- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 26, 2006

Iran’s latest menacing rhetoric is of grave concern. Not only has Iran consistently breached its commitments and failed to show the world its nuclear activities are peaceful, they have now directly threatened our security.

Iranian Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, has threatened “consequences” for the West if his country is referred to the U.N. Security Council for nuclear violations. Clearly the incendiary, deliberate escalation of the dispute indicates the Iran has something significant to hide.

What I find astonishing, is that despite the impasse in negotiations and calls from the European Union for Tehran to be brought before the Security Council, U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan contends Iran is still keen on pursuing nuclear talks with European powers. This really is “back to the future.”

In 1998, when Saddam Hussein provoked a crisis by blocking weapons inspectors, Mr. Annan traveled to Baghdad and cut a deal that weakened weapons inspections. He then heaped praise on Saddam for his courage saying, “I think I can do business with him.”

History shows appeasement does not work in a region slowly pulling itself from the morass of dictators and extremists.

The emerging regional stability is now seriously threatened by Iran. The world community is grappling with a Tehran openly flouting international law. Iran’s leaders have grabbed economic incentives from Britain, France and Germany with one hand and ripped the lid from their uranium — and stability in the Middle East — with the other. I am dreadfully pessimistic about Tehran’s motives and extremely concerned that the Islamic Republic will soon deploy nuclear weapons. This sense of foreboding has deepened following increasingly erratic posture from hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr. Ahmadinejad is continually and unnecessarily provocative. Not only has he publicly and repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, he seems to believe world leaders will sit idle as they develop nuclear weapons. The Iranian leadership thinks the world is preoccupied with other problems and will tolerate Iran developing a nuclear weapons capability.

It is essential that world leaders stand up to Iran, stand up to the deceit and say enough.

In concert with EU members the United States has supported international agreements and assurances that Iran would suspend its nuclear program —a program that was held secret from the international community for 18 years. Yet, in a clear rebuff to those assurances, Iran has signaled its desire to remain a pariah and a source of regional insecurity.

As chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Threats, I am acutely aware of the dangers posed by members of the Axis of Evil, rogue nations, and those nonstate actors who seek to destroy democracy wherever it takes root. They seek to destabilize a region where ballots have replaced bullets and representative rule has replaced dictatorial decree. It is critical, in my opinion, that we remain vigilant to the threats raised by Iran’s resumption of its nuclear program.

As history has taught us, diplomatic dispatches and discourse is not sufficient against an entity that seeks to assert its destructive will over neighboring countries. In the late 1930s, the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had a policy of nonintervention with Nazi Germany. He naively believed that by conceding to the demands of the Nazi aggressor, he could avoid a European conflict. Chamberlain famously met Adolf Hitler in 1938, resulting in an agreement that Britain and Germany would never again go to war. “I believe,” he declared, “it is peace for our time.” The success of “appeasement” was short-lived, as Hitler invaded Poland the following year, sparking a global conflagration.

We must learn from history. Peace-loving nations cannot and must not appease Iran on the nuclear issue. We must consider every and all options in our arsenal — from sanction to military — the threat is simply too great. If history shows us nothing else, it is that appeasement will not work against an extremist, intolerant and volatile aggressor.

Jim Saxton, New Jersey Republican, is chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare Subcommittee.

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