Endgame with Iran? / Endspiel mit Iran?

November 15, 2010

Der Tagesspiegel, one of Germany’s leading newspapers, asked our beloved friend David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, to write the following op-ed in German: Endspiel mit Iran? English translation is below.

Endgame with Iran?

by David Harris
November 15, 2010

Iran's Nuclear Facilities

Iran's Nuclear Facilities

Another round of talks of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on the Iranian nuclear program is expected shortly. Or is it?

Iran’s contradictory statements make it difficult to predict. One moment, Iranian leaders indicate openness to renewed negotiations. Next, they assert there is nothing to talk about.

There is much to talk about. Iran is in violation of multiple Security Council resolutions regarding its nuclear program. The issue has nothing to do with Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy. It has to do with Iran’s aim to acquire nuclear-weapons capability, a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which it signed.

There are those who believe a nuclear-armed Iran is manageable. They assert that containment can work.

But can it? During the Cold War, Moscow and Washington understood the concept of mutual assured destruction. Though the world came close during the Cuban missile crisis, nuclear weapons were never used. Iran may be a different story. It is driven by a theology which believes in hastening the coming of the so-called Hidden Imam. If unleashing war would help, it cannot be ruled out.

Even if Iran had weapons it did not use, the world would be a more dangerous place.

First, it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia would likely seek their own weapons. If so, the risks of nuclear war, accidents, theft of nuclear material, and technology sharing grow exponentially.

Second, if Turkey followed suit, what would that mean for Greece and Cyprus, two EU members long embroiled in tense relations with Ankara? One Greek official told us that Greece might have to respond by starting its own program.

Third, what about Iran’s neighbors who do not have the capacity to keep up? Would they fall under the Iranian sphere of influence, their foreign policies neutered as Finland’s was during the Cold War?

And fourth, Israel would be forced to live with a frightening new reality—a regime that not only calls for wiping Israel off the map, but then also has the tools to do it. The situation would be made still worse by the fact that three of Israel’s neighbors – Syria, Hamas-run Gaza, and Hezbollah’s state-within-a state in Lebanon – are already within Iran’s orbit.

In other words, an Iranian nuclear capacity is a global game-changer.

Will negotiations stop the Iranian march to the goal line? The record to date is discouraging. The EU began talks with Iran in 2003 and was outwitted in the ensuing years, as Iran bought time to install more centrifuges and enrich more uranium. Some believed the absence of the U.S. from those talks during the Bush era prevented progress. Yet President Obama’s extended hand has been spurned more than once by Iran.

There is nothing inherently wrong with more talks, as long as they do not merely allow Tehran to buy time. To increase the likelihood of success, Iran must understand that when Europe and the U.S. say that it will not be allowed to produce and possess nuclear weapons, they mean it.

That requires enforcing existing sanctions, pressing other countries to do the same, and monitoring those nations helping Iran bypass the measures. It also means that Europe’s trade with Iran cannot go up, as it has this year for many countries, including Germany.

Lastly, there is the question of the military option. The best way to avoid it is by making clear that it is on the table in all dealings with Iran. Only if Iran’s leaders grasp that the world is truly serious about preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons can we hope for a diplomatic solution.


Four European Oil Firms Stop Investing in Iran

October 1, 2010

The United States announced that four of Europe’s five biggest oil companies (Total, Shell, Statoil and Eni) would end their energy investments in Iran, an attempt to bolster the Obama administration’s efforts to pressure Iran into entering negotiations over its nuclear program.

Lloyd’s of London also announced it would not insure petroleum shipments going into Iran.

A chart of the major "big oil" companies (Author: Boereck, Hamburg)

A chart of the major "big oil" companies (Author: Boereck, Hamburg)

“The goal here is not to impose sanctions for sanctions’ sake but to end companies from doing business with Iran,” Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg said.

Read full story.


U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess said Iran could build nuclear weapon in a year

April 21, 2010

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are set to begin a three-day military drill in the Persian Gulf on April 22, during which Iranian-made missiles will be tested.

Meanwhile, at an hearing of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee on April 14, 2010, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, was asked how long it would take Iran to produce a single nuclear weapon. Burgess told the committee,”We’re talking one year.”

Read full story.


Europe’s Ash Cloud Response

April 19, 2010

European governments are facing criticism for their response to unprecedented air traffic disruptions caused by the ash of an erupting Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull.

In the Washington Post, columnist Anne Applebaum says the volcanic eruption could go on for months or years, changing the economics and politics of Europe.

Read full story.


Climategate Scandal

April 15, 2010

An independent academic panel found that the climate researchers at University of East Anglia targeted in the “climategate” scandal did not commit deliberate scientific malpractice, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Read full story.


Nuclear Posture Review Charts New U.S. Positions

April 7, 2010

The Obama administration‘s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) charts new positions on potential targets of U.S. atomic weapons, preventing proliferation, and developing new weapons.

The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) outlines the Administration’s approach to promoting the President’s agenda for reducing nuclear dangers and pursuing the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, while simultaneously advancing broader U.S. security interests. The NPR reflects the President’s national security priorities and the supporting defense strategy objectives identified in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.

After describing fundamental changes in the international security environment, the NPR report focuses on five key objectives of our nuclear weapons policies and posture:

1. Preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism;

2. Reducing the role of U.S. nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy;

3. Maintaining strategic deterrence and stability at reduced nuclear force levels;

4. Strengthening regional deterrence and reassuring U.S. allies and partners; and

5. Sustaining a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal.”

Read full story.


In Case You Missed It: Bloomberg on UANI’s Iran Disclosure Project

January 13, 2010

Indira Lakshmanan, in a Bloomberg column, highlighted the launch of UANI’s Iran Disclosure Project:
 
“Advocacy groups and 18 states including New York and Florida are trying to pressure businesses to leave Iran.  United Against Nuclear Iran is starting a campaign today that may include legal action, said Mark Wallace, president of the bipartisan New York-based organization, whose founders include James Woolsey, former Central Intelligence Agency chief.
 
“The group wants to compel companies to disclose in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings the financial risks to their Iranian business operations from political unrest and possible new sanctions. The first target is Royal Dutch Shell, the British-Dutch energy company headquartered in The Hague, Wallace said.
 
“Shell spokesman David Williams said if there’s international agreement on new sanctions, the company will comply.”
 
The column was featured on Business Week, Real Clear World and ABC’s The Note’s Must-Reads.  The piece was also translated into Farsi in Iran.
 
The Iran Disclosure Project is an initiative to identify publicly-traded companies that have business dealings in Iran and ensure that such companies adequately inform investors of the legal and financial peril associated with such dealings.  UANI calls on Royal Dutch Shell to disclose to its investors the full nature and extent of its activities in and the inherent risks of doing business in Iran.
 
Click here to send a message to Royal Dutch Shell
Click here to read the article in its entirety
Click here to learn more about the Iran Disclosure Project

Press Contact: Kimmie Lipscomb
press@unitedagainstnucleariran.com
Phone: (212) 554-3296

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