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In 1993, a massive truck bomb exploded at the World Trade Center, the first major international terrorist attack on American soil.

Five years later, two massive truck bombs struck two American embassies in East Africa. That was not long after Osama Bin Laden, in an interview in southern Afghanistan with reporter John Miller, vowed to continue waging jihad against the United States.

Two years after that a boat packed with explosives struck the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen.

Despite all this and more, it came as a terrible shock when, on Sep. 11, 2001, al Qaeda operatives hijacked passenger jets and used them to murder nearly 3,000 Americans on American soil. [see STOP IRAN NOW note below]

This country simply was not on a war footing," then-White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice later told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

This brings me to the recently issued "Annual Threat Assessment" of the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In it, the ODNI acknowledges that the Islamic Republic of Iran "has greatly expanded its nuclear program, reduced IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] monitoring, and undertaken activities that better position it to produce a nuclear device, if it chooses to do so."

But the assessment adds: "Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities necessary to produce a testable nuclear device."

Are you sure, guys?

Because my FDD colleagues, Andrea Stricker, a nonproliferation expert, and Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert, are dubious.

Last week, the Institute for Science and International Security (known as "the good ISIS") revealed that at Natanz, south of Tehran, the regime is constructing deep tunnels and underground rooms in which it could produce weapons-grade uranium.

"If Tehran is allowed to complete this facility and move its enrichment infrastructure inside, we will enter a new and potentially irreversible era of the Iranian nuclear threat," said Richard Goldberg, who served as the Director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction for the National Security Council and is now a senior advisor at FDD.

He added: "Completion of this facility must be added to the list of red lines for the United States and its allies."

Iran's rulers seem unconcerned. Ali Akbar Salehi, the former chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, recently boasted that Tehran has surpassed "all thresholds of nuclear science and technology. Imagine what a car needs. It needs a chassis, an engine, a steering wheel, a gearbox. You're asking if we've made the gearbox. I say yes. Have we made the engine? Yes."

The good ISIS calculates that Tehran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for seven nuclear weapons in about a month.

Should that happen, it would represent a significant failure of diplomacy, policy, and strategy over many years by both Democratic and Republican administrations.

The only significant pause in Tehran's nuclear weapons program came in 2003, in the wake of America's invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iran's rulers then agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, declare their other nuclear activities, and grant the IAEA broader access to their nuclear facilities. But as soon as they perceived that American guns weren't aiming at them, they violated these agreements.

In 2015, then-President Barack Obama concluded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, under which Iran effectively got paid to temporarily limit its uranium enrichment while advancing other aspects of its nuclear-weapons program.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA and, over the two years that followed, exerted significant pressure on the Iranian economy. In 2020, he ordered the killing of Tehran's terrorist mastermind, Qassem Soleimani, and suggested he might target the regime's nuclear program, too.

President Joe Biden began lifting pressure on Iran's rulers in 2021. Since then, he's delivered tens of billions of dollars of Iranian frozen assets and waived other sanctions. Unsurprisingly, Iran's expansion of highly enriched uranium production has occurred entirely on Mr. Biden's watch, not Mr. Trump's.

At the same time, Mr. Biden's envoys have been attempting to persuade Iran's rulers to agree to a watered-down version of the JCPOA.

Last Friday, Rafael Grossi, director general of the IAEA, suggested that would be useless. "The spectrum of that agreement is clearly superseded at this point," he said. "The Iran of 2015 is not the Iran of 2024."

My FDD colleague Mark Dubowitz worries that the wars now being waged against Israel by Tehran's proxies and clients in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen are "weapons of mass distraction" – impeding a competent assessment by both Israelis and Americans of the threat that would emerge should Iran's rulers obtain atomic weapons of mass destruction.

Yes, some Israelis perceive only too well that they are wrestling with the multiple tentacles of an octopus while the beast's head rests comfortably in Tehran. But, at the moment, they don't appear to be acting on that perception.

And is anyone in Washington giving serious thought to what it will mean for America's national security if the Islamic Republic becomes nuclear armed right now, as it strengthens its alliances with the anti-American rulers of China, Russia, and North Korea?

Is anyone imagining the possibility that these regimes might – sooner or later – demand the U.S. end its support for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and South Korea, and perhaps also acquiesce to Houthi control of the Red Sea, Iranian sovereignty over the Strait of Hormuz, and Beijing's dominance in the South China Sea?

The alternative, they'd imply, might be nuclear war.

No doubt, some voices on the right would then call for "restraint," while some voices on the left would insist on a "diplomatic solution" – both euphemisms for American surrender, defeat, and decline.

Osama Bin Laden would get that. And he would be pleased.


A federal district court in the United States held that Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali-Hoseini Khamenei, former Iran president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, a dozen Iranian government departments and government-owned corporations, and Iran’s terrorist proxy organization Hezbollah, all are liable to families of 9/11 victims for "direct and material aid and support" to al Qaeda in carrying out the 9/11 attacks on the American homeland. The Iranian regime is currently providing a safe haven to the leaders of al Qaeda inside Iran.

In Havlish, et al. v. bin La den, et al. , Judge Daniels held that the Islamic Republic of Iran, its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Iran's agencies and instrumentalities, including, among others, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps ("IRGC"), the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security ("MOIS"), and Iran's terrorist proxy Hezbollah, all materially aided and supported al Qaeda before and after 9/11. The evidence was developed over a seven-year international investigation by the Havlish attorneys who pursued the 9/11 Commission's recommendation regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers, following the Commission's own eleventh-hour discovery of significant National Security Agency ("NSA") intercepts: "We believe this topic requires further investigation by the U.S. government." 9/11 Commission Report, p. 241. The Havlish evidence included sworn testimony and affidavits from the following: Ten expert witnesses including three former 9/11 Commission staff members, two former CIA case officers, two investigative journalists, and an Iran analyst who has testified in 25 cases involving Iranian terrorism. Three Iranian defectors who were operatives of MOIS and the IRGC. Witness X, whose dramatic testimony was previously filed under seal, was revealed to be Abolghasem Mesbahi, a former MOIS operative in charge of Iran's espionage operations in Western Europe. Judge Daniels found that Mesbahi has testified in numerous prosecutions of Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists, including the Mykonos case in Germany and the AMIA case in Argentina, and found to be highly reliable and credible. Judge Daniels also credited Mesbahi's testimony that he received messages during the summer of 2001 from inside the Iranian government that an Iranian contingency plan for unconventional warfare against the U.S. called " Shaitan dar Atash " had been activated. "This is compelling proof that Iran was deeply involved in the 9/11 conspiracy," said Tim Fleming, lead investigative attorney for the Havlish group.


April 7, 2024

Via Cliff May - Foundation For the Defense of Democracies

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