Iran’s nuclear threat: Fact or fantasy?
To be sure, we need tough diplomatic action to deal with a nuclear Iran [“The undimmed danger,” editorial, Sept. 7]. But we also need a stronger military deterrent than the Obama administration seems willing to support.
U.S. nuclear strategy includes the concept of “extended deterrence” — we have told our allies that they can depend on us to deter nuclear threats to them. If our allies fear a nuclear Iran and can’t depend on us, they will develop nukes of their own, increasing the very proliferation we seek to stop.
But the administration and Congress are bent on cutting the systems that provide this extended deterrence: the fighters, bombers, missiles and surveillance systems we need to identify nuclear threats and box them in. We need to modernize our aging triad, especially the bomber leg, now based on decades-old technologies. Instead, we face potential defense budget cuts approaching a trillion dollars. These would erode our ability to project power and to make clear to Iran and others that aggression would have military consequences it cannot afford.
John Michael Loh, Williamsburg
The writer, a retired Air Force general, was commander of Air Combat Command from 1992 to 1995.
●Iran’s nuclear program is completely peaceful, transparent and in compliance with the safeguard agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has repeatedly confirmed the absence of any evidence of diversion of declared nuclear material. Contrary to the assertion in the Sept. 7 editorial that Iran’s 20 percent uranium enrichment has no “plausible legitimate purpose,” in fact it is used to provide fuel for Tehran’s research reactor, which provides radioisotopes to hundreds of hospitals.
It is saddening that the article referred to the assassinations of Iranian scientists as “sensational stories.” It also ignored the fact that, as a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has the right to possess nuclear fuel, just as several other nations do, unhindered by any sanction or sabotage, such as computer virus attacks or the assassination of scientists. The demand for Iran to forfeit this right, simply as a result of politically induced hypothetical assumptions about Iran’s future nuclear intentions, is unacceptable.
As stated in a joint article by six former Western ambassadors to Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not breached its international obligations by enriching uranium.
Indeed, the editorial tended to ignore the importance of NPT rights and privileges as well as international law on the basis of which Iran’s nuclear program operates.
Alireza Miryousefi, New York
The writer is head of the press office of the Iranian mission to the United Nations.
●We can agree that a more coherent strategy is needed in the U.S. approach to Iran’s nuclear advances, as was pointed out in the editorial on the Iranian threat. It is important to recognize, however, that time still exists to pursue a negotiated solution.
Although Iran is currently enriching uranium with advanced machines, the work is far behind schedule. Contrary to Iran’s original forecast, it has not yet installed any advanced centrifuges at its intended facility, and a large part of the reason for this delay are the sanctions that The Post’s editorial implied have failed.
While sanctions may buy time, they cannot solve the problem. The United States should continue its efforts to slow Iran’s program and maintain international pressure on Iran, while keeping the possibility open for a negotiated solution that establishes the inspections and transparency necessary to best detect and deter any eventual move to build a weapon.
Laicie Olson, Washington
The writer is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.