Countdown to Iran

Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal

Iran has been secretly, and not so secretly, driving towards a nuclear weapon for decades, but the endgame is fast approaching.

Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 whereby they agreed never to acquire nuclear weapons. However, already in February 1998, the U.S. voiced concern that Iran’s nuclear energy program could lead to the development of nuclear weapons, and President Clinton signed the first law in March 2000 to allow sanctions on those who aid Iran in attaining these.

For two decades, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the world powers including the United States, Russia, China, France, UK and Germany have been playing a game of cat and mouse with Iran culminating in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal of 2015 led by former President Obama that would have eventually let Iran attain nuclear weapons and the subsequent pullout from that deal in 2018 by President Trump.

This nuclear brinkmanship has cycled between: accusations that Iran is developing nukes and issuances of denials and claims that their nuclear development is only for peaceful purposes; the demand for, refusal of, and acquiescence to inspections of suspected illicit nuclear sites; the finding of traces of highly enriched nuclear material exceeding allowed specifications followed by excuses and transference of responsibility and blame; the suspension of and then the restarting of nuclear production, referral to the U.N. Security Council and the voting for and suspending of sanctions, reports of findings of violations and the lack of findings by the IAEA,  conflicting reports by the U.S. Intelligence (2007) that Iran abandoned it’s nuclear weapons program in 2003 and by the Institute for Science and International Security (2009) that Iran had reached nuclear breakout capability; newly disclosed nuke facilities, new nuclear weapons capabilities achieved, and advances and testing of long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads; negotiation and the stalling of negotiations; agreements and the breaking of agreements, lies and more lies and the continued breaching of nuclear limits while attempting to divide those that stand against them, a shadow war, including cyber viruses (such as Stuxnet) and other efforts to slow the steady Iranian nuclear weapons march; Israel obtaining Iran’s nuclear weapons secrets and exposing them to the world; Iran attacking ships in the gulf of Oman, threatening to disrupt the world’s oil supply, and shooting down U.S. drones; Iran arming Hezbollah and other terrorist proxies, making threats to the peace and security of the Middle East and beyond, vowing to annihilate Israel, and chanting “Death to America” and burning the U.S. presidents in effigy.

This whole thing almost would be laughable if this wasn’t an insanely dangerous game that the world was playing with the potential to lead to a bona-fide nuclear engagement.

Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and among the worst violators of human rights. Iran’s mullahs are engaged in terrorism from their proxies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria to Hamas in Gaza and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Iran hangs gays, stones adulterers, and executes drug offenders. Iran suppresses freedom of speech, targets the media, discriminates against women, and denies the accused due process. Already in 2002, President George W. Bush cited Iran as part of the “Axis of Evil.”

Iran has murdered American with impunity for decades. In the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis, Iranians held 52 U.S. diplomats and citizens hostage for 444 days. In the 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing, Iranian-linked terrorists bombed the Marine barracks in Lebanon killing 241 U.S. military personnel and the same year, they bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut that killed another 17 Americans. Between 2002 and 2011, Iranian-backed militants killed at least 603 U.S. service members in Iraq accounting for 17% of all U.S. fatalities there, many due to the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

For all this and more, the world, especially the United States owes a debt to Iran, and the countdown to Iran is underway to repay this debt. Thankfully, President Trump has said he wants to make sure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons.  And even if Iran thinks that they will wait this President out–unlikely, Israel stands ready to do what must be done to support or handle the Iranian nuclear threat, just as they did with that from Iraq and Syria. Iran’s Mullah’s can not and will not be allowed to threaten, terrorize, and murder, especially when it comes to their malevolent desire for a global caliphate and the maniacal use of weapons of mass destruction in order to get there.

We lost 6,000,000 Jews in the holocaust in the prior century–Dayenu!  A new existential threat from Iran in this century or at any time in the future is insufferable. With G-d’s help, the U.S. and Israel, close friends and allies, (and maybe even with some assistance from Israel’s Arab neighbors) will see to it!

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is business and technology leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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