Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- June 14, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 06/13/2004 9:33:21 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year. Most Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
IAEA To Start Debate On Irans Nuclear Dossier Today
TEHRAN (PIN) -- The United Nations nuclear watchdog sits down today to examine progress in verifying Tehran's nuclear program. The IAEA is unlikely to pass a resolution declaring Iranian violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) during a board of governors meeting.
Last October, Iran offered to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to make a full declaration on all nuclear activities, giving a green light for tougher inspections and a suspension of work on the nuclear fuel cycle. Toughening its stance in advance of the IAEA meeting, Iran said it would reject international restrictions on its nuclear program and challenged the world to accept Tehran as a member of the "nuclear club."
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Saturday rejected further restrictions on Irans nuclear program. "We won't accept any new obligations," Kharrazi said. "Iran has a high technical capability and has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club. This is an irreversible path."
Iran has repeatedly insisted its nuclear program is geared toward generating electricity, not making weapons, but the United States alleges Tehran has a secret nuclear weapons program. The IAEA has wrestled with the dilemma for more than a year.
Iran has voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment and stopped building centrifuges in order to allay international concern about its nuclear program.
It has also allowed IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities without prior notice, part of the additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that still must be approved by parliament.
Iran has confirmed possessing technology to extract uranium ore, processing it into a powder called yellow cake and then converting it into gas. The gas is then injected into centrifuges for low-grade enrichment that turns it into fuel for nuclear reactors.
In April, Iran said it had stopped building centrifuges. IAEA inspectors had found traces of highly enriched uranium at two sites, which Iranian officials have maintained was from contaminated imported materials. IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said last month his agency had not found proof to date of a concrete link between Iran's nuclear activities and its military program, but "it was premature to make a judgment."
The IAEA meeting has just started in Vienna (10:30 am CET) and that is a very important session on Iran.
REJECTING BIG 3 DDEMANDS, IRAN SAYS IT WANTS BE IN THE A CLUB
Posted Sunday, June 13, 2004
TEHRAN, 13 June (IPS)
As the Islamic Republic ruling conservatives adopted for a new stand off with both the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Big 3 powers ahead of the Monday meeting of the IAEA Board of Directors, an informed Iranian journalist covering the meetings said it is going to be business as usual.
Usually, it is the Americans that take the initiative. This time, and animated by the idea of bringing Washington in line with their policy of critical engagement with Iran, the three decided to come first in the one hand and stop the possibility of seeing Irans case transferred to the United Nations Security Council for decision, the journalist told Iran Press Service on condition of anonymity.
Diplomats said the United States that pushes for harsher actions on Iran, was generally satisfied with the tone of the draft, but they would call for some kind of deadline for Tehran to come up with the missing information needed to prove or disprove the Islamic Republic's weapons ambitions.
In his Friday sermon, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's powerful second man in charge of the nation said the draft sponsored by France, Germany and the UK as well as the final statement of the G-8 summit reveals that the US and Europe have formed a partnership to deprive Iran of the benefits of nuclear technology to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
He also warned Britain, France and Germany that their latest resolution to be presented at the Monday meeting is unacceptable for Tehran and added that Iran had never yield to pressures and bullying from any one and would not yield in the future.
"If, indeed, the US and Europe have made the decision and continue in this path, they should know that it is a decision they will definitely regret", he warned, quoted by the official news agency IRNA said.
Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the influential Secretary of the Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) and Irans top negotiator with the IAEA threatened that Iran might stop cooperating with the international nuclear watchdog and the three European nations in case the Resolution is adopted by the Governor.
Last October, Mr. Rohani, who is now sitting at the Majles, agreed with the foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany to sign the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty and suspend enriching uranium against helping Tehran to get advanced nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes.
The draft resolution prepared by Britain, France and Germany calls on Iran to stop at once its programmes for enriching uranium and allow IAEA inspectors full access to all Iranian nuclear sites and projects.
