Iran and the Imminent Nuke
The Obama administration has assured the world that a nuclear-armed Iran is not an acceptable outcome of ongoing negotiations. The President stated in 2012 that “preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon isn’t just in the interest of Israel, it is profoundly in the security interests of the United States.” No doubt the rest of the civilized world agrees. Russia, China and North Korea are among the very few nations who support the Iranian regime achieving its long-standing ambition of fielding nuclear warheads.
Nuclear weapons in the hands of a fanatical group of Shia “Twelvers” presents an existential threat to the world that has never been seen in history. President Obama and his senior diplomat and negotiator, John Kerry, seem to have decided to allow Iran to continue enriching uranium and developing warheads. The proof is that, at the end of 2013, Iran had enough enriched uranium for seven warheads. A year later (Dec 2014) they now have enough for eight. By any measure, this does not reflect progress for the US and its allies in these negotiations.
Nukes, Not Electricity
In reality, the negotiations between the US and Iran have shown no promise of stopping Iran from obtaining warheads. Instead, there is substantial evidence that the Obama administration has now acquiesced to Iran’s demand to be allowed to keep as many as 6,500 centrifuges, which are required for producing weapons-grade uranium. While centrifuges can also be used in nuclear power plants, it is impractical for Iran to do so since it would require 100,000 for the Bushehr plant alone. The only plausible use for 6,500 centrifuges is to build weapons, not fuel rods.
Furthermore, it appears that Iran will not be required to abandon the plutonium-producing Arak heavy-water plant, which was also part of the original expectations. Finally, Iran will not be required to transport its enriched uranium out of the country to a caretaker nation as was expected when the negotiations began.
All indications are that the administration has capitulated on the key tenets and provisions of the original framework of a treaty with Iran. Consider also that Iran has repeatedly violated the International Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They have made clear through their public statements that they intend to continue with their nuclear program and will not agree to any US proposals that would prevent them from moving forward with nuclear ambitions, which they still continue to deny.
The Catastrophic Effects of a Nuclear Iran
At the very least, allowing Iran to go nuclear will likely lead to a regional arms race since other Gulf states will feel profoundly vulnerable. Saudi Arabia especially has reasons to fear Iran as the hatred between these two Persian Gulf nations is deep with a long history. The Saudis will be first in the queue for warheads and will simply buy theirs from Pakistan with other nations following.
Unfortunately, most of the world now sees the inevitability of a nuclear-armed Iran and tends to focus on the question of how to contain them. Containment of a nuclear program in the hands of terrorists is a concept that has no place in contemporary geopolitical strategy. It reflects a complete lack of understanding of the theology of the Iranian Supreme Council and its leader, the Grand Ayatollah, Ali Khamenei as well as the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani. They believe that their messiah (The Mahdi) will only return in an atmosphere of global chaos and bloodshed, and so these radical Shia Islamists are striving to bring about the conditions that would usher in the reign of this promised world ruler. Simply stated, there is no better way to create this chaos and bloodshed than through the use of a nuclear weapon on the enemy that Iran has maligned, threatened, and repeatedly attacked through surrogates: the nation of Israel.
A nuke used anywhere in the world will result in a third world war with apocalyptic consequences, which is exactly what the Iranian regime wants.
Stark and Limited Options
If America and it allies in these negotiations do not stop Iran through diplomatic and economic means, then a military strike remains the only option. It is almost certain that the Obama administration would never authorize a US military operation to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities, which means that Israel will likely be forced to take military action just as they did in 1981 when they conducted airstrikes on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq.
An Israeli strike will bring universal condemnation of Israel and will result in attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas on Israeli targets at home and globally. Iran would likely attempt to close the Straights of Hormuz in order to restrict the flow of crude oil to the international markets, which will devastate global economies.
A nuclear bomb in the hands of militants with Shia theology would be a catastrophic combination leading to a global conflict, the likes of which the world has never seen. The world powers cannot allow this tyrannical regime to obtain capabilities that could destroy Israel and throw the world into chaos, now or a decade from now.
Because of the ineptness of the Obama administration and its allies in these negotiations, the Iranians appear to be holding all the cards. There is still a small window of opportunity to change their course, though it is closing quickly. Will the American lead negotiators find the courage and take action to stop Iran and the mullahs, or will they let the inevitable occur?