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In his first term, Obama pursued a minimalist response to Iran’s nuclear program and defended both the legitimacy of the brutally repressive Iranian regime and Iran’s “right” to “peaceful” nuclear technology. He gave Israel, which has the most to lose from a nuclear Iran, only tepid support. No matter how many times Iran refused to negotiate, backed out of negotiations, lied in negotiations … no matter how relentless Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons … Obama’s response was to offer yet more concessions and negotiations in exchange for Iran’s ever-elusive cooperation.
Astute observers wondered if Obama’s goal was simply to contain Iran’s nuclear program, rather than to stop it.
To Iran, our generous gestures only confirmed our cowardice and naivete. As the United States placed hope in engagement and half-hearted sanctions, Iran stepped up its nuclear program. History tells us that the pursuit of compromises with radical regimes is usually futile. We have to draw a distinction between fanatical regimes and authoritarian ones. From Hitler to Mao to Ahmadinejad, extremist leaders use our diplomatic approach to buy time, develop weapons, and deflect attention away from atrocities. Exposing the cruel reality of their regimes, not enabling them in any way, and reminding them of the unwavering power mounted against them is, unfortunately, our best option.
Some ask why Iran doesn’t have the same right to nuclear weapons as us, or as others such as Israel and India. The answer is simple. Israel and India don’t define us as a mortal enemy. They haven’t sponsored and trained terrorists to target and kill Americans. They don’t support some of the world’s worst terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas. They don’t align with the world’s other hostile regimes. Nuclear capability would allow Iran to become a viable threat. Worse, it would allow terrorists access to nuclear weapons to use against us.
Our circumspection regarding Iran’s regime type and weapons program has done absolutely no good. Iranian intransigence and Iranian human rights violations have only gotten worse.
In November, the IAEA reported that Iran had accelerated the pace of nuclear enrichment, and was significantly closer to nuclear bomb capability. Now comes a frightening report entitled Revealed! Evidence Iran Crossed Nuclear “Red Line’ by Reza Kahlili, inspiring author of A Time to Betray. Citing a source in Iran’s Ministry of Defense, Kahlili reveals:
Iranian scientists are working on nuclear warheads – and trying to perfect them – at an underground site …The most significant information provided by the source is that the regime has succeeded in not only enriching to weapons grade but has converted the highly enriched uranium into metal. … Moreover, the source said, successfully using the metal in making a neutron reflector indicates the final stages for a nuclear weapons design that would be a two-stage, more sophisticated and much more powerful nuclear bomb. … Regime scientists are also working on a plutonium bomb as a second path to becoming nuclear-armed, the source said, and they have at this site 24 kilograms of plutonium, which is sufficient for several atomic bombs. … Iranian scientists, aided by North Koreans, are also working on new ways to have more miniaturized and more powerful atomic bombs, he said.
I urge you to read Kahlili’s report. Then consider the following. This happened under watch of an administration that never admitted to seeking only to contain Iran’s nuclear program. But, our new Secretary of Defense Hagel sees nothing wrong with this modest goal. He is on record stating his opposition to unilateral sanctions and his willingness to work on containing a nuclear Iran.