With the World Distracted, Iran Is Closer Than Ever to Building Nuclear Weapons

On Saturday, the IDF conducted a number of airstrikes on Hizballah and another Iran-controlled militia operating out of Lebanon. Such attacks play a crucial role in countering Tehran’s multifront war on Israel and may help to restore deterrence. But they do little to stop Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which appear to continue apace even as the Islamic Republic’s proxies attack Israel, the U.S. military, and international shipping. Farhad Rezaei writes:

The Biden administration’s conciliatory approach towards the Islamic regime in Iran has significantly bolstered its position in the Middle East and emboldened its pursuit of nuclear-weapons capabilities. If the United States government continues to ignore Iran’s nuclear developments, it may decide to build an atomic bomb. The prospect of such a scenario is plausible given the significant growth in the regime’s nuclear capabilities, a sharp decline in the program’s transparency, and increased security incentives for the government to build the bomb amidst shifting global priorities.

Counterintuitively, the overwhelming retaliatory strikes by the United States and Israel against Iranian proxies may have heightened the regime’s motivation to pursue nuclear weapons. The regime might conclude that possessing nuclear arms is the only way to deter these nations from opposing Iran’s regional ambitions and its quest for dominance in the Middle East.

Adding to this is the shift in the discourse in Tehran. Iranian officials, who in the past were silent on the matter, have recently been quite upfront about their readiness to develop a nuclear weapon if they choose to do so.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, U.S. Foreign policy


What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship