Nowhere is the failure of Obama’s Middle East foreign policy more evident – and more catastrophic – than in Iran. Thanks to four years of self-delusion and appeasement, Iran is only weeks or a few months away from having a nuclear weapons capability.

On Jan. 20, a newly inaugurated President Romney can launch a new initiative that can halt Iran’s nuclear-weapons program without resorting to war. He can actively support the dissident movement inside Iran and call for the replacement of mullahs in the scheduled 2013 national elections.

A key element of that new strategy should be to provide official, open support and assistance to the exile group of dissidents, People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI, also known as the MEK).

From 1997 to September of this year, that organization was on the State Department’s official list of terrorist organizations and thus denied both diplomatic status and the ability to raise funds and solicit support in the West. The European Union took the MEK off their list of terrorist groups years ago, but Obama’s State Department only did so under federal court order when they could not provide any evidence to support keeping the organization on that list.

Today, the MEK/PMOI is free to solicit Western support and openly challenge the tyrannical regime in Tehran. The stars are in alignment for a successful grass-roots movement to overthrow the radical Islamist regime in Iran – if the Romney administration will openly embrace and support that movement.

There is widespread support for the MEK/PMOI across Europe. Today, Oct. 26, the European Parliament awarded two Iranian dissidents the prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. They won out over freedom fighters in Russia and elsewhere. This illustrates how out-of-step the Obama administration has been and how great the opportunity for isolating the Iranian regime.

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Everyone remembers Obama’s incomprehensible silence in the summer of 2009 when hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens took to the streets to protest a stolen election. They begged for some show of support from the United States – not military intervention, just public support for their cause. Obama remained silent. Hundreds were killed by the Ahmadinejad regime’s thugs, and thousands were imprisoned and tortured.

The whole world knows that Obama’s “friendly persuasion” combined with too-little-and-too-late economic sanctions have not worked to persuade Tehran to halt its nuclear-weapons program. The second option of overt military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities has obvious drawbacks, and at best would only delay the acquisition of nuclear weapons, not prevent it.

The third option of helping the democratic forces in Iran overthrown the mullahs’ dictatorship has always been the best hope for altering the path of history. The jihadists in Tehran must be dethroned if the world is to avoid the nuclear Armageddon certain to follow if the government of Iran begins providing nuclear weapons to its terrorist allies around the world.

The nuclear clock is ticking. The world awaits United States leadership. In January, President Romney can signal a new direction in our Middle East policies and a new determination to remove this jihadist cancer before it metastasizes further. In fact, a few well-chosen words from President-elect Romney on Nov. 7 would likely energize the Iranian democratic forces and their Western allies enough to persuade the Israelis to put their own military plans on hold.

The world will pay a horrendous prize for Obama’s misguided foreign policies if Iran is not prevented from building nuclear weapons. Fortunately, Mitt Romney has an opening and an opportunity for leadership that can avoid that catastrophe. We should pray the American people give him that opportunity on Nov. 6.

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