A Doubly Dangerous Iran - Michael Hayden and Evan Bayh

(Wall Street Journal) U.S. interests in the Middle East are not tangential to our national security but are essential to counterterrorism, thwarting nuclear proliferation and promoting stable, representative governments. It is equally imperative to prevent the turmoil in Iraq and Syria from easing America's red lines on Iran's nuclear program. Countering the nuclear challenge from Tehran is straightforward: The U.S. and its allies have to demand and devise an Iranian civilian nuclear program that cannot be exploited for military purposes. To achieve that goal, the White House must make clear that the hardened uranium-enrichment facility in Fordow must be closed and not transformed into an easily convertible research-and-development installation. The Arak plutonium plant has to be similarly neutered. And finally, the main enrichment facility at Natanz has to be dramatically scaled back and all enriched uranium shipped abroad for fuel reprocessing. One of the problems with the Joint Plan of Action - signed in late 2013 by Iran and six other powers, including the U.S. - is that it stipulates that any final agreement on Tehran's nuclear program will have a sunset clause. Upon its expiration, Iran would be free to build up an industrial-size program, giving it the ability to manufacture an arsenal of nuclear arms at short notice. The sunset clause must be removed. The Islamic Republic is a rash, revolutionary regime at odds with America's core interests in the Middle East. It is a state ruled by men such as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei whose worldview is shaped by conspiracy theories and enduring enmity toward the West. Tehran seeks dominance over its Arab neighbors, sows discord through the region and actively supports terrorist organizations. It is only in this context that Tehran's quest for nuclear weapons can be understood. Mr. Hayden, a retired Air Force general, is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. Mr. Bayh is a former U.S. senator from Indiana.

2014-07-20 00:00:00

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