The Best Way to Stop Iran from Obtaining Nuclear Weapons Is to Destroy Its Nuclear Infrastructure

July 22 2020

In the past several weeks, a series of mysterious explosions have erupted in the Islamic Republic. At least some of them caused damage to military sites related to the Iranian nuclear program. It appears possible that these were covert attacks by Tehran’s adversaries to slow its progress toward obtaining a bomb. Considering Israel’s previous, similar efforts to stop its enemies from obtaining such arms—most notably the daring raid on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981—Benny Avni writes:

“Israel’s attack on Osirak was a major mistake,” the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, told me a while back. Blix, a Swede, had then just ended his stint as top United Nations arms inspector in Iraq. While Israel’s storied Operation Opera destroyed Saddam Hussein’s atomic plant in 1981, he said, it then motivated the Iraqi strongman to renew vigorously efforts to obtain a bomb, a headache for the non-proliferation community.

There is, though, a counter argument, one that is highly relevant right now. [Namely, that Iraq never acquired a nuclear weapon]. The pursuit of a bomb by the Assad clan at Syria ended similarly, never to be rebuilt, after Israel, in 2007, bombed its nascent nuclear facility in Deir ez-Zor.

The recent explosion [at the Iranian city of] Natanz reportedly delayed the advanced centrifuge project by at least two years. The project . . . would have given Iran the ability to produce up to four bombs a year. [But] Iran might rely on the older generation of centrifuges while it tries to reinstate faster enrichment capabilities. Yet as the past attacks on Iraqi and Syrian facilities show, and contrary to Blix’s objection to non-proliferation by military means, destroyed facilities are hard to rebuild.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Nuclear proliferation


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy