In this report, FRONTLINE examines how U.S. efforts to install democracy in Iraq have served to strengthen Iran's position as an emerging power in the Middle East.
"You will not find a single instance in which a country has inflicted harm on us and we have left it without a response. So if the United States makes such a mistake, they should know that we will definitely respond. And we don't make idle threats," Mohammad Jafari tells FRONTLINE in his first-ever television interview.
There are increasing signs that the Bush administration is considering military action before it leaves office if Tehran continues to defy U.N. demands that it cease enriching uranium for its nuclear program -- a program the Iranians insist is for peaceful purposes. "The president has said repeatedly that it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons," former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton tells FRONTLINE. "If action is not taken in terms of regime change or, if need be, the use of military force, the question of when Iran achieves nuclear weapons is entirely in Iran's own hands. And that is extraordinarily undesirable."
But Richard Armitage, President Bush's former deputy secretary of state, warns, "It would be the worst of worlds for an outgoing administration to start a conflict."
After 9/11, the Bush administration hoped to drive a wedge between Iran's people and their Islamic rulers by installing democracies on two of Iran's borders. "If things had gone better in Iraq," says Hillary Mann, the Iran expert at the National Security Council during the run-up to the war, "then yeah, I think Iran was next."
Watch the show:
Heres to Bush not starting another war before we send his ass out the door with a foot in the ass.
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