Iran is closer than ever before to obtaining nuclear bombs; meanwhile, the Biden administration's only policy toward the ruling mullahs of Iran is to keep "rewarding" them with billions of dollars.
After the Iran-backed Hamas terror group launched its genocidal war against Israel and Jews, the Iranian regime ratcheted up its enrichment of uranium. The regime claims it now has enough enriched uranium to make three nuclear bombs, according to one of the two confidential reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and seen by Reuters.
On November 22, 2023, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi warned in his latest report on verification and monitoring:
"Iran's stockpiles of uranium enriched up to 5%, enriched up to 20% and enriched up to 60% – high enriched uranium – have all increased since we met in September with the increase of the 60% continuing at the same rate as I reported at the time of the last Board."
"Iran has ceased to implement lots of aspects and nuclear related obligations under the JCPOA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] and it's not implementing mutually agreed additional measures under the joint statement of March 4th."
The European Union and the Biden administration have been turning a blind eye to the escalation, ostensibly because they reportedly do not want to add "fuel" to the current hostilities in the Middle East (which Iran's proxy Hamas started it in the first place). Nonsense. This is simply the most dangerous, disingenuous, cowardly appeasement policy in modern history. The West is basically saying, "Let's not upset the mullahs! Instead, let's allow the world's top state sponsor of terrorism to continue its march toward having nuclear weapons in the hope that it will not use them."
"There is a sort of paralysis, especially among the Americans... because they don't want to add fuel to the fire," said a senior European diplomat to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.
"The picture is pretty bleak, but the fact at the moment is that there is no appetite to provoke a reaction in Iran in the context of the war in the Middle East," an unnamed senior diplomat told Agence France-Presse.
This feckless rush to appease aggressors and abdicate of responsibility for national security is exactly that Winston Churchill warned against: "Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last."
Once the Iranian regime gets access to nuclear weapons, it will most likely provide some of them to its proxies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. The threat of a nuclear-armed Iran must not be underestimated. Iran's regime has frequently threatened to wipe a whole country -- Israel -- off the map, and is also increasing military cooperation with Venezuela and Cuba to threaten the US. Europe, too, remains a rich target for nuclear blackmail. Iran would not even have to use its nuclear bombs; the threat would be enough.
General Hossein Salami, the commander in chief of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has made the regime's plans vehemently clear: "Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map," he announced on Iran's state-controlled Channel 2 TV in 2019.
In case anyone had a doubt, Iran's Supreme Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, published "Palestine," a 416-page "guide to destroying Israel," and railing against "The Great Satan," the United States
It is high time for the Biden administration and the European Union at least to stop Iran from selling its oil. If not, much of the planet will soon see itself either in World War III or a surrender.
The present strategy of Western powers is no different than enriching Nazi Germany during WWII or the Soviet Union during the Cold War. For the expansionist, hegemonic Islamic Republic of Iran, concessions and appeasements mean only weakness. It would have been so much less costly in life and treasure to stop Hitler before he sent the German army across the Rhine in 1936. Perhaps US President Joe Biden is trying to bribe the mullahs not to create any more mayhem before next year's US presidential election – but the only result of such timidity is that the price goes up – with a worse war to follow. Biden would not have won WWII.
The Iranian regime, through its proxies, has already attacked US forces in Iraq and Syria at least 74 times since October 17. US retaliation – against the proxies, not Iran – apparently could not impress Iran's regime less. Someone else takes the bullet: that is why Iran has proxies in the first place. The proxies – Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, Palestinian Islamic Jihad -- are Iran's human shields. The more the US and the EU give Iran a pass, the more belligerent it will become. The Biden administration is not only allowing to Iran's mullahs to create a war cost-free, it is paying them to do it.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu