Call Iran’s bluff with an offer of nuclear power

Staff Columnist

By Lindsey Graham

And Jack Keane   In The Wall Street Journal

(Monday, July 15, 2019)

The Iranian regime recently announced its decision to produce fissile material with a purity of more than 4.5%.  Iran ‘s nuclear program is again on the march. In truth, it never stopped  — contrary to glowing media reports and efforts by some Western leaders to spin on what the regime was doing.

Under the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iranians could ramp up quickly and easily from the enrichment levels necessary for peaceful nuclear power to levels necessary to make a bomb.  The 10-year sunset clause allowed Iran to go back to enriching uranium at any level.

The agreement also didn’t restrict Iran’s ballistic-missile program, which gives it a way to launch a nuclear bomb.  All this, combined with an incredibly weak inspection regime and the deal’s complete silence on  Tehran’s sponsorship of terrorism, made the JCPOA , as President Trump rightly put it last year, a ‘one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.’  We supported his decision to withdraw from it.

Yet with or without the JCPOA, the U.S. still has to deal with Iran’s ambition to acquire a nuclear weapon.   If it succeeds, Arab states will try to acquire their own.  Nuclear proliferation across the Middle East would be a nightmare  scenario for the world.

But before we reach the point at which military conflict is inevitable, we hope the Trump administration will consider a simple, clear proposal.  Iran could be allowed —  in concert with their Arab neighbors – to operate reactors and produce nuclear power.  If Iran wants peaceful nuclear power, fine.  But under this plan, the regime would not have the ability to enrich, reprocess or fabricate its own nuclear fuel.

Since the Iranians don’t trust the U.S., other countries – Russia, China, European states – could supply the fuel rods for producing peaceful nuclear energy.  The U.S. could begin supplying fuel rods for nuclear reactors throughout the Arab world .  Dozens of nations  already operate under similar nuclear frameworks.

Under this proposal, Iran could become a legitimate nuclear nuclear-power nation with all the benefits of following international rules.  But under no circumstances would it be permitted to enrich nuclear material for the purpose of building a weapon.  If the Iranians rejected this proposal that would tell the world everything it needed to know about its intentions,

If Iran agreed, however, The U.S. would accomplish the twin goals of averting war and denying the ayatollahs the chance to build a nuclear weapon.  But  U.S. negotiators must face the probability tat the Iranians don’t want a peaceful nuclear program.  Time and time again they have misled inspectors, lied to international observers and pressed ahead with their nuclear missile delivery programs.

Any new agreement with Iran must also do what the JCPOA didn’t even attempt:  require that Iran stop its support for terrorism and efforts to destabilize its regional neighbors.

We applaud Mr. Trump and his tough stance against the Iranian regime.  We also applaud his thoughtful and measured response to numerous Iranian provocations.  But it’s time to put a choice to the Iranians.   We urge our European partners to work with the U.S. administration to fashion a realistic proposal that lays the groundwork for a future of stability and peace between Iran and the world. Let’s if the Iranians  want what they claim to want:  a peaceful solution.”

“Mr. Graham, a Republican, is a U.S. Senator from South Carolina,

Mr. Keane, a retired general, was the Army’s vice chief of staff and is chairman of the Institute for thr study of war.”     


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