Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to address Congress Tuesday, March 3, 2015 regarding his concerns over the so-called “P5 (i.e., the U.S., Russia, China, France, and Britain) +1 (Germany)” nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015, a week before Netanyahu’s scheduled appearance– which is clearly unwelcome by the Obama Administration– Susan Rice, the Administration’s national security adviser, told PBS’s Charlie Rose, bluntly:
I think it’s [Netanyahu’s address] destructive of the fabric of the [U.S.-Israel] relationship.
Subsequently, Israel National News (on March 1, 2015) repeated unconfirmed allegations from a Kuwaiti newspaper that President Obama personally thwarted a planned Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014, threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they reached their Iranian targets. By Sunday evening (3/1/15), in a statement issued to The Washington Times, a senior Obama Administration official claimed the Kuwaiti report was “totally false.”
Pair this frank denial of the Kuwaiti story with Ms. Rice’s icy, hostile remark, and it reflects an Obama administration thoroughly, even vindictively dismissive of the Israeli Prime Minister’s grave, rational apprehensions. Mr. Netanyahu appropriately rejects the current negotiations process which abets, and de facto legitimizes, Iran’s nuclear aspirations, under the guise of regulated uranium enrichment for promised non-military uses, while ignoring the Islamic Republic’s long range ballistic missile development, and nuclear weaponization programs. Speaking at Bar Ilan University, on February 9, 2015, Netanyahu offered a plaintive rationale for his Congressional address in early March, highlighting the shared existential threat to Israel, and the U.S:
The true question is whether Iran will have nuclear bombs to implement its intention to destroy the State of Israel. That is something we will not allow. This is not a political issue either in Israel or the U.S. This is an existential issue.
Referencing the disturbing findings of a confidential IAEA report exposed by the New York Times on February 20, 2015 (discussed below), Netanyahu later expressed his “astonishment” that the P5 +1 negotiations had not been abandoned altogether:
Not only are they continuing, there is an increased effort to reach a nuclear agreement in the coming days and weeks. Therefore, the coming month is critical for the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers because a framework agreement is liable to be signed that will allow Iran to develop the nuclear capabilities that threaten our existence.
The Israeli Prime Minister re-affirmed his view of the unacceptable dangers such an agreement posed to Israel, and the international community overall. He also criticized the moral depravity of negotiations with an Iranian regime that continued to actively support global jihad terrorism.
[T]herefore, I will go to the US next week in order to explain to the American Congress, which could influence the fate of the agreement, why this agreement is dangerous for Israel, the region and the entire world. [Iran] continues its murderous terror activities around the region and the world, does not, unfortunately, bother the international community, which is continuing to talk with Iran about a nuclear accord that will allow it to build an industrial capacity to develop nuclear arms.
The sobriety of Prime Minster Netanyahu’s tocsin of looming calamity is completely validated by the following recent developments, which highlight Iran’s aggressive pursuit of nuclear and conventional military capabilities (directed against both Israel, and the U.S.), all inspired by its openly avowed, bellicose Islamic ideology:
- An independent report of 102 pp. issued on 11/20/2014, reviewing over a decade of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) analyses (and other investigative findings), concluded (despite repeated, disingenuous countervailing protests) that the Iranian regime continued to engage in “systematic,” “vigorous” combined military, and dual military-civilian efforts “such as enrichment, weaponization, warhead, and delivery system at some stage,” whose ultimate goal was procuring nuclear weapons capability. There were “no serious indications that Tehran has stopped or abandoned this project or intends to do so.” Iran, on the contrary, “has resorted to further secrecy and concealment to keep its program intact and unhindered.” Additional discoveries and data all underscored how “a military program and military related activities” remain “at the heart of the Iranian nuclear program.”
- A subsequent updated report by the IAEA itself, leaked to the New York Times and disclosed on February 20, 2015, stated that the agency “remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.” Adding Iran had not provided explanations for the IAEA’s queries about all Iranian nuclear-related work, the IAEA report claimed the agency was “not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
- An Israeli TV Channel 2 Wednesday, January 21, 2015 report showed images taken by the Eros B commercial Earth observation satellite revealing that “Iran has built a 27-meter-long missile, capable of delivering a warhead far beyond Europe, and placed it on a launch pad at a site close to Tehran.”
