Savannah Morning NewsThe United States should ramp up its preparations to deny Iran the bomb.Our own military and intelligence officials now say Iran could have enough nuclear material to build a bomb within a year.That’s extremely alarming. The time when words and sanctions will no longer suffice may be nearer than many suspect.That’s extremely alarming. The time when words and sanctions will no longer suffice may be nearer than many suspect.The Obama administration’s approach to Iran must incorporate a more realistic understanding of the religious motivations that drive its foreign policy.It may think it is gauche to recognize the violent religious rhetoric endemic to Islam. However, the world ignores the distilled apocalyptic fervor of Iran’s leaders – especially that of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – at its peril.Ahmadinejad, along with several among his cabinet members, belongs to a fringe group of Shiite Muslims.This fringe, Hojjatieh Shiism, awaits the reappearance of the Mahdi, a mythical 9th-Century religious leader who will emerge from a divinely enforced stasis to conquer the world and destroy all other religions in favor of Islam.Like the return of the Christian Messiah, the Mahdi is prophesied to appear at a time of world-engulfing bloodshed and pestilence.However, unlike the natural disasters foreseen in the Book of Revelations, Hojjatieh Shiites – including President Ahmadinejad – believe humans can bring about the death and destruction that will trigger the Mahdi’s return.What better way to spread world-ending mayhem than the use of nuclear weapons?Some may scoff at Ahmadinejad’s determination to wipe Israel from the map.But frequent statements show he sees himself as a harbinger of the Mahdi’s coming, a preparer of the way.Remember the rambling letters Iran’s president sent to President George W. Bush and to German Chancellor Angela Merkel? The letters, in part, contained a challenge for each to accept Islam – a traditional requirement before Muslims may declare war.Even presupposing a catastrophic response from the West, a nuclear-armed Iran could enact Shiism’s martyrdom policy on a national scale.The risk of such a holocaust is simply too great to contemplate more fruitless cajoling or more ignored international sanctions.Iran’s president sees it as his righteous duty to send the world to hell.The world has a responsibility to deny him that opportunity.