Iran’s Nuclear Threat

What the U.S. and Israel absolutely have to do.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has accumulated a history of cheating on the agreements it signed with IAEA on non-proliferation. Instead, it has striven to build a nuclear bomb, and a delivery system that could be used to attack its enemies. Currently it has developed and experimented with medium and short-range missiles that can reach Israel, Saudi Arabia and European capitals. Nature magazine, February 7, 2020, pointed out that, “Iran has accumulated 1,200 kilograms of enriched uranium - more than doubling the stockpile it had just three months ago, according to a statement from a senior official of the Atomic Energy organization of Iran on January 25, 2020.  That’s enough to build one atomic bomb, if the uranium is further refined to make it weapons-grade, says David Albright, nuclear-policy specialist at the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington DC. Nature goes on to say, “Reports in the mid-2000s by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suggested that Iran could be actively working to build a nuclear arsenal. That would be a violation of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which Iran had signed. In 2003, bowing to international pressure, the country agreed to cut down its nuclear activities drastically — but not completely.” 

There are certain similarities between Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and the Islamic Republic of Iran today. Iran today, and Nazi Germany in the 1930’s, counted on a population of about 80 million. Nazi Germany cheated on the Treaty of Versailles (June 1919), which limited the size of its army and navy, and forbade it to maintain an air force. Germany rearmed secretly, with no pushback from the allies. The allies (principally Britain and France) simply didn’t have the stomach to risk a war with Hitler and looked the other way. Iran’s Islamic Republic has likewise discarded the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement between the five powers (China, France, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States) and Iran, adopted on July 20, 2015. The agreement called on Iran to provide the IAEA with information on past activities related to nuclear weapons development. Iran cheated, and it was only due to Iranian defectors that the world found out about the secret Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement limited Iran’s uranium enrichment and stockpiles, as well the as the quality of its centrifuges. Iran has, moreover, denied access to IAEA inspectors hoping to visit military facilities in contravention of the agreement’s monitoring and verification clause.

The Obama administration (and the western allies), much like the allies in the 1930’s, didn’t reproach Iran for its transgressions, for fear that the latter would pull out of the agreement. The JCPOA became President Obama’s primary foreign policy achievement and admitting its flaws would discredit his administration. Like Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister in the 1930’s appeasing Hitler’s Nazi Germany, President Obama appeased the ayatollahs of Iran, looking the other way on their continued cheating, and their development of short and medium-range rockets capable of carrying nuclear payloads. Obama’s central appeasement act was providing Iran with $150 billion in cash, which the Iranians used to foment terror and instability throughout the Middle East.

Back in the 1980’s, during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), Iran was considering obtaining nuclear weapons. This was admitted by the former Iranian President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who traveled to Pakistan to meet with Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Khan confessed later that he sold nuclear secrets to Iran. In his autobiography, Rafsanjani (he died in 2017) made it known that he was behind the 1983 attacks on the U.S. Embassy, and the U.S. Marine barracks both in Beirut, Lebanon. The same Rafsanjani (he mentored current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani) funded the clandestine building of Iran’s nuclear weapons in the 1990’s. It was the U.S., not Saddam Hussein, that concerned the mullahs of Iran following the U.S. defeat of Saddam’s Iraqi army in 1990-91. Israel’s destruction of Iraq’s nuclear facility in 1981, made the Iraqi nuclear threat disappear as far as the “moderate” Rafsanjani was concerned.

On Quds Day (Jerusalem Day), December 14, 2001, Rafsanjani was quoted as saying, “If one day, the Islamic World is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.” Iran is a threat to Israel and the U.S. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared in October, 2005, “wipe Israel off the map.” Such threats to destroy Israel are in violation of the UN Charter’s article 2 (4), that prohibits the threat, or use of force, and calls on all member states of the UN to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of all other states. The UN today, being dominated by Islamic and other Third world states, is unwilling and perhaps incapable of forcing Iran to end its threats against Israel, and its aggressive behavior throughout the Middle East region. As a result, Israel and the U.S. are on a collision course with Iran.

The Washington Post reported (April 23, 2020) that, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in an interview with Iranian state television, threatened that, “any attack by U.S. forces that endangers Iranian military or civilian ships will be met with immediate and decisive response.” Iran has repeatedly warned that U.S. sanctions could prompt a retaliatory blockade of the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the critical sea lane for tankers. Iranian fast boats also have come close to U.S. Navy vessels in the past, acts that the Pentagon has described as harassment, but no direct clashes have taken place.” Iraqi Shiite militias loyal to Iran have attacked U.S. bases in Iraq with rocket fire, action that prompted the U.S. killing of Gen. Qassim Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC.

The U.S. sanctions and the coronavirus crisis have been disastrous for the Iranian economy, and it has aroused public protests throughout Iran. It has made the Ayatollahs and their Praetorian Guard – the IRGC, desperate and dangerous. The regime is working feverishly, if secretly, on preparing a nuclear defense/offense. 

The former Soviet Union was deterred from using nuclear weapons during the Cold War by the idea of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). The Iranian leadership of today has no such fears. It is fatalistic enough to welcome Armageddon as a way to usher in the coming of the Twelfth Imam - the Shiite Messiah. It is more than conceivable that Iran, once in possession of a nuclear bomb, will use it against Israel and the U.S. For the ayatollahs of Iran, the conflict with Israel and the U.S. is not territorial, but it is a religious conflict, and the secular west must internalize it for its own survival. 

It is crucial that the U.S., Israel, and the West do not repeat the tragic mistakes of pre-WWII, by waiting until it was too late to stop the Nazi Germany’s war machine. Appeasement of Iran won’t work just as it didn’t work with Hitler. Thus, to prevent a global catastrophe, the U.S., and Israel (the Europeans have not learned the lesson of WWII, and still practice appeasement) must forcibly stop the Iranian regime from acquiring a nuclear bomb.

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Photo credit: Ali Khameini website

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