Editor’s Note – Once again, the Obama Administration is trying to distance itself from anything Israeli – despite Iran’s ambitions. This statement comes in the face of the fact that the IAEA released its quarterly report and indicated that Iran had more than doubled its number of centrifuges and buried them in their deepest bunkers as seen in the video below:
Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment machines it has in an underground bunker, a UN report said on Thursday, showing Tehran continued to defy Western pressure to stop its atomic work and the threat of Israeli attack.
In the weeks and months when Israeli politicians increased their talk of air strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites, the Islamic Republic was rapidly increasing the enrichment capacity of its Fordo site, buried deep underground to withstand any such hit. (Read the rest at Haaretz.)
Additionally, the Bipartisan Policy Center goes into more detail:
Despite six months of negotiations and the implementation of tough new international banking and energy sanctions, Iran has continued to dramatically advance its nuclear program. The latest report by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), released today, shows that in every measure Iran has either reached new highs or continues operating at the highest levels previously recorded.* Most disturbingly, Iran continues to accelerate its production of 20% enriched uranium – the production rate jumped 15% between May and August 2012 – and is on track to stockpile enough of it for a nuclear weapon (with further enrichment) by February 2013. (Read the rest here, including charts and graphs in detail.)
Our question is then: What is the Obama Administration’s stance on Iran’s nuclear capabilities now, and why are we effectively ‘throwing Israel under the bus’ again?
Gen. Martin Dempsey said bluntly that he does not want to be “complicit” if Israel chooses to attack Iran, as he put more distance between the United States and Israel over a potential attack.
Speaking to reporters in London, Dempsey reiterated the U.S. position that an Israeli attack on Iran would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”
“I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it,” Dempsey said, according to The Guardian.
Dempsey added that the unified international community’s pressure on Iran through sanctions “could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely.”
The United States has urged Israel not to attack Iran unilaterally for months, as Israel suggested it might strike Iran’s nuclear program.
President Obama has told Israeli officials they should give sanctions time to take effect and that a window remains for a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program.
But Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have said sanctions and diplomacy have done nothing to slow Iran’s nuclear production.
A recent report in the Israeli press that Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, favored a strike before the U.S. election in November prompted a whole new round of speculation and caution in both Israel and the United States.
An Israeli strike on Iran could change the dynamic of the presidential election, and the United States could be the target of retaliatory efforts from Iran. The U.S. military could also get drawn into a broader regional conflict that could be sparked by an Israeli attack.
Obama has been criticized by Republicans, including Mitt Romney, for not taking a hard enough line toward Iran. He has said that he wants a diplomatic solution but is taking no options off the table, including military ones.
The United States, Israel and their allies suspect Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, while Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.