Iran sidetracks the world
There has been so much good news about Iran's nuclear weapons program lately that it's almost churlish to expose that news for what it really is - hollow and ephemeral.
Teheran has offered to ship much of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France, where it will be processed before being returned for use in medical research and generating electricity. Yesterday, Iran also agreed to allow international inspectors to visit its previously secret - and still unfinished - uranium enrichment plant at Qom on October 25.
President Barack Obama said that the uranium export offer was "a step toward building confidence that Iran's program is in fact peaceful." Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations said that if Iran honored its pledge to export its fuel for processing, Washington's proliferation concerns would be partly alleviated.
But Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center asserted that "the fuel France and Russia will send back to Iran will be far more weapons usable, being enriched with 19.75 percent nuclear weapons-grade uranium, than the 3.5 percent enriched brew Iran currently has on hand."
Experts say that uranium needs to be enriched at 90% for use in a nuclear bomb.
So instead of talking about when Iran will suspend its fuel-making activities, the mullahs have cleverly shifted the conversation to what their export pledge means - even though it would not take effect for a year or two.
And just to muddy the waters, Iran's ambassador to Britain, Mehdi Saffare, a member of its delegation to the Geneva talks with the Security Council "five plus Germany," insisted that the idea of sending Iran's enriched uranium out of the county had "not been discussed yet."
ON SATURDAY, The New York Times reported (elaborating on a story carried last month by the Associated Press) that dissident experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency have tentatively concluded that Iran has "sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable… implosion nuclear device."
Their report, "Possible Military Dimensions of Iran's Nuclear Program," also argues that the country is aiming to place a nuclear payload on its Shahab 3 missile - which can reach parts of Europe.
The only genuinely good news is that "Overall the Agency does not believe that Iran has yet achieved the means of integrating a nuclear payload into the Shahab 3 missile with any confidence that it would work…."
Still, the IAEA specialists believe that though Iran hasn't detonated a device, the elaborate nature of its experiments gives it confidence that its bomb will explode.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the outgoing IAEA chief, has spiked the report. Yesterday, in Teheran he talked about how Iran has supposedly shifted from confrontation toward "transparency and cooperation."
With IAEA dissidents, and the intelligence services of Britain, France, Germany and, of course, Israel arguing that Iran is racing toward a bomb, Obama has instructed the US intelligence community to reevaluate its controversial 2007 finding that Teheran had halted efforts to design a nuclear weapon back in 2003.
NO MATTER how the US intelligence reassessment goes, or how Iran's export gambit plays out, or what happens when the inspectors visit Qom, at the end of the day - and in keeping with the mullahs' strategy - Iran will have bought time.
Obama insists his administration is "not interested in talking for the sake of talking. If Iran does not take steps in the near future to live up to its obligations, then... we are prepared to move towards increased pressure."
Of course, the president would have greater credibility with the mullahs if the heightened sanctions his administration insinuated would be forthcoming in September had actually been implemented.
At this point, there are only three possibilities: (a) Iran will build a bomb; (b) draconian sanctions, spearheaded by Washington, will persuade Teheran to abort its program; (c) military intervention will significantly set the mullahs back.
Assuming Obama realizes that the second option is by far the most preferable, he must not allow Teheran to sidetrack the discussion.
All the world needs to know is when Iran will stop enriching uranium, and when it will end its weapons program.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Good News From Iran
WELCOME TO MY BLOG - I am a Jerusalem-based journalist and political scientist and a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report focusing on the Jewish World. I’m a former editorial page editor at The Jerusalem Post and was founding managing editor of Jewish Ideas Daily. Over the years I’ve written for Newsmax, Israel My Glory and a range of other outlets. I was also editorial director for www.balfour100.com and recently completed a book on the Balfour Declaration (now being edited at the publisher’s). Before making aliya in 1997, I worked in NYC government and as an adjunct assistant professor of political science. My memoir about growing up on the Lower East Side (well, it is more than about that) The Pater: My Father, My Judaism, My Childlessness is available via online booksellers, Amazon kindle, and (select) in brick and mortar bookshops. I enjoy the chance to brief individuals and groups visiting Israel on the conflict and Jewish civilizational issues. Write to: email@example.com
- ► 2015 (26)
- ► 2014 (28)
- ► 2011 (58)
- ► 2010 (107)
- Did Abbas really say he's ready to call its quits?...
- Looking behind the troubles on the Temple Mount
- Today is the anniversary of the Jordan-Israel peac...
- Why what J Street Stands for is far from what most...
- HOW TO THINK ABOUT THE NOZETTE CASE
- Some bad guys get blown up in Iran
- Israel's big post-weekend story...
- How to understand the Turkish Break with Israel an...
- A HOUSE GOES BOOM IN SOUTH LEBANON
- TURKEY TURNS
- Barack Obama's Nobel Prize -- An Israeli Perspecti...
- INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN KRAMER
- Should Israel gloat about having won a Nobel Prize...
- How a fixed "investigation" of Israel is further r...
- ARSON IN JERUSALEM
- Good News From Iran
- Book Review: "The Israel Test" by George Gilder
- Boosting Hamas will come back to haunt Israel
- ▼ October (18)
- ► 2008 (74)
- ► 2007 (20)
- ► 2006 (36)