April 27, 2006
Iran a Tough RaceBy Marc Sheppard
Monday's reiteration by Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he'll consider withdrawing from the Nuclear Non—proliferation Treaty (NNPT) if the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 'tries to prevent his country from enriching uranium' is tantamount to a recalcitrant child threatening to take his ball and go home when he disagrees with a little—league umpire's call at the plate.
But this juvenile tantrum, which includes threatening the U.S with 'harm and pain' as well, is likely just another maneuver intended to further his goal of joining the coveted Nuclear Arms Club under the cover of an energy program.
This coming Friday, the IAEA's director, Mohamed ElBaradei, will disclose the findings of its now three—year—old probe into Iran's compliance with the Treaty, and smart money is betting against a promising report on the behalf of the erstwhile Persia. The U.N. has promised sanctions against them if they are found to be in discordance with the pact, and Ahmadinejad has exploited every available opportunity to showcase his defiance, while brazenly intensifying his taunting, anti—American rhetoric and continuing his call for the destruction of Israel, with his vitriolic and, often frenzied words; calling it a 'rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm' and for it to be 'wiped off the map' while describing the Holocaust as a 'myth'.
His blatant noncompliance and battle—cries should have the West moving full—throttle to prevent a second country from upgrading its membership in the 'Axis of Evil' to the 'Axis of Evil with A—Bomb.' Instead, we're experiencing a strange complacency; almost a capitulation to its inescapability, as represented on CNN's Late Edition last Sunday, when New York Times columnist Tom Friedman told host Wolf Blitzer (emphasis mine):
However, his Cold War analogy falls flat tasked with even the barest of scrutiny.
The US—Soviet 'Mutually Assured Destruction' (MAD) strategy was a Nash Equilibrium, which assumed that each side had enough weaponry to destroy the other side and that either side, if attacked for any reason by the other, would retaliate with equal or greater force, necessitating the annihilation of both sides.
Unlike the U.S.S.R, Iran will possess neither the fire—power nor, as apocalyptic madmen, the survival concerns, necessary to sustain such a rational schema with the U.S. It does, however, command missiles, including the Shahab—3, which could easily carry a nuclear payload to Israel or American bases in Iraq or other allied Persian Gulf States.
Unfortunately, the perceived assured self—destruction brought on by an Iranian nuclear attack on any western target might be belayed by the geographic and political realities of the region. Furthermore, given its diminutive area, Israel's destruction would be all but assured by as few as two strategically placed nukes, which would provide Iran with an array of possible gambits with their western neighbor as pawn, perhaps even to extent of avoiding retaliation to a limited first strike!
Then there's the very real peril of a future Iran marshalling nukes to jihadist terrorists, thereby creating too great a degree of separation for immediate retaliation, should they manage to deploy them. Mr. Friedman, just whose nuclear arsenal do we obliterate when some unidentifiable whack—job subdivision of a splinter—organization manages to unleash the unthinkable upon us or one of our allies? Who will make that call, given the lack of certainty as to the origin? And what say you of the fate of those first—strike victims? Furthermore, the martyr mindset of such factions eliminates the very power of the threat of retaliation altogether.
While most experts believe them to be very many years away from weapons—grade uranium, little comfort should be derived from such conjecture.
Let's consider the language of Brigadier General Seyyed Abdol—Rahim Moussavi, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, who recently stated that if Iran were to be attacked,
Now, while those with faith in the IAEA, including, of course, the MSM, await the illustrious words of their nuclear non—proliferation Spiderman — ElBaradei — on Friday, the rest of the world truly has no manner by which to gauge the magnitude of such a threat, other than anecdotally. And, yet, something about the similarity of Moussavi's words to those Truman told Stalin at Potsdam, little more than a week before the Hiroshima bombing, troubles me. It was on that evening that the President informed the Soviet dictator — reportedly without an interpreter — that the United States had a "new weapon of unusual destructive force."
Legend has it that 'Uncle Joe' barely flinched, as he was well aware of the progress being made by Oppenheimer and the boys back at Los Alamos, perhaps even of what had transpired at the Trinity test site just 8 days prior. We, today, on the other hand, are, apparently and sadly, less enlightened than was Stalin, and would, therefore, be wise to not be so nonchalant.
Are the Iranian's more likely guilty of self—delusion than collusion? Are they merely following in the tradition of the hilarious warnings and other mischievous antics of Baghdad Bob?
Perhaps, but then there's this —— also attributable to the Times:
US officials and Israel[i] intelligence sources believe Imad Mugniyeh, the Lebanese commander of Hezbollah's overseas operations, has taken charge of plotting Iran's retaliation against western targets should President George W Bush order a strike on Iranian nuclear sites.
So, here's what we're faced with. The President of Iran boldly proclaims that he'll:
And, in the event that we try to interfere, he threatens to
He's already in dominion of proven methods of delivering nuclear horror to his neighbors, should he now or ever possess such weapons to arm them with. If allowed to fill the only remaining gap in his noxious plan, he will have successfully crafted quite the scenario for a little game of brinkmanship, nuclear blackmail, or, our worst nightmare realized — A first strike.
Unless we can reasonably read any but the gravest of intent into these threats and actions — and we can't —— it is vital that we not allow Iran's uranium enrichment programs the time necessary to graduate to the next phase. Iran has informed IAEA that it plans to construct 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz next year, Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters in Moscow 2 weeks ago.
That's Next Year plus 271 days to take whatever actions necessary to avert the crafting of a nuclear chess board on which MAD would no longer be an acronym. Should they choose to escalate their claim of 3000, as many suspect they will, then white's first move could be less than a year away.
Marc Sheppard is a business owner, software developer, and writer residing on Long Island in New York. He welcomes your feedback.