Do you believe Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb?
Do you believe Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he declares that confronting Israel is an effort to “protect the dignity of all human beings”? And what do you think when during the same speech to religious worshippers on the last day of Ramadan, Ahmadinejad said that “the existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to all humanity”?
What about the words of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the United Nations conference of Non-Aligned Members, when he declared that “ferocious Zionist wolves … commit new crimes one after the other and create new crises for the region.” And do you worry when you hear Khamenei accuse Israel of “trying to destroy [Palestine] in order to digest it in the haraam-eating stomach of the Zionist regime”?
At the same meeting Khamenei said Iran’s nuclear program was peaceful. “Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none,” he said. Do you believe him?
And do you believe the International Atomic Energy Agency when it reports that the Iranians have doubled their enrichment capacity? According to the new report, the number of centrifuges has risen from 1,065 in May to 2,140 today. The IAEA analysis also shows that the amount of enrichment surpasses civilian needs and that Iran is seeking to develop weapons grade uranium enrichment.”
Are you comforted by White House spokesman Jay Carney responding to the IAEA report by talking up international sanctions and continuing talks with Tehran, though not forever? As Carney noted last week, “the window of opportunity to resolve this remains open … but it will not remain open indefinitely.”
Carney also explained that while the administration is “closely studying the details of the report … it is not surprising that Iran is continuing to violate its obligations.” If the sanctions were working, wouldn’t it be surprising that Iran is “continuing to violate its obligations”?
And are you sanguine about Carney’s assessment that “we are in a position to closely observe Iran’s program and to detect any effort by Iran to begin production of weapons-grade uranium”? Does that mean the Obama administration believes it would be OK for Iran to have nuclear weapons capability because we’d “know” if they actually started building a bomb? If this is indeed the administration’s policy, do you feel safer?
What about the IAEA report that Iran had “shut down” outside observers from looking at one of Iran’s nuclear sites? Do you think Paul Brannan, a senior analyst at the Institute for Science and International Security, is to be believed when he says that Iran likely designed and built their site at Fordo to be the “breakout” facility? And what about the analysis by Mark Fitzpatrick from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, which agrees with Brannan’s suggestion? As Fitzpatrick told reporters, Fordo is “obviously for nuclear weapons hedging, to preserve centrifuges in case of an attack.” Did you know that? Does it worry you?
Do you support Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey’s remarks last week when he said that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program”? Dempsey also warned Israel that she doesn’t have the military capability to destroy the Fordo site.
And what about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the IAEA report when he declared that “the agency’s report has … put Israel in a corner, documenting that Iran is close to crossing what Israel has long said is its red line: the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a location invulnerable to Israeli attack.” Do you agree that Israel should be more concerned about Iran’s nuclear capability than the Obama administration seems to be?
But are you more worried about Israeli leaders who talk about a potential strike on Iran’s nuclear targets or Ali Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, who responds to such talk by saying that “No one dare think of it or dare to attack” because “[a]ny sort of aggression will be harshly greeted with an iron fist”?
(Abby W. Schachter is a Pittsburgh-based columnist and blogger for the New York Post. Follow her on Twitter@abbyschachter.)