Iran Closing In on Nukes; World Targets Israel

From the Wall Street Journal:

On Monday, the U.N. atomic-energy agency reported that Iran’s stockpile of 60% highly enriched uranium rose 20.6 kilograms to 142.1 kg as of May 11 from three months earlier, its highest level to date.

U.S. officials say that material could be converted into weapons-grade enriched uranium in a matter of days. It would then be enough to fuel three nuclear weapons.

Three Iranian nuclear bombs in a matter of days—sound alarming? Yes, but not, seemingly, to Washington.

The U.S. is arguing against an effort by Britain and France to censure Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s member-state board in early June, the diplomats said. The U.S. has pressed a number of other countries to abstain in a censure vote, saying that is what Washington will do, they said.

A censure resolution might not seem a very strong measure this late in the day—and it isn’t. But, at least:

Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said a censure resolution would help set out a record of Iranian noncompliance that could ultimately lead to a snapback of international sanctions.

British and French officials are telling Washington that an IAEA censure resolution could pave the way for a formal rebuke by the UN Security Council. The Biden administration says Russia and China would just veto it, handing Tehran a diplomatic coup. On that, the administration may be right.

But what, then—if anything—is the US doing about this grave threat? “At the heart of the dispute,” says the Journal,

are concerns in some European countries, particularly France and Britain, that Washington lacks a strategy for dealing with Iran’s nuclear advances. European diplomats have said that the Biden administration appears unwilling to either pursue a serious diplomatic effort with Iran or take punitive actions against Tehran’s nuclear transgressions.

Considering that France, Britain, and other European countries are not notable for hawkishness and realism on security issues, these “concerns”—if well-founded—constitute a grave indictment of the Biden administration.

Not to worry: later today, the UN Security Council will be convening, urgently. The issue, of course, is not Iran—for whose recently deceased president, the mass- murderer Ebrahim Raisi, the council held a minute of silence last week—but Israel.

The matter at hand is an Israeli military mishap in Rafah on Monday. Currently, Israeli hostages are being held in tunnels under Rafah in severe suffering, subject to starvation, abuse, and rape. On Sunday, Hamas fired—from Rafah—a rocket volley at civilian targets in the Tel Aviv area. Unlike the rest of Gaza where the IDF has severely depleted Hamas forces, currently there remain thousands of Hamas terrorists in Rafah whose raison d’être is continued savage aggression against Israel and Israelis.

One wonders what the august members of the Security Council would do about a city where their hostages were being held in horrendous conditions, rockets were being fired at their population, and thousands of terrorists were intent on further atrocities.

On Monday, the Israeli air force struck a building in Rafah where two Hamas commanders, each with the blood of multiple Israelis on his hands, were ensconced. The two arch-terrorists were killed; according to current assessments, shrapnel from the airstrike or something else ignited a fuel tank 330 feet away, and a few dozen Palestinian civilians died in the blaze.

How much have you heard about this, and how much about the fact that Iran is days away from three nuclear bombs?

With utter, abysmal predictability,  the mishap—which Israel says it regrets and is investigating—sparked a firestorm of outrage and condemnation from Arab, Muslim, and Western countries alike. The Biden administration—so far—has given a more moderate response. The demands that Israel cease fighting in Rafah altogether—hostages, rockets, thousands of terrorists et al.—are at a fever pitch. The European Union is threatening sanctions on Israel.

It’s hard to say something good about such a world. The punishments against Israel for launching a war against the Hamas murderers, rapists, torturers, and kidnappers only keep multiplying. The Security Council’s session later today will not be a recitation of Israel’s achievements; the honors are reserved for Raisi.

About the Author
P. David Hornik, a freelance writer, translator, and copyeditor in Be'er Sheva, has published novels, a story collection, an essay collection, poetry, and numerous articles. His memoir, Israel Odyssey: Coming of Age and Finding Peace in the Middle East, is forthcoming this year from God of the Desert Books. He regularly comments on Israeli affairs at Israel on My Mind with P. David Hornik (