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The Khomeinist mullahs who have imprisoned the Iranian people for over a quarter of a century appear to be very close to becoming a nuclear power. This has forced many around the world to finally take notice of the regime, and ponder what should come next. Some have supported a negotiated solution of some kind, while others have advocated a limited military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Neither is acceptable. Iran must be liberated. In fact, freedom for Iran should be something all who want freedom for China should support.
Lest we forget, the mullahs' military might would not exist without Communist China and its would-be colony, Stalinist North Korea. Several firms owned by the Communists, including the military-owned Northern Industrial Corporation (Norinco) sold arms to the Khomeinist regime. The Islamic regime's nuclear weapons program has received substantial help from Communist China. Finally, thanks to the Communists' veto power on the United Nations Security Council, the mullahcracy has effectively neutered the international body by allying itself to the Chinese Communist Party. The mullahs now have military might and a powerful benefactor, while Communist China has turned one of the most anti-American regimes on Earth into a loyal ally and useful tool.
This information alone would justify liberation, for it would do more than simply remove a client state from the Communists' grasp. It would also send hope to those who suffer under dictatorships around the world, including China itself, for it would show them that neither the Chinese Communist Party nor its policy of making the world safe for dictators is invincible.
However, the role of Communist China is propping up the Iranian regime is not the only reason to support its toppling, for the Khomeinists are also the leading supporters of global terrorism outside of the Chinese Communist Party itself. The Islamic regime's history of support for Hezbollah and al Qaeda is already well-known. Its removal from the scene would dry up a major source of financial, political, and military support for both.
It is this last issue - military support, namely the possibility of nuclear weapons being included - that is driving the current interest in Iran. However, on this issue anything short of liberation would, well, fall short. For starters, a negotiated solution would require taking the Iranian regime at its word about ending a nuclear weapons program it kept secret for years. A limited strike, meanwhile, might damage Iran's nuclear facilities, but our history with Saddam Hussein showed that such a "reprieve" lasts no more than a decade.
More importantly, however, both actions would leave in place a regime that is not only willing to stand with Communist China and against the U.S., but one that also has the ability through its terrorist connections to wreak havoc against the democratic world, possibly even at the Communists' request - say, during the cadres' upcoming attempt to conquer Taiwan. Of course, an Iranian regime with nuclear weapons of some kind could do terrible damage to the democratic world. However, as we found out on 9/11/01, nuclear weapons are not required to cause such damage.
In fact, the Khomeinists' support for terrorists and its support from Communist China were a dangerous enough combination to make liberation the only proper alternative before the mullahcracy's nuclear ambitions were discovered. While the nuclear issue does make Iran's liberation more urgent for the democratic world and the pro-democracy, anti-Communist movement, it does not lessen the need for liberation.
Can this liberation be done peacefully, as in Lebanon last year? I, for one, share the optimism of Michael Ledeen (National Review Online) on this question, in large part due to the fact that the Islamic regime is universally despised by the people it has imprisoned for so long. That said, we who support liberation without military action must be prepared to accept it with military action if that becomes the only way. Moreover, there must also be a major effort put forward to liberate the people of China from the regime that is the mullahs' biggest benefactor: the Chinese Communist Party.
The most important issue at hand is the goal in mind. The democratic world cannot and must not strive merely for an Iran without nuclear weapons. It can, and it must, strive for an Iran without the despotic regime that gives aid and comfort to terrorists while it brings terror and suffering to the Iranian people. There's no way around it; Iran must be liberated.