"You Asked and We Listened"
There is a very specific event that recently raised a red flag and causes me to say we must have a renewed sense of urgency in our foreign policy. We know Iran is on the brink of delivering a successful nuclear weapons program that can threaten our allies in the Middle East and Europe. That, in turn, will impact our economy and my Congressional district in Eastern Connecticut.
Recently, an Iranian nuclear scientist named Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was at least the third scientist assassinated in two years. He was a chemistry expert and director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran. It comes exactly two years to the day from an earlier killing of a senior physics professor at Tehran University.
Before that, in November 2010, a nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari, a member of the nuclear engineering facility at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran died in a bomb attack. He had worked with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and was an expert in neutron transport – which lies at the heart of nuclear chain reactions in reactors and bombs. Each attack had the signature of an assassination. Each scientist was associated with a weapons program that could kill millions.
Iran makes public statements about its underground nuclear facilities being buried under 30 meters of rock. But that does little to make me believe it simply is generating commercial electricity, any more than these 3 scientists were working on commercial, green energy projects for Tehran.
Intelligence information is, by its very nature, incomplete and less than 100% accurate. It is the job of intelligence analysts to piece together the information available so the puzzle makes sense.
In the case of Iran, with the overwhelming amount of evidence against the regime in the last few years, it does not take a subject matter expert to conclude Tehran is involved heavily in a nuclear weapons development program which will destabilize a critical part of the world.
On January 11th Israeli military chief Lt. General Benny Gantz told a parliamentary panel that 2012 would be a critical year for Iran, in part because of “things that happen to it unnaturally.” This week the Iranian President is conducting a highly symbolic trip to Latin America visiting with Chavez in Venezuela, Ortega in Nicaragua, Correa in Equador, Molina in Guatemala and, of course, Castro in Cuba. The situation concerns me deeply.
As we enter 2012 we find the Security Council at the United Nations failing to take effective action against Iran. There is very limited pressure from the United States to stop the proliferation, and our allies are making only minor attempts to curb the Iranian nuclear program. Is Iran ready to put substance behind its threats, including closing the Strait of Hormuz? We not sure.
When Ronald Reagan was in office he led through strength, conducting Operation Praying Mantis in the Middle East. It was the largest naval surface engagement since WWII. It worked and it worked well. Iran understood security through strength. It doesn't respond well to weak leaders. That should give you concern.
Where will that leave the next President of the United States? We are unsure about the exact level of advancement of Iran’s program. And, we have yet to fully recognize the challenges posed by yet another nuclear regime, one that hates the United States and our Western way of life. It is critical we elect a President who recognizes the real challenges posed by a nuclear Iran.
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