By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
Considerable media coverage has been devoted to House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress regarding Iran’s nuclear program and the state of radical Islam movement worldwide. But “Boehner didn’t invite Netanyahu because he cares about Israel’s election,” writes Caroline Glick for the Jerusalem Post. “He invited Netanyahu because he cares about U.S. national security. He believes that by having Netanyahu speak on the issues of Iran’s nuclear program and radical Islam, he will advance America’s national security.”
The outcome of negotiations with Iran could be the ultimate game-changer for the course of history. But, as Glick argues, the Obama administration’s policy is one of enablement—not the prevention of a new nuclear power coming on the scene. Will a nuclear Iran be President Obama’s enduring legacy in the Middle East? One wonders whether this is how World War III will start. Or should I say, World War IV? Maybe we’re in World War III right now, but just haven’t acknowledged it yet.
To clear up one point that has fueled a great deal of misinformation, Speaker Boehner did inform the White House of the invitation to Netanyahu before the invitation was accepted. The White House remained silent, and then encouraged the narrative that they had been blindsided by the announcement of the plans. The New York Times was forced to acknowledge that fact in a correction.
Iran’s nuclear program may be one of the most important issues of our time. I recently attended an event at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. that tackled the critical national security issue that Iran represents. Two members of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, Clare Lopez and Retired Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, spoke at this forum as well.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media didn’t think that the “Iran Truth Squad” event on January 28, hosted by the Center for Security Policy (CSP), deserved coverage.
The topics addressed at this gathering included:
- How should we approach Iran?
- The state of the current negotiations
- What to make of Iran’s tactics and intentions
- Of the threat Iran poses to the U.S. and Israel
- Of Iran’s historical and religious roots
- Of the Obama administration’s attitude and response to them
This two-hour conference, put on by Frank Gaffney and his CSP, answered these pressing questions about the current nuclear negotiations with this regime, and also placed them in the context of what is certainly a corrupt, jihadist government, inimical to free speech and free expression supporting terror worldwide. I urge everyone to watch this, but if you can’t, here are summaries of the different experts who spoke there.
Gaffney opened the conference by pointing to the considerable amount of disinformation and “confusing statements,” if not outright dissembling, that the Obama administration has provided regarding the Iran negotiations. President Obama said in his recent State of the Union, “with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.” However, Center for Security Policy projections were actually cited by The Washington Post as a “fact check” on President Obama’s claims, and Glenn Kessler of the Post awarded the President three Pinocchios for his false statements.
“We think at the very minimum these are the sorts of alternative assessments that are needed for the American people and their elected representatives to have under consideration as they weigh not only these negotiations that are underway…but also with respect to legislation that is expected to be addressed by the Congress on both sides of the aisle …in the days to come,” said Gaffney. He also noted that you wouldn’t know from the characterizations and negotiations between Washington and Iran that this repressive regime considers not just Israelis or Jews impure, but all infidels.
In addition, Gaffney said, we need to remember there are not only the nuclear capabilities that Iran has declared, but their secret capabilities, as well.
Rep. Trent Franks:
“I would suggest to you that Iran’s nuclear pursuits are one of the most critically significant and grave threats to the peace of the world that we have anywhere to discuss,” declared Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the House EMP Caucus. The costs in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons may be high. However, his response is that these costs pale in comparison to the cost of overcoming a nuclear Iranian regime. “To deal with a nuclear capable Iran is an unthinkable scenario,” he said.
Rep. Franks emphasized that Iran poses a real threat to the United States. He said that Iran has actively been researching electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology and that hardening the United States infrastructure against EMP could serve as a deterrent by reducing an EMP’s efficacy against America. “But let me suggest to you that even missile defense is not as important as hardening our grid when it comes to deterring a potential enemy against attacking our grid with the use of EMP,” he said.
He condemned the current administration’s current negotiation approach toward this repressive regime, saying, “All Iran needs to gain a nuclear weapons capability is time and this administration seems unfortunately either naively or just insanely willing to allow them to have that time…”
Ambassador Ettinger, a former Israeli diplomat who served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington and as Director of Israel’s Government Press Office, emphasized that stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons is in the United States’ national interest, not just Israel’s interest. After all, Iran’s desire for nukes exists “independent” of Israel and advances a mega-historical goal of this country: domination of the Persian Gulf and stopping America’s power projection in the region.
“All that has absolutely nothing to do with Israel,” said Ettinger. “Iran, obviously, is a lethal threat to Israel, but the motivation of becoming a nuclear power is focused on [a] much, much more important factor, as far as they’re concerned, and that is the USA.”
After all, “Iran annually celebrates November 4 as ‘Death to America Day,’ commemorating the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy, featuring a burning of the American flag,” Ambassador Ettinger writes on his website.
He expressed skepticism that Iran could be contained or tolerated once it gains or develops its nuclear weapons program, because such strategies contradict the country’s track record. Ettinger called for regime change and said that once Iran gets the bomb, “the only question will be how rapid and how wide in scope will American concessions be” worldwide.
