• It will damage bi-lateral relations;
• It will torpedo negotiations and lead to dire consequences.
What was this ‘thing’ that caused such commotion in the Obama Administration?
A speech to be given by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister to the US Congress. The controversy raised the profile of the upcoming speech more than any advertising campaign could.
Well, it finally happened on March 3rd: The speech. Netanyahu spoke to a joint-session of the United States Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat. It was not the first time he spoke to Congress - he has done it before. Nor was it the first time he spoke about Iran - he has been warning about the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program for many years.
It appears that the reason this speech attracted so much extra attention is that:
1. America is right now in the middle of sensitive negotiations with Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions;
2. John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, did not work with the White House when he invited Netanyahu; and
3. Israel’s own general election is 2 weeks away.
While Iran claims its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, few believe them.
The United States, the European Union, apparently, even the United Nations, have a fear that Iran with a growing nuclear program will be converted into deadly nuclear weapons. It is for this reason that these bodies have imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
What is the world to do? Either militarily attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, which could spark a serious response: closure of the strategic Straits of Hormuz, which link the oil-corridor of the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean. Iran could send missiles flying in all directions, including Europe. It may even have EMP technology that could knock out electricity grids anywhere.
The other options are sanctions and negotiation.
Negotiation is a wonderful choice. No war, bullets, lives lost. It is better to reason than to war. The problem is that these negotiations have been going on for years without resolution, and the more they talk, the more Iran enriches uranium. One Iranian was quoted as saying: ‘We smile, we talk, we enrich uranium.’
Since 2003, Iran has possessed Shehab 3 long-range missiles. They can reach 1,300 kilometers, if not more. It is possible for them to remove their conventional warheads and replace them with a spherical nuclear payload. Regularly, these missiles are paraded in the Iranian capital, Tehran. On the actual transporter that holds the missile is a sign ‘Israel must be destroyed.’
In addition, just on February 25, 2015, the Iranian Republican Guard (IRG) did a military exercise a military exercise in the Persian Gulf where the Iranian forces blasted a replica of an American Nimitz class aircraft carrier. This is happening while Iran is negotiating with the United States. This is not a confidence-building measure for peace ....
Netanyahu, who received a rapturous welcome and several standing ovations from most of the Congress, views an Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons as an existential threat to Israel. While the conventional thought is that an atomic Iran would drop a bomb on Israel, that’s not really the issue. Nuclear-armed nations don’t nuke other nuclear-armed nations, unless they have a ‘death wish.’ Israel is nuclear armed, though it never confirms or denies this. Nuclear ambition is usually fueled by a desire for deterrence and even earning respect. So far, the nuclear club consists of the USA, Russia, China, France, Britain, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel.
According to extremely reliable and impartial sources, the real concern is that an Iranian nuclear bomb - even one locked in the basement - would render Israel’s 50 year old nuclear deterrence null and void. It would embolden a conventional military attack by Israel’s enemies against the Jewish state, knowing they have an Iranian nuclear umbrella to protect them from retribution.
Israel is not the only one to fear an Iranian nuclear bomb. Sunni Arab regimes are just as nervous and, for that matter, so is Europe, which is not that far from Iran. With submarines which have a missile capability, any nation could be targeted anywhere in the world.
Netanyahu spoke that the proposed nuclear deal is fatally flawed for the following reasons:
• Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would remain intact. No facility would be closed or centrifuge destroyed;
• There would, of course, be restrictions on Iran with international supervision. However, inspectors can’t stop a break of the agreement.
• The restrictions would expire in 10 years - then Iran would be free to do what it wants.
• Today, Iran has 19,000 centrifuges and looks forward to having 190,000.
Of course, the Obama Administration is doing the right thing to negotiate. They have said ‘no deal’ is better than a ‘bad deal.’ They have threatened sanctions if the talks fail. But the question is: will they stop an Iranian nuclear bomb ... or only delay it?
Over 2,500 years ago, another Jewish leader named Esther also ‘broke protocol’ to speak to the king about saving her people from sure destruction. This destruction was decreed by the Persian prime minister named Haman. This event is chronicled in the Bible Book of Esther and the holiday to commemorate this deliverance is called ‘Purim.’ Coincidentally, Netanyahu’s speech came on the eve of Purim.
Could Iran’s nuclear program, with its declarations of destroying Israel, a modern manifestation of Haman’s decree of destruction, or Haman II?
If so, an equally powerful deliverance is not far behind.