Forget sanctions; forget bombing. Tehran's worst fear is a human rights campaign. / Anne Applebaum

What do Iran's rulers truly fear, after all? I'll wager it's not sanctions, and it might not be a bombing raid. An economic boycott can be circumvented, after all, with the help of Venezuela or maybe the Russian mafia, and an attack on Iranian soil might help the regime once again consolidate power. By contrast, a sustained and well-funded human rights campaign must be a truly terrifying prospect. What if we therefore told the Iranian regime that its insistence on pursuing nuclear weapons leaves us with no choice other than to increase funding for dissident exile groups, to smuggle money into the country, to bombard the airwaves with anti-regime television programming, and above all to publicize widely the myriad crimes of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

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