Another domino has fallen in the cascade of evidence demonstrating the absurdity of Iran's denial that it is seeking nuclear weaponry. Leaked Iranian technical documents reveal that the country was attempting to test a triggering devise for nuclear weapons in 2007.
There are several take-aways from this discovery.
1. The international community continues to be alarmingly inept at policing nuclear research. The consensus among intelligence agencies was that Iran had abandoned nuclear weapon ambitions in 2003. The revelation of progress in 2007 exposes global inspections as impotent and suggests that Iran's current proximity to nuclear status is a matter of extreme uncertainty.
2. Obama's efforts to dialogue with Ahmadinejad - employing the power-of-persuasion charisma which differentiates him from his predecessor - have been proved a farce. Bush was comfortable branding Iran as an "evil" state actor and found the most useful dialogue to be toppling a neighboring regime for alleged weapons' research. Not subtle, perhaps, but at least cognizant of the nature of our enemy. Obama's judgement has been severely wanting in foreign affairs, time and again confusing the treatment due to allies and adversaries.
3. Iran is unfazed by Western accusations - or even discoveries - of continued nuclear progress. In fact, by responding to the discovery of a hidden nuclear plant with an announcement that they intend to build an additional 10-15 reactors, Iran has shown itself to be liberated and emboldened when caught in violation of international standards. Certainly, it's far easier to conduct research when one no longer needs hide it from the world.
4. Israel continues to emerge as the only country in the world prepared to take serious action to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. Obama's reaction to the surging evidence and escalating urgency of a looming confrontation with Iran has been to intensify behind-the-scenes calls for further sanctions. Today's WaPO carries Danielle Pletka's counsel that such a strategy is fool-hardy. In the absence of a reformulated approach to Iran, U.S. policy will continue to be "subcontracting American national security to Israel."
While Obama continues to focus on the domestic economy (a worthwhile endeavor), he must be aware that to ignore Iran is simply not an option. Should Iran successfully test a nuclear weapon or claim a functional stockpile, all other priorities will be relegated to second-tier as the world refocuses all of its attention on a triumphant and unleashed New Persia.