You’d think the status of Iran’s nuclear program would be important enough for media to pay attention to what Vice President Joe Biden said during the interviews guised as a debate conducted by ABC’s Martha Raddatz in Denver.
In fact, some of Biden’s statements were pure “malarkey.”
Raddatz, dubbed a “foreign policy expert” by Biden, didn’t call him out on it.
Biden took the position that Iran is not “four years closer to a nuclear weapon.”
Biden claimed existing sanctions are “crippling” Iran’s economy.
Biden said, “[T]hey have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20 percent up, then they have to be able to have something to put it in.” He asked Raddatz whether the president should “stand before the United Nations, tell the whole world, directly communicate to the ayatollah, we will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon, period, unless he’s talking about going to war.”
Iran as Nuclear Threshold State
Iran is, in fact closer to a nuclear weapon, according to respected “foreign policy experts” who aren’t media personalities.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) said the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) prohibits members from enriching uranium above 5 percent levels for producing energy and above the 19.7 percent necessary for medical research. To hold members accountable, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has oversight.
However, Iran does not cooperate with the IAEA.
Biden may claim to be a big pal with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but our vice president apparently missed something reported publicly by the Times of Israel:
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has reportedly agitated for a military strike — or at least the credible threat of such action — said the Islamic Republic was nearly 90% of the way toward building a nuclear bomb.” [Sept. 20, 2012]
Iran’s government acknowledged it “deliberately provided false information about its nuclear program to Western investigators and the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
The MEMRI report is required reading for anyone concerned about Iran’s nuclear acceleration. Ironically, the Obama administration’s policy has benefited Iran.
MEMRI noted that the new policy Obama pushed through “provides legitimacy and impetus” for Iran’s efforts. The policy “preempts any deal based on no enrichment above 5 percent on Iranian soil.” Furthermore, “For example, in 2010 Iran, together with Turkey and Brazil, proposed a deal to the 5+1 (and even presented it as an ultimatum) under which Iran would export its 1,200 kg of low-level enriched uranium to be enriched by Russia to the level of 20% for medical research.”
MEMRI said the U.S. currently has “two conflicting U.S. nuclear policies.” We don’t want Iran to weaponize uranium, but the Obama administration has endorsed a policy of “permitting Iran to become a threshold state.”
About those sanctions
Foreign Policy Magazine did an in-depth analysis of Iran’s economy. Iran’s “populist” philosophy has created economic challenges, but as the magazine explains, the government has addressed those challenges for the time being. Ironically, FPM said, “the collapse of the Iranian rial…could be the best thing that has happened to the Iranian economy in years.”
That collapse, said FPM, “means that Iranian firms may finally have a fighting chance against their foreign competitors.”
FPM noted that Iran attacked Iraq in 1982 after Iraq had invaded Iran and then withdrawn. Even less oil revenue “was not enough to get Iran to accept a cease-fire.”
Policies and presidents
What backed Iran off? “Iranian leaders feared the United States was joining the war…” Only the “threat of much greater military force” had an impact on Iran’s agreement to a ceasefire.
Who was president in 1982? That would be Ronald Reagan, a Republican.
The Biden-Obama position on Iran is self-contradictory. Thus far, Iran’s government has addressed any impact sanctions might have had on the economy. Even during the administration of Bill Clinton, Iran managed to offset sanctions despite running up debt. Europe and Japan worked with Iran to “reschedule $16 billion in loans coming due.”
This is similar to what happened ahead of World War II. Even as Germany began to rearm, the world ignored it and one reason was debt. Countries who lend money want it back even if a madman is the debtor.
The new policy on Iran permits it to become a nuclear threshold state. Biden’s garbled explanation of fissile material is pointless.
As MEMRI explained [boldface added]:
In a September 2012 CNN interview, former president Bill Clinton also pointed out the danger of this new policy, saying, "Iran has all these extensive contacts with terrorist groups, and even if the government didn't directly sanction it, it wouldn't be that much trouble to be – to get a Girl Scout cookie's worth of fissile material, which, if put in the same fertilizer bomb Timothy McVeigh used in Oklahoma City, is enough to take out 20 to 25 percent of Washington, D.C. Just that little bit. So the prospect of spreading, in a way, dirty nuclear bombs, with smaller payloads that could wreak havoc and do untold damage, goes up exponentially every time some new country gets this capacity. And you don't have any control over and you don't know whether they do over what happens to the fissile material."
It’s too bad centralized media—Raddatz is from that sector—lacked enough information to ask “specific” questions like those Raddatz repeatedly lobbed at Republican nominee Paul Ryan staccato style.
Biden also claimed that Obama met with “Bibi” a dozen times and Syria is five times larger than Libya.
(Analaysis by Kay B. Day/October 15, 2012)