Source: Investor’s Business Daily
Accidents happen, no doubt about it. But every so often we let them happen, only to deeply regret it later. That’s called foolishness. Such is the case with western policy toward a nuclear Iran.
Iran has made two major announcements in the past two days. First, it says it’s just three months away from starting up its Bushehr nuclear facility, thanks to Russia’s timely Christmas gift of a supply of nuclear fuel. Second, it says it wants to open up 19 more nuclear power plants, which would require enormous amounts of refined uranium to run and give Iran a plausible reason for enriching its own uranium.
Why not? Iran insists it wants nuclear power for peaceful purposes only. Besides, the $1 billion Bushehr facility has been built under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). So what’s the problem?
To begin with, the IAEA basically has ignored Iran’s repeated breaking of international law and flouting of U.N. agreements. Iran isn’t supposed to be enriching uranium, period.
Just last December, the U.N. passed Security Resolution 1737, which required Tehran to freeze its enrichment efforts. Yet it continues to do so Ã¢â¬â with the IAEA’s apparent blessing.
Then there’s the new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which created a huge stir when it concluded Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.
If that’s true, thank President Bush, because the weapons program ended after Tehran watched the U.S. take just three weeks to remove Iraq’s Saddam Hussein Ã¢â¬â a tyrant Iran itself took eight years to fight to a bloody stalemate at a cost of more than a million dead. Iran’s leaders were, in a word, scared.
Yet a recent Heritage Foundation report says it’s “possible that new, better-hidden programs were started up after the old ones were closed down . . .” Not just possible, we think, but probable.
Western fecklessness has only emboldened Iran and enablers such as Russia. Moscow began shipping nuclear fuel to Iran just this month, convinced Bush’s tough stance has been undercut by the NIE report. Iran thinks so, too.
Last month, Iran tested its new “Ashura” missile with an estimated range of 1,250 miles. That, according to American Enterprise Institute scholar Charlie Szrom, could give Tehran the ability to “reach U.S. bases in the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe, including such U.S. allies as Romania, Georgia, or Ukraine.”
Even the most conservative intelligence estimates say Iran will be able to build nuclear bombs by 2015. It already has 3,000 centrifuges whirring away at its Natanz facility enriching nuclear fuel, with plans for thousands more. The world ignores this at its peril.
Meanwhile, Europe expresses outrage, but little more Ã¢â¬â and continues to sign lucrative business deals with Iran’s mullahs.
What’s Iran’s plan? Listen to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader: “In a dozen years,” he’s quoted by Adnkronos International, “Europe will be an Islamic continent.”
If you think the U.S. is isolated now, wait till that happy event occurs. Add to that Iran’s stated intent to rid the world of Israel, and its reason for having nukes is clear. The Center for Strategic and International Studies reckons an Israeli-Iran nuclear war would kill upwards of 800,000 Israelis and perhaps 20 million Iranians.
Meanwhile, Iran’s rivals, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, say they won’t stand by as Iran develops nukes. They too will build some. More millions dead.
This isn’t a game. Like World War I, it’s one of the most preventable disasters in history, one that endangers everyone in the West. Foreign opinion be damned. We must do all we can to stop this nuclear disaster from taking place Ã¢â¬â or regret it for all time.