Via Gateway Pundit, behold the nuclear option. A harebrained scheme cooked up by the febrile neocon imagination, you say? Not quite. From a Spiegel interview with dissident Iranian ayatollah Mohsen Kadivar:

SPIEGEL: Really? You don’t think that Iran has already long been on the path to becoming a religiously tinged military dictatorship?

Kadivar: You are right that the Shiite theocracy in its present form has failed — a fact that few have expressed as clearly as my teacher in the last few months. Incidentally, when Grand Ayatollah Montazeri had his falling out with Khomeini, three months before the supreme religious leader’s death in 1989, he said: This state is so different from the one we dreamed of and worked to create. Still, it is not Islam which has failed, but rather a particular interpretation of Islam. I also want to express that there hasn’t been a revolution in Iran yet. The opposition is becoming increasingly clear in the formulation of its objectives and more daring. Still, we need to remain patient. I do not know when, exactly, but I am convinced that the regime will collapse.

SPIEGEL: Can the West do anything to support a democratic reform process?

Kadivar: The tightening of sanctions is not the right path ahead. They affect the people more than the government. A military attack is something I categorically reject. Perhaps Western countries should stop treating Ahmadinejad’s government as the legitimate government of Iran. Otherwise, I think the reforms must be pushed forward from inside the country.

The time for doing this was in the summer, when Iran’s sham election was still fresh, but The One wanted to give his outreach program a chance so here we are. I’m not sure what the argument would be for declaring the regime illegitimate now as opposed to then, but who cares? It’d be a pure power play; the argument is secondary. Two big worries in taking Krauthammer’s advice: (1) Having the Great Satan side with the protesters will be used against them by the regime, although the public’s hatred of Khamenei et al. may have already reached the point where the “death to America” crap just isn’t selling anymore, and (2) once you make this move, obviously, you wave goodbye forever to any possibility of negotiations. If Khamenei tamps down the uprising and restores order, Obama’s locked into a confrontational strategy to the bitter end. Which doesn’t much bother me since Iran’s been following that strategy towards us for ages, but I bet it does bother The One. So no go on Kraut’s advice — for now. Exit question: What would Iran have to do to force Obama’s hand? Declare their intention to build a nuclear weapon, maybe?