But senior Iranian tenors, including some members in the new Majles, or the Iranian Parliament dominated by the conservatives warned that a "strong reaction" was forthcoming if the IAEA rules against Iran and accused France, Germany and the U.K. of breaking promises to make Iran's access to advanced nuclear technology easier.
Iran also reacted strongly to the statement by the Group of Eight (G-8) strongest industrialised nations Wednesday urging the Islamic Republic to abandon all activities aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons and agreed on a one-year ban on the transfer of technology for uranium enrichment and reprocessing.
"The final statement by the IAEA board meeting will be the basis of future decisions by the new parliament", conservative lawmaker Manouchehr Mottaki said, adding that any decision by the IAEA Governors against Iran will prompt the "parliament's retaliation".
"The board decision will definitely affect the parliament's debate whether or not approve the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty", Mottaki told The Associated Press.
Hoseyn Sheikholeslam, another conservative deputy and a former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister accused the U.K., France and Germany of violating an agreement with Iran to make it easy for Iran to obtain advanced nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
"Britain, France and Germany have violated the Tehran Declaration," said Sheikholeslam. "The Europeans and the world have to deal with us (Iran's new parliament) for the next four years. Breaking promises at the beginning of our work will have an adverse effect on mutual collaboration", AP quoted him as having added.
The Big 3 drafted the resolution after it was found that contrary to its promises, not only Iran had continued enriching uranium unabated, but it had also put into service more advanced centrifuges and had approached European firm for the purchase of some 20.000 magnets used in centrifuges for producing high-grade uranium, an essential part of producing nuclear weapons.
The United States and other nations that insist Iran is after atomic bomb say such purchases are a proof of their arguments, that Iran is using nuclear-powered electricity projects as an attempt to cover up covert activities aimed at making nuclear weapons.
But Mr. Hoseyn Mousavian, the Secretary of the International Department of the SCNS rejected the information, saying not Iran, but a contractor sought not 20.000 but 150 magnets only for a price of 300 US Dollars.
According to the semi-independent Iranian Students News Agency ISNA, Mr. Mousavian, in a meeting last February in Brussels, it had been agreed that the EU will help closing Iranian nuclear file at the IAEA providing that Irans cooperation with IAEA is complete and total and that nothing new would be discovered.
We will not accept any new obligation", Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi told a news conference in Tehran on Saturday. "If anyone asks us to give up Esfahan industries to change yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride gas or to give up heavy-water facilities in Arak, we cannot accept such an extra demand that is contradictory to our legal rights".
Yellowcake is processed uranium ore, mined near the central desert city of Yazd. Uranium hexafluoride gas is pumped into centrifuges that enrich uranium by spinning it.
"Iran has a high technical capability and has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club", Kharrazi said. "This is an irreversible path", he added.
His comment followed that of Mr. Mehdi Kouchakzadeh, a staunch anti-American lawmaker urging the authorities to stop cooperation with IAEA and withdrawing from the NPT would be considered as options.
"If IAEA gives in to U.S. pressure, we will react strongly to defend Iran's national interests...as a lawmaker, I think Iran has to stop cooperation with IAEA and seriously consider withdrawing from NPT", he said.
Kouchakzadeh, a former member of the elite hard-line Revolutionary Guards, drew public attention when he chanted "Death to America" during the opening session of the parliament last month.
Dr. Qolamali Haddad-Adel, the new Speaker of the Majles approved his action, though unprecedented in the history of the Islamic Iranian parliament.
Hoseyn Shariatmadari, a high-ranking intelligence officer specialising in interrogating political and intellectual dissidents appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i as Editor of the hard line newspaper Keyhan reiterated Saturday that Iran should do away with U.N. interference and follow North Korea's lead.
"Finally the only logical way is to pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty", he wrote, repeating what he had suggested more than a year ago.
ENDS IRAN IAEA 13604
U.S. Pushes Europe to Get Tougher on Iran Nuke Plans
By Louis Charbonneau
VIENNA (Reuters) - Washington is pressuring France, Germany and Britain to toughen their draft resolution rebuking Iran for lax cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, whose board will vote on the text this week, diplomats said.
