My sources inside Iran tell me that President Obama, seeking to protect the recovering U.S. economy and bolster his chances of being re-elected in November, apparently has entered into an informal agreement with Iran that he believes will defuse the nuclear weapons crisis and keep Israel from attacking the Islamic regime.
The agreement calls for the United States to acknowledge that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, and for Iran to hand over its highly enriched uranium, which is necessary for nuclear weaponization.
Iran, for its part, though engaging Obama, has no intention of abiding by the agreement and is stepping up its nuclear enrichment program clandestinely, even as it prepares for a war it believes it can win.
When Obama took office in 2009, he threw out the Bush administration’s aggressive posture in negotiating with Iran and instead sought a new approach, one of diplomacy and friendship. He had a golden opportunity to support millions of Iranians who took to the streets over Iran’s fraudulent elections that June, but instead turned his back on freedom and democracy while believing that negotiations with the Islamic regime would yield results.
Once the protests had died down, the Iranians, after months of promises, announced that a proposed agreement by the West that limited their nuclear activity was no longer acceptable and that they had successfully enriched uranium to 20 percent, which is nine-tenths of the way to nuclear weaponization.
The Iranians have now expanded their nuclear program to the point where they not only have enough low-enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs but also have doubled their stock of highly enriched uranium of 20 percent. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently reported that Iran has added 3,000 more centrifuges to the Natanz facility, bringing the total to 9,000, and has started enriching to 20 percent at the previous secret site, the Fordow facility, which is deep within a mountain and secure against any attack. Such production could give Iran weapons-grade uranium for nuclear bombs within weeks.
Obama knows that Israel is losing patience with the lack of progress over Iran’s unabated continuation of its illicit nuclear program despite four sets of U.N. sanctions and other sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union. He also knows that any confrontation between Israel and Iran will drag America into an unwanted war and therefore destabilize the American economy and harm his chances of re-election.
Iran knows that its best chance to delay any attack on its nuclear and military facilities and its best opportunity to be in a win-win situation is to once again engage Obama, believing he is weak, that Iran holds the key to his re-election and that a Republican win in November could mean direct confrontation.
As revealed in January, Obama sent a message to the Iranian leaders through three different channels. Part of it, disclosed by the Iranian officials, reflected a message by the U.S. president asking for cooperation and negotiation based on mutual interests, but more importantly, it assured Iran that America will not take any action against the Islamic regime.
Sources within Iran reveal that Khamenei, in a secret meeting with his top officials and military commanders, has issued a directive to push for a step-by-step Russian proposal to defuse the crisis in which Iran would only hand over its 20 percent enrichment stock while keeping all low-enriched uranium stock (enough for six nuclear bombs) and cooperate more with the IAEA (all the while continuing its enrichment activity). In exchange, the West would ease up on the sanctions as each step is taken.
The U.S., for its part, had to announce that Iran is not after the nuclear bomb, backing Israel into a corner and pressuring it not to take any action.
In the same meeting it was decided that if the West did not take the offer, then a limited war in the region could help the Iranian leaders further consolidate power at home, incite further uprisings in the region, become the leader of the Islamic movement by attacking Israel and still save some of its nuclear facilities, which are either at secret locations or deep underground. And that would justify their pursuit of the nuclear bomb.
The Obama administration responded positively. First, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsy, publicly announced that Iran is a rational actor and that it is not after a nuclear bomb. Then, just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to arrive in Washington for talks with Obama over Iran’s nuclear program, the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies said Iran has already stopped efforts to build a bomb.
This despite the most recent IAEA report clearly indicating the military aspect of the Iranian nuclear program and last week’s announcement by the U.N. nuclear agency that Iran has ramped up by 50 percent its production of highly enriched uranium, well beyond what is normally needed for peaceful nuclear energy.
In response to the Americans meeting Khamenei’s demands, the Iranian supreme leader responded by publicly announcing that Iran has never sought and will never seek nuclear weapons as it regards possession of such weapons a great sin.
Other Iranian officials did their part by announcing that the cooperation with the IAEA will continue to once again show the world that claims of Iran wanting a nuclear bomb are unfounded.
In this high-stakes game, Iranian leaders believe Obama is hamstrung by politics, and even if war comes, ultimately Russia and China will intervene to support Iran, demanding a cease-fire and therefore giving Iran a victory similar to the outcome of the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war.
Though an election year, Obama must know that radicals ruling Iran, if given time, will obtain nuclear weapons, changing the world as we know it forever, no matter who is in the White House come 2013.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award-winning book, A Time to Betray. He is a senior fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).