One of the big falsehoods President Obama told during his State of the Union concerned Iran’s nuclear program. He said, “[W]e’ve halted the progress of [Iran’s] nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.” It’s a claim that was so egregiously wrong that even the Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler was forced to give it three Pinocchios. The National Review‘s Fred Fleitz puts it a little more succinctly:
President Obama’s claims aren’t even close to being true. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has surged since 2009 and has continued to increase since an interim nuclear agreement with Iran was agreed to in November 2013.
The number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium has steadily risen throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency, rising from seven to at least eight over the last year.
However, perhaps the best assessment of just how wrong President Obama’s words were comes from the Iranians own actions. Lebanon’s Naharnet reported yesterday that the nation’s parliament is all but daring us to place sanctions on them by drafting a new law that would permit their scientists to increase the amount of uranium they can enrich. From the article:
Iran’s parliament has started to draft a law that would allow the country’s nuclear scientists to intensify their uranium enrichment, a step that could complicate ongoing talks with world powers.
The move, announced Saturday by parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, comes after U.S. lawmakers said they were planning legislation that could place new sanctions on Iran.
Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, committee spokesman in Tehran, told the ISNA news agency that draft legislation was underway.
“This bill will allow the government to continue enrichment, using new generation centrifuges,” he said, referring to more modern machines that would speed up production.
“The parliament’s nuclear committee is working on the technical issues and details of this draft,” he added.
Those new sanctions, by the way, are ones that the President has promised to veto. While Obama has basically lied to the American people* about his own accomplishments on the issue, Iran is helping to punctuate that by its own actions. Even the talks that the White House is trumpeting so loudly are far from a given to produce anything that could be called a success. As the article notes, the White House itself has said the likelhood of success is “at best 50/50.”
This is probably a good time to note that Iran is also ratcheting up its anti-Israel rhetoric. The impetus this time Was an Israeli airstrike on Syria last Sunday that killed an Iranian general along with several Hezbollah militants. A few days after the strike,an Iranian Major General promised a “crushing response” to the attack. Now, they’re being a little more precise. The deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Lt. General Hossein Salami has promised to “open new fronts [against Israel] and change the balance of power.” He continues:
“Opening up a new front across the West Bank, which is a major section of our dear Palestine, will be certainly on the agenda, and this is part of a new reality that will gradually emerge,” Salami said in the inteview [sic] with Iran’s Arabic-language news channel al-Alam.
Even if the Iranian army itself follows through with this attack (instead of using their friends in Hezbollah), one has to imagine how much worse it would be if the Iranians actually had nuclear weapons. These are the stakes we could be up against, and right now, the rest of the world, especially the United States under President Obama, is just not doing enough to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
*=I really don’t think there’s a more charitable way to construe what he said, frankly.