The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) begins meeting on Monday. On their agenda is the agency's investigation of Iran's nuclear program and the draft resolution.
Washington says Tehran's nuclear power program is a front to make atomic weapons, but Iran denies this, insisting its ambitions are limited to the peaceful generation of electricity.
Analysis: Iran-EU nuclear deal at stake?
By Modher Amin
Published 6/13/2004 11:15 PM
TEHRAN, Iran, June 13 (UPI) -- A draft resolution to be considered Monday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, sponsored by France, Britain and Germany, coupled with a warning on Wednesday by the G8 states about Iran's nuclear intentions, seem to have put the country's deal with the European Union's "big three" to a crucial test.
The deal, struck last October during an unprecedented visit to Tehran by the foreign ministers of the three European countries, was seen as a success when Iran offered to make a full declaration of all nuclear activities, allow tougher inspections and suspend work on its sensitive nuclear fuel cycle.
While Iran maintains it has done its utmost to cooperate, the draft resolution drawn up by London, Paris and Berlin sharply criticizes Tehran for failing to answer questions about alleged nuclear weapons activities. The proposed resolution urges the clerical regime to clarify the origin of detected contamination by highly enriched uranium, disclose a program of centrifuges used to enrich uranium and suspend immediately and fully all enrichment-related activities.
At a press conference on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi echoed other Iranian officials' complaints that the Europeans had failed to act on their commitments to his country.
Without elaborating on the nature of the commitments, he called the Europeans' initiative in proposing a resolution a "pressure" which is "unacceptable."
Kharrazi stopped short of threatening an end to Iran's dealings with the IAEA and pulling out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but stressed that Tehran "will not accept any new commitments." He warned, at the same time, that "the failure of this project (Iran's nuclear program) is the failure of everyone."
"Success will be achieved only through tripartite cooperation between Iran, the Europeans and the (International Atomic Energy) Agency," Kharrazi said. "Cooperation is a two-way road. This cooperation will be bolstered when the sides keep their promises and pave the ground for further confidence-building."
In a joint declaration issued in October, the foreign ministers promised only that "Once international concerns, including those of the three Governments, are fully resolved, Iran could expect easier access to modern technology and supplies in a range of areas."
Reacting to the proposed resolution, a top Iranian security official, Hassan Rowhani, told Iranian state television Friday that Europe will have clearly reneged on its Tehran Declaration commitments if the IAEA does not make amendments to the draft. He warned that "this will affect Iranian officials' decisions" on the country's future cooperation with the agency.
"The draft reflects the views of the United States and some Western countries," said Rowhani, who is also Iran's chief nuclear negotiator.
Other Iranian officials have not kept silent on the issue in recent days, either.
Iran's former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani -- an influential figure within the Islamic regime-- accused the EU and the United States of trying to thwart Iran's nuclear program.
"It seems that, at the G8 summit, Europe and the United States formed a partnership to deprive Iran of the benefits of nuclear technology to develop nuclear energy," Rafsanjani told worshippers during Friday prayers in Tehran. "Both sides should know that Iran will not make any concessions on this legitimate national right and while we reject any nuclear projects for military purposes, we will stress having nuclear technology for peaceful purposes."
In another part of his sermon, Rafsanjani warned European governments and the United States that "they will definitely regret it if, indeed, they have made the decision and continue on this path."
"If the world cooperates with us on the peaceful use of nuclear technology, we will be able to resolve the issue. And if they try to bully us, then each will carry out his perceived duties," he further said, renewing a vow that Iran will never give up its right to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Iran insists its nuclear ambitions are limited to generating electricity to meet the country's growing need for power. It further says it needs to produce 7,000-8,000 megawatts of nuclear-generated electricity by 2020, hence the need to build several nuclear power plants.
The United States and Israel, on the other hand, accuse Iran of using an atomic energy program as a cover for the development of nuclear weapons. Washington further argues it is hard to justify the production of this type of electricity in a country that ranks second and third in gas and oil reserves in the world, respectively.
Earlier, an influential conservative lawmaker warned that the parliament would not ratify the additional protocol to the NPT if the IAEA's board of governors politicized Iran's nuclear dossier.