Dr. Andrew Bostom:
Dr. Bostom, author of Iran’s Final Solution for Israel, outlined the cultural background of the Shiite revolution that brought the Ayatollahs to power in Iran in the 1970s, and pointed to the Islamic religious components that make Iran’s antisemitism so virulent.
“The recent [Charlie] Hebdo murders in Paris targeting journalists and, even more egregiously without cause, Jews at a Kosher market, represent uniquely Islamic phenomena certainly in the present era,” he said.
He emphasized that the hatred of Jews and non-Muslims, or infidels, is so intense that it becomes dehumanizing because Islam views infidels as physically, as well as spiritually, impure. As such, someone might even be beaten for going out in the rain because their impurity might wash off, and, in other cases, infidels are not allowed to touch products as they are manufactured. The physical and spiritual impurity of the infidel is derived from Islam’s core texts, he said.
Comparing the Green Movement to those currently in power, Bostom said, “We see really no difference in terms of their attitudes about jihadism, and it’s based on the prototype of Mohammed…” One might ask whether regime change would make much difference.
Antony J. Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, recently admitted during Congressional questioning that the United States was no longer negotiating to stop Iran from a “breakout” capability to nuclear weapons, “but only to get a better alarm” or “signal” ahead of time, according to Clare Lopez, a member of the CCB and former CIA officer. She serves as the Center for Security Policy’s Vice President for Research and Analysis.
Blinken, speaking for the State Department on January 27, outlined how the U.S. continues to provide Iran with “limited” sanctions relief of “about $14 to $15 billion from the start of the [Joint Plan of Action] through this June.”
In addition to sanctions relief, Lopez said that the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action gave Iran just about everything it wanted: the right to enrich, the right to keep uranium, centrifuge research and development, and continued intercontinental ballistic missile development.
On January 30, the Jerusalem Post reported that “According to unnamed officials, Washington ‘has given the Iranians 80 percent of what they want’ out of the negotiations…”
“Let’s look at this satellite photo imagery from a couple weeks ago,” said Lopez during her presentation, pointing to a satellite image of a new ICBM sitting on a launch pad outside of Tehran. “It’s 89 feet tall, it is definitely intercontinental in reach. That means this one, at least…is not aimed at Israel” but much farther away, she said.
IHS Jane’s 360, on February 1, reported to the contrary that “Claims that Iran is preparing to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) are based on incorrect analysis of a satellite image showing the new facility at the Khomeini Space Centre in Semnan province.”
Lopez, in response, pointed out that “a simple, small 1-3 kt nuclear weapon used for an EMP attack does not have to weigh much more than 100 kg,” which is the weight that Jane’s 360 reports Iranian media had indicated the Simorgh can carry into orbit. Also, “the nosecones already are visibly configured to carry a nuke,” she remarked.
Lopez also pointed to the recent alleged American intervention in Argentina on behalf of the Iranians. “The United States pressed Argentina to end its investigation of Iranian complicity in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in which nearly 100 people were killed,” reported the World Tribune citing the Middle East Newsline and unnamed diplomats on January 23rd.
We have since learned that “Before his death, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman had drafted an arrest warrant for the country’s president in connection with an alleged secret deal with Iran to cover up the bombing of a Jewish community center two decades ago, the chief investigator of Nisman’s death said Tuesday.”
Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, said that he wrote for National Review that Obama’s State of the Union address was “a straight up lie.” In 2008, when President Obama took office, the number of weapons that Iran could make from its enriched uranium or further enriching its uranium stood at zero. Now, the Center for Security Policy estimates it could create eight weapons.
“The number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium has steadily risen throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency, rising from seven to at least eight over the last year,” he wrote.
“Iran could make a weapon out of its enriched uranium at the reactor grade in 2.2 to 3.5 months right now,” argued Fleitz, basing this on numbers compiled by the Center for Security Policy, where he works as a Senior Fellow. “This administration has no intention of stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he argued. The administration has decided it can live with a nuclear Iran, he said.
The next deadline for nuclear talks is March 24 of this year, with a final deadline set for June 30th. Fleitz would prefer that the talks end altogether, and start over, because a bad deal is worse than no deal.
After all, Iran is already hiding evidence of its nuclear research activities, and not cooperating with International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, he said.
Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons (Ret.):
Admiral Lyons, another CCB Member, said that “you don’t negotiate with evil,” and called the Khamenei regime both evil and corrupt. Thousands of Americans have lost their lives at the hands of this country since 1979, he said, and one should not forget the role that Iran played providing material support to the September 11, 2001 hijackers—necessary aid without which this attack could not have happened.
He argued that the only way to stop the Iranian program is to take it out physically. However, since the Obama Administration won’t, it’s up to Israel to do so.
“As the former Secretary of Defense said, ‘it’ll buy us about two years,’” Lyons said. “And I think the way the situation is today, I’ll take those two years. I don’t think we can afford to wait until a potential change in administration.”
“And let me hasten to add, I’m not a hundred percent sure with a change in administration that the appropriate action will be taken,” he said.
But if action were to be taken, the U.S. should provide tanker support to Israel as a number one priority, as well as electronics and suppression weapons and the “bunker buster.” Doing so might just send a message to Iran.