Yet more than anything else, many Western leaders do amazingly well in coming up with reasons why we must not use forceful means to counter mad thugs such as Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, or Ahmadinejad while they are younger and less damaging.
The “great surprise” of Western leaders upon discovering that Iran hid its second uranium enrichment facility from the IAEA, just like Barak Obama’s call on the Iranians to prove that their nuclear program only has peaceful aims, is yet another demonstration that many in the West, including many members of the current American leadership, continue to simply “not understand” Persian or Arabic (or any of the languages and secret acts used by crazy rulers.)
The argument that the recently uncovered nuclear facility near Qom serves as proof of parallel nuclear activity, and that finally the “smoking gun” has been found, is somewhat similar to the claims made by some Israelis upon the seizure of the Karin A weapons-smuggling ship in 2002. These Israelis claimed that the seizure revealed Arafat’s true intentions, as if we did not see the accumulation of plethora of evidence regarding his actions and aspirations since 1993.
After all, there is almost nobody who questions the fact that Iran has been working on its nuclear program for years now; even the Iranians themselves no longer deny this, after they were presented with incriminating evidence time and again. The uranium enrichment site in Bushehr and the facilities in Isfahan, Natanz, and Arak are known to everyone after all. The West’s “dispute” vis-à-vis Ahmadinejad is whether this is meant for “civilian” or “military” aims, while the dispute within the West is whether there is sufficient proof that Iran is working towards a bomb.
However, since at least 2003-2004, the guns in Iran have not ceased smoking, a fact that apparently created such a huge smoke screen that it confused Obama, Gates, and their comrades. The latest revelations are no more than another link in the chain of copious incriminating evidence gathered against Iran only in the past five or six years.
For example, in 2004 Iran admitted that it’s been enriching uranium for more than 15 years by using centrifuges. It was also forced to admit that it produced a small quantity of highly enriched uranium (HEU), only after IAEA officials discovered it.
Deception and trickery
In fact, the whole of Iran’s nuclear program, in the last 20 years at least, is premised on deception and trickery. When the world and the IAEA uncover incriminating evidence, Iran first denies it, and later is forced to confess, after the evidence makes it difficult to continue lying. Back in 1989 already, when the IAEA granted Iran a kosher certificate, it turned out that it had advanced its program behind the glorious atomic agency’s back; Tehran imported large quantities of uranium, attempted to import plutonium, operated quite a few nuclear development sites, performed tests related to its nuclear activity, and at least since 1986 has been working to enrich uranium through centrifuges.
In September 2005, even the IAEA noted that it has significant doubts whether Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, in the wake of repeated violations of the Non Proliferation Treaty. Meanwhile, an intelligence report presented to Congress in 2006 ruled that Iran works towards acquiring nuclear weapons. In recent years, UN inspectors were banned entry to many sites suspected of housing non-civilian nuclear activity. They were allowed in only after repeated demands, and only after all the “problematic findings” were removed. The above constitutes only a small part of the “banned activity” uncovered in Iran in recent years.
Above all, any logical person would realize that no state, as mad as it may be, would be willing to pay intolerable economic, social, and diplomatic prices only in order to acquire nuclear energy for civilian needs; certainly not a state that is home to giant oil and gas reservoirs.
After all, anyone who has not allowed naiveté to undermine his judgment is supposed to understand that even in the view of Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs, no civilian nuclear program is worth the heavy price of isolation, sanctions, and possibly a threat to the regime. If they are indeed willing to bear such heavy costs, it could only be for the purpose of acquiring the bomb.
This bomb cannot be curbed by adopting the principle of “better bomb than bombing,” as certain US officials stated (according to Israeli sources). The opposite is true. The Iranian nuclear abscess cannot be removed by “uncovering” another smoking gun, or through further sanctions; rather, it can only be done through the path that habitual liberals such as Obama love to hate so much: By force.
Dr. Shaul Rosenfeld is a philosophy lecturer