Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ignoring Iran to Our Peril

By Alan Caruba

On Saturday, July 23, Daryush Rezaee-Nejad, an Iranian scientist involved with its nuclear program was assassinated in front of his home in Tehran. Two motorcyclists shot him in the head and throat. Being a nuclear scientist has become a very bad career choice in Iran.

According to Debka, an Israeli news agency that appears to have lines of communication into its intelligence community, “This was another in the series in the past year of mysterious attacks of top-flight scientists attached to the Iranian nuclear program.” What better way to slow down that program than (a) infect it with a computer virus called Stuxnet and (b) systematically kill the scientists involved with the development of a nuclear weapon?

It is not hard to say who may be involved in such an effort. The obvious parties would be the U.S. and Israel. Ali Larijani, Iran’s parliamentary speaker, was infuriated by the latest killing, calling it an “American-Zionist terrorist act” the demonstrated “the degree of American animosity.”

Earlier assassination attempts included Dr. Majid Shariani who was killed, but the attempt on Prof. Fereydoon Abbassi failed. He was appointed Vice President for Nuclear Affairs and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Organization. In a possible related effort, three Russian scientists known to be assisting Iran’s nuclear program died in an airplane crash.

For the record, American administrations going back to Jimmy Carter’s have no reason to feel anything other than animosity toward Iran, beginning with its breaking every diplomatic rule in the book by taking U.S. diplomats hostage in 1979 and holding them for 444 days.

The Iranians have been attacking U.S. military forces, starting with Marines stationed in Beirut as peacekeepers in 1983 right up through the conflict in Iraq, providing arms and aid to insurgents. By any standards you might apply, Iran has been at war with America for just over three decades.

In their push to acquire nuclear weapons parity, the Iranians have been relentless. In his book, “The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West”, Dore Gold related the history of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. Gold is the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and has held positions in Israel’s diplomatic corps.

Noting that Iran is an Islamic theocracy that so idealizes the cult of martyrdom it was the first to “systematically employ suicide bombing attacks in the present era”, Gold warned that it “could very well be immune to deterrence and the threat of full scale retaliation should it employ nuclear weapons.”

The notion that it is American intelligence operatives behind the assassinations and the Stuxnet virus ignores the greater likelihood that these have been Israeli efforts to slow Iran’s efforts, given that Iran has made no secret of its desire to destroy Israel.

There is another reason to question whether the U.S. is involved insofar as policies of the Obama administration going back to 2009 have led some observers to conclude that “President Barack Obama has decided to let Iran acquire nuclear arms.” That was the opinion of Anne Bayefsky in August 2009, writing in the National Review Online.

More recently, Fred Fleitz, a retired intelligence expert with a twenty-five year career at the CIA, DIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee staff, wrote a warning that was published in The Wall Street Journal, “America’s Intelligence Denial on Iran.”

“Mounting evidence over the last few years has convinced most experts that Iran has an active program to develop and construct nuclear weapons,” wrote Fleitz. “Amazingly, however, these experts do not include the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community.” Incredibly, U.S. intelligence officials are standing by their 2007 assessment that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not restarted it since.

This constitutes criminal negligence.

“One cannot underestimate the dangers posed to our country by a U.S. Intelligence community that is unable to provide timely and objective analysis of such major threats to U.S. national security—or to make appropriate adjustments when it is proven wrong,” wrote Fleitz.

It’s hardly a secret that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. One can easily access maps showing the sites where the program is known to be underway.

There’s a reason for the Stuxnet virus and for the assassinations. It is the fact that Iran, once armed with nuclear weapons, will use them against either Israel or America or both.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

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