How should Western governments deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which Washington labels “the most active state sponsor of terrorism”?
Iranian aggression began in 1979, with the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and the holding of some of its staff as hostages for 444 days. Major subsequent attacks included two bombings in Beirut in 1983: at the U.S. embassy, killing 63, and at a U.S. Marine barracks, killing 241.
More recently, U.S. secretary of defense Leon Panetta stated, “We’re seeing more of those weapons going in [to Iraq] from Iran, and they’ve really hurt us.” Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added, “Iran is very directly supporting extremist Shiite groups, which are killing our troops.”
American responses fall into two main camps: tough and diplomatic.