Some in the West, particularly in the European Union, view the United
Nation’s IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) censure of Iran for
concealing details of its nuclear program as a great victory for
Unfortunately, nothing in the IAEA statement truly holds Iran
accountable for its actions and the prevailing attitude surrounding
Iran’s nuclear ambitions could lead the world down the same slippery
slope that led to North Korea building nuclear weapons while the free
world hoped for the best.
At issue in Iran is whether or not the radical Islamist theocracy
desires to obtain nuclear weapons. Iran, along with some members of the
United Nations, claims that its nuclear program is strictly for the
purpose of providing an alternative energy source. Today, the
Ayatollahs claim that nuclear weapons are even against their religious
Unfortunately, there are years of historical evidence that Iran’s
nuclear program is in fact a weapons program.
Almost ten years ago, citing sources within Mossad, Israel’s
intelligence agency, respected New York Times columnist William Safire
reported that hundreds of Russian scientists were in Iran building
nuclear reactors and that since Iran sits on a sea of cheap oil, its
only reason for building a nuclear reactor was to produce plutonium for
The Iranians, of course, denied this charge.
In January 1994, the Clinton administration’s Undersecretary of State
for International Security, Lynn Davis, told USA Today that “Iran’s
actions leave little doubt that Tehran is intent upon developing
nuclear weapons capabilities.” Davis went on to say that “Iran’s
nuclear acquisitions are inconsistent with any rational civil nuclear
In the wake of such statements and under increasing pressure from
America and its allies, Iran claimed that its nuclear program was
entirely peaceful and they insisted that they had no desire to have
True intentions revealed?
However, if one digs deep enough, one finds more sinister motives — out
in the open for all to see. Probably no one has done a better job of
digging than Kenneth R. Timmerman who, in 1995, wrote Iran’s Nuclear
Program: Myth and Reality, which was published by the Middle East Data
Project. He found four alarming statements by two Iranian leaders and
two other world leaders with regard to nuclear weaponry — statements that
leave little doubt as to the Iranians’ true intentions.
In February 1987, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini uttered
these words in a speech before his country’s Atomic Energy Organization:
“Regarding atomic energy, we need it now. Our nation has always been
threatened from the outside. The least we can do to face this danger is
to let our enemies know that we can defend ourselves. Therefore, every
step you take here is in defense of your country and your revolution.
With this in mind, you should work hard and at great speed.”
That certainly doesn’t sound as if the Ayatollah wants nuclear power to
air condition his mosque!
An even more overt statement came a year later. In a broadcast over
Tehran radio in October 1988, the speaker of the Iranian parliament,
Hashemi Rafsanjani, made this chilling declaration that called for the
development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons:
“We should fully equip ourselves both in the offensive and defensive
use of chemical, bacteriological and radiological weapons.”
It was only after Iran’s nuclear program began to grow and the Iranians
began to secure the assistance of Russia and China that denials about
belligerent intentions started popping up. But there is no getting
around the fact that the scope and size of Iran’s nuclear program is
way beyond what one would reasonably expect from an oil-rich nation.
Between 1988 and 1995, Iran started construction on no fewer than 15
nuclear facilities. That is the kind of active program that one would
expect from a country in a severe energy crisis — or one that is
hell-bent on having nuclear weapons.
A lot more evidence of Iranian nuclear intentions surfaced during the
1990s. German and French security officials reported that, from 1992 to
1995, they foiled several attempts by Iranian intelligence agents to
purchase equipment needed to create an atomic bomb. But perhaps the
clearest evidence spilled out in January 1995 in a nuclear deal signed
between Iran and Russia. After the U.S. strongly protested the
agreement, Russian President Boris Yeltsin acknowledged that the
agreement did in fact contain a military “component” and he announced
that he was voiding that portion:
“But it is true that the contract does contain components of civilian
and military nuclear energy. Now we have agreed to separate those two.
In as much as they relate to the military component and the potential
for creating weapons grade fuel and other matters — the centrifuge, the
construction of shafts — we have decided to exclude those aspects from
Such statements make Iranian claims that they do not desire to have
nuclear weapons appear to be bald-faced lies. One cannot help but
wonder what would have happened had the U.S. not pressured Russia on
the agreement. Would Iran already have a bomb?
There is even more evidence. Ukrainian President Leonid Kucha was
quoted as saying that Iran was seeking help from his nation to build
“We need oil from Iran because Russia is strangling us. We have no
intention of responding to the repeated request by the Iranians to
share with them know-how on nuclear weapons, or to sell them any
equipment in this field.”
President Kucha made it sound as if Iran was almost desperate in its
efforts to build nuclear weaponry.
Lest you believe that this is Bush administration “neo-con” scare
mongering, the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program was recognized
long ago by members of the Clinton executive branch. Way back in 1994,
the head of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, John Hollum,
predicted that Iran would have an atomic bomb in ten years — in other
words, 2004. And an authoritative report by the Monterey Institute of
International Studies written in 1995 quoted unnamed U.S. and Israeli
intelligence officials as saying that they believed Iran would be
nuclear-armed in a ten year time frame — in other words, 2005.
Either way, we are getting perilously close.
Perhaps that is why the Iranians are now going to great lengths to
conceal the true nature of their nuclear program, perhaps so that they
can avoid a confrontation with the West before they have a nuclear bomb.
The Iranians seem to be using the playbook that North Korea
successfully used to become a nuclear power. First the Iranians feign
cooperation, then they prevaricate. They insist that their nuclear
program is entirely peaceful, then claim to reserve the sovereign right
to do as they wish with nuclear power. One day we may wake up and the
Ayatollahs in Iran will suddenly announce that they have The Bomb.
An Iran armed with nuclear weaponry would pose a unique combination of
problems for the U.S. and even our erstwhile allies in Europe. Unlike
North Korea, Iran is not an isolated remnant of a dead political
ideology. On the contrary, Iran is at the forefront of the dangerous,
expansionist Islamist political movement that has brought terrorism to
peaceful and freedom-loving nations around the globe. Moreover, unlike
North Korea, Iran is heavily involved in world commerce due to its
large oil reserves, meaning that Iran has a separate weapon to wield to
intimidate the West. Furthermore, Iran has a robust ballistic missile
program, thanks in large part to North Korean assistance. Already Iran
can threaten the entire Middle East with its arsenal and some experts
believe that their missiles may soon be able to target all of western
All of this seems disturbingly similar to the ingredients that went
into the recipe that allowed North Korea to join the nuclear
club — except that Iran is much more formidable in other ways.
But nothing should worry us as much as Iran’s longstanding ties to
militant Islamist terrorist groups. Not only has Iran sponsored
murderous organizations such as Hezbollah, but there is a growing body
of evidence that points to growing ties and cooperation with Al Qaida.
Skeptical observers liked to point out that Saddam Hussein was
supposedly a natural enemy of the Islamists who would be foolish to
share any weapons of mass destruction capability with them. What will
those same skeptics say about the radical Ayatollahs who rule Iran? If
their regime becomes threatened from outside or within, will they
hesitate to bestow their arsenal on the terrorists that they have been
sponsoring for decades? What will prevent them from doing so? Their
love of their fellow man?!
If they do arm their terrorist armies with their terrible weapons, our
options will be non-existent. Then it will likely be too late.
Christopher Holton is the Editor of www.WorldTechTribune.com and serves on the World Tribune Board of Advisers. He has been writing about national security, defense issues and economics for more than a dozen years. He is a full-time direct response marketing consultant and lives in New Orleans with his wife and five children. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.