Oliver North
WASHINGTON -- On Dec. 31, just hours before a New Year's Eve celebration, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Section 1245 of the law contains language providing authority to impose economic sanctions on Iran in order to deter the ayatollahs from acquiring nuclear weapons. White House efforts to have the sanctions provision stripped from the bill failed, and the measure became law with a quiet flourish of the presidential pen. Ever since, Washington and Tehran have been waging a war of words. None of this works to the advantage of the American people. Here's why.

Tehran replied to the "new sanctions" -- which have yet to be imposed -- with a series of military exercises and threats to close the narrow Strait of Hormuz, through which passes nearly 20 percent of the world's supply of petroleum. In a now familiar rhetorical tit for tat, the Obama White House propaganda mill responded by leaking that POTUS had sent a "clear and unequivocal message" through a "secret channel" that cutting the flow of oil would be "unacceptable." Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and others took to the airwaves and print outlets to talk about Iranian nukes and closing the strait as a "red line" for the U.S.

This week, we learned from Tehran that Obama's "secret message" was addressed to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. According to Ali Motahari, a mouthpiece for the theocrats, "the first part of the letter contains threats, and the second part contains an offer for dialogue." Iran's government-run Fars News Agency quoted Motahari as saying, "In the letter, Obama called for direct talks with Iran."

The White House has neither confirmed nor denied the contents or even the delivery of such a missive. On Thursday, Obama administration spokesman Tommy Vietor told reporters, "The U.S. remains committed to engaging with Tehran and finding a diplomatic solution." If any of this is true, nothing has changed in nearly three years of the Obama administration -- except that Iran is now much closer to acquiring nuclear weapons.

According to U.S., European and Israeli intelligence sources, Iran will begin producing enriched uranium at the deep-underground, heavily protected Fordo nuclear facility, near the city of Qom, "in a matter of weeks." Last November, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency reported indications of "advanced enrichment for potential nuclear weapons use" at Iran's Nantaz and Bushehr nuclear sites.

Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.