The Bottom Line Assessment on Iran

UPDATED: 1 September 2006

History will not look favorably of any western leader who permits this Islamic theocracy to obtain nuclear weapons capabilities on their watch.

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Senior Analyst, Military Affairs
sosborne@homelandsecurityus.com

31 August 2006: Based on my military experience and substantiated by even the most superficial study of world history, the following can be readily concluded about the position of the West regarding the current course of the Iranian nuclear program:

1.) UN “deadlines” are meaningless.

2.) Negotiation with a terrorist state is an oxymoron.

3.) Halting Iranian uranium enrichment processes are no longer the primary issue, the direct production of plutonium by Iran is.

4.) President Bush is incorrect that the regime in Iran is “radical,” they are nothing less than Islamic purists of the Shi’a flavor (a/k/a: Islamo-fascists) bent on the destruction of Israel and the United States.

5.) Imposing sanctions upon Iran is an irrelevant, ineffectual exercise in futility. Iran has everything it needs to indigenously manufacture nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.

6.) Short of a major and sustained combat preemption there is nothing the US, Israel or the West can do to prevent Iran from becoming the world’s first islamofascist nuclear power.

It would be very applicable to remember that Iran is an oil-rich country that does not need nuclear power and whose former President, RAFSANJANI, stated that “[b]THE WORLD OF ISLAM should acquire the bomb so that it can threaten the existence of Israel and thwart American colonialism in the Middle East.”[/b] History will not look favorably of any western leader who permits this Islamic theocracy to obtain nuclear weapons capabilities on their watch.

UPDATE 01 September 2006 11:40 AM EDT

In coming to the above six conclusions a large part of my assessment processes relied upon part one of an incredible two-part essay written by the indomitable Judith Miller for the Wall Street Journal and published on May16/17, 2006 in the online OpinionJournal. Part one can be found HERE.

I believe an accurate assessment of the Iranian nuclear situation can be unambiguously clarified by looking at the example of Libya and its now defunct WMD program – in particular the former Libyan nuclear weapons program. America, Israel and the West as a whole civilized community is in a deadly nuclear race with Iran and its foreign supporters (Russia, Red China, North Korea and Venezuela).

Virtually all of the hardware involved in Libya’s nuke research program came from the Pakistan-based AQ Khan nuclear proliferation network. Some assistance came from the People’s Republic of China, and some from North Korea. These same bad actors are present in the Iranian nuclear program. No big surprise, eh? Read on… surprises dead ahead.

Here are quotes from Judith Miller’s two-part essay which incomprehensibly have been overlooked to date by all pundits covering or assessing this topic:

1.) “… a heretofore undisclosed [NSA] intelligence coup–the [US Bush] administration’s decision in late 2003 to give Libyan officials a compact disc containing intercepts of a [Feb. 28, 2002] conversation about Libya’s nuclear weapons program between Libya’s nuclear chief [Ma'atouq Mohamed Ma'atouq] and A.Q. Khan…Denial of military intent was no longer an option.”

2.) Libya “managed to acquire from the Khan network what it needed to produce a 10-kiloton bomb, or to make the components for one, as well as dozens of blueprints for producing and miniaturizing a warhead, usually the toughest step in producing an atomic weapon.”

3.) “Libya could have produced enough fuel to make as many as 10 nuclear warheads a year.”

4.)” Relying on the Khan [nuclear proliferation] network [means no] worry about the origin of the equipment and material, or haggle with individual suppliers over the price and quality of goods on the nuclear black market.”

5.) “…the casks filled with uranium hexafluoride for Libya’s gas-enrichment program had originated in North Korea, as U.S. intelligence analysts now believe (based on isotope fingerprints of traces found on the containers).”

In reading Miller’s essay it comes very blatantly clear that the United States Intelligence Community knows certain details about the Iranian nuclear program because we were and still are listening and “reading the mail”. Libya is the template concerning Iranian progress. However, as Judith Miller makes clear in her essay, it wasn’t until our people, Stephen Kappes and crew, went inside Libya that we learned just how advanced Libya was on its nuclear weapons project. Moreover, just as we underestimated Libya’s nuclear progress, so I assess that we are underestimating Iran’s. The real issue here is that the Ayatollah and Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad are not some unstable or easily freaked-out Libyan colonel. Their agenda and assumed mission of acquiring of nuclear weapons is hard driven by Shi’a Islamic eschatology which is far more dangerous by orders of magnitude.

Deterrence regarding the Iranian nuke program failed a long time ago. We in the West literally are in a race against time. Now that Iran’s plutonium producing Arak reactor is operational the time lime or ‘window of opportunity’ for effective preemption of indigenous Iranian nuclear capability has been shortened even further. I assess the ‘window of opportunity’ to deal with Iran is likely to be much less than 1 year. Considerably less. Bushehr is not operational, Arak is.

We know what we know. And I am absolutely certain that we know we must act imminently or lose the race.