|Sarah you seem to think that the Iranian leaders are all piss and vinegar. |
Maybe a trip down memory lane might help establish the proper context:
1979-81: Tehran Hostage Crisis.
The Shah of Iran enters the USA for cancer treatment - against the wishes Khomeini's government. Nov 4, the US Embassy in Tehran is stormed and hostages are taken. 52 US citizens are held hostage for 444 days.
With the Iran-Iraq war raging, Khomeini finds time to send troops to oppose Israel's invasion of the Bekaa Valley - itself a response to the terrorist activities in this Syrian-occupied territory by Islamic-terror groups that include Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
July 3 '83. The USS Vincennes shoots down an Iranian airliner by mistake.
The US Marine Barracks at Beirut International airport is attacked by a Hezbollah suicide truck-bomber and 241 Marines die. In Sept '84 the US Embassy in Beirut is bombed by Hezbollah and 24 die.
The Reagan government bribes Iran with anti-tank missiles (purchased with funds allocated for support of Nicaragua's Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the Sandinista regime) so that Iran will order Hezbollah to release the western-born hostages it holds in Lebanon.
1986-88: Persian Gulf
Sept '87, after the USS Stark is holed by Iraqi-launched Exocet missiles, the US boosts its military presence in the Gulf.
Later that year, US Navy SEALs raid an Iranian vessel in the process of laying mines in international waters. That same week a British-flagged oil-tanker is attacked by Iranian gunboats. Iran then sends 60 gunboats on an abortive raid towards the Saudi/Kuwaiti oil facility at Khafji. This was an attempt to continue Iran's policy of attacking Kuwaiti oil tankers and facilities as part of its war on Iraq...
Oct '87, Iranian gunboats attack a US helicopter - they miss - and for their trouble, attract two Cobra gunships which sink one and damage two of the maruaders. Later, Iran retaliates with land-based Silkworm anti-ship missiles that damage two (one US-owned and one Kuwaiti-flagged) supertankers. Two-weeks later Navy SEALs backed by USN Destroyers obliterate some Iranian oil-loading platforms in the Gulf. Again the Iranians retaliate: Silkworm missiles damage a Kuwaiti deep-water oil-loading facility.
April '88, the USN frigate Samuel B. Roberts is mined in international waters by an Iranian-laid mine. Pres. Reagan orders the destruction of two Iranian oil-platforms/intelligence-gathering facilities in the Gulf. The platforms are siezed and demolished by US Marines, while USN frigates - escorting the strike-group - sink an Iranian gunboat that fired a missile (in vain) at the USS Wainwright (guided missile cruiser.) Simultaneously, a day-long running battle develops in the Strait of Hormuz. Two Iranian frigates and several gunboats were sunk by the USN for the loss of a single Cobra gunship.
1989: Death to Rushdie.
Because Khomeini found Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses blasphemous to Islam, he issued a fatwa ordering Rushdie's assassination.
June 25, a suicide truck-bomber levels the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 19 US soldiers are killed and 500 other people are wounded. Saudi Hezbollah - linked to Lebanon's Hezbollah and bank rolled by Iran - are implicated in the attack.
August 1996 - US Attempt a Diplomatic solution.
Congress passes the Iran-Libya Sanctions act - sanctioning companies that invest in Iran or Libya. In 2001, despite warming US-Iranian relations (thanks to the election of "moderate" President Khatami) the act is extended by two more years. (Fat lot of good it did.)
Jan 2002 - Supplying Arms to Terrorists.
Israeli commandos intercept a ship - the Karine A - carrying 50 tons of Iranian supplied arms (including Katayusha free flight artillery rockets, anti-tank missiles & plastic explosives) destined for the Palestinian Authority. Had the weapons reached the Palestinian terrorists they could have catapaulted the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to a new level.
In March '02, Pres. Bush declares that Iran is part of an Axis of Evil - and many with short-term memory loss wonder why. Then, Sec. Rumsfeld publically announces that Iran is financing suicide-bombers operating in the West Bank.
So you see. Iran has been engaging the US and Israel in a low-level covert war for many years. The Iranians use terrorists as an extension of their government's foreign policy. A foreign policy that explicitly calls for the destruction of the USA and Israel - a foreign policy they have been actively pursuing since 1979.
The current Iranian government cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to obtain a nuclear bomb.
[Edit to add Item 3 and fix a few - but probably not all - typos]
(Edited by Robert Winefield on 10/28, 10:34pm)