Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Iran gets back in the nuclear game...

Well, that didn't last long. The Times reports here:

Defying the warning of European leaders, Iran said Monday that it was removing the seals placed by the United Nations nuclear agency at one of its nuclear sites to restart activities there.

European diplomats said that if Iran did go ahead and resume the nuclear activities, then they would have little choice but to ask for the agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to place the issue before the United Nations Security Council for possible political and economic sanctions.

A senior Iranian official, Ali Aghamohammadi, said technicians were going to break the seals to the uranium ore conversion plant in Isfahan on Monday afternoon in the presence of the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, who are currently in Iran, the IRNA news agency reported.

By the end of the day, however, it could not be determined whether Iran had actually broken the seals...

Iran agreed nine months ago to freeze all its enrichment-related activities for as long as talks with Germany, France, Britain and the European Union continued. The United States maintains, and the European countries had come to agree, that Iran intends to make nuclear weapons. Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes...

Iran says it is keeping its freeze on another, more advanced, process in the program to enrich uranium, which can lead to making nuclear fuel for power plants, or if enriched to high levels, for making nuclear weapons.

And tensions resume... I wonder how Bolton will handle this? (Regardless, this is bad, bad news.)

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  • But there was also a story in the Washington Post to the effect that US intelligence (is that an oxymoron?) thinks that Iran is at least 10 years away from developing a nuclear weapon and that's assuming that they go full out. So the problem may not be as imminent as the Administration has been saying. (What? The Bush Administration exaggerating a threat? When has that ever happened?) Of course, Iran could always shortcircuit the process by buying a weapon from someone else, but it's not like we have to resolve this today. That's not to say that the prospect of Iran having nukes is not disquieting; it is extremely dangerous. But we may have more time to do something about it than we previously thought.

    Maybe the way to play this is to downplay it--let things simmer down for a while and see what develops in Iran. At this point, we are running up against nationalist sentiment (at least from the mullahs)on the question of nukes. Perhaps if we took it off the front page, it would be easier to settle it at a later date. Just a thought anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:48 PM  

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