From WSJ: Iran's Power Play
Despite the hopes of many governments, the widespread popular unrest and internal power struggles of the late '90s did not result in a more democratic, less aggressive Iran. Instead, the mullahs dropped their masks -- and took off their gloves. In the past year, they purged reformists from parliament and intensified suppression of dissent. They dropped any pretense of adhering to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, issuing apocalyptic warnings about the revenge they would exact should Israel attack Iran's nuclear facilities, and accelerated their ballistic missile program. Iran is as close as ever to Syria and Palestinian terrorist groups, such as Hamas. Now, Israeli intelligence sources tell us, Iran is preparing its Palestinian proxies to seize power when Yasser Arafat's regime collapses.
In Iraq, Iran aims to replicate its successes in Lebanon. Since Iraq's liberation, Iran has provided weapons, money, and personnel to militant Shia groups -- including al-Sadr's -- with the apparent goal of establishing an Iraqi version of Hezbollah, that, in time, would establish de facto Iranian control over Shia Iraq. Despite his setback in Najaf, al-Sadr almost certainly will continue to do his masters' bidding.
Iran already enjoys -- and exploits -- an excellent geostrategic position and immense oil wealth. If in a few years, Iran possesses nuclear weapons and exerts control over more strategically important territory and even more energy resources, it is likely to flex its muscles in the Gulf States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
It is imperative, therefore, that we immediately and forcefully check Iran, inside and outside of Iraq. The Iraqi interim government should immediately break relations with Tehran, citing Iran's support of anti-government subversion, and secure its borders against Iranian infiltration. The Iranians cynically use religious pilgrimages to move men, materiel, and money into Iraq; therefore, until its security situation improves, Iraq must deny entry to Iranian pilgrims. Iraqi security forces must be strengthened and, if necessary, U.S. forces within Iraq should be repositioned to support them.(Hat tip: Jim Rusell)