from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Iran’s Plot for Terror in Washington

October 11, 2011

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Today’s explosive news of an Iranian plot to commit an act of terror in Washington, DC should put Iran back at the top of our foreign policy agenda.  As the Washington Post stated, the indictment is for “an elaborate terrorist plot backed by factions of the Iranian government,”  namely the Quds Force—the part of the Revolutionary Guards charged with acts of terrorism.

In recent months, with the events of the Arab Spring and the Administration’s obsessive focus on Israeli-Palestinian matters, Iran has seemed an afterthought. Indeed it barely got a sentence in the president’s speech to the UN General Assembly.

But the Iranian regime was bold enough to plot to kill the Saudi ambassador right in Washington, and had an explosive device been used many others, including American citizens, would likely have been killed or wounded. (Details can be found here, the actual indictment in the case.)

The recklessness of this plan is remarkable, and tells us a great deal about the ayatollahs’ regime. As the Iranians could never be certain that their role would remain undiscovered, one must assume they simply did not believe there would be serious repercussions. And that itself tells us a great deal about their assessment of American policy, and their fear of the United States.

What to do about Iran should once again be a top item for discussion. The recklessness--it is the only appropriate word--of this planned act of terrorism in our nation’s capital should teach us that the regime in Tehran cannot be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. If they will act this way now, how will they act if they ever get nuclear arms? That “it is unacceptable for Iran to get nuclear weapons” is the stated policy of the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, Germany, and France) as well as of Israel. The question is whether we mean it and are truly prepared to enforce it. Today’s revelation of planned Iranian terrorism in Washington should make it clear yet again that the answer must be “Yes.”

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