If it is reached in the coming days, a nuclear deal with Iran will be, at best, an unsatisfying and risky compromise. Iran’s emergence as a threshold nuclear power, with the ability to produce a weapon quickly, will not be prevented; it will be postponed, by 10 to 15 years. In exchange, Tehran will reap hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief it can use to revive its economy and fund the wars it is waging around the Middle East.
“Rather than publicly report this departure from the accord, the Obama administration chose to quietly accept it. When a respected independent think tank, the Institute for Science and International Security, began pointing out the problem, the administration’s response was to rush to Iran’s defense…”
Whether this flawed deal is sustainable will depend on a complex set of verification arrangements and provisions for restoring sanctions in the event of cheating. The schemes may or may not work; the history of the comparable nuclear accord with North Korea in the 1990s is not encouraging.
The United States and its allies will have to be aggressive in countering the inevitable Iranian attempts to test the accord and willing to insist on consequences even if it means straining relations with friendly governments or imposing costs on Western companies.
That’s why a recent controversy over Iran’s compliance with the interim accord now governing its nuclear work is troubling. The deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium, but required that amounts over a specified ceiling be converted into an oxide powder that cannot easily be further enriched. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran met the requirement for the total size of its stockpile on June 30, but it did so by converting some of its enriched uranium into a different oxide form, apparently because of problems with a plant set up to carry out the powder conversion. Read the rest of this entry »
By Eliana JohnsonSeptember 27, 2012 9:24 P.M.
“The importance here is that people have been saying that the Israelis are demanding a red line but they aren’t explaining what it is. Well, this is a very clear explanation. It’s got two parts. Number one is, if you’re going to stop Iran, there is only one way to do it. There are three stages in nuclearization: the making of the fuse, weaponization, that’s the marrying it to a missile, and uranium enrichment. The first two stages you cannot hit, you cannot eliminate, you can do it in a laboratory anywhere in the country, cannot stop it. What you can stop because it takes large scale industrial production is uranium enrichment, the way we had at Oak Ridge in the Second World War preparing the uranium for the bomb in Los Alamos. That is number one. And the second part is this. Israelis say we have two red lines. The horizontal line is if you enrich beyond 20 percent, you’re on your way to the bomb, we can’t allow that. The second is even if you stop at 20 percent, if you do it horizontally, if you get a lot of that stuff, the Iranians are about halfway of getting enough of the 20 percent enriched uranium to make a bomb. If you go all the way to 200 or so kilos that you need, it’s already at the red line. So, it’s saying enrichment at 20 percent and contain the amount enriched at that amount. And, if you’re going to hit anything or threaten anything it’s the enrichment itself, not the others aspect of the bomb. That is a clear red line. I don’t think there is anybody who can say it’s vague.”
via The Corner