Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must be laughing his head off. As Abe noted yesterday, the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report unveiled evidence that Iran has been working on technology to arm its missiles with nuclear warheads. It also disclosed evidence of Tehran’s work “on a highly sophisticated nuclear triggering technology that experts said could be used for only one purpose: setting off a nuclear weapon.” If a smoking gun were needed, this is it.
Yet the “international community” hasn’t uttered a peep about the report. It’s too busy obsessing over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead.
Two days after the report’s publication, the G8 met in Deauville. Its concluding statement devoted six paragraphs to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, notable for both their specificity (“we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011”) and their urgency (“The time to resume the Peace Process is now.”)
In contrast, Iran’s nukes merited exactly one content-free paragraph:
We note with deep concern the recent report by the IAEA which underlines that Iran is not implementing a number of its obligations, that areas of concern remain regarding possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme and that the Agency is therefore unable to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. . . . We regret that while Iran finally met twice with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union High Representative, following their intensive diplomatic efforts and the adoption of measures in UNSCR 1929, it was not possible to reach any substantive result, Iran having not yet entered into a genuine dialogue without preconditions. Depending on Iran’s actions, we will determine the need for additional measures in line with the dual-track approach.
Translation: At some unspecified future time, the G8 may—but then again it may not—decide on some unspecified new measures against Iran. But there’s no hurry, because it still hasn’t even concluded that Iran is pursuing nukes. The G8 is merely “unable to conclude” the opposite.
The same warped perspective characterized Obama’s May 19 speech. Granted, it predated the latest IAEA report, but Iran’s nuclear program isn’t new. Yet in a major Middle East policy address, Obama devoted exactly half a sentence to it: “Our opposition to Iran’s intolerance and Iran’s repressive measures, as well as its illicit nuclear program and its support of terror, is well known.” No hint of urgency there, or of any plans to stop the program.
In contrast, the president devoted 12 full paragraphs, almost one-fifth of the speech, to detailing his vision of an Israeli-Palestinian deal, which he deemed “more urgent than ever.”
Objectively speaking, Iran is by far the more important problem. Its strategic location on the Persian Gulf enables it to shut off much of the world’s oil supply at will, and even without nukes, it has fomented terror worldwide; with nukes to deter attack, Iran would have the West at its mercy. Israel, by contrast, controls no vital natural resources; its location is strategically insignificant; and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hasn’t spread beyond its own borders in decades.
Yet the West continues blithely pursuing its pet obsession, leaving Tehran free to laugh all the way to the bomb.