COMMENTARY | So, it's finally official: Iran is a state-sponsor of terrorism. The word came from the mouth of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Friday when he categorically announced Iran would sponsor anyone -- anywhere -- that would work against Israel.
Khamenei also admitted to helping attack Israel through third parties, something Iran officially downplays or denies, the Associated Press reported. "From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear expressing this," Khamenei told followers during morning prayers.
Iran has the role of aggressor down pretty well. If it isn't spewing threats against the West on a daily basis, it is saber rattling in the Persian Gulf. Now its religious leader -- the ultimate voice on all matters in Iran -- has confirmed what Israel has been warning about for decades. It is words such as these that should inspire the civilized world to react and may, for all intents and purposes, be the final straw for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
I have always said the Israelis will act when they feel truly threatened. When - not if -- that moment occurs, they will act will full effect. Israel has the capabilities and the will to act alone in handling what it considers to be an existential threat. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday that Israel has been making contingency plans for such an attack and any accompanying retaliation, Reuters reported.
I am certainly not a warmonger, but I am very much a realist when it comes to Iran. That country is not going to stop until it forces the hand of the U.S. or Israel or a combination of both. The inflammatory rhetoric doesn't cease and that can only lead to one ultimate resolution. For the past 30 years the tension has, at times, been palpable been the two nations, but never led to military confrontation.
I'm not sure that is the case this time. The Western powers are not going to allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons capabilities. Since Iran continues researching and developing launch systems, the clock is ticking on how long the West will wait before launching a preemptive assault.