"If the board takes a political stance and does not act in line with Iran's extensive cooperation with the IAEA, then, based on the country's national interests, the Majlis (Iranian parliament) will not ratify the additional protocol to the NPT," Ala'eddin Boroujerdi was quoted by the Iranian Mehr News Agency as saying.
Boroujerdi said Iran had the right to enrich uranium according to the NPT, and that Iran "should immediately resume the process under the strict supervision of IAEA inspectors."
Iran agreed to voluntarily suspend its uranium enrichment activities last October in a bid to allay the international community's concerns over its nuclear program.
In his comments on Saturday, Kharrazi asserted that Iran would not stop work on a heavy water reactor in the central city of Arak or at a uranium conversion facility in Isfahan.
"Closing down these two centers is an extra demand and we will not accept it because it runs against our legitimate rights," Kharrazi said, adding, "No one can decide for Iran to leave its peaceful nuclear program."
The comments came as many suspicions still hang over Iran's nuclear program.
A new report prepared by the IAEA in advance of the June 14 meeting of the watchdog's governors said the discovery of higher bomb-grade uranium traces than previously thought as well as an Iranian bid to buy several thousand key components, such as magnets for use in sophisticated P-2 centrifuges, were of concern.
The previous highest level made public was 36 percent, while some diplomats at the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna talked Thursday of a new 54 percent, according to media reports.
Uranium enriched to over 20 percent can be used to make an atomic bomb but most nuclear weapons are made with levels of over 80 percent enrichment.
Iran admitted to both findings, insisting, however, that the contamination came from imported equipment rather than from Iranian enrichment activities, and that the magnets were meant for other industrial uses.
The large purchase has cast doubt on whether the country's program is for research and development, as has already been stated by Iranian officials.
The IAEA's 35-nation board of governors is scheduled to again evaluate Iran's nuclear program in Vienna on Monday.
Tehran, however, is counting on the Europeans to block the U.S. plan to refer the case to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
"It seems Iran's dossier would not be closed completely in the next meeting of the IAEA's board of governors regarding (IAEA chief Mohammad) ElBaradei's report and the total attitude of the board of governors," Iranian member of parliament, Manouchehr Mottaki, said earlier last week, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.
Commenting on U.S. opposition to Iran's use of nuclear technology, Mottaki said, "It is surprising that the United States, while supporting nuclear facilities and warheads for the Zionist regime in the Middle East, adopts such unwise policies against Iran's peaceful nuclear activities in defiance of international regulations."
Iran seeks to blunt censure at review conference of its nuclear activities
Vienna, Austria-AP -- Iran's ambassador to Jordan is accusing Israel of being behind international concerns about Tehran's nuclear program.
Speaking in Amman, Jordan, he says Israel will suffer a "painful" response if it attacks Iranian nuclear installations.
Mohamad Irani says Israel opposes Iran's "support for the oppressed Palestinian people."
Iran is trying to blunt Monday's expected censure of its nuclear program by the the International Atomic Energy Agency.
A draft resolution -- written by France, Britain and Germany -- is highly critical of the Islamic republic's lack of cooperation with a probe by the U-N nuclear watchdog.
Iran insists its uranium enrichment program -- which can be used to make bombs -- is geared solely to generating electricity.
Iran in contact with Iraqi sects
Amman, Jordan, Jun. 13 (UPI) -- An Iranian envoy said Sunday his government has been in contact with Iraqi sects, especially Shiites, and he promised to cooperate with the Iraqi government.
Iranian Ambassador to Jordan Mohammad Irani told reporters in Amman Tehran's contacts with Iraqi groups were to "exchange views on what is happening in Iraq."
He said Iran was not trying to impose its own views on its neighbor's religious or political groups.
Irani also said his government would cooperate with the new interim Iraqi government and urged it to hold free and transparent general elections.
He denied any cooperation between his country and the U.S. administration in Iraq and insisted Tehran is opposed to interference in Iraq's internal affairs, including interference from the United States or any other country.
