Obama Must Act Now on Iran

July 16, 2013 6:30 am 7 comments

U.S. President Barack Obama waves before addressing Israeli students at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on March 21, 2013. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

President Obama’s Middle East policy has been an ever-worsening train wreck because it lacks credibility and strategy, as Egypt, Libya, and particularly Syria, have shown. And the region is about to get much worse, unless Obama exercises resolute leadership on the most important global security issue of this generation: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In a commerce-critical region where “might makes right” and only the strong survive, Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons could have catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and beyond. The resulting dangers potentially include: (i) nuclear proliferation, as other Mideast countries feel threatened into pursuing their own nuclear programs; (ii) the transfer of nuclear materials from Iran – the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism – to terrorist organizations and/or rogue states; (iii) bolder attacks by Iranian terror proxies (Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, etc.) protected by Iran’s nuclear umbrella; and (iv) an even more belligerent Iran that flexes its nuclear arsenal to: export its radical Islamic ideology, acquire disputed territories and resources from neighboring countries, and/or undertake actions like blocking the Strait of Hormuz to increase the price of oil.

As Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently told CBS News’s Face the Nation, the Islamic Republic is now dangerously close to nuclear capability. Because Iran has stockpiled approximately 190 pounds of 20% enriched uranium, Iran is just 60 kilograms – potentially just weeks – short of crossing the nuclear “red line” that Netanyahu set in his speech before the UN last September.

Unfortunately, Obama has signaled no urgency over Iranian nukes. Perhaps he hopes for a negotiated settlement to the issue, now that Hassan Rouhani, a so-called “moderate,” was elected to assume Iran’s presidency next month. But hope is not a strategy with the Iranian regime. Rouhani has been linked to the 1994 terrorist bombing of an Argentine Jewish community center that killed 85 people, and has boasted about how he manipulated nuclear talks with the West about a decade ago to expand Iran’s nuclear program. More importantly, Iran’s foreign policy is set by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has banned concessions to the West. Indeed, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, made it clear last Friday that Rouhani’s election will have no impact on Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities.

Obama must also recognize that the sanctions against Iran have demonstrably failed. The Islamic Republic has skillfully outmaneuvered them, as shown in a leaked U.N. report detailing 11 instances of Iran violating sanctions, including attempts to acquire materials for its atomic program. Reuters published an expose outlining how Iran exploits sanctions loopholes to import ore from Germany and France, which could be used for making armor and missiles. More importantly, the Iranian nuclear weapons program has never once stopped because of sanctions. The only time that Iran ever suspended its nuclear program was after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when Iran briefly feared that a U.S. attack was imminent.

Obama’s Iran policy has thus far failed to produce any credible deterrent. It’s time for Obama to build on the lead of Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, who warned last month that Iran only has a few months to demonstrate to the West that it is serious about a negotiated solution to the standoff.

Israel doesn’t have the luxury of treating its red lines the way Obama has treated the one he set for Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Netanyahu’s latest message may be the canary in the coalmine giving its final warning, so Obama should provide bold leadership on this critical issue before it’s too late. New Jersey-sized Israel survives only by the strength of the military force that it projects. Critical to that deterrent is making good on its threats, as Israel did with its destruction of the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear programs, in 1981 and 2007, respectively, and its ongoing surgical airstrikes to prevent Syria from transferring game-changing weapons to Hezbollah.

Given such exploits, isolationists might wonder why the U.S. should bother; let Israel bear all of the costs and risks of eliminating the Iranian nuclear threat for us, goes the thinking. But the nuclear program in Iran is far more dispersed, hardened, and distant than what Israel neutralized in Iraq and Syria. Iranian nukes are truly vulnerable only to U.S. military capabilities. Expecting Israel to do the job is like a heavyweight-boxing champion asking his featherweight friend to defend him against the approaching middleweight champion. Such cowardly tactics needlessly endanger the featherweight ally, but – more importantly – there is a good chance that the middleweight won’t be fully neutralized and will feel far more emboldened to attack the heavyweight after he concludes (along with the rest of the world) that the heavyweight is just a paper tiger.

Iran can already attack U.S. interests across the Middle East and Europe. And as early as 2015, Iran could develop and test ballistic missiles that could strike the continental U.S., according to a Pentagon report released last week (“2013 Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Assessment”). Obama can wait for the U.S. to be drawn into war with a nuclear-armed Iran, or he can proactively address the threat before Iran acquires nukes. But he cannot hide from the threat or hope it away. Obama must lead – before Iran’s nuclear recalcitrance forces Israel’s hand, with potentially apocalyptic consequences.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and current geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

7 Comments

  • That would be fine if Obama were against Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. I am not convinced that he is against this. Rather than opening his eyes, he needs a change of attitude. As he is not a man to listen to ideas alternative to his own, his terrorist loving attitudes are not likely to change in any way. The key is looking at his handcuffing of US security agencies, actually forbidding them from investigating terrorists if they are Muslim. As about 95% of all terrorism today is Muslim based, he has issued an open invitation for new domestic terrorism. This attitude would find actually doing something about Iran anathema. The only chance left is if Israel acts alone, and then settles in for a siege.

  • Anyone who is developing nuclear weapons is an enemy of
    human life on earth.

  • NYIronweed,

    The problem with your reasoning is that your policy is far from an actual “America First” policy.

    The way an America First policy would actually look is that, when a country calls us the Great Satan, walks on our flag at the entrance to their government buildings, insists it is going to impose shariah on the world, and talks about a world without America, we would either blow them to smithereens, or we would at least blow their nuclear facilities to smithereens.

    Your policy is not an America First policy. You will gladly sleep while our arch enemy builds nukes and maybe, just maybe, looks forward to mutually assured destruction to hasten their 12 Hidden Imam, the Mahdi.

    Your policy is an “Israel Last” policy, even at the expense of America’s destruction.

    It is difficult to imagine how a patriotic American could be so blind, unless his hatred of Jews is a bigger priority for him than his love for America.

    Get a brain,

    Mike

  • NYIronweed probably has not heard about pre-WW2 “pacifist” British and French prime ministers, Chamberlain and Daladier, who “negotiated” with Hitler in 1936 and were reassured that he only had peaceful intentions, despite his clear declarations about dominating the world and killing all Jews.

    Only resolute action works with fanatical killer regimes

    Is NYIronweed naive, malevolent, or only unintelligent?

  • So let the Canadians bomb them. Tired of taking Foreign Policy directives from Israelis. America First.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.