Obama Calls Iran’s Nuclear Program ‘Grave Concern’

But Obama's own administration and the entire intelligence community believe Iran is not weaponizing

President Obama on Saturday claimed Iran’s nuclear program is a “grave concern” for world leaders, and said the U.S. and its allies were prepared to heap yet more sanctions on the country.

Iran’s “continuing violation of international rules and norms and inability thus far to convince the world community that it is not pursuing the weaponization of nuclear power is of grave concern to all of us,” Obama said in a joint statement released after meeting with the Group of Eight at Camp David.

Apparently, Iran’s “inability” to convince the world that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons hasn’t phased the entire U.S. intelligence community, which has concluded that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, has not demonstrated any intention to do so, and stopped all weaponization activities almost a decade ago.

Even the top brass of the Obama administration and military leadership, from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey believe Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. Obama’s statement was mere rhetoric.

As for the “continuing violation of international rules,” Obama is being similarly disingenuous. It’s clear the gripe against Iran has nothing to do with violation international rules, because plenty of U.S. allies are violating international laws but the U.S. consistently blocks enforcement of those violations.

Israel has been in stark violation of international law for 45 years since its occupation of Palestinian territory after the 1967 war. UN Security Council Resolution 487 calls on Israel to open up its own nuclear weapons program to international inspections, but the U.S. has blocked enforcement of that mandate.

UN Resolution 1172 calls on Pakistan and India to halt development of nuclear weapons, but the U.S. has instead helped both countries increase such development, while blocking enforcement.

“We’re hopeful we can resolve this issue in a peaceful fashion with respect to Iran that recognizes their sovereignty but also recognizes their responsibilities,” Obama added.

Throwing harsh economic sanctions and militarily encircling Iran is not exactly “peaceful.” In fact, Columbia University Professor Gary Sick, who has a special expertise on Iran, has called the sanctions “the equivalent of a blockade. It’s an act of war.”

Iran will begin a second round of negotiations with world powers next week about its nuclear program. Progress toward a peaceful resolution is possible, but it is troubling that heads of state, particularly from the U.S. and Israel, continue to employ threatening rhetoric despite a widespread understanding that Iran is not even developing nuclear weapons.

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.