>> Dennis Ross, former senior advisor to President Obama on Iran issues, tells AIPAC: Bibi, Obama Mulling when Force against Iran is Inevitable
The biggest threat to U.S. and Israeli interests in the Middle East is the possibility that our President has miscalculated and that Iran already has nuclear weapons and is now expanding its arsenal while the mullahs fool the world into thinking they’re not quite there yet. Now a national security expert is suggesting that this might, in fact, be the case.
“During Secretary of State John Kerry’s listening tour of the Middle East, one troubling regional issue might go unspoken: the possibility that Iran already has nuclear weapons capability,” writes James Robbins, a national security expert with the American Foreign Policy Council. “That will certainly change when President Obama lands next month in Israel, where the issue is at the top of the agenda. The emergence of an Iranian atomic bomb would represent a U.S. foreign policy failure of historic proportions. It is not the kind of crisis that Kerry would like to face in his first month on the job or that Obama would like to shape his second term.”
>> Report: North Korean test may mean Iran has a nuclear missile warhead
“So far, the case that Iran already has the bomb is largely circumstantial,” notes Robbins, but his attention is being drawn — as mine as been — to the connection between Iran and North Korea. “Shortly after North Korea announced this month that it had successfully carried out its third underground nuclear test, Saudi Arabian news media reported that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, a leading Iranian nuclear scientist, was on hand for the blast. This should come as no surprise. Iran and North Korea have long cooperated on nuclear and ballistic missile technologies. Iran’s ballistic missiles are based on North Korean designs, and the two countries have long exchanged defense scientists and engineers. Perhaps more important, the RAND Corporation reports that the third North Korean nuclear test appears to many experts to be fundamentally different from its previous two efforts. North Korea’s first tests used plutonium to trigger the nuclear explosion. This one, according to some atmospheric tests, likely used highly enriched uranium, exactly the form of nuclear weapon pursued by Iran. The question is whether the weapon North Korea tested this month was its own, Iran’s or a joint project. A senior U.S. official told The New York Times, ‘It’s very possible that the North Koreans are testing for two countries.’ It would be foolish for Iran to test a nuclear weapon on its own soil. Nuclear weapons cannot be detonated in secret; they leave unique seismic markers that can be traced back to their source. An in-country test would simply confirm the existence of a program that for years Iran has denied.”
“Days after North Korea’s nuclear test, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reiterated that his country did not want to build atomic weapons, but that if it ‘intended to possess nuclear weapons, no power could stop us.’ This strange construction — saying the Islamic Republic does not desire nuclear weapons but there was no way to prevent it from having them — might have been the first in a series of diplomatic signals intending to inform the United States that, with North Korea’s help, the game is already over and Iran has won.”
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