The current state of talks suggests the US may be moving from ‘preventing proliferation to managing it’, the paper quoted Mr Kissinger as saying.
It added: “What happens if they sign an accord close to the parameters of the talks as we now know them? The Obama Administration may be underwriting a new era of global nuclear proliferation.
“That’s the question Henry Kissinger diplomatically raised in recent testimony to the Senate that deserves far more public attention.”
The WSJ cited Mr Kissinger’s comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee in January, when he said: “Nuclear talks with Iran began as an international effort, buttressed by six U.N. resolutions, to deny Iran the capability to develop a military nuclear option.
“They are now an essentially bilateral negotiation over the scope of that capability through an agreement that sets a hypothetical limit of one year on an assumed breakout. The impact of this approach will be to move from preventing proliferation to managing it.
“In the space of one year, that will create huge inspection problems, but I’ll reserve my comment on that until I see the agreement,” Mr. Kissinger said.
He continued: “But I would also emphasize the issue of proliferation. Assuming one accepts the inspection as valid and takes account of the stockpile of nuclear material that already exists, the question then is what do the other countries in the region do?
“And if the other countries in the region conclude that America has approved the development of an enrichment capability within one year of a nuclear weapon, and if they then insist on building the same capability, we will live in a proliferated world in which everybody — even if that agreement is maintained — will be very close to the trigger point.”
The WSJ said: “Mr Kissinger didn’t say it, but those other nations include Saudi Arabia, which can buy a bomb from Pakistan; Turkey, which won’t sit by and let Shiite Iran dominate the region; Egypt, which has long viewed itself as the leading Arab state; and perhaps one or more of the Gulf emirates, which may not trust the Saudis. That’s in addition to Israel, which is assumed to have had a bomb for many years without posing a regional threat.
“President Obama would claim the inspection regime is fail-safe, but Iran hid its weapons program from United Nations inspectors for years. That’s why the UN passed its many resolutions and the current talks began. Iran also hid its facility at Qum. All of this shows how difficult it is to maintain a credible inspection regime in a country determined to evade it.”
The WSJ said it believed Mr Obama was now so bent on an Iran deal that he will make almost any concession to get one, adding: “In any case Mr. Kissinger’s concerns underscore the need for Congressional scrutiny and a vote on any agreement with Iran.”