Iran Again: Does Anybody Care? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Iran Again: Does Anybody Care?
Hassan Rouhani at the Conference of Implementation of JCPOA in January 2016 (Attribution: Tasnim News Agency/Wikimedia Commons)

One of the early scenes in the movie 1776 shows John Adams despairing for America’s freedom from British oppression. He sings, “Is anybody there? Does anybody care?” That scene came to mind when the latest news broke about Iran’s hell-for-leather race to develop nuclear weapons.

According to a report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this month, Iran has enriched uranium to 84 percent, just 6 percent shy of weapons grade, which is 90 percent enriched. Iran has said its enrichment centrifuges were only capable of enriching to a level of 60 percent, which they reached last year.

The level of enrichment for peaceful purposes stops at about 20 percent, the level needed to fuel reactors for research or to generate electric power.

Iran has always sworn its nuclear program has been solely for peaceful purposes, but it has been lying about the program since it began soon after the ayatollahs took power in 1979. Iran’s aim has always been to develop nuclear weapons.

For about a decade, Iran’s nuclear weapons program proceeded under the purblind eye of Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). ElBaradei engaged in every sort of chicanery to cover Iran’s tracks and make excuses for its nuclear weapons development.

Then-President Barack Obama negotiated his “Joint Cooperative Plan of Action” in 2015. His agreement, he assured the world, would prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for 15 years. Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment and end its ability to produce nuclear weapons for that time. But there were undisclosed “side agreements” that enabled Iran to “self-inspect” some of its primary nuclear research sites, with predictable results.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has always been the strongest critic of Obama’s deal with Iran. On April 30, 2018, Netanyahu gave a televised briefing about Iran’s nuclear weapons program based on some 50,000 documents stolen by the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency earlier that year.

Netanyahu’s briefing was detailed, showing a tremendous amount of information from those documents and proving, without a shadow of a doubt, that Iran had been engaged in developing nuclear weapons. But the documents were several years old, enabling Obama — and the European signatories, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom — to deride it because, they contended, there was nothing in Netanyahu’s briefing to show that Iran hadn’t stopped its development of nuclear weapons.

Then-President Donald Trump canceled the Obama agreement about a week later, on May 8, 2018. It was, as he said, the worst deal ever.

Since the moment he became president, Joe Biden has been trying to revive the Obama deal with Iran. Although the negotiations have reportedly been ended due to Iran’s recalcitrance, Germany, France, and Britain have continued to try to revive it.

That effort continues to this day, as does Iran’s continued effort to develop nuclear weapons.

There is one nation that cares because it has to: Israel. The Jewish nation has been threatened with eradication by Iran so many times over the past 30 years that the Israelis have probably lost count.

We’ve lost count of how many U.S. presidents have promised the world that Iran will not be allowed to develop (or otherwise obtain) nuclear weapons. Among them are George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden.

It now falls to Joe Biden to take whatever action is necessary to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He won’t: he’s still fixated on a revival of Obama’s 2015 deal as the means to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

A Feb. 23 Fox News report says, based on a leaked report, that Netanyahu, after five meetings with military and intelligence officials, is preparing military strikes on Iran’s nuclear development facilities. The report quotes Netanyahu as saying last Tuesday, “A necessary condition and often a sufficient condition is credible military action.… The longer you wait, the harder that becomes. We’ve waited very long. The only thing that has ever stopped rogue nations from developing nuclear weapons is a credible military threat or a credible military action.”

Netanyahu’s statement is a warning that time is running out and that Israel will act if the U.S. and Europe won’t. It is also a plea for those nations’ help and to Saudi Arabia, which is also a primary target for Iran’s nuclear weapons.

Israel, as this column has often pointed out, is highly dependent on the U.S. for its security. That means Netanyahu wouldn’t attack Iran without Biden’s permission unless the danger to Israel were imminent.

Biden won’t give Israel permission to attack, which leaves Netanyahu in an impossible position. Netanyahu can either attack Iran, trying to stop (or at least delay) an existential threat to Israel, or he can obey the orders of a president whose incompetence is a matter of record and alienate his only real ally.

Any Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities would require air refueling, which the Israelis have, suppression of Iran’s air defenses, which the Israelis can do, and the use of either nuclear weapons or deep-penetrating bombs.

In 2009, then-President Obama reportedly sold 55 penetrating bombs to Israel. Among them could not have been the massive ordinance penetrator that weighs 30,000 pounds and can only be carried by aircraft such as the B-2. Israel has no aircraft capable of carrying that massive bomb. Smaller weapons may not be capable of destroying Iran’s deeply buried nuclear facilities.

Any Israeli attack on Iran would begin a massive war in the Middle East. Iran would counterattack with its own missile forces and aircraft. It would order its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, to rain its thousands of missiles on Israel from Lebanon and, possibly, try to attack it with ground forces. Israel’s anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems, Arrow and David’s Sling, could be overwhelmed in such attacks. They have only so many war shots they can fire at incoming missiles and aircraft.

It is entirely possible that Israel could lose such a war. The Saudis might help them fight Iran, but it will come down to our willingness to fight.

Our military is stretched thin. Our weapons stockpiles have been depleted by Biden’s aid to Ukraine. One study, which I referred to last week, predicts that we would run out of munitions to feed our weapon systems in one week were the Chinese to attack Taiwan. European governments — even if, as unlikely as it is, they would want to help Israel — lack the military capability to do so.

Israel is so small a nation that one nuclear weapon could destroy its government and kill much of its population. Biden is incapable of focusing on Iran’s threat to the civilized world. He’s too busy with Ukraine to worry about Iran or China or think about the coming Iranian–Israeli war. He would likely blame Israel for the conflict and refuse to come to its aid.

As I have written before, Israel should not have to face Iran alone. Biden should make a statement pulling us out of any talks with Iran. He should revive the “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign against Iran imposed by former president Trump and ensure the world — including our pusillanimous NATO allies — that Iran will not be allowed to develop or obtain nuclear weapons.

Biden will not, of course, do any of that. Israel will have to face Iran alone, and soon.

Image: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
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