In his Fact and Comment editorial in this week’s Forbes magazine, Steve Forbes says out loud what many political insiders are thinking: Military action may be the only option left on the table to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program.

Forbes recognizes that the options left for the United States and its allies to stop the Iranians from developing a nuclear arsenal are few and far between.

And there should be little doubt that when, and if, Iran develops a nuclear weapon it would not hesitate to use it against either the United States or our allies.

Forbes argument has been strengthened by the news out of Iran this week – all of it very grim.

On Tuesday, Iran announced it would restart its nuclear fuel research program, determined to resume uranium enrichment – a process that would allow Iran to produce fuel for nuclear weapons.

Iran had suspended the program in November 2003 only after satellite photographs had revealed nuclear development sites in the Iranian cities of Arak and Natanz.

Leaders of Western nations have expressed outrage over the resumption of Iran’s nuclear program. If Iran doesn’t accede to their demands, representatives of European governments have threatened to ask the U.N. Security Council to look into the matter.

The mullahs in Tehran must be shaking in their turbans.

But the situation is much worse than what the Iranians have openly admitted to.

In the past 48 hours, British news outlets have reported on a leaked 55-page intelligence report that indicates that the Iranian regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been secretly working to build a nuclear arsenal.

The British newspaper, the Guardian, says the report cites 16 Russian and 30 Chinese front companies that are at least partly owned by their respective governments which are helping Iran obtain the weaponry materials it needs on the black market.

That might suggest that those European diplomats will meet resistance on any “Shame on Iran” resolution at the U.N. Security Council, where both China and Russia are permanent members and would almost certainly veto any resolution hostile to the Iranian regime, strengthening my argument that the United Nations is a gutless organization (not to mention one with a horrifying history of corruption).

European intelligence reports also indicate that Iran is working to develop missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload with a reach extending into Europe and Israel.

Such news must be particularly terrifying to Israel, America’s strongest ally in the Middle East.

In October of last year, Iranian President Ahmadinejad called for the nation of Israel to be “wiped off the map.” A nuclear strike is just one way the Iranian leader could get his wish, and in doing so earn the respect and admiration from millions of Islamic militants around the globe.

“Anyone who signs a treaty which recognizes the entity of Israel means he has signed the surrender of the Muslim world,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

Ahmadinejad’s view of a war with the West is alleged to have involved direct action against the United States. Several of those taken hostage in the awful 444-day long Iranian hostage crisis claim that Ahmadinejad was one of the hostage takers. The Iranian government denies these charges.

No matter what his involvement was with the hostage crisis, Ahmadinejad’s view of history is just as twisted as his political beliefs.

He says that the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazi regime during World War II, is a “myth” and a “fairytale.”

The Iranian state news agency, IRNA, reported this week that the response to Ahmadinejad’s statements has been “positive.”

The fundamentalists who rule Iran do not view co-existence with the West as an acceptable outcome under their perverse interpretation of Islam.

These radicals will continue to support, harbor, fund and embrace the most horrific and gruesome terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in the hopes of bringing the civilized world to its knees.

And one of the means by which they hope to accomplish their goals is by finalizing a nuclear program that has been under way for several years. If they had the opportunity, Iranian agents wouldn’t hesitate to detonate a suitcase containing a nuclear device in an American city, killing untold thousands, if not millions.

When President Bush identified Iran as one of the central members of “the axis of evil” he was dead-on right.

The question before us is whether we will wait for yet another meaningless resolution from the United Nations.

Or, do we have the will to strike first to save our allies and ourselves?

If we un-spool the last of our political options and Iran’s nuclear program continues, then we have no choice but to take pre-emptive military action to blow Iran’s bomb-making facilities back into the Stone Age.

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