Iran crossing the nuclear threshold as Israel is condemned

Iran is passing the point of nuclear no return as we speak. And yet all the international community want is to speak about Israel

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Tom Wilson
On 31 October 2013 21:58

Judging by the best estimations that have recently become available to us, we can safely say that at this present moment, the final steps are being taken in Iran to set the Islamic Republic irreversibly on the path to having nuclear weapons.

Yet we need not be alarmed; Obama’s ever-dependable Secretary of State John Kerry is coming to the rescue.

His new, never-before-tried, solution? Diplomacy. Give negotiations a chance demands Kerry, as if the last four and a half years of failed Obama diplomacy never happened.

Concurrent with these dizzying events, among the world’s transnational institutions there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Have these people finally awoken to what a nuclear Iran would mean and how close we now stand to that precipice? No. The cause of the concern is the fear that Israel might be about to build some more houses in a pre-existing neighbourhood of the country’s capital, Jerusalem.

Iran is rapidly going nuclear but the West’s enlightened and progressive leaders are too busy condemning Israel, the first country on Iran’s hit list, to even notice.

Of course, Israel may be the first target for the Mullah’s, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last. The Arab Gulf States or the Egyptians for that matter would hardly be losing any sleep if it was just the prospect of the Jewish State vanishing into a mushroom cloud.

The Obama administration claims it believes Iran is about a year away from having nuclear weapons capabilities. That’s still pretty close for comfort. Yet, in all likelihood that estimation is irresponsibly optimistic.

Last week both the former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a report released by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security stated that, with the number of centrifuges now spinning throughout Iran’s vast network of nuclear infrastructure, Iran could amass enough weapons grade uranium to have enough for a bomb within a month.

This would appear to be the time for some drastic action. Instead, the Obama administration has decided that now would be a good time for backing off on sanctions and the White House has been warring with senators in an attempt to persuade Congress to delay implementing the next round of tougher sanctions.

If Kerry and Obama are really serious about the umpteenth round of negotiations in Geneva next month then at the very least they need to force Iran to take them seriously by backing them up with sanctions. Either way, many would argue that the time for talking is well and truly over.

Kerry hit back against these sentiments in a speech earlier this week when he rebuked those who are sceptical about the efficacy of having yet more negotiations with the Iranians, painting his critics as believing there’s something wrong with giving diplomacy a chance.

This is an absurd claim given that Iran has demonstrated that it simply sees negotiations as an opportunity to push ahead with its nuclear programme; Iran’s uranium stockpiles having almost doubled in the past year.

During the same speech Kerry said that the US needs “to test whether or not Iran really desires to pursue only a peaceful programme”. How can Kerry possibly persist with entertaining such sentiments? What is the point of pretending that Iran, one of the most oil and gas rich countries in the world, might still be pursuing a peaceful nuclear programme?

If that were the case then what were Iranian officials doing at nuclear missile tests in North Korea? Why has Iran constructed a huge nuclear facility in bunkers deep beneath Fordow Mountain? How come inspectors discovered evidence of Iran enriching uranium well above the 20 percent necessary for civilian purposes? And how can Iran possibly explain the plans for a nuclear trigger that it was found to be working on?

Even more absurd than the suggestion that Iran isn’t interested in the bomb is the claim that Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, is somehow a moderate and a break from a more dubious past.

This is, after all, the same Rouhani who for years was tasked with overseeing Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the West. And in 2006 Rouhani was on record bragging to Iran’s ‘Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution’ that he had purposefully used negotiations with the Europeans to buy the time to take crucial steps with the country’s nuclear programme.

But what ought to seem frankly bizarre to any fair-minded observer is that while the Obama administration wants sanctions postponed and concessions granted to Iran before negotiations have even began, when it came to Israel Obama’s government acquiesced in Palestinian demands that Israel be forced to release convicted terrorists before negotiations could even be allowed to begin.

Pressuring Israel into releasing those who murdered its civilians in calculated terror attacks was the alternative to Israel having to put life on hold for thousands of people through a Settlement freeze. That was the price Israel was made to pay for the last round of fruitless negotiations, which the Palestinians avoided taking part in until the final weeks of the freeze.

This time around Israel would have to release hardened terrorists but at least life for Israelis would be able to go on as normal while the negotiation charade went on. Despite this, when it came to light that some more houses would be built in an existing neighbourhood of north Jerusalem, Ramat Shlomo, it was met by a wave of condemnation.

The US State Department expressed its opposition. A UN statement was released noting Ban Ki-moon’s “concern”, and the EU’s sham Foreign Minister Baroness Ashton referred to this building project as being “deplorable”.

What is truly deplorable is that people like Ashton seem more alarmed by Jews building homes in Jerusalem than by Iranians building nuclear reactors deep beneath mountains.

And Ban Ki-Moon might want to try being less concerned about Israelis living in neighbourhoods in their own capital city and try being a little more concerned about Mullah’s gaining the means to commit genocide against these same people.

Tom Wilson is a political analyst and a doctoral student at University College London

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