By Andrew G. Bostom, November 10, 2014:
The Obama administration and Iran’s rulers, spurred by the latter’s alleged “pragmatic” wing , appear to be rushing headlong towards a final agreement on November 24, 2014, which would validate Iran’s right to enrich uranium for putative non-military uses, and also provide the global jihad-promoting Shiite theocracy  extensive relief from economic sanctions. This mutually desired outcome was strongly hinted at by both U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman during an October 23, 2014 speech , and the recent public statements  of key Iranian regime advisors.
Indeed, reports surfaced this past week  that President Obama himself has made direct, supplicating overtures to Iran’s head Shiite theocrat, Ayatollah Khamenei, linking U.S.-Iranian “cooperation” in fighting the Islamic State Sunni jihadists, to reaching a final nuclear agreement November 24, per the so-called “P5 +1” (= the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, i.e., the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany) negotiations process. At a post-midterm elections press conference, 11/5/14, Mr. Obama openly expressed  his endorsement of the apparently forthcoming nuclear deal with Iran:
I think that we’ll be able to make a strong argument to Congress that this is the best way for us to avoid a nuclear Iran, that it will be more effective than any other alternatives we might take, including military action.
Pace Mr. Obama’s and his advisers’ “arguments”—a toxic brew of willful, dangerous delusion, ignorance, and cynicism—the diplomatic processes they are aggressively pursuing will inevitably yield an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. Thus within two days of the U.S. President’s latest roseate pronouncement, a tocsin of looming calamity was sounded in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report  released Friday, 11/7/14.
Even the centerpiece of touted P5 +1 negotiations’ “success,” curtailment of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, was questioned by the IAEA, which noted the Islamic Republic was continuing activities “which are in contravention of its obligation to suspend all enrichment-related activities.” The IAEA report further observed that contrary to its relevant commitments, “Iran has not suspended work on all heavy water related projects.” Most ominously, the IAEA report highlighted  Iran’s failure to cooperate and resolve “outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” Specifically, the IAEA expressed  its remaining concern,
about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.
As a concrete example of Iran’s ongoing defiance, the IAEA cited  unresolved questions (which date back to the IAEA’s 11/8/2011 report , paragraphs 38-45) pertaining to nuclear weapons detonation research, such as “detonator development and the initiation of high explosives and associated experiments.” Regarding the Parchin facility—long known as a center  for weapons triggering research and development, which allegedly  (per the IAEA’s own 11/8/2011 assessment ) includes possessing the design for an implosion-type nuclear weapon, and experimental efforts to construct a nuclear warhead—the 11/7/14 IAEA report added  it
has observed through satellite imagery that the construction activity that appeared to show the removal/replacement or refurbishment of the site’s two main buildings’ external wall structures appears to have ceased. This activity is likely to have further undermined the Agency’s [IAEA’s] ability to conduct effective verification.
Albeit with decided understatement, the IAEA’s 11/7/14 report came to this rather dire conclusion :
the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material is in peaceful activities.
Panglossian assessments notwithstanding, the most rational and feasible alternative to the axiomatic, but unacceptable consequence of feckless Obama, and before that George W. Bush Administration policies, are coordinated U.S. military strikes which target and destroy Iran’s four essential nuclear facilities: the uranium enrichment compounds at Natanz and Qom (/Fordow); the uranium conversion hub at Isfahan; and Iran’s plutonium-producing reactor, (still) being constructed at Arak. Consistent with the IAEA’s ongoing concerns  about “undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran” (including, perhaps, at Khondab ?), it must be underscored that three of these four sites—the Natanz and Qom uranium enrichment facilities, and the heavy-water, plutonium producing Arak reactor—were each developed clandestinely . Moreover, August 14, 2002, early in the Bush II Administration, it was revealed publicly  that two of these secret nuclear sites, Natanz and Arak, were already under construction. Former Bush and Obama Administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ published (January, 2014) memoir , as first reported by the Washington Post’s Walter Pincus , discloses  how President Bush, some five years after the revelations about Natanz and Qom, was convinced by Gates to forestall a pre-emptive Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and the (absurd) “geo-strategic rationale” for this executive decision:
Gates writes that his most effective argument was that an Israeli attack on Iran that overflew Iraq would endanger what the surge had achieved with Baghdad. Bush then ‘emphatically said he would not put our gains in Iraq at risk,’ according to Gates (p. 193 ).”
