25 November 1999 Iranian-born Swedish university student Ehsan Amuzandeh is convicted of smuggling equipment to Iran that could be used to trigger nuclear weapons. He is sentenced to four months in jail. — www1.columbia.edu; “Peking Ceases Its Nuclear Cooperation with Tehran, An Iranian Student Smuggles Nuclear Technology From Sweden,” Al-Zaman (London), 10 December 1999.
Reprint of a Journal Article
“The Dangers of a Nuclear Iran: The Limits of Containment”
By Eric S. Edelman, Andrew F. Krepinevich and Evan Braden Montgomery
Vol. 90, No. 1 (JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011), pp. 66
Published by: Council on Foreign Relations
These are gentlemen with extremely impressive credentials … Eric S. Edelman, a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; he was Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in 2005 thru 2009, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, a Fulbright scholar with a B.A. in History from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in U.S. Diplomatic History from Yale University. Dr. Andrew F. Krepinevich served as President of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments until 2016, is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and Harvard University, and is currently president and COO of Solarium LLC, a defense consulting firm. Dr. Evan Braden Montgomery is an author and a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, with an undergraduate degree from Villanova University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.
From their article in early 2011 … “What to do about Iran’s nuclear program is one of the most vexing foreign policy challenges confronting the Obama administration. This debate is increasingly characterized both by growing pessimism about whether the international community’s diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions can prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by guarded optimism that the consequences [of] a nuclear-armed Iran are manageable. Writing in these pages last spring, James Lindsay and Ray Takeyh, both of the Council of Foreign Relations, maintained that the United States could contain Iran even if it developed a nuclear arsenal by establishing clear “redlines” that Tehran would not be allowed to cross without some type of retaliation. For example, if Iran used its nuclear weapons, transferred them to a third party, invaded its neighbors, or increased its support for terrorist groups such as Hamas or Hezbollah, the United States would be compelled to respond, although the measures it chose to adopt would not be specified in advance. This argument reflects the public position of many senior U.S. and European officials, as well as a number of prominent academics and defense intellectuals.”
A further, telling comment from the article mentioned above … “Iran’s acquisition of a bomb would upend the Middle East. It is unclear how a nuclear-armed Iran would weigh the costs, benefits, and risks of brinkmanship and escalation and therefore unclear how easily Tehran could be deterred from attacking the United States’ interests or partners in the Middle East. Iran’s acquisition of a bomb would upend the Middle East. It is unclear how a nuclear-armed Iran would weigh the costs, benefits, and risks of brinkmanship and escalation and therefore unclear how easily Tehran could be deterred from attacking the United States’ interests or partners in the Middle East. Iran’s acquisition of a bomb would upend the Middle East. It is unclear how a nuclear-armed Iran would weigh the costs, benefits, and risks of brinkmanship and escalation and therefore unclear how easily Tehran could be deterred from attacking the United States’ interests or partners in the Middle East.Iran’s acquisition of a bomb would upend the Middle East. It is unclear how a nuclear-armed Iran would weigh the costs, benefits, and risks of brinksmanship and escalation and therefore unclear how easily Tehran could be deterred from attacking the United States’ interests or partners in the Middle East.”
In September of the same year that article was published, as we all so vividly recall, planes were flown into the Twin Towers in New York City and many American lives were lost, an unconscionable statement of Jihadist commitment and resolve.
Please allow me to present two more pieces to this puzzle.
14 July 2015 From Wikipedia … “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union. Under the terms of the JCPOA, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years.”
1 May 2018 In an article written by Judah Ari Gross and published in the Times of Israel describing Mossad’s raid in 2016 on a warehouse in Tehran, he states, “Israel’s newly acquired half-ton of Iranian nuclear plans show the Islamic Republic lied and continues to lie about its desire to obtain an atomic bomb — but that was already well established. The trove also undoubtedly provides vastly more information about the specific, technical details of its weapons programs than was known before — if nothing else, this is a potentially massive score for historians and nuclear scientists.”
