Iran does not currently have nuclear weapons, and would appear to be about two years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. By some time in 2006, however, Iran could be producting fissile material for atomic bombs using both uranium enriched at Natanz and plutonium produced at Arak. The Natanz facility might produce enough uranium for about five bombs every year, and the Arak facility might produced enough plutonium for as many as three bombs every year.
If Iran did acquire atomic bombs, it would put pressure on other countries in the region do the same. Many Arab countries believe it is unfair that Israel has nuclear weapons. If Arab countries, notably Saudi Arabia but also Egypt and possibly Syria, found themselves caught between a nuclear-armed Israel and a nuclear-armed Iran, it would greatly increase pressures to pursue their own nuclear options. This could result in a regional arms race in the Middle East which is likely to be quite destabilizing, given the number and intensity of conflicts and instabilities in the region.
-Global Security Fall 2004
This analysis from Global Security.org spoeaks directly to why the Reagan/Bush policy of appeasment towards Iran has put the United States in such a dangerous position in the Middle Eastern power game. Iran's election last week of Religious Conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinjab is likely to set back for years the pro-western reforms many have been seeking within Iran.
Part of Ahmadinjab's platform was to distance Iran from the European Union, whose leadership has been very engaging with the Irnaian regime despite of its consistent support of terrorism in the Niddle East, Central Asia, Europe and the Americas. Throughout the 1980s, with the United States turning a blind eye under the indecisive and weak leadership of President Ronald Reagan Europe cultivated business and economic ties with Iran which have created a windfall for European based petroluem companies.
The appeasement of the Reagan and Bush White House’s coupled with the empty rhetoric of the second president Bush has led to the overwhelming election of one of the primary leaders of the 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Tehran. The hostage crisis that ensued was resolved when President Reagan allegedly made deals with the Iranian hardliners while running for President. Four years later Reagan, Oliver North, and John Poindexter masterminded the arms for hostages’ deal that allowed the Iranians to acquire high tech Americans weapons in exchange for releasing American hostages one at a time over a two and a half year period.
Reagan, in 1986 spoke of moderate elements in Iran, but to this date, nothing of yet has become of these moderate elements. Jack Straw in 2003 declared that Iran was a budding a Democracy, but as has been the case in many developing nations, Democracy can be something that creates further destabilization and uncontrolled anti-Americanism. (See Venezuela). President George W. Bush needs to step away from his ideological rhetoric about the spread of Democracy and instead govern with America’s security interests at stake.
Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and replace a relatively harmless dictator with an unstable democracy susceptible to terrorist blackmail and infiltration has made America less secure. His decision to destabilize Iraq has destroyed the greatest buffer against Iranian aggression and expansionism. Now Bush must step up to the plate and deal with the growing threat from Iran.
As I have mentioned in earlier blogs, Iran is chief exporter of terrorism and revolution to Central Asia and the Middle East. They are key funding source of Palestinian terrorism as well as violent revolutionary actions in the Former Soviet Republics of Central Asia. Iran has also been the primary source of arms and funds for groups operating in the Balkans seeking an Islamic state in that region. (A region where the US and NATO would be wise to give assistance to other Muslim groups not associated directly with Iran).
George W. bush has neither the credibility on the International stage nor the political will to do what is necessary regarding Iran. For all of Bush’s tough talk, he like Reagan has shied away from taking strong and decisive action to reign in Iran’s exportation of International terror. Iran’s existing and documented Nuclear program whose chief international benefactors are North Korea, Pakistan and China has been largely ignored by Bush in favor of wild speculation as to the potential weapons possessed by an internationally isolated Iraq. Bush made his choice to invade Iraq and the consequences have been possibly more damaging to the United States than any International action since the conclusion of World War II.
We are now faced with a strong Iran and little ability to do anything about it unless we take strong military action to knock out Iran’s nuclear arsenal. That would however be impractical at this time with American military commitments globally having spread our forces too thin. Unfortunately, Bush’s lack of foresight means that the Europeans have to use whatever leverage they have with Iran, to try and exert concessions to eliminate Iran’s Nuclear weapons program. The United States thanks to Bush’s failures finds itself in a helpless position globally and must now rely on the same European nations that Secretary Rice and Rumsfeld belittled two years ago to achieve our security needs. How’s that for irony?
Providing Unique Commentary and Insight into Politics, History and Society since 2005
- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.