While it is not clear what the outcome of negotiations concerning the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program will be, Reuel Marc Gerecht finds it highly likely that the ayatollahs will—at the very least—have the option of going nuclear whenever they wish after a year or two. Nor does he see much possibility that a Republican administration could reverse the situation after the 2024. What then is left to do?
[When Barack Obama was in office], lots of folks in DC thought Hassan Rouhani, a founding father of the Islamic Republic’s police state, would as president somehow create a new, less antagonistic modus vivendi between Washington and Tehran. With Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his mini-me president, Ebrahim Raisi, at the helm, it’s probably impossible for the Biden administration to conjure up a promising, “moderate” Iranian counterpart. Republicans can be stupid and unnuanced about the Islamic Republic. . . . But the American right has done better in appreciating what the supreme leader and his men have tried to make crystal clear: they zealously hate us.
Really only one question remains now: will the Israelis strike? Excluding the outside chance that the Iranian people might rise up again and terminally convulse the Islamic Republic, only Israeli air raids, might, just possibly, upset Khamenei’s nuclear plans. The clerical regime has displayed impressive tenacity and ingenuity (the decision to back the construction of a clandestine nuclear site in Syria was an especially bold move, which the Israelis successfully countered by bombing it in 2007). We should always be able to admire our enemies when they play a weak hand well.
Even without the nuclear achievement, Khamenei ought to be considered the most accomplished post-World War II dictator in the Middle East. Add on the bomb, and he could rightfully look upon Ruhollah Khomeini’s massive mausoleum, and, like Justinian within the Hagia Sophia remembering Solomon’s Temple, he could proudly say:
“I have surpassed thee.”