Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Time is short for Iran diplomacy and for soul searching by those able to act before it is too late


Time is short for Iran diplomacy and for soul searching by those able to act before it is too late

Michael Oren has an article in today's edition of the Wall Street Journal. The subtitle is one of the most dramatic we have seen anywhere.

Unfortunately, the note of extreme drama is fully justified. The dangers he outlines are liable to turn upside down the lives of everyone in the WSJ's territory - meaning the world. But without a doubt it's us Israelis who have the most to fear from the perils that Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, lays out here. What follows is shortened version - the whole thing is shattering and should be read by the widest possible audience.

Time Is Short For Iran Diplomacy: Iran is the world's leading terror sponsor without nuclear weapons. With them, it can commit incalculable atrocities.
MICHAEL OREN, Ambassador of Israel to the United States

  • Nearly two decades ago, Israel started alerting the world about Iran's nuclear program. But the world ignored our warnings, wasting 10 years until the secret nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz was exposed in 2002. Then eight more invaluable years were lost before much of the international community imposed serious sanctions on Iran...

  • Iran has blocked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from visiting its nuclear sites, refused to answer questions about the military aspects of its program, and rejected all confidence-building measures. Iran has tested long-range missiles capable of reaching any city in the Middle East and, in the future, beyond.

  • Iran is also the world's leading state sponsor of terror. It has supplied more than 70,000 rockets to terrorist organizations deployed on Israel's borders and has tried to murder civilians across five continents and 25 countries, including in the United States... 

  • By providing fighters and funds, Iran is enabling Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to massacre his own people.

  • Iran has done all this without nuclear weapons. With them, it can commit incalculable atrocities anywhere in the world, beginning with Israel. As the chief of staff of the Iranian military recently stated, "the Iranian nation stands for the full annihilation of Israel." 

  • Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said "the annihilation of the Zionist regime is the key for solving the world problems"...

  • Iran now has amassed roughly 225 pounds of 20% uranium and 11,000 pounds of 3.5%, sufficient for almost five nuclear bombs... 

  • Iran will continue to drag out the negotiations while installing more centrifuges. These, according to the IAEA, are spinning even faster. The sanctions, which have dealt a blow to Iran's economy, have not affected the nuclear program. Meanwhile, more of Iran's expanding stockpile will be hidden in fortified bunkers beyond Israel's reach.

  • No country has a greater stake than Israel in using negotiations and economic pressure to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons. We appreciate the determination of President Obama and the U.S. Congress to advance the sanctions and their pledge to keep all options on the table...

  • A combination of truly crippling sanctions and a credible military threat—a threat that the ayatollahs still do not believe today—may yet convince Iran to relinquish its nuclear dreams. But time is dwindling and, with each passing day, the lives of eight million Israelis grow increasingly imperiled. 

  • The window that opened 20 years ago is now almost shut.
The full text is here. We would add two more points to this: 

  • For at least two years, the Obama administration has known what the Bush administration preferred not to know: that the claims made by the Iranian regime back in 2003 about having ended all development work on designing a nuclear warhead were and are untrue [source]. The Iranians were lying.

  • This morning's Haaretz reported that new intelligence information indicates Iran has made greater progress on developing components for its nuclear weapons program than the West had previously realized. The United States, Britain, France, Germany and Israel all agree on this grim and extremely unsettling assessment.