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I have always been shocked by the way some of the foreign policy community treats the Iranian nuclear threat—as though it were an academic problem from some distant, remote corner of the universe. Not only do they feel that Iran can be contained, as Russia, China and North Korea have by the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), but they believe that we in the United States are immune.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, through its terror proxies, most particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and their offshoot, Hezbollah, has a very active presence just under our noses, particularly in the tri-border area of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, and a growing and active presence within the continental United States.

Just this week, opening arguments began against Alexei Saab of Morristown, New Jersey, who is charged with being a Hezbollah spy and planning attacks in Washington, New York and Boston.

Many in our foreign policy establishment and academic community simply fail to grasp that Iran is a brutal, revolutionary theocracy with messianic zeal. They do not want to limit this zeal or their nuclear weapons to the Middle East; they have hegemonic aspirations.

Iran has managed to surround Israel with a wall of fire, with Hezbollah and its approximately 150,000 missiles in the North and Hamas, which it supports although Sunni, in the Southwest.

And they aim to replicate that for us, here in the United States.

On Sunday, anther revealing story broke on the Islamic Republic Of Iran’s national television, in which Ali Motahari, a “reformist” member of the Majlis, the Iranian parliament said, “From the very beginning of our nuclear activities, our aim was to build a nuclear bomb. There is no need to beat around the bush.”

In some quarters of the American government today, including many members of the administration, this news should be quite disturbing. For example, The International Crisis Group states unequivocally on its website, regarding the JCPOA of 2015, “enshrined a core compromise the Crisis Group had advocated since 2003: acceptance of a limited, tightly monitored uranium enrichment program in Iran in return for that country’s integration into the global economy.”

This is notable because Robert Malley, who is leading the US negotiations in Vienna is the former President and CEO of the International Crisis Group.  The entire premise that has predicated all the negotiations is that if we just sweetened the deal enough with the lifting of sanctions, Iran would not develop a nuclear bomb.

In fact, Iranian Chief Nuclear Negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani understands America’s negotiating position very clearly, and had said in November of 2021, “The very term nuclear negotiations is rife with error…The goal is to lift the sanctions.”

Most who follow this issue are aware that Iran has far exceeded the cap of acceptable uranium enrichment which was proscribed in the JCPOA—3.65%. Iran has already surpassed 40-42 kg of highly enriched uranium at the 60% level.

According to an April 11, 2022 report from the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), it is “a common fallacy” that Iran requires the 90% highly enriched uranium to build nuclear explosives.

“With this quantity, an enrichment level of 60 percent suffices to create a relatively compact nuclear explosive; further enrichment to 80 or 90 percent is not needed,” it said.

And the Islamic Republic has been hard at work building intercontinental ballistic missiles. They do not need them to go from Tehran to Tel Aviv, but from Tehran to Washington or to New York.

These vexing facts serve to illustrate just how clearly wrongheaded these negotiations have been.

The arrest and trial of Mr. Saab, the US-based Hezbollah spy, illustrates that this is not some distant problem limited to the Middle East, but presents a clear and present danger to the United States as well.

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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