While America focuses on its internal problems and its involvement in three wars and the world focuses on the global economy, Iran is progressing on three dangerous fronts: nuclear weapons, armed missiles and naval capability.
Despite four sets of United Nations sanctions and pressure by the United States and Europe, Iran has chosen not only to continue its nuclear program but to expand it. Iran's leaders, dominated by fanatical mullahs, announced in mid-July that the installment of faster centrifuges had begun and that they will soon triple the production of enriched uranium to 20 percent at the Fardo nuclear facility deep in the mountain near the city of Qom. It is estimated that Iran will have enough highly enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb within two months and currently has enough low-enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs.
Iran is also perfecting its missile-delivery systems. Recently, the Revolutionary Guards held war games in which they launched several long-range ballistic missiles from missile silos. They also successfully tested two long-range ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, into the Indian Ocean. The guards' ballistic missiles have a range of 1,200 miles, covering all U.S. bases in the Middle East and all of Israel, and now they possess missiles from North Korea with a range of 2,000 miles, which covers most of Western Europe.
The Iranian navy has also been busy expanding its operation on the orders of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has emphasized the navy's strategic importance in protecting the Islamic republic's interests and confronting its enemies.
In February, for the first time in three decades, two Iranian naval vessels passed through the Suez Canal en route to Syria. Iran's navy then successfully expanded its mission in the Indian Ocean, and its submarines completed a two-month-long mission in the Red Sea.
In an alarming July 18 statement, Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said the Iranian navy plans on deploying warships in the Atlantic Ocean as part of a program to ply international waters, although he did not say where in the Atlantic the ships would be sent. Two days later, Rear Adm. Seyed Mahmoud Mousavi revealed for the first time that the Iranian navy has equipped a number of its logistic vessels and units with long-range surface-to-surface missiles. He stated, "Missile frigates and destroyers have been equipped with these missiles since a long time ago, and the surface-to-surface missiles of the logistic vessels were successfully tested and assessed during the recent naval war games, dubbed as Joushan."
More ominous is the warning by the chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari: "Currently, we are seeking to utilize our defensive capabilities in open seas. And it means that if the enemy plans to pose a threat to the Islamic republic, Iran is capable of taking reciprocal action, and this strategy is currently on our agenda."
The Revolutionary Guards have successfully test-launched long-range ballistic missiles from a ship before, so the statement that they are arming some of the vessels with such missiles should worry the United States. An Iranian navy ship or any commercial vessel operated by the Iranians could easily launch a missile from outside the Gulf of Mexico and essentially cover most of the United States. Much more alarming is the fact that once in possession of a nuclear bomb, Iran could successfully carry out its promise to bring America to its knees by a successful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on America.
"One nightmare scenario posed by the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States From Electromagnetic Pulse [Attack] was a ship-launched EMP attack against the United States by Iran, as this would eliminate the need for Iran to develop an ICBM to deliver a nuclear warhead against the U.S. and could be executed clandestinely, taking the U.S. by surprise. Because an EMP attack entails detonating a nuclear weapon at high altitude, in space, it leaves no bomb debris for forensic analysis, no fingerprints identifying the attacker. We might never figure out who hit us, assuming the nation survives and recovers from an EMP attack," warns Peter Vincent Pry, president of EMPact America, who served on the congressional EMP commission.
The West has tried for years to negotiate with the radicals ruling Iran with the hope that they would halt their nuclear-weapons program. However, the Islamic regime has turned down every incentive offered, and its officials have openly stated that there is nothing the West can do to stop their nuclear program.
With the world's economy on the line and terrorism a major concern, global stability and security should be the top priority for world leaders. For that reason alone, the Iranian regime, which supports worldwide terrorism, not to mention the many Iranian officials wanted by Interpol, should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons.
A nuclear-armed Iran will change our world with horrific consequences.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reasons. He is the author of "A Time to Betray," about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran's Revolutionary Guards (Simon & Schuster, 2010).
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