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If Iran is indeed behind the spate of recent bombings and foiled attacks that have targeted Israeli and Jewish civilian institutions in India, Georgia, Azerbajan and Thailand—as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has alleged—then it has become crystal clear that Iran is at war with Israel, Zionism and Jewish communities throughout the world. The Rajah news website, which is identified with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, has expressly threatened to “take the war beyond the borders of Iran, and beyond the borders of the region.” A recent Iranian News Agency headline declared that, “Israeli people must be annihilated,” and a strategist close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has released a report providing a religious and legal justification for a final attack against Israel and the Jewish people by 2014. Over the past week, news reports have circulated that Jewish and Israeli institutions in the United States have been placed on high alert over intelligence reports that Iran or one of its proxies may target them. Iran’s supreme Khamenei himself has also recently promised that “the Zionists and the Great Satan (America) will soon be defeated.”
These and other recent threats and attacks have led Israeli and American authorities to believe that Iran is preparing attacks against Israeli embassies and consulates as well as Jewish houses of prayer, schools, community centers, restaurants and other soft Jewish targets.
This is not the first time that Iranian agents have bombed or attacked Israeli and Jewish targets in distant countries. Back in 1992, Iranian agents blew up the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians, many of whom were children. The Argentine government conducted a thorough criminal investigation and indicted several Iranian officials. But these officials were well beyond the reach of Argentine legal authorities and remain at liberty.
If Iranian agents were to attack Israeli or Jewish soft targets in the United States, the United States should deem any such action as an armed military attack on the United States. It should not treat it the way the Argentine authorities did, merely as a criminal act. Under international law, an attack on an embassy is an attack both on the embassy’s country and on the country in which the embassy is located. An attack against a nation’s citizens on its territory is also an act of armed aggression under the United Nations Charter that justifies retaliatory military action.
In light of the deliberately provocative statements recently issued from Iran, the United States should now publicly announce that any attack by Iranian agents against any American citizen, institution or religious group will be considered a military attack by Iran against the United States and that the United States will—not may, but will—retaliate militarily, at a time and place of its choosing. An attack on an American synagogue is no different than an attack on the World Trade Center or on American aviation. We correctly regarded those attacks as acts of war committed by the Taliban and facilitated by the government of Afghanistan and we responded militarily. Similarly, an attack by Iranian agents on a Jewish (or any other) American target should be deemed a military attack requiring retaliation. All American citizens, regardless of their religious affiliation, are equally entitled to the protection of the American military.
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