Tehran: The Other Death Panel

Op-ed writers wonder if politicians have forgotten about Iran, and warn of potential dangers

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Health care and domestic politics have dominated the public consciousness in the past few weeks. And the few foreign policy debates have emerged have largely involved Afghanistan and Iraq. Today, however, a few editorials have urged policymakers and public to remember another topic: Iran. The country, with its radical regime and potential nuclear program, remains a threat, the writers warned, and the problem posed to policymakers has only gotten trickier in the months of media neglect.

  • Recent Purges Aren't Good  "The turmoil [in the Iranian intelligence service]," argued David Ignatius in the Washington post, "suggests that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is pushing to tighten his control of the regime ... These machinations," he continued, "illustrate how difficult it will be to chart a viable U.S. policy for Iran in the post-election turmoil."
  • Time to Reevaluate Chávez, suggested the Washington Post editors in an interesting change of direction in the Iran debate. "Does the Obama administration know what Venezuela is doing to assist Tehran's weapons programs?" The editorial cited a report by Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau, which contended that Venezuelan banks and factories were "guarantee[ing] the continued development of nuclear technology and long-rage missiles." But "Mr. Morgenthau's report was brushed off by the State Department," the Post lamented, "which is deeply invested in the Chávez-is-no-threat theory."
  • Newsflash: Iran Dangerously Close to Nuclear Weapons  In one of the few mainstream print opinions on recent reports of Iran's enhanced nuclear capability, two former senators and a retired military general teamed up to bring the Iranian problem back into the limelight of national debate. "We understand," they wrote, "the reluctance of Americans to consider confronting the Iranian nuclear threat," referring to Iraq, Afghanistan, and domestic economic woes. But
A nuclear-armed Iran would not only pose a security threat to the U.S. and its allies. It would embolden Iranian-sponsored terrorist groups, destabilize the region, upset global energy markets, and spark a wave of proliferation across the Middle East. Moreover, if we do not act quickly and credibly to address this threat, we run the very real risk of Israel taking matters into its own hands.

Daniel Coats, Charles Robb, and Charles Wald continued their Wall Street Journal public service announcement to recommend that "Mr. Obama use the upcoming special session of the U.N. Security Council and the G-20 summit to marshal support for a robust strategy aimed at preventing both Iranian nuclear-weapons capability and an Israeli strike." With health-care reform reaching the realm of high drama, however, and plenty of other domestic issues on the political plate, is anyone listening?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.