Somewhere in the depths of hell, the devil is comforting Saddam Hussein as he laments that he never thought to create a nuclear enrichment program like the Iranian program—one that could have been negotiated into legitimacy while maintaining an infrastructure that could produce nuclear weapons.
While the Obama administration is rejoicing over “blocking” Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon, when Iran was confronted with Iraq’s nuclear threat, the Iranians pursued a dramatically different approach.
On September 30, 1980, two F-4 Phantoms belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran bombed the Iraq nuclear facility at Osirak but not the reactor or cooling tower.
Subsequently, the Iranian air force took pictures of the damage and sent them to counterparts in Israel.
On April 4, 1981, the Iranian air force flew a long-range mission knocking out Iraq’s airpower near the border with Jordan and Israel, degrading Iraq’s retaliatory capabilities against Israel.
In May 1981, Israeli government officials and members of the Islamic Republic of Iran met in Paris. Iran explained details of its September 30 strike and provided Israel with access to its airfield in Tabriz in case an emergency ensued from the planned Israeli bombing of Osirak.
Using newly acquired F-16s, the Israelis bombed and destroyed the Iraqi reactor on June 7, 1981.
The Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency condemned Israel’s action. The international community did not condemn Iran for earlier bombing the same facility.
Faced with the potential threat of an Iraqi nuclear device, Iran bombed the nuclear facility and then colluded with Israel for the Israelis to finish the job.
A decade later when the American-led alliance invaded Iraq, Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney thanked the Israelis for preventing Saddam Hussein from acquiring nuclear weapons that he likely would have used against the invading force.
Israel’s diplomatic attempts to stop construction were rebuffed. Iraq was a major supplier of oil to France and Italy, and France, in turn, was a major supplier of arms to Iraq. Both France and Italy were willing to supply Saddam Hussein with the means to create nuclear weapons in order to foster ongoing commercial relationships. In its war with Iran, Iraq used outlawed chemical weapons against the Iranians and the Kurds. This was not a regime to be trusted with nuclear weapons, no more than the brutal Iranian regime is to be trusted.
Decisions about nuclear proliferation compete with decisions about commerce and with strategic interests. Europe is in a recession. Lifting sanctions on Iran would permit an influx of European investment and an outflow of Iranian oil. France has been the holdout in supporting the Iranian framework agreement because France’s commercial interests are with the Sunni Gulf States. France is Saudi Arabia’s largest armaments supplier, and the Saudis understand the consequences of the intended Shiite hegemonic power acquiring a nuclear umbrella in the same way the Iranians understood the consequences of Iraq acquiring nuclear weapons.
America is extricating itself from the Middle East. Its oil is irrelevant as America is soon to become an exporter of refined petroleum products.
The Obama administration has redefined America’s role in the world.
America no longer needs a strategic relationship with the Gulf States. As for Israel, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf made it clear that any concerns the Israelis have about the Iranian deal are irrelevant.
America has no strategic interest in stopping Iran’s nuclear program because Iran is not a direct nuclear threat to America. Iran’s greatest threat is to Israel.
Iran’s threat is not from a first-strike capability, but from neutralizing Israel’s nuclear shield that would be used to prevent being overrun by conventional forces.
America yielded surprise inspections, Iran’s maintenance of a nuclear infrastructure, and the continuation of centrifuges running at Fordo, which is designated as a military installation and off-limits to inspection. In return, Iran promises not to implement its breakout capacity for a specific number of years.
America will lift its sanctions on Iran, a policy that President Barack Obama argues can be snapped back on, just like putting the genie back in the bottle. All the deal accomplishes is to preserve Iran’s nuclear capability while lifting sanctions and, consequently, opening Iran up to foreign investment.
Iran will be in a stronger position to fund its proxy wars in the region and to project its power. In its Farsi rendition of the agreement, Iran articulates that the agreement is purely voluntary, is not legally binding, and enrichment at Fordo will continue. Iran is contradicting President Obama’s characterization of the agreement.
Iran has won two major victories. Decades ago, through collusion with Israel, Iran destroyed Iraq’s potential as a nuclear power, and now by entering into largely ritualistic negotiations with an America in retreat, Iran has not only established itself as a nuclear power, it has also being given America’s blessing and legitimacy in doing so.