Time to act on Iran out of touch with re­al­ity

Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ef­forts dan­ger­ously

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - By Mike Huck­abee

Ihave just re­turned from Is­rael, where I spent 10 days and had the op­por­tu­nity to visit with peo­ple from the prime min­is­ter to street mar­ket ven­dors in Jerusalem’s Old City and gained per­spec­tives rang­ing from Knes­set mem­bers and rab­bis to Arab Is­raelis, Chris­tian Is­raelis and Mus­lim mer­chants. I can at­test first­hand that the threat of Iran’s gov­ern­ment to “wipe Is­rael off the face of the map” is taken far more se­ri­ously than in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, where the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, spoke for the pres­i­dent by say­ing that “Iran is a ra­tio­nal ac­tor.”

Re­ally? A gov­ern­ment is “ra­tio­nal” that de­nies the Holo­caust, pub­licly boasts of its goal of oblit­er­at­ing en­tire na­tions, is poised to ex­e­cute by hang­ing a young Chris­tian pas­tor be­cause his faith of­fends the sen­si­tiv­i­ties of a gov­ern­ment that will shoot women in the streets of Tehran should they dare ques­tion the re­sults of a phony elec­tion? Call­ing such a gov­ern­ment “ra­tio­nal” is not only irrational, but reck­lessly dan­ger­ous and not just to Is­rael, but to ev­ery na­tion in the Mid­dle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States, not to men­tion the de­cent and civil peo­ple who live in Iran, but who do not share the rad­i­cal, racist and ruth­less out­look of their own ma­ni­a­cal gov­ern­ment.

Last week’s failed United Na­tions mis­sion to Iran, which ended with In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) in­spec­tors de­nied ac­cess to a mil­i­tary site at Parchin, demon­strates that time is run­ning out on a diplo­matic so­lu­tion to Iran’s nu­clear am­bi­tions. Steel ves­sels at the Parchin site in­di­cated ex­plo­sives test­ing con­nected to a nu­clear-weapons pro­gram. The IAEA’S Feb. 24 re­port was damn­ing, re­mark­able for a U.N. agency nor­mally given to diplo­matic dou­ble­s­peak.

Like the dis­cov­ery of a se­cret nu­clear site near Qom in 2009 by Western in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, now fully op­er­a­tional, we face a dooms­day sce­nario: a rad­i­cal Is­lamist regime com­mit­ted to Is­rael’s destruc­tion on the verge of an op­er­a­tional nu­clear fuel cy­cle pos­sess­ing bal­lis­tic-mis­sile tech­nol­ogy ca­pa­ble of launch­ing at­tacks on Western Euro­pean cities and, in two to three years, the United States.

Un­less the West acts im­me­di­ately, we con­front the prospect of a run­away nu­clear arms race in the most dan­ger­ous re­gion in the world. Iran has the abil­ity to black­mail and brow­beat its neigh­bors as well as pass “dirty bombs” to its proxy pup­pets like Ha­mas or Hezbol­lah, or start a gen­eral war in the Mid­dle East. Thanks, but no thanks.

Congress re­cently passed strict sanc­tions against Iran’s Cen­tral Bank over the ob­jec­tions of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. If fully en­forced, these sanc­tions will ef­fec­tively crip­ple Iran’s oil in­dus­try, which pro­vides 50 per­cent of its an­nual bud­get. But the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in­sisted on a pro­vi­sion al­low­ing it to sus­pend the sanc­tions if it deemed their im­pact would roil global oil mar­kets. This sends pre­cisely the wrong sig­nal to Tehran. Iran only pro­duces 2.5 per­cent of the world’s oil, and com­mod­ity mar­kets have largely cal­cu­lated the im­pact of an Ira­nian oil slow­down in crudeoil prices.

One hopes Pres­i­dent Obama is not putting do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal con­cerns ahead of his re­spon­si­bil­ity as com­man­der in chief. Nor is this the least of Mr. Obama’s fail­ure to lead. The Com­pre­hen­sive Iran Sanc­tions, Ac­count­abil­ity and Di­vest­ment Act (CISADA) gives the ad­min­is­tra­tion the abil­ity to sanc­tion any com­pany any­where in the world do­ing busi­ness with Iran. But it has been ap­plied to just 10 for­eign com­pa­nies and en­ti­ties. The black­list of cor­po­rate mis­cre­ants should be broad­ened.

This is part and par­cel of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s en­tire re­sponse to the Ira­nian threat, which has been one of vac­il­la­tion, weak­ness and con­fu­sion. The lat­est bizarre in­stall­ment was Gen. Dempsey’s straight-faced as­ser­tion on CNN that Iran is a “ra­tio­nal ac­tor” that is not seek­ing nu­clear weapons. He re­buked Is­rael for con­sid­er­ing a mil­i­tary strike against Iran’s nu­clear sites as “desta­bi­liz­ing.”

Even more dan­ger­ous are Mr. Obama’s tril­lion-dol­lar cuts in de­fense, which took ef­fect the same month satel­lite pho­tos re­vealed black­ened holes had re­placed two build­ings at a re­mote Ira­nian mil­i­tary fa­cil­ity where Ira­nian sci­en­tists were said to be work­ing on a break­through in mis­sile tech­nol­ogy.

Mean­while, Iran has been linked to the at­tempted as­sas­si­na­tion of the Saudi am­bas­sador on U.S. soil, and to at­tempted-bomb­ing at­tacks on Is­raeli diplo­mats in In­dia, Ge­or­gia and Thai­land.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion should strictly en­force sanc­tions against Iran’s Cen­tral Bank, ac­cel­er­ate the timetable of the Euro­pean Union’s oil boy­cott of Iran and in­crease covert ac­tion within Iran to desta­bi­lize the regime and its nu­clear pro­gram. The State Depart­ment should pro­vide long-over­due as­sis­tance to Ira­nian dis­si­dents with satel­lite phone and In­ter­net tech­nol­ogy to en­able them to or­ga­nize and com­mu­ni­cate free from the regime’s au­thor­i­tar­ian boot.

When Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu comes to the White House next week, Mr. Obama should is­sue an un­equiv­o­cal state­ment that Is­rael is fully within its rights to pro­tect it­self against the ex­is­ten­tial threat of Iran, and if it does so, it will en­joy U.S. sup­port. He should fur­ther state that the United States is ac­tively con­sid­er­ing mil­i­tary ac­tion. We need Mr. Obama to act more like Win­ston Churchill and less like Neville Cham­ber­lain. The world has had one Holo­caust. God help us all if we al­low an­other one.

Iran is the fo­cus of evil in the mod­ern world. The time for U.S. slow-walk­ing of this threat is over. The nu­clear clock is tick­ing, and time is run­ning out.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY DONNA GRETHEN

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