The Journal Editorial Report | December 2, 2005 | PBS
December 2, 2005
Iranian female paramilitary militias (Basiji) hold their guns during a rally of paramilitary forces in Tehran, Iran, November 26, 2005. Iranian state television said more than nine million members of Basij formed separate human chains in different parts of the country including Natanz enrichment plant in central Iran and a nuclear power plant, currently under construction by Russia, in southern city of Bushehr, reportedly to indicate their readiness to defend Iran's nuclear program. (AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian)
PAUL GIGOT: How close do we really think Iran is to developing a nuclear weapon?
BRET STEPHENS: Well, the conservative estimate is that Iran is about three years away. But we have a history with these estimates in that we tend to err on the side of comfort and think, well, it's that much farther away.
DAN HENNINGER: The real question on the table is, what are we going to do to stop them from acquiring it?
ROB POLLOCK: The president is tired out by Iraq. The Iranians know that. And I wish I could be more optimistic about this, but so far the White House has been asleep at the switch.
POLLOCK: In a way, I wish I could be in the Stephens camp, because I think we need to do something about this. But look, I mean, honestly, I said the administration was acting tired on Iran, I still think they are acting tired on Iran. What are we seeing now? We have got a deal whereby the U.S. is apparently going to trust Russia to monitor Iran's nuclear enrichment activities. This is the same Russia that the Oil for Food investigation has exposed as being, well, totally susceptible ...
GIGOT: The U.N. Oil for Food investigation into Saddam Hussein?
POLLOCK: Yeah, right, has been exposed as being totally susceptible to the bribes of totalitarian regimes to do their bidding at the Security Council or elsewhere. This strikes me as just an utterly crazy idea.
GIGOT: They keep pursuing the diplomatic option, Dan, and making concessions, and when the Iranians say "no" making another concession, and the Iranians say "no." Where do you think that leaves us?
HENNINGER: It leaves us at a dead end, really, and there has got to be a better way. Diplomacy is not going to work. The one alternative is the one we've discussed here, is bombing them. Which, you know, with Iraq up and running, it's really hard to see how the President does that. I think there might be an alternative way -- which is not going to happen -- and that is, to turn this problem over to John Bolton at the United Nations. Bolton ran the Proliferation Security Initiative, which contributed to shutting down AQ Khan network. Nobody knows more about this subject than John Bolton. And if they allowed him to take the lead, I think it would be possible to organize a movement against the Iranians.
GIGOT: Mark that one down. Dan Henninger is looking for a United Nations solution -- albeit led by Bolton, but ...