The other strain of radicalism in the Middle East is Shia extremism, supported and embodied by the regime that sits in Tehran. Iran has long been a source of trouble in the region...Iran funds terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent, and target Israel, and destabilize the Palestinian territories. Iran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which could be used to attack American and NATO troops....and Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.
Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. And that is why the United States is rallying friends and allies around the world to isolate the regime, to impose economic sanctions. We will confront this danger before it is too late. We seek an Iran whose government is accountable to its people -- instead of to leaders who promote terror and pursue the technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
And some recent headlines about the Farsi Peril:
US commander: Iran supplying Taliban
Iran-bashing in the US reaches fever pitch
IAEA: Iran cooperating in nuclear investigations
In the debate over Iran, more calls for a tougher US stance
US envoy says Iran is arming Taliban
Liberman advocates attack on Iran
Iranian defiance of UN detailed
US Navy shows force in Persian Gulf
Iran sets condition to halt nuke program
Defiant Iran warns West against attack
UN diplomat rejects claims that Iran is arming Taliban
Cheney mulled luring Iran into war with Israel: report
US military chief foresees no war with Iran
Oil prices over $80 a barrel unsustainable
Iran has become an extra-regional power
Iran, Israel ratchet up tensions
So, to recap: The president claims that a country is a major source of instability in its region, that it sponsors terrorism elsewhere, that it is a threat to Israel, and that it exports arms throughout the world. He goes on to claim that it gives material comfort to radical groups, and is actively developing the technology for weapons of mass destruction. Such a country, he says, is a threat not just to its own region but to the whole world, and if we do not act now, the smoking gun, as it were, could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. We must isolate the regime, pile on the sanctions, and seek an active change in leadership before it is too late. Meanwhile, diplomats, scientists and UN inspectors find the nuke claims dubious, but the President uses their defiance of UN inspection regulations as evidence of their evil. Troops mass and battle plans are drawn, while the military leadership deny that there is going to be a war. Hawks in Congress and neo-conservative pundits in the media beat the war drums, calling for immediate attacks and talking of human rights abuses and "rogue nations". The country maintains a pugnacious stance while denying all charges of wrongdoing. And the price of oil goes up, up, up.
As perich noted, you can pretty much take any headline from the last three years containing the word "Iran", substitute the word "Iraq", and it reads exactly like it was written in late 2002 or early 2003.