- Former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz published (on January 22, 2015) a conservative estimate that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium—which has burgeoned since 2009—could be readily further enriched to provide 6 to 8 nuclear weapons. Reviewing Fleitz’s data, Ollie Heinonen, previously an IAEA official who now teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School, maintained that Iran could produce a “higher number” of weapons—perhaps as many as 11—from the enriched uranium it has accumulated since 2009.
- On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the Iranian opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) claimed that a complex, dubbed Lavizan-3, on the outskirts of Tehran, was “buried deep underground in tunnels and underground facilities” with “radiation-proof doors” to prevent any leaks that could be detected by the United Nations International Energy Agency inspectors. The NCRI claimed it smuggled out a photograph demonstrating a 1-foot thick lead-lined door which shields the complex from radiation, alleging further that the clandestine rooms and hallways are insulated for sound and radiation leaks so that they would remain undetected. The NCRI also maintained that the Iranian regime has secretly used the site to enrich uranium with advanced centrifuges since 2008, consistent with a long established deceptive pattern of hiding its actual nuclear activities.
- The presence of Iranian command posts and special forces in the Golan Heights now extends beyond Iran’s pattern of supporting proxy activities (i.e., by Hezbollah). Per May 2014 statements by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) senior official Hossein Hamedani that were censored and removed immediately after publication in Iran, the command posts are designed to coordinate “130,000 trained Iranian Basij fighters waiting to enter Syria.” A February 13, 2015 essay in the Lebanese publication Al-Akhbar by Nahed Al-Hattar noted, appositely, that while Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities were constrained due to international considerations, Iran has amassed a “practical, direct and conventional” threat against the Jewish State: “Israel faces a fateful crisis. As much as it feared the Iranian nuclear program, it never imagined that Iran would be standing on its border even before its nuclear agreement with the Americans was complete. The Iranian threat to Israel is no longer theoretical, nor does it have anything to do with Israel’s deterrent of using its nuclear weapons, which cannot be used considering the international power balance. The threat has become direct, practical and conventional.”
- Iran’s Fars News Agency reported February 25, 2015 that at a simulated “life size” U.S. aircraft carrier was destroyed by IRGC missiles during the IRGC Navy’s massive “The Great Prophet 9” war games in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. In a Sunday 3/1/15 follow-up statement, Iranian legislators lauded the IRGC’s naval war games: “Using the hi-tech weapons and complicated and high-precision missiles in these military drills was a clear message to the world that sanctions can never prevent Iranians’ access to the most advanced and state-of-the-art weapons.”
- On February 11, 2015, during events marking the 36th anniversary of the 1979 “revolution,” the theocratic putsch’s virulently anti-American and anti-Israeli character was re-affirmed. Prominent displays of hatred toward President Obama, shown hanging from a gallows, and Secretary of State Kerry, depicted as a devious fox, were featured. And at a February 11, 2015 address in Kermanshah, Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi declared: “The Iranian people calls in unison the slogans ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel’. America and Israel will end up like the rest. The Iranian nation’s unity will cause the elimination of these arrogant [countries]…The 5+1 coalition [the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – who are conducting nuclear negotiations with Iran] is a coalition against humanity and against Islam. The enemies always fear Islam and the progress of the Iranian nation…”
- Finally, a domino display held in the city of Gonabad, in the Razavi Korasan Province of Iran, February 16, 2015, riveted upon Iran’s nuclear program. Structures made of dominoes simulating obstacles to the Iranian nuclear program—sanctions, the Stuxnet virus, the assassination of scientists—were toppled, being replaced by messages proclaiming Iran’s nuclear accomplishments. Some of the US-related models featured, such as the word “CIA,” the RQ-170 drone, and the US flag, were collapsed. The show concluded with a missile destroying a domino structure of an Israeli flag.
What animates Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons capability, a quest initiated under the combined leadership of Mir Hossein Mousavi (now a “Green Movement” leader), and Ayatollah Khomeini himself, between 1987 to 1988? Though almost universally ignored, or willfully obfuscated and trivialized, Iran’s central abiding motivations are pellucid. Brazenly articulated by its foundational ideologues and governmental decrees, repeated in countless religio-political pronouncements over the intervening 36-years since the retrograde Khomeini “revolution” of 1979, the three pillars of Iran’s hegemonic aspirations remain jihad, canonical Islamic Jew-hatred, and the uniquely dehumanizing Shiite Islamic conception of “najis,” “impurity/uncleanliness,” as it pertains to non-Muslims (which I will elaborate).
For the second part of this analysis, click here.