Finally, just prior to leaving office, the George W. Bush Administration negotiated a November 17, 2008 “SOFA” (status of forces agreement ) with our “Iraqi allies” which, as per Article 27, paragraph 3 (“Iraqi land, sea and air shall not be used as a launching or transit point for attacks against other countries.”) prohibited the US from attacking, for example, Iranian nuclear production facilities, from Iraqi bases and airspace.
The case for limited, targeted military strikes on Iran’s four known nuclear facilities has been made with pellucid cogency by Georgetown University International Relations Professor, and expert on Iran’s nuclear program, Matthew Kroenig . In his dispassionate May, 2014, study, A Time to Attack , Kroenig elucidates  the profoundly destabilizing threat posed by an Iran armed with nuclear weapons:
From Iran , a revisionist and risk-acceptant state, we can expect…reckless behavior. Iran will almost certainly be willing to risk nuclear war in future geopolitical conflicts, and this will mean that it will be able on occasion to engage in successful nuclear coercion. It also means that, in playing these games of brinkmanship, it will increase the risk of a nuclear exchange.
Kroenig then outlines  the tactical obstacles military strikes on Iran’s four established nuclear facilities would confront, from the relative ease of attacking the surface Isfahan and Arak sites, to the difficulty of targeting the underground Natanz and Qom complexes.
…Isfahan and Arak are above ground and therefore are easy military targets. We [the U.S.] could easily destroy these facilities using air- or sea-launched cruise missiles, launched from U.S. B-52 bombers operating outside Iranian airspace or U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.
Natanz is buried under seventy feet of earth and several meters of reinforced concrete, and Qom is built into the aide of a mountain and is therefore protected by 295 feet of rock. To destroy these sites we would need to use the Nassive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP. The MOP weighs 30,000 pounds and according to open source reporting, is capable of penetrating up to 200 feet before exploding. Some simple arithmetic (200 feet is greater than 70+ feet) suggests that Natanz doesn’t stand a chance. It is unlikely that the MOP could penetrate into the enrichment chamber of Qom in a single shot (295 feet is greater than 200 feet), but we could simply put subsequent bombs in the crater left from a previous bomb and thus eventually tunnel our way in. Putting multiple bombs in the same hole requires a fair bit of accuracy in our targeting, but we can do it. In addition to destroying their entrances, exits, ventilation heating and colling systems, and their power lines and sources. The MOP can only be carried on the U.S. B-2 stealth bomber. Since it can be refueled in midair, the B-2 can be sent on a roundtrip mission from U.S. bases in Missouri and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to its targets in Iran and back home again without stopping. The B-2 could also be escorted by stealthy U.S. F-22 fighters, or F-16s, to protect it against fighter aircraft.
This relatively limited, and very brief campaign consisting of “a barrage of cruise missiles and bombing sorties,” Kroenig observes , plausibly conducted in one night,
would almost certainly succeed in its intended mission and destroy Iran’s key nuclear facilities.
Citing  four historical precedents where pre-emptive bombing of nuclear facilities achieved the goal of non-proliferation, decisively—“Nazi Germany during World War II, Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq several times in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, and Syria in 2007”—Kroenig concludes  by enumerating the multiple benefits which would accrue from similarly destroying Iran’s known nuclear installations:
There is absolutely no doubt that a strike on Iran’s nuclear facility would significantly set back Iran’s nuclear progress and create a real possibility that Iran would remain non-nuclear for the foreseeable future.
Moreover…[a] strike…would stem the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and bolster the nonproliferation regime around the world.
Furthermore, a U.S. strike would also strengthen American credibility. We declared many times that we were prepared to use force if necessary to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons. A strike would demonstrate that we mean what we say and say what we mean and that other countries, friends and foes alike, would be foolish to ignore America’s foreign policy pronouncements.
Read more at PJ Media