It's not that unusual to hear hostile remarks directed at the United States from the Iranian regime -- but lately, it's been getting not only personal but frankly contemptuous. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki recently let it be known that "we do not take [U.S. Secretary of State] Mrs. Clinton seriously." Hostility is normal between mortal enemies. Contempt means they think we're so weak, we don't even rate the effort hostility would take.
At this point, even moves intended to show resolve fall flat with Tehran. Despite a U.S. naval build-up in the Persian Gulf that includes stationing two ships armed with anti-missile missiles and providing additional defensive missiles to Sunni regimes in the area, the Iranians remain unimpressed. Just as they were earlier when the Obama administration offered an "outstretched hand" if Iran would "unclench its fist." Or when president Obama wrote ridiculous letters of supplication and congratulation to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei and president Ahmadinejad.
The White House decision not to speak out in support of the Iranian demonstrators who took to the streets to protest rigged presidential elections in June 2009 didn't seem to win any points with the mullahs either. Instead, the Iranian parliament voted to approve $20 million for exposing human rights abuses in the U.S. Is this country even capable anymore of realizing when it's being seriously dissed?
Apparently not, because events in the Middle East are closing inexorably on an Iranian demonstration of nuclear weapons status. Years of dithering negotiations have proven utterly ineffective in halting Tehran's deliberate, determined progress towards acquiring the bomb. The ayatollahs have missed deadline after deadline set by the international community while brazenly forging ahead with nuclear enrichment and a succession of missile delivery system tests. That not one single meaningful consequence has ever followed years of Iranian non-compliance with obligations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty they willingly signed must be the cause of much chuckling in Tehran's tea rooms and war rooms. As long as China and Russia can be counted on at the United Nations Security Council to block serious sanctions or any other enforcement action with teeth, Tehran's brutal dictators have no reason to expect they'll be called to account. Certainly not by the Obama administration.
The scorn that drips from every comment to or about the U.S. by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his regime's thugs has been earned. U.S. refusal to acknowledge the state of war declared against us by the Ayatollah Khomeini over 30 years ago, refusal to stand up to the rampant export of Islamic jihadist terrorism across the globe, refusal to impose regime-threatening consequences for failure to end the nuclear weapons program, refusal to stand with brave Iranians who dare to stand for their own liberty, and above all, refusal to confront Tehran's 2-decade-long alliance with al-Qaeda, have thoroughly convinced the mullahs that they can get away with literally anything.
Even though Tehran has tried to hide its nuclear weapons program under bunkers, mountains, and population centers, given the revelations about it over the years from the Israelis, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), and every other Western intelligence service but ours, and despite the thoroughly discredited 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate which said Iran ended its nuclear program in 2003, there's not much doubt anymore (even at the International Atomic Energy Agency—IAEA) that Iran is moving methodically towards acknowledged status as a nuclear weapons power.
The Iranian-North Korean joint venture on missile development has been coming along nicely with steady advances in technology (such as the use of solid rocket propellant fuel) and range capability (southern Europe by now). Iranian centrifuges spinning at the Natanz show site seem to multiply by the week (what goes on at the covert enrichment sites is anybody's guess). An obvious nuclear triggering device test program and blueprints for fashioning the hemispherical pits of a nuclear weapon elicit little more than yawns from the U.S. intelligence community, even after both the MEK and IAEA revealed the details.
All that's really left at this point is the buzzer -- or more specifically, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard commander's finger on the button.
Change is coming to Iran, whether from a new generation of Greens determined to be free, or the gathering internal implosion of a revolution that's run its course. But the time clock on Iran's nuclear weapons program is ticking faster than either one of those now. Absent action from the outside, from the U.S., Israel, and/or the international community, Iran will be a nuclear weapons power in the very near future. Whether it chooses to demonstrate that status with a test launch, like India and Pakistan, an out-of-the-blue genocidal bolt against Israel, or a life-altering electro-magnetic pulse attack over the U.S., will soon be out of any of our hands unless somebody stops the mullahs soon and forcibly.
The courageous Dutch politician, Geert Wilders (currently on trial in Amsterdam for daring to speak the truth about Islamic jihad), has called America "The Last Man Standing." The question is: are we? Are we really?