To summarize the events described here, as early as 1999, Iran was seeking vital elements of atomic bomb production technology. In January of 2011, three learned gentlemen at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments wrote that if the Islamic Republic of Iran utilized atomic weapons against another nation (another nation ??? … here’s a brief list of choices … Iceland, Zimbabwe, or here’s a really outlandish choice … Israel), the United States “would be compelled to respond,” in one unspecified way or another. So let’s look at that statement for a moment, and let’s assume the horrific scenario is a reality, that an Iranian Shahab 3 missile tipped with a nuclear warhead makes it through Israel’s defense systems and detonates over Tel Aviv. Roughly five square miles would be devastated, with at least tens of thousands dead and dying. The unthinkable has occurred. Iran warns the United States that terrorists armed with suitcase nuclear weapons have infiltrated the U.S., London, Paris, and Berlin, and if we attack Iran, there will be a series of nuclear incidents on U.S. soil and in European capitols.
The endgame is that if Iran attacks Israel with nuclear weapons, the United States will do nothing in response. That’s right, absolutely nothing at all. We are not prepared to institute a process which, in turn, might cause nuclear catastrophes on American soil, and we would also be under intense pressure by other nations similarly threatened in the scenario I’ve depicted, to simply let things lie. So Tel Aviv and the State of Israel are vanquished without punishment.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was created by the Obama Administration to allow those in Washington at that time to abstain from the issue at hand and leave the problem of a nuclear Iran to future administrations. In July of 2015, the treaty with Iran allowed existing American politicians to breathe a collective sigh of relief. “Not my problem” became their watchword, and their decision to defer Iran as an international issue to a future body of legislators and a future president was an outrageous act of cowardice.
The American commitment to respond to Iranian-instituted nuclear war is so vague and weak that an adequate response by the United States might be defined as an embargo of the sale of Twinkies to that Jihadist state. Does anyone seriously believe that an American response to the nuclear destruction of Tel Aviv would be the nuclear destruction of Tehran? For the record, I do not. What’s important, however, is what adversarial nations, including Iran, believe might occur. I have written several times about the concept of theoretical power, and that it is a myth. If a nation is powerful and it exercises that will and power, e.g., Rome and its expansionist legions, we may state it is a powerful force at its time and place in history. Whether a nation uses its power or other nations fear that it will, the result is the same. The powerful nation prevails, with or without bloodshed. But if a nation possesses the power to be mighty, and other nations correctly calculate the potentially powerful nation will not take powerful actions, then the mighty nation is no more. And that is the situation the United States faces today. People and nations no longer fear us. In the article quoted here, three learned Ph.D. collaborates mapped out and stated words of complete weakness, “the United States would be compelled to respond, although the measures it chose to adopt would not be specified in advance.” Where is the warning in that ludicrous statement? Where are the verbs meant to make our adversaries tremble? They’re not there, because they’re not meant to be there. That article and the entire Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action represent a green light to those in Tehran to develop weapons purely designed to attack Israel. And we sit, awaiting that to occur.
The reversal of our commitment to the JCPOA by President Trump is simply too late an action to have an appreciable effect on the outcome here. Once massive funds were released to Iran, the wheels of catastrophe were set in motion. I’m reminded now of the Triangle Trade of 1776, and the song, “Molasses to Rum.” New England traders brought rum to Africa in return for slaves, who were then shipped to the West Indies for molasses in an endless pattern of brutality. “Molasses to rum to slaves,” in a deep, relentless baritone.
“Dollars to food to nukes,” is today’s song of death and destruction, and it is hardly melodious. Iran sends dollars to a starving North Korea for food, and North Korea sends nuclear technology to Tehran. Molasses to rum to slaves, in the year 2020. Incredibly, this type agreement between Iran and North Korea is not a violation of JCPOA, because that treaty pertains to Iranian production of nuclear technology, numbers and types of centrifuges, etc.
There is an ironic date approaching us. In the year 2020, we Americans will elect a new president, and I sense Mr. Trump will not be that person. So in an open field, a wide open horse race for the Oval Office, we must select the candidate who is most likely to stand up to nations such as Iran. “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.” Alas Teddy Roosevelt will not be among our choices. Nor will Ronald Reagan or Harry Truman. Hindsight is clarified as being 2020, the irony of election day in the U.S. We must remember the strengths of our greatest former presidents, seek those traits within a large field of candidates, and we must choose wisely. A highly perilous world awaits the United States in the next decade, but much more so for our one true ally in the Middle East … Israel.
And we must face terror and peril together, as one.