By Bob Maginnis
Iran’s ayatollah likely favors the re-election of President Barrack Obama over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney who calls for a get-tough Iran nuclear policy and has a reputation for delivering results. On this issue American voters have a real choice fueled by startling new revelations.
The IAEA Report
The diabolical Iranian nuclear issue earned headlines last week with the release of a report by the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). That report includes frightening new details that Iran will soon have a nuclear-weapons “breakout” capability; the means to quickly build a weapon if Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives the order.
Iran’s nuclear program is the most pressing foreign policy issue in this presidential race because the consequences of failure are so costly. Should Iran achieve nuclear weapons, the Middle East’s balance of power will shift in favor of the ayatollahs, which will spark an arms race, pose an existential threat to Israel and eventually threaten our homeland.
Further, American voters must understand the Iranian regime is unlike any other enemy. Iran’s apocalyptic clerical leaders have a world view that justifies suicide bombings and they believe in the messianic return of their “hidden imam” as the world descends into chaos, perhaps precipitated by the use of nuclear weapons. The imam allegedly comes to establish Islam throughout the world.
TheIAEA’s new report indicates Iran has sixteen declared nuclear facilities of which the most important is the regime’s underground Fordow facility near the holy city of Qom, which is safe from most aerial attacks. TheIAEAreports the formerly secret facility houses 2,140 centrifuges for enriching uranium which is more than double the 1,064 centrifuges found there just three months ago.
Iran’s stockpile includes 15,127 pounds of 5 percent low enriched uranium for reactors and 417.6 pounds of 20 percent enriched uranium, which is 87 percent of the processing needed for bomb-grade material. Half of Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium is allegedly intended for Tehran’s medical reactor and the balance could become part of the approximately 385 pounds requiring further enrichment to 90 percent to become bomb material. One hundred pounds of 20 percent uranium was produced at the Fordow facility just since this May, according to theIAEA.
TheIAEAfurther reports Iran refuses to grant inspectors access to the Parchin military complex where Iranian scientists allegedly tested a type of detonator used to trigger nuclear explosions. UN officials cite satellite imagery showing “Significant ground scraping and landscaping … with new dirt roads” at Parchin, buildings have been demolished and August 2012 images “show the containment vessel building (used for explosive tests) shrouded.”
Iran denied theIAEA’s request to interview Mohsen Fakhrizadeth, a senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the physicist who previously oversaw Iran’s nuclear warhead research that was allegedly halted in 2003. TheIAEAbelieves Mr. Fakhrizadeh opened a new nuclear weapons research facility in 2011, which is staffed by many of the same personnel who previously worked for him.
Finally, “We have concerns in various areas that indicate activities that are relevant to nuclear explosive devices,” IAEADirector General Yukiya Amano told the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Amano raised questions about weapons-related work post-2003 such as computer modeling to simulate the detonation of a nuclear bomb, evidence Iran worked on a neutron initiator to ignite a fissile reaction, and “activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
Iran has a large inventory of accurate ballistic missiles that can reach Israel and much of Eastern Europe and it “may be technically capable of flight-testing an intercontinental ballistic missile by 2015,” which puts America’s homeland within striking distance, according to a recent Pentagon study.
Israel faces existential threat
The preponderance of theIAEA’s and other evidence suggests Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon capability. But Obama administration officials repeatedly tell the media they are not entirely sure if Iran really intends to build a bomb but they grant that ultimate intentions are unknowable.
Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak is convinced Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon capability and will soon cross a red line: the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a location safe from Israeli air attack such as Fordow. Barak says that “zone of immunity” is only a matter of weeks away and then Israel faces an existential threat.
Iranian leaders routinely threaten Israel’s existence. Last week Iran’s supreme leader said he was confident “the fake Zionist will disappear from the landscape of geography,” Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last week that Israel’s existence is an “insult to all humanity” and former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said “Application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” Israel is a small country of 8 million souls.
No wonder Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so insistent the U.S. take action. But to date, Obama’s promise that he has “Israel’s back” failed to slow Iran’s nuclear advances.
Specifically, Obama came to office promising to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program through diplomacy and sanctions. But his failed diplomacy gave Iran three more years to advance its nuclear program and Iran is working around sanctions to sell its oil and import what it needs.
American Voters Will Decide
At last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Mitt Romney said President Obama “has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat. In his first TV interview as president, he said we should talk to Iran. We’re still talking. And Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning. President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus.”
Romney proposes a tough Iran policy that includes a credible military option, repairs relations with Israel, imposes harsh sanctions that deny the regime financial resources, creates true diplomatic isolation for the mullahs, supports the Iranian opposition that Obama has denied, and commits America to a fully capable missile defense system for Europe.
Iran’s ayatollah understandably favors Mr. Obama over Mr. Romney, who is a pro-Israel, hard-nosed businessman with a tough Iran policy agenda and years of executive experience. American voters have a real choice this election, which could well decide Israel’s future and our own security.