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I was asked by the Department of State in November 2005 to travel to Vienna, Austria to address delegates from non-aligned countries at the IAEA about Iran’s nuclear programs. I argued at that time that the IAEA was required to refer Iran to the UN Security Council because it was in clear violation of its commitments under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
As I told the delegates, there is no difference in the technology or the facilities needed to enrich uranium to three or four percent for use as fuel in a civilian power reactor, and the facilities required to enrich uranium to 90 or 93% to build nuclear weapons. “The only thing separating the two is a matter of intent.”
The leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran have stated their intent time and time again: it is to destroy America, and wipe Israel off the map. For those who have ears, let them hear.
Over the past three years, Turkey has left the Western camp, encouraged by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton as a “moderate” Islamist regime.
We should be having a national discussion about “who lost Turkey,” because today Turkey has become the ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran, not the United States.
Make no mistake: the siren song we heard from Turkey’s foreign minister last week was intended to advance Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, not to thwart them.
I have always advocated for helping the people of Iran in their struggle for freedom against this tyrannical Islamist regime, because I believe our problem is not with the people of Iran or even nuclear weapons in Iran, but with the regime that has its finger on the nuclear trigger.
At the end of my 2005 book, Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran, I laid out specific steps the U.S. government could take to promote regime change in Iran, without committing U.S. troops or engaging in a strategic bombing campaign.
I fear the window of opportunity for taking such steps is quickly closing, and that the Obama administration, egged on by pressure groups such as the pro-Tehran National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) and their Congressional acolytes, Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D, MD) and Jim Moran (D, VA), will be tempted to conclude another specious “peace in our time” deal with Tehran.
Can we negotiate with Tehran’s current leadership? I think the regime’s track record of using negotiations to buy time shows that we cannot. But for the sake of argument, if such a negotiation were possible it would have to achieve the following goals:
- Total transparency, as demanded by the IAEA under the NPT requirements. That means opening all of Iran’s nuclear facilities and the ability of IAEA inspectors to hunt for undeclared facilities unhindered by the regime.
- Access to nuclear scientists outside of Iran. The Iranian regime continues to stonewall IAEA attempts to interview key nuclear scientists, and in some cases is holding their families hostage. As we learned with Iraq, it is crucial that the IAEA be able to interview these scientists outside of Iran. They must be allowed to bring their entire families with them for safety.
- Removal of all nuclear stockpiles from Iran. Because enriching uranium to 20% amounts to roughly 95% of the separation work needed to make weapons-grade fuel, the IAEA must remove all nuclear material from Iran.
- Supervised dismantling of enrichment-related facilities. Because of its repeated violations of the NPT, Iran has no right to enrichment technology, period.
These are the minimum standards for any safe, verifiable agreement with the Iranian regime over their nuclear program; and they don’t even begin to address the other problems we have with this regime such as its ongoing support for terrorist groups abroad and its abominable human rights practices at home.
So to Turkey’s foreign minister, I say: nice try.
After Neville Chamberlain returned from negotiating with Adolf Hitler in Munich, Winston Churchill famously commented, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.”
Let us not make the same catastrophic choice again.
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