Both the Washington Post editorial
, and this opinion piece
by Kenneth Pollack urge similar, but futile, actions regarding Iran's development of nuclear weapons. Both insist that the key in our dealings with Iran is to confront them with allies and then, that the final threat should be sanctions. This is completely misguided. As was the problem with Iraq, the allies that we would need to use - France, Germany, Russia - all have significant economic interest in Iran. We already know that the sanctions on Iraq that we had agreed to impose with those allies were worthless. Why would these work better?
It does not seem that Europe has made a strategic decision on the unacceptability of Iranian nukes. It seems that they are willing to go along with Iran's desires as long as their trade and security are not disrupted. This is incredibly short-sighted of them, since once Iran obtains nukes there will be very little that Europe or the US will be able to do to restrain them in their quest for regional hegemony. Whether we like it or not, Iran will most likely have to be confronted militarily. This would not involve a full-scale military invasion like Iraq, but would instead be in the form of serious and sustained air strikes against all of Iran's nuclear facilities. The feasibility of this has been questioned, but this article
from Globalsecurity.org seems to suggest that this would be very doable, and would cause enough damage to Iran's nuclear program to set them back quite a few years. The hope is that in that time, the mullahs would be overthrown from within.