The term Revolutionary Guard was not, until recently, as much of a byword as it has since become. But this year’s military coup in Tehran, of which that organization was the main engine, has put it at the forefront of our attention. The rape and torture of young Iranians, the sadistic public bullying and sometimes murder of women, the closing of newspapers and the framing-up in a show trial of opposition politicians and intellectuals—all this is the fruit of “Revolutionary Guard” activity and ambition. We may be limited in what we can do to help and defend the Iranians who are confined within their own borders. But surely it is time that the international community spoke with one voice and said that the leaders of this criminal gang must stay inside their own borders as well. Perhaps fewer invitations to “President” Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia University and perhaps fewer countries putting out the red carpet for his defense minister. As for the sending of known supervisors of murder and torture to human rights summits in Geneva: Conceivably that could become a slight no-no as well…

Everybody can now see that the Iranian government has forfeited any claim to legitimacy at home. Of scarcely less importance is the fact that it presents the face of a criminal enterprise to the outside world as well. There is no family of nations, except in the colloquial sense of “crime family,” to which it can conceivably be invited to belong. We should ground its leaders for a start, demand the extradition of their many wanted accomplices, and exact hefty penalties from their overseas proxy organizations.