe that Iran really hungers for nuclear energy
(as it claims) is sheer fantasy. Possessing abundant oil
reserves, Iran is the second-largest oil producer in OPEC. To
believe that it values prosperity at all is equally fantastic;
Iran is a theocracy that systematically violates its citizens’ right
to political and economic liberty.
What Iran desires is a nuclear weapon--the better to threaten
and annihilate the impious in the West and in Iran’s neighborhood.
Iran declares its anti-Western ambitions stridently. At an official
parade in 2003, Iran flaunted a Shihab-3 missile draped with
a banner announcing: “Israel must be wiped out.”A
missile paraded last year declared another of Iran’s targets: “We
will crush America under our feet.”
A committed enemy of the West, Iran is the ideological wellspring
terrorism, and the “world's most active sponsor of terrorism” (according
to the U.S. government). A totalitarian regime that viciously punishes “un-Islamic” behavior
among its own citizens, Iran actively exports its contempt for freedom and human
life throughout the infidel world. For years it has been fomenting and underwriting
savage attacks on Western and American interests, using such proxies as Hezbollah.
Like several of the 9/11 hijackers before them, many senior Al Qaida leaders,
fugitives of the Afghanistan war, have found refuge in Iran. And lately Iran
has funneled millions of dollars, arms, and ammunition to insurgents in Iraq.
It’s absurd to think that by offering Iran rewards to halt its aggression,
we will deflect it from its goal. The only consequence of engaging such a vociferously
hostile regime in negotiations is the whitewashing of its crimes and the granting
of undeserved legitimacy. The attempt to conciliate Iran with “incentives” further
inflames the boldness of Iran’s mullahs. What it teaches them is that the
West lacks the intellectual self-confidence to name its enemies and deal with
them accordingly. It vindicates the mullahs’ view that their religious
worldview can bring a scientific, technologically advanced West to its knees.
Far from converting Iran into a nonthreat, the “incentives” would
sustain its economy, prop up its dictatorial government, and perpetuate its terrorist
war against the West. Whether Iran accepts the European deal or merely prolongs “negotiations” indefinitely,
so long as the “diplomatic” approach continues, Iran gains time enough
to engage in covert nuclear weapons research. Iran’s flouting of a previous
agreement to stop enriching uranium (which prompted the current talks) and its
documented attempts to acquire nuclear bomb technology erase any doubts about
how it will behave under any future deal.
This approach of diplomacy-with-anyone-at-any-cost necessarily
results in nourishing one's enemy and sharpening its fangs.
That is what happened under a 1994 deal
with communist North Korea. In return for boatloads of aid and oil from the United
States, Japan, and other nations, North Korea promised not to develop nuclear
weapons. Despite U.N. inspections, North Korea flouted the agreement repeatedly.
When caught cheating, it promised anew to end its nuclear program in return for
more “incentives.” In February 2005, North Korea declared (plausibly)
that it had succeeded in building nuclear weapons.
Another, older attempt to buy peace by giving “incentives” to an
enemy was a cataclysmic failure. In 1938, the Europeans pretended that Hitler's
intentions were not really hostile, and insisted that “peace in our time” could
be attained by allowing him to walk into Czechoslovakia. Instead, he was emboldened
to launch World War II.
Ignoring the lessons of history, the Europeans are advocating
a deal with Iran that likewise purchases the reckless pretence
of peace today, at the cost of
unleashing catastrophic dangers tomorrow.
To protect American (and European) lives, we must learn the
life-or-death importance of passing objective moral judgment.
We must recognize the character of Iran
and act accordingly. By any rational standard, Iran should be condemned and
its nuclear ambition thwarted, now. The brazenly amoral European gambit can
aid its quest--and necessitate a future confrontation with a bolder, stronger
Elan Journo is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (aynrand.org),
which promotes the ideas of Ayn Rand--best-selling author of
Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.