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Why Obama Is Wrong on Iran Red Lines

The dispute which President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to resolve during their sit down earlier this week revolved around what the red line should be that outside powers would forbid Iran from crossing.

Prime Minister Netanyahu says Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapons capability. President Obama disagrees, and insists the red line should instead be actual Iranian production of nuclear weapons.  That Obama would allow an Iranian nuclear weapons capability, however, is akin to allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran, the White House suggests, should be allowed to become like Japan, a state that has all the technology to put together a nuclear weapon but simply has not chosen to do so. Never mind that Iran is not Japan, and that the two states have very different ideologies. Cultural and moral relativism, however popular they may be in this administration, should never mean turning a blind eye toward an enemy achieving superior weapons technology just because an ally has it.

American policymakers have used the red line controversy to delude themselves into believing that intelligence reports which suggest Iran has yet to make a decision to develop nuclear weapons means the West still has time to allow diplomacy to work. The problem is that once Iran develops nuclear weapons capability—a capability which the IAEA suggests they aim to achieve—it would only take a few days to develop nuclear weapons.

Red lines are important, but so too is a basic understanding of the Iranian threat. Obama may mesmerize progressives with his rhetoric, but sometimes charisma is not enough to cover up basic facts. By defining red lines where he does, Obama is acknowledging he is prepared to see Iran develop nuclear weapons. That is not in the U.S. national interest, and it is disingenuous for Obama to suggest otherwise.


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