The world wasted 10 years of Israeli warnings on Iran’s nuclear program and another eight years before imposing belated sanctions, says Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States.
His op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal was another implied hint that Israel cannot wait much longer before trying to delay Iran’s nuclear program with a military attack, and such articles by the ambassador to the United States presumably are coordinated with Israel’s highest officials.
“Historically, Israel has exercised that right [to defend itself] only after exhausting all reasonable diplomatic means,” he wrote. “But as the repeated attempts to negotiate with Iran have demonstrated, neither diplomacy nor sanctions has removed the threat.”
Oren noted that Israel exposed to the world in 2002 that Iran built a secret nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz. Since then, “The ayatollahs systematically lied about their nuclear operations, installing more than 10,000 centrifuges, a significant number of them in a once-secret underground facility at Qom.
“Iran is also the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. It has supplied more than 70,000 rockets to terrorist organizations deployed on Israel’s borders and has tried to murder civilians across five continents and 25 countries, including in the United States… By providing fighters and funds, Iran is enabling Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to massacre his own people.”
Oren underscored that Iran has become a global terror threat even without nuclear weapons, and if they are acquired, it will be easier for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to carry out his policy stated last week that “the annihilation of the Zionist regime is the key for solving the world problems.”
The Israelis ambassador, a native of the United States, said that Iran’s rhetoric makes it clear it has no plans for forfeiting its nuclear ambitions.
“Iran will continue to drag out the negotiations while installing more centrifuges. These, according to the IAEA, are spinning even faster. The sanctions, which have dealt a blow to Iran’s economy, have not affected the nuclear program. Meanwhile, more of Iran’s expanding stockpile will be hidden in fortified bunkers beyond Israel’s reach.”
Oren diplomatically wrote that Israel appreciates “the determination of President Obama and the U.S. Congress to advance the sanctions and their pledge to keep all options on the table” and reminded readers that “the president has affirmed Israel’s right “to defend itself, by itself, against any threat,” and “to make its own decision about what is required to meet its security needs.”
Oren said that sanctions along with “a credible military threat—a threat that the ayatollahs still do not believe today – may yet convince Iran to relinquish its nuclear dreams. But time is dwindling and, with each passing day, the lives of eight million Israelis grow increasingly imperiled.
“The window that opened 20 years ago is now almost shut.”