- - Monday, January 6, 2020

“‘Major retaliation’: U.S. vows to target Iran’s top leaders if Iran retaliates” (Web, Jan. 5) points at the cascading results of the recent drone killing of Iran’s lionized Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The consequences of the killing may well range widely: Escalating rounds of bloody tit-for-tat strikes circling the Middle East, the orchestration of proxy clashes drawing in U.S. and Iranian allies, terrorism against soft and hard targets in Iran’s crosshairs, cyber warfare targeting infrastructure and even full-out kinetic war involving Iran proper.

However, what’s given shorter shrift, perhaps because it’s harder to fathom, is Iran’s going full-bore with a nuclear-arms program. Iran has witnessed the latitude enjoyed by North Korea’s regime, brought about by the robust nuclear arsenal that country is assembling. Of obvious note, the United States has wisely left all of North Korea’s generals unharmed, despite the country’s putative nonconformance with U.S. prescriptions.

Perhaps Iran’s takeaway from the Soleimani killing, in the framework of the lack of calamitous consequences for North Korea, is that assured sovereignty and nuclear weapons go hand-in-hand. Iran’s suspension of its previous commitments might lead to its becoming the world’s 10th member of the nuclear club.


Bethesda, Md.

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