How America Bamboozled Itself on Iran

After dragging on for over a decade, negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program seem to be approaching a final agreement in which the U.S. will concede much in exchange for very little. Jordan Chandler Hirsch explains how American diplomats backed themselves into a corner, dismantles their excuses, and suggests alternatives:

The issue [at hand] isn’t so much how to use force but how best to threaten using it. . . . Sending troops into Iran isn’t wise or viable—and therefore not particularly credible. A surgical strike, on the other hand, is a perfectly credible approach. Israel has demonstrated that twice, with strikes on Iraqi and Syrian nuclear facilities. . . . In dismissing the surgical approach, members of the Obama administration have distorted the debate about military action and taken the most credible threat—the only one that gives the negotiations real teeth—off the table. . . .

Even as several former Obama officials I spoke with insisted that they had no illusions about the character of the regime, they still predicted that a deal would magically lead to reform. “If you get a deal, hopefully relations begin to improve,” a former staffer explained, “and then Khamenei will die and we can get a different Supreme Leader, a more moderate leader” who might cooperate with the United States. Hoping that a seventy-five-year-old man will die soon is not exactly a sound strategy. . . .

A successful negotiation, in the Obama administration’s terms, now risks allowing Iran the legal right to establish an industrial-scale nuclear program a decade from now and still be dominated by the same brutal, expansionist leadership. The world has little reason other than hope to think that Iran will stop short from going nuclear over the next decade if at any moment it believes it can do so at little or no cost. At which point our diplomatic failure will become a global disaster that might force the United States to fight—under far worse and far more dangerous circumstances—the very battles it has spent years trying to avoid.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Barack Obama, Iran, Iranian nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, Strategy, U.S. Foreign policy

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy