March 26, 2007 | National Review Online

Tehran Seizure

In light of Iran’s taking 15 British soldiers to Iran National Review Online asked a group of experts: Is this an act of war? What can be done? What can be done about Iran generally? What can the U.S. do?

The Iranian abduction of 15 British soldiers in the Shatt al Arab area was intended to trigger a regional crisis. Iran’s strategic objectives are clear: First, to precipitate a British action ending in a projected political disaster. Second, to get Britain out of Iraq, thus isolating the U.S. in the region. Coupled with U.S. domestic pressures, Iran intends this event to trigger a swift U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

The looming economic sanctions, the capture of Iranian agents in Iraq, defections, and internal discontent with Ahmedinejad moved the mullahs make this bold move in their game of chess with the U.S., the U.K, and their regional allies; but it is only their latest move in the ongoing war they are waging.

In response, a multidimensional campaign should be launched, systematically yet gradually, instead of a single retaliation. Along with vigorous diplomatic pressures, the Coalition should formally condemn the regime and call for its isolation. It must create an unbalance of power with Iran via regional deployment while extending an emergency program of support to democracy forces within Iran, including a serious opposition broadcast.

– Walid Phares is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

— Walid Phares is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Read the full symposium.