The foreign editor of London's Daily Telegraph offers a sobering opinion piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, entitled The Price of Iranian Sanctions. His case is that while there are risks in punishing Tehran with sanctions and other legal measures, inaction is more dangerous.
Prof. Irwin Cotler, a past minister of justice and attorney general in Canada, prepares the way, stating the Iranian problem by reference to what he cogently calls "the toxic convergence" of four inter-related threats emanating from the messianic lunatic jihadists who currently control Iran. In Cotler's words: "Nuclear weapons; state-sanctioned incitement to genocide; state sponsorship of international terror; and the danger of persistent assaults on the rights of its own citizens."
The revival of Iran's international terrorist infrastructure is evident in Afghanistan where NATO intelligence officers have reported a marked increase in cooperation between Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Taliban insurgents. Tehran has also revived its interest in Iraq, where the Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds force has a long history of attempting to radicalize the country's Shia community. The inconclusive election result last month has delivered the balance of power to Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iran-backed radical Shia cleric who waged war against U.S. forces at the height of Iraq's insurgency, who is living in exile in Iran. Saudi intelligence officials have blamed a detachment of Iran's Revolutionary Guards in north Yemen for the recent increase in al-Qaeda terror attacks against Saudi Arabia. Finally, there are Iran's well-documented ties with Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon. With so much Iranian activity taking place throughout the region, the message is clear: Any attempt by the West to increase the pressure on Iran over its nuclear program will result in an explosion of violence throughout the Middle East and beyond. The problem is that doing nothing about Tehran's nuclear ambitions would be even more dangerous.The full text of Coughlin's WSJ article is here (even if you're not a paying WSJ subscriber).