The ambassador also blamed the United States for the deteriorating security conditions in Iraq, saying, "what is happening there is due to the wrong American policies in that country."
Why the world's eyes should be on Iran's nuclear programme
Telegraph - By Anton la Guardia
Jun 14, 2004
With Saddam Hussein gone, one could be forgiven for thinking that the world was finally done with the business of WMD and accusations of secret nuclear arsenals. But look at what is happening next door to Iraq, and the wranglings over Iran's nuclear programme are all too reminiscent of the 12 years of crisis that culminated with the war to topple Saddam.
Some of the personalities at the forefront of last year's Iraq saga - notably Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA) - have returned to centre-stage in the Iran nuclear affair. Mr ElBaradei's categorical assessment that Iraq's nuclear programme was dead and buried, and that intelligence on its revival was either faulty or fabricated, fell on deaf ears in Washington and London last year. In the case of Iran, however, Mr ElBaradei offers no such reassurance. The world should take note.
Reading the IAEA's reports on Iran in the past year, there are good reasons to fear that the mullahs, behind the guise of a civil nuclear power programme, are secretly trying to build an atomic bomb or at least develop a "just in time" capability to build one at short notice.
A nuclear Iran would precipitate a Middle East arms race that could prompt Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to secure their own nukes. Israel is unlikely to sit idly by while Iran arms itself with atomic weapons and long-range missiles.
As the IAEA's governors meet in Vienna this week to decide how to deal with Iran's latest evasions, Mr ElBaradei has told the Telegraph that Teheran keeps "changing its story". Despite good progress, the IAEA chief said inspections "cannot go on forever". Sound familiar?
By President George W Bush's own doctrine of the "axis of evil" - which asserts that the greatest danger to the world is posed by states developing WMD and supporting international terrorists - the first candidate for American "pre-emptive action" should have been Iran, not Iraq.
There is no doubt that Iran's nuclear facilities are much more advanced than Iraq's were last year. According to the IAEA, Iran lied systematically for 18 years. It secretly mastered the most sensitive techniques of enriching uranium and reprocessing plutonium - either of which provides a route to nuclear weapons.
It has bought equipment from the same "nuclear supermarket", operated by the Pakistani scientist AQ Khan, that provided uranium enrichment centrifuges for the Libyan and North Korean atomic weapons programmes.
There is also a much stronger terrorist connection to Iran than to Iraq.
Iran sponsors Palestinian extremist groups, as well as Lebanon's Hizbollah movement. Western intelligence agencies believe that at least some parts of the regime are harbouring some of Osama bin Laden's senior lieutenants, although Iran says al-Qa'eda figures that slipped into the country are all "under arrest".
Had America and Britain had even half of this evidence to pin on Saddam Hussein, they would have had no problem securing that elusive second United Nations resolution authorising war.
So will America go to war with Iran? Washington has not ruled out using force, and the idea of effecting "regime change" in Iran is attractive to many in Washington.
But the reality is that for the coming six to 12 months, President Bush has his hands full with fighting the insurgency in Iraq and overseeing the country's political transition. He does not want to stand for election in November as a warmonger. Having failed to find WMD in Iraq, Mr Bush will find it harder to argue for military action to stop Iran's nuclear programme.
For the moment, the Iranian question is being handled by diplomacy at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
In contrast with the bitter rows over Iraq, the "Big Three" of the European Union - Britain, France and Germany - have joined forces to exert pressure on Iran. Acting as the "good cop" to America's "bad cop", they have achieved some important successes - such as convincing Iran to agree to more intrusive inspections, suspend "temporarily" uranium enrichment and reveal at least some of its nuclear secrets. But it is not enough.
America has long demanded that Iran be referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. The Europeans would rather use the threat of referral to prod Iran along the road of co-operation. They believe that by maintaining international "consensus", the mullahs can be boxed in ever tighter - to the point where either they decide that pursuing a nuclear weapons option is too costly or the Iranians commit a breach so egregious that it will be easier to rally support for punitive action.
"Iran is a medium-term problem," said a senior British official. But this game of "strategic patience" rests on a key assumption: that Iran is still some years away from having an atomic bomb and that the nuclear programme is effectively frozen by the current inspections.
What if Iran has a secret enrichment programme that the IAEA has yet to detect? America, or Israel, could try to bomb Iran's nuclear infrastructure - assuming they know the location of any secret facilities.
Military action would be extremely risky. It could destabilise an already precarious situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq. It could deepen the war on terrorism, or suck America into an all-out war with Iran. It need not come to military action. The Europeans can do more to back up their tough words with credible threats of action. They should draw up a menu of EU sanctions that could be phased in if Iran does not comply with the IAEA by, say, September.
Iran also needs incentives if it is to give up the option of a deterrent against its many potential foes. If Teheran gives up its nuclear weapons aspirations permanently and submits to rigid international controls, it should be assured of technical assistance for developing nuclear power to generate electricity. Teheran could also be given a guarantee that it will not be attacked by the US.
America is ready to give such a security assurance to North Korea, and is negotiating with Pyongyang despite its open repudiation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. There is good reason for America to begin talking to Iran. It is now the most important regional power in the Gulf. By deploying troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq, America has become Iran's close neighbour - and hostile neighbours can make life hell.
Iran's Growing Nuclear Threat
June 13th, 2004
by Joe Mariani
For years, the Iranian government has been playing games with the world about its nuclear program, claiming that they were only interested in peaceful nuclear development. That lie is about to be disproved in the most terrible way possible -- by the emergence of Iran as a nuclear power.
For reference, ordinary natural uranium has an atomic weight of 238. Only .72 percent of naturally-occuring uranium consists of an unstable isotope with a weight of 235. Various complex methods can be used to separate the lighter uranium from the mix, but the most common is by gas centrifuge, of the sort that was found buried under a rosebush in Iraq. Highly-enriched uranium (HEU) contains more than 20 percent Uranium-235. Weapons-grade HEU consists of more than 90 percent pure U-235. A power-generating reactor can be fueled with lower grades of uranium; there is no need for HEU unless you want a sustained nuclear fission reaction -- in other words, a nuclear bomb.
After months of playing hide-and-seek with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has taken a hard-line stance against any restrictions on its nuclear program. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said, "Iran has a high technical capability and has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club. This is an irreversible path." The "nuclear club" consists of those countries that admit to having nuclear weapons -- the US, the UK, France, Russia, China, and most recently Pakistan and India. North Korea claims to have working nuclear weapons, but has not yet openly tested one, and Israel is suspected of having them. Libya was close to achieving nuclear capability, but Moammar Ghaddafi wisely gave up his ambitions in that direction after the US-led coalition removed Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq in March 2003. Though Iran claimed to have halted its uranium enrichment program, inspectors from the IAEA have repeatedly found traces of highly-enriched uranium at multiple sites in Iran.
Iran has been caught in lies regarding its nuclear weapons programs before, and has covered up very badly. When IAEA inspectors tried in May 2004 to visit suspicious sites they had seen only months earlier, they found that the sites themselves had vanished. The buildings that the inspectors believed contained working enrichment facilities were gone, and in their place were freshly-planted flowerbeds. The Iranians pretended that no buildings had ever been there, even when shown aerial and satellite photographs of the missing buildings. Now, they refuse to keep up even a weak pretense. What else could it mean but the imminence of their nuclear ambition being fulfilled?
A radical fundamentalist government which sponsors global terrorism gaining nuclear capability is a horror that cannot be allowed to happen. If terrorists are willing to blow themselves up in cars packed with explosives or strap on "bomb belts" in order to kill innocent civilians in restaurants and buses, why would they balk at using nuclear weapons in the same way? If they believe they will be rewarded in the afterlife for killing a few children on a schoolbus, what reward do they think they'll recieve for wiping an entire city off the map? It's no longer a matter of if, but when. If we allow Tehran to create nuclear weapons, how long will it be before we wake up to find that a nuclear bomb has destroyed a major city like Tel Aviv, Baghdad, Paris, New York, London