Obama’s Iran delu­sions

Giv­ing in to Tehran’s nu­clear de­mands is dewy-eyed diplo­macy

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion - By Dan Bur­ton

As the United States re­turns to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble with Iran on Wed­nes­day, there is only one deal that should be put on the ta­ble. If Iran is fi­nally, truly se­ri­ous about re­solv­ing this cri­sis, and not just try­ing to string us along again, then they will stop en­rich­ing ura­nium and honor all United Na­tions res­o­lu­tions, now. Not next week, next month or next year, but now. Sanc­tions should stay in place un­til trans­par­ent, ver­i­fi­able pro­ce­dures are es­tab­lished to en­sure that Iran can­not build an atomic bomb.

In Novem­ber 1993, Pres­i­dent Clin­ton em­phat­i­cally de­clared that North Korea could not be al­lowed to de­velop a nu­clear bomb. Less than one year later, in Oc­to­ber 1994, the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion signed the “Agreed Frame­work” with North Korea in Geneva. The frame­work granted North Korea two light-wa­ter nu­clear re­ac­tors, 500,000 met­ric tons of free fuel oil an­nu­ally, as well as tons of grain, all for the prom­ise to freeze all nu­clear weapons am­bi­tions. In 2002, when con­fronted by the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion with ev­i­dence of their lies, the North Kore­ans fi­nally ad­mit­ted to pur­su­ing a se­cret nu­clear pro­gram in bla­tant vi­o­la­tion of the agree­ment. In Fe­bru­ary, North Korea an­nounced it had con­ducted its third nu­clear test in re­cent years.

“There should be no doubt,” said Pres­i­dent Obama in 2010, that “the United States and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity are de­ter­mined to pre­vent Iran from ac­quir­ing nu­clear weapons.” Flash for­ward to Geneva 2013. Un­der new lead­er­ship and with its econ­omy in tat­ters (much like North Korea was in 1994), the Ira­ni­ans are ready to deal, they say. In­stead of in­sist­ing that Iran stop en­rich­ing ura­nium and honor all U.N. res­o­lu­tions, what does the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fer? To ease eco­nomic sanc­tions — let­ting tens if not hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars flow back into Iran’s crip­pled econ­omy — in ex­change for a par­tial Ira­nian freeze on its nu­clear pro­gram. Iran could still en­rich ura­nium, build­ing a stock­pile of low-en­riched ma­te­rial that could be turned into nu­clear-bomb fuel at a later date. Tehran could still build ad­vanced cen­trifuges — al­though it promised not to turn them on — and con­tinue run­ning its old cen­trifuges. Iran could also con­tinue erect­ing a heavy-wa­ter nu­clear re­ac­tor near the city of Arak — cre­at­ing a sec­ond path­way to a bomb as the re­ac­tor’s spent fuel could even­tu­ally be re­pro­cessed into plu­to­nium.

The Agreed Frame­work with North Korea was stupid. The pro­posed deal with Iran is sui­ci­dal. Re­peated find­ings by U.N. weapons in­spec­tors in­di­cate that Iran ap­pears to be con­duct­ing nu­clear weapons re­search. Even with the United States and our al­lies of­fer­ing Iran a vir­tual sur­ren­der in the stand­off, the Ira­ni­ans still refuse to ac­cept the deal. If you aren’t con­vinced now that Iran isn’t se­ri­ous about giv­ing up its nu­clear bomb am­bi­tions, you are likely delu­sional.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion’s bum­bling in Geneva is more than just an em­bar­rass­ment; it is dan­ger­ous. Is­rael and the Per­sian Gulf na­tions have long been alarmed about the prospect of a nu­clear weapon­sarmed Iran, but they ac­cepted the as­sur­ances that the United States and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity would pre­vent Iran from ac­quir­ing such weapons. Now, it looks as though those as­sur­ances may have been empty words. The con­se­quences of this lie could be war.

By tra­di­tion, some in­ductees to the Is­raeli De­fense Forces take their oath of loy­alty to the Jewish state on top of Masada, the an­cient rock fortress. Oth­ers take it at the Western Wall, the rem­nant of the sa­cred Tem­ple in Jerusalem. Wher­ever they take it, the oath ends: “Masada shall not fall again.” It is an af­fir­ma­tion that Is­rael will not sub­mit qui­etly to those who would de­stroy her. Is­rael will not let Iran have a nu­clear bomb. Pe­riod. If she can­not trust her great­est ally to pro­tect her from Iran’s nu­clear am­bi­tions, Is­rael will de­fend her­self. A pre-emp­tive Is­raeli strike will spark a broader con­flict. Even if, by some mir­a­cle, the Is­raelis could be per­suaded to live within the shadow of a nu­clear-armed Iran, there is still Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emi­rates, Qatar and the other Gulf states to con­sider.

I have said many times be­fore that Mr. Obama and his ad­vis­ers have a dan­ger­ous ten­dency to view world af­fairs through the prism of a text­book. They see what they would like to see, not re­al­ity. Once again, their naive world­view has cre­ated a for­eign-pol­icy de­ba­cle. Fur­ther mis­cal­cu­la­tions with Iran could cost mil­lions of lives in a nu­clear holo­caust. Ap­pease­ment does not work. It did not work in the 1930s with Hitler. It did not work in the 1990s with North Korea. It will not work in 2013 with Iran.

ILLUSTRATION BY GREG GROESCH

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