Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his grave concern over Iran’s increasingly threatening nuclear ambitions during an address to the U.N. general assembly yesterday.
“At this late hour there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs,” Netanyahu said while standing in front of a cartoonish graph shaped like a bomb with a lighted fuse, “and that is by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”
Netanyahu has good cause for concern.
It has been painfully obvious for some time that Iran’s nuclear program is not for energy as its leaders claim. According to the latest report by the IAEA, Iran is producing 20 percent-enriched uranium-235. Commercial reactors used for the purposes that Iran claims its program are for only require 3 percent-enriched U-235.
The bottom line is that the IAEA estimates Iran will have the capability to build a nuclear bomb in ten months.
Iran’s nuclear escalation is nothing new. Although IAEA’s new data now provides a foreboding timeline for their armament. Iran has been steadily increasing their nuclear supply over the last few years. Iran had about 1,000 KG of five percent-enriched uranium in 2009. Today they have about 6,000 KG. Of that 6,000, 5,000 KG has been removed from the stockpile for further enrichment.
Iran has continued this escalation despite four successful assassinations of its nuclear scientists and four rounds of U.N. sanctions since 2006.
Despite this continuing escalation, President Obama only recently sharpened his rhetoric against Iran. He addressed the UN general assembly Tuesday, saying that the United States will “do what we must” to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Whatever that means.
Iran’s leader has more hostile positions on the matter.
Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is far from a rational actor in world politics. He is a man who has claimed Israel should be “wiped off the map.” He also publicly holds the delusional religious belief in the imminent return of the Shi’a Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi, the 12th Imam whom believers think will bring justice to a corrupt world upon his return.
So Iran is less being led by a man who sincerely believes in an imminent apocalypse and can’t wait to bring it on. And in less than a year, he’ll have the capability to bring it himself.
Obama will have to take a stronger stance on Iran before that time if Israel and the rest of the world want to avoid the “justice” of the 12th Imam and Ahmadinejad.
Renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan once described the Cold War era nuclear arms race as “two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.” The free world’s nuclear-equipped enemy in Sagan’s day was the Soviet Union, who was as fearful as we were about the flames that would envelop them if either side lit one of their matches.
Today, we are in the pool of gasoline with a different enemy. And he can’t wait to light his match.