A motley crew – assembled by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and misleadingly labeled The Presidential Task Force on Iranian Proliferation, Regional Security, and US Policy– has just issued President Obama a warning:
"If the international community appears unable to stop Iran's nuclear progress, Israel may decide to act unilaterally. Whatever Americans may think, Israeli leaders seem convinced that at least for now, they have a military option.
"However, Israelis see the option fading over the next one to two years, not only because of Iran's nuclear progress and dispersion of its program but also because improved Iranian air defenses, especially the expected delivery of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system from Russia, are seen by Israel as seriously limiting its military options.
"Israel therefore may feel compelled to act before the option disappears."
This gratuitous warning to our new President follows closely upon the report of the Grand Pooh-Bahs at The Bipartisan Policy Center, made just before the election, that whoever became the next president would probably have to Bomb-Bomb-Iran.
Well, by insisting on exercising their "inalienable" rights – affirmed by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – the Islamic Republic's regime has "undermined" our glorious NPT-based nuke proliferation-prevention regime.
Never mind that representatives of that Islamic regime have repeatedly charged – at meetings of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Group Ministerial Conference – that it is the United States that has deliberately all but destroyed the NPT-IAEA nuke proliferation-prevention regime.
Iran's NPT-required Safeguards Agreement gave the IAEA the "right and the obligation" to ensure that safeguards are applied on "all source or special fissionable material … for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons."
For the exclusive purpose! For that purpose – verifying non-diversion – and for no other!
In the early 1990s, Russia had agreed to complete the nuclear power plants at Bushehr, whose construction had begun under the Shah, and build a gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz.
Also in the early 1990s, China had agreed to provide Iran two 300 MW nuclear power plants and a uranium-conversion plant at Isfahan.
But in 1995, as a result of intense pressure by President Clinton on Russia and China – and on European suppliers of auxiliary equipment – Russia canceled the gas-centrifuge facility contract and China canceled the power plant contract. In 1997, China also canceled the uranium-conversion plant contract.
The Russians continued to honor their contract to complete at least one of the 1,000 MW power plants at Bushehr. "Start-up" operations for that completed IAEA Safeguarded plant have now begun.
Over the years, the most serious Iranian "violation" of its existing Safeguards agreement was the failure to report at the time the importation from China in 1991 of small amounts of uranium oxide to be used for testing of different processes involved in the then-to-be-supplied Chinese uranium-conversion facility.
The facility – which the Iranians wound up having to build, themselves – had been subjected to IAEA Safeguards before their agreement required it. However, the Iranians had never reported the test materials they had got from China.
But, contrary to the claims made by the WINEP-weenies and the Bipartisan Policy Center Grand Pooh-Bahs, the IAEA has never charged Iran with being in noncompliance with the NPT. On the contrary, Director-General ElBaradei has just reported for the umpteenth time that no NPT-proscribed materials have been diverted to any program, peaceful or otherwise.
Now comes the warning to Obama contained in the gratuitous report of the WINEP "Presidential" Task Force.
"Russia argues that its potential transfer of the S-300 air-defense system to Iran [to defend the multi-billion-dollar nuclear power plant Russia has just built at Bushehr] is stabilizing because it would greatly complicate any Israeli plans to strike Iran. However, this approach gives rise to the grave risk that Israel could feel compelled to act before the cost of doing so is too high."
Surely the Israelis are not that crazy? Well, apparently they are. Several of the "Presidential" Task Force weenies are reported to have gone to Israel, talked to Israeli officials, came back and inserted the above language in the report.
So, President Obama, you've been warned. What should you do? How do you prevent the Israeli paranoids from precipitating World War III?
"If the transfer proceeds, Washington should rebalance the strategic equation through more sophisticated arms transfers. That is, if Iran deploys advanced air defenses, the United States should promptly provide Israel with the capabilities to continue to threaten high-value Iranian targets – for instance, with more modern aircraft."
In other words, douse yourself, and the Mid-East lunatics to which you're chained, with gasoline.
By WINEP's lights, you have no alternative.
"If Iran 'gets away' at low cost with years of safeguards violations and defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, nonproliferation norms likely will further erode across the globe. Other countries may consider taking the same path, especially if Iran's programs gain legitimacy.
"If the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is seen as fraying, it may be difficult to make progress on supplementary means to shore up the nonproliferation regime."
Like the Proliferation Security Initiative of Bonkers Bolton?
In the real world, the Islamic regime in Iran has emerged – as a result of having successfully undergone years of such unprecedented scrutiny – as the most vocal defender of the NPT-IAEA nuclear weapon proliferation-prevention regime, and as the most vocal criticof the way it and the IAEA Statue and the UN Charter has repeatedly and deliberately been violated by the Clinton-Gore and Bush-Cheney administrations.
In fact, to the dismay of the Israeli Ambassador, the Iranians were hugged and cheered at the last meeting of the UN General Assembly, both for their defense of the NPT-IAEA nuke proliferation-prevention regime, itself, and for their defiant insistence upon exercising their "inalienable" NPT-IAEA rights.
By the way, Mr. President. If you do accept their insane gratuitous advice, effectively dousing us and the Mid-East lunatics to whom we're increasingly bound, with gasoline, that might be a good time to give up smoking.