"I often chat with friends in Israel and many don’t believe their leaders have the intestinal fortitude to strike Iran’s nuclear infrastructure alone. But from my seat at a safe distance, I think my friends are wrong. If there is as a verbal fail-safe point, Israeli officials passed it weeks ago - and from here there’s no turning back. Barring unforeseen events (such as Obama jumping onboard), they have too much invested in the game to gainsay what they’ve already said. And what they’ve already said amounts to a commitment. Failing to follow through now would put Israel under Iran’s thumb, and perhaps worse, cause the Jewish state to lose its credibility as a nation.
Read the two items below and see if you agree."
- Dan Friedman
Time Is Short For Iran Diplomacy
Iran is the world's leading terror sponsor without nuclear weapons. With them, it can commit incalculable atrocities.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
By MICHAEL OREN
Submitted by Dan Friedman, NYC
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.
Throughout that time, the ayatollahs systematically lied about their nuclear operations, installing more than 10,000 centrifuges, a significant number of them in a once-secret underground facility at Qom. 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. In July, Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists killed five Israeli tourists, among them a pregnant woman, in Bulgaria. Iran's forces have attacked American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its agents are operating in Yemen, Africa and South America. 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."
Accordingly, Israel believes that Iran is far from forfeiting its nuclear ambitions. Our conviction is based on Iran's record of subterfuge and terror together with its genocidal rhetoric. It also reflects the inability of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany (the "P5+1") to negotiate a compromise with Iran.
In their first round of talks with Iranian officials, late in 2009, the P5+1 demanded the suspension of all enrichment activities in Iran and the transfer of its stockpiles, then enriched to 3.5%, abroad. Iran rejected those conditions and escalated its enrichment process to 20%, which can be enhanced to weapons-grade in a matter of weeks.
Iran now has amassed roughly 225 pounds of 20% uranium and 11,000 pounds of 3.5%, sufficient for almost five nuclear bombs. Rather than stand by its initial demands, however, the P5+1 is now seeking merely the cessation of Iran's 20% enrichment, the removal of its 20% stockpile, and the closure of the facility at Qom. Arguably, this would be the first stage in the phasing out of Iran's nuclear program. But Iran has rejected even this preliminary gesture.
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.
At the same time, the president has affirmed Israel's right "to defend itself, by itself, against any threat," and "to make its own decision about what is required to meet its security needs." Historically, Israel has exercised that right only after exhausting all reasonable diplomatic means. But as the repeated attempts to negotiate with Iran have demonstrated, neither diplomacy nor sanctions has removed the threat.
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.
Mr. Oren is Israel's ambassador to the United States.
PM: If Iran goes nuclear, it may actually use bomb
Source: Jerusalem Post
By Herb Keinon
Submitted by Dan Friedman, NYC
“This is a regime that has broken every rule,” Netanyahu says. “They very likely could use weapons of mass death.”
If Iran gets a nuclear bomb it may actually use it, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday, rejecting the notion that Tehran would act responsibly if it became a member of the world’s nuclear “club.”
Netanyahu, in a meeting with visiting Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, spelled out five things that would likely happen, were Iran allowed to go nuclear: There will be nuclear proliferation in the Middle East as various other actors will then want to have a bomb; Iran will have a firmer hand on the “choke point of the world’s oil supply,” namely the Strait of Hormuz; there will be a magnification of global terrorism because the terrorists under Iran’s sway will believe that they have immunity; and Israel’s cities will be rocketed even more because those firing the rockets will feel that they enjoy a nuclear umbrella.
That the Iranians might actually use the bomb is a reality that cannot be denied, Netanyahu said.
“This is a regime that has broken every rule in the book,” he added. “They very likely could use weapons of mass death.”
Netanyahu said there was an illusion among many in the world that if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, it would behave responsibly like the world’s other nuclear states.
The prime minister, during the discussion dominated by the Iranian issue, said Iran is governed by a “fanatical regime” that sees itself on a sacred mission of global Islamic domination, and destroying Israel was just one step toward its larger vision.
Everyone talks about the cost of stopping Iran, “but they shouldn’t ignore the cost of not stopping Iran,” he said.
Netanyahu’s comments come a week after he said that the decision to attack Iran would be taken by the country’s elected political leadership, and not by the defense and security establishment.
Those remarks followed media reports of Israel’s top security officials being opposed to an Israeli attack without US backing.
In a television interview last week, Netanyahu said that he sees “the regime of the ayatollahs declaring what it has etched on its banner – to destroy us. It is working to destroy us, and is preparing atom bombs to destroy us. As much as it is dependent on me, I will not let that happen.”