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Last week's news that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's atomic weapons "guru," was back at work advancing the country's nuclear program, coupled with the International Atomic Energy Agency's report on Iran's doubling of uranium enrichment centrifuges at a key facility, served as grim reminders of the perilous world we live in. As Americans have largely been focused on economic and domestic issues in this presidential election cycle, the threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran is now larger than ever. The choice Americans will make in November is not just about who can turn around the economy and help create jobs, but also about presidential leadership on the world stage.

Which of the candidates will allow the Iranian regime to continue its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the destruction of Israel for the next four years, and which will stand up to the threat and lead - that is the decision we face. We need our leaders to not only recognize the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, but to be clear with Americans about the danger it poses.

Instead of wringing our hands and watching the train wreck that's approaching in the Middle East, let's be honest with the American public about the coming crash. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assures us that Iranian leaders are "rational actors" who have not yet decided to build nuclear weapons, let alone use them.

I believe that assessment is an act of faith, not a logical analysis. Rational actors don't call for the destruction of other states, call them cancers or preach radical theologies. Rational actors don't send 100,000 children out onto the battlefield as human mine sweepers, as the Iranians did during their long war with Iraq. Rational actors do not develop nuclear capability, hide it from inspectors and pretend it's for electrical generation. (Especially those sitting atop hundreds of years' worth of oil and natural gas.) They are essentially irrational actors, and very wicked ones to boot.

Ayatollah Khamenei, President Ahmadinejad and their followers are radical theocrats bent not only on the destruction of Israel, but global domination as well. On that - unless, of course, you believe those chants of "Death to America" are some sort of Shi'ite street festival - the Iranian regime has been perfectly clear.

Those dangerous and wicked men have trained, organized and financed the killers of thousands of American troops, providing IEDs that have maimed and killed more Americans than any other country. Iran has planned and conducted terrorist attacks around the world, aided Islamist groups of every shade and, most recently, plotted mass murder in Washington, DC, in a scheme to kill the Saudi ambassador. Today, by their own admission, Tehran is aiding in the slaughter of Bashar al-Assad's opponents - and thousands of innocent civilians - in Syria.

In its inadequate efforts to stop the Iranian regime from spreading terror and developing a nuclear weapon, the U.S. has allowed Tehran to inch ever closer to a nuclear insurance policy for the promulgation of terror - and a WMD that it can use to threaten Israel with nuclear annihilation. 

I am certainly in favor of sanctions. Indeed, I initiated the Congressional push for sanctions during the Bush administration. But sanctions are obviously not enough, and Washington must now work with the tens of millions of Iranian people who have risked their lives against the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad regime.

The nuclear issue must be the U.S.'s top priority. We need to set forth a clear ultimatum to the Iranian government, making it clear to them that their time is up. The U.S. should demand that they stop nuclear production and open up their facilities to Western inspectors so that they can verify all nuclear activities have been halted. Any further delay simply encourages the Iranian regime to persist in its deadly ways. When the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the secretaries of State and Defense suggest that we're not yet certain of Iran's nuclear weapons progress it only further encourages Tehran - and hastens our own peril.

Washington must put that ultimatum in place, and then we need to be prepared. If that ultimatum is not met, the U.S. must engage Prime Minister Netanyahu and the people of Israel in an effort to make sure that, if the Iranians do not tear down those facilities, we will tear them down ourselves.

This is not bellicosity and warmongering; this is preventing the most radical regime in the world from having a weapon that could fundamentally change the map of the Middle East, and the security of the United States and our friends and allies everywhere.

Mitt Romney understands that America is less secure today because of Barack Obama's failure to slow Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. We can't risk another four years on this president's watch.