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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

May 18, 2005

When Iran Goes Nuclear, How Bad Will It Be?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

As you know, Iran is governed by Islamic fundamentalists---people, like Osama bin Laden, who believe the world should be governed by Islamic theocracies. These Islamists have no problem killing countless numbers of other people, including their own suicide jihadists, and utterly destroying symbols of Western society (like the World Trade Center) to accomplish their ends. For decades Iran has hidden its program for developing weapons-grade nuclear material, but now they’ve come defiantly out in the open. The Germans, French and English have been negotiating with Tehran in the hopes of persuading the Iranians to abandon their headlong path to nuclear weaponry, but even the patient Europeans are becoming frustrated at Iran’s recalcitrance. So what are the stakes here? How bad could it be if Iran acquires nuclear weapons? The answer is, unspeakably horrible. Indeed, there is no greater threat to the world’s survival than a nuclear-armed Iran . . . and time is growing short to prevent this eventuality.

The editorial below, from Israel’s leading newspaper, HaAretz, lays out the stakes and the options. To get even more depth on this frightening subject, I strongly recommend you review FLAME’s recent hasbarah (clarifying message), “Iran and Nuclear Weapons: What does the world, what does Israel have to fear?” at

One thing is clear: We must urge our leaders to proceed with an iron will in the face of Iran’s nuclear intentions. This theocracy simply cannot be allowed to develop weaponry capable of setting off a worldwide nuclear holocaust . . . since of all the world’s bad actors, none is more capable of sacrificing everything---all of civilization---in the name of God. It’s a risk we cannot take.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Director, FLAME

P.S. If you believe that spreading the word about Iran’s nuclear threat is critical and urgent, we encourage you to support the publication of FLAME’s position paper on this timely issue nationally and internationally. To make a donation online, please go to Thanks in advance.

The world versus a nuclear Iran
Editorial, HaAretz, May 15, 2005

The revolutionary Islamic regime in Tehran is trying to buy time. A few days, until the end of the month, when the conference reviewing the state of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty disperses. A few weeks, until the middle of next month, when presidential elections take place in Iran. A few months until they obtain sufficient enriched uranium-fissurable material required to produce nuclear bombs and warheads.

The Iranians are prepared to use any trick, say anything, pretend as much as their interlocutors desire, so long as time passes and they can, one dark day, announce, as a fait accompli, that they possess nuclear weapons.

It's possible that Iran's objectives are purely defensive, deterrence or political, but its authorities are threatening Israel—working outright for its annihilation and operating proxies against Israel in Lebanon, in the territories and in distant arenas.

Israel defers its concerns regarding powerful militaries in the region, such as Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's, because of the pro-Western orientation of the regimes in Cairo and Riyadh. Tehran already fulfills one of two negative conditions—a hostile regime—but lacks the destructive force to implement its designs. Israel, therefore, must not treat the Iranian nuclear threat with complacency, as though it did not exist, or as though the problem can only be handled by another party.

By its very existence, the Iranian threat justifies Israeli preparations to frustrate it. As far as tactics are concerned, the [Israeli] government's approach is correct—not to lead the global efforts to thwart the Iranian threat. Iran constitutes a challenge to the international system, which is founded on voluntary membership in regional and global organizations and adherence to the charters of these organizations.

In contrast to India, Pakistan and Israel, which chose to preserve their freedom of operation even at the cost of forgoing benefits and remained outside the nuclear nonproliferation treaty club, Iran tried to gain nuclear assistance for peaceful purposes as a member of the club, while flouting its obligation and clandestinely working to acquire nuclear weapons. North Korea did the same, until it withdrew from the club.

International acquiescence to Iran's conduct would shatter the framework for the nonproliferation campaign. Additional countries would be quick to conclude that they wouldn't suffer should they follow in its footsteps. In the Middle East, the effect would be even more immediate and severe.

Israel wouldn't be the only one to find it difficult to do nothing. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey would identify an Iranian threat, at least in terms of regional supremacy. Just as Iran attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor in the fall of 1980 and drew pleasure from the fact that, after its failure, Israel came along and destroyed the reactor in June 1981, so, unless it is stopped, a nuclear Iran would overshadow the entire region.

The three leading countries in the European Union—Britain, Germany and France—are close to despairing of Iran's antics. The next stage is a report to the Security Council, which would consider sanctions. Only after these have been exhausted would it be time to use force, American or otherwise. This is essentially the correct course of action, whose weakness lies in the fact that, meanwhile, time is passing - and the Iranian clock may be running faster than the world clock.


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