Mark Caserta: Iran gamble gives Tehran time and money
The Obama administration is gambling on the world stage, and the stakes are very high.
A deal was reached last month with Tehran and six major powers meant to freeze key components of the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
At the time the deal was signed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "historic mistake" and one that made the world a "much more dangerous place."
Consider first, the players at the table -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
An argument can be made that the interest of our closest ally and the nation with the most to lose from these negotiations was missing from the table. That is Israel.
Second, both China and Russia are known to be actively engaged in assisting Tehran in its nuclear and missile technology. In fact, the very foundation of Tehran's nuclear program can be traced to extensive Chinese and Russian cooperation.
Tehran has received extensive missile testing and guidance assistance from China and Russia, according to multiple reports. In June 1996, the results of a Congressional hearing cited U.S. intelligence findings that China had already "delivered dozens, perhaps hundreds of missile guidance systems and computerized tools to Iran."
With Russian help, Iranian scientists have set up two sites to use laser technology to "more efficiently" enrich uranium which could be used for a nuclear bomb. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports Tehran expects Russia to build two "additional" nuclear plants in the Bushehr province where they've been assisting the Iranians for years.
Two years ago, the IAEA released a comprehensive report on Tehran's nuclear program based on intelligence from multiple countries, interviews with scientists who helped Tehran develop their program and the IAEA's own investigations.
The report clearly indicated Iran engaged in "activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device." These activities include:
Research on uranium cores and detonators for nuclear weapons.
Acquiring nuclear weapons information and documentation from a clandestine supply network.
Developing an indigenous nuclear weapons design and testing of the components.
Computer modeling of nuclear explosions and logistics for nuclear testing.
Engineering studies to adapt missiles for nuclear warheads.
The IAEA's May 2013 report noted Tehran already had a sufficient stockpile of enriched uranium to produce weapons-grade uranium for seven nuclear bombs and was continuing to increase its capacity to enrich to weapons-grade.
Remember, Tehran is considered to be the leading state sponsor of terrorism, providing financial support and training for organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah and others.
The United States seems to be the only nation with no "down cards" in this apocalyptic game. Inspections and "fail-safe" measures aside, once a rogue nation has technology, it cannot be extracted!
A good gambler knows when to walk away. Right now, President Obama is "all in," wagering the safety of millions on the hope we can trust Tehran, China and Russia -- and the odds aren't favorable.
Staying in this game provides our enemies with the two resources they need most -- time and money.
Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.
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