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Thinking Iran — It's the Regime, Not the Nukes

My friend Michael Ledeen is right, of course, that the "October Surprise" trial balloon floated by the Times over the weekend -- the suggestion of a "grand deal" between Obama and the mullahs over Iran's nuclear program -- is much ado about nothing new.

What would be new is to try the only approach to Iran that has ever made any sense -- the one no American administration, of either party, has tried. Very simply: the Iranian regime is our enemy; we want the mullahs gone, by whatever means gets the job done within the constraints of political reality.

As I have maintained for a very long time, the obsession over Iran's nukes is a grave mistake. It implies that if we could come to some understanding about the mullahs' nuclear ambitions, the groundwork would be laid for stable relations. This is delusional. Exportation of their Islamist revolution, hatred of America and, within that sweep, the destruction of Israel have been the operating premises of Khomeinist Iran since 1979. The facilitation of terrorism -- a barbaric way to pursue national interests -- has been the regime's principal means of operation. The mullahs have killed or aided and abetted in the killing of thousands of Americans, and every day they try to kill more. The regime is an incorrigible enemy of the United States. There should be nothing they can do at this point, after over 30 years of this, to convince us otherwise.

The potential that Iran could get nuclear weapons adds urgency to the problem, but it is not the problem per se. The Pakistanis have nukes -- we're not thrilled about that, but it does not keep us up at night. The problem posed by Iran is the regime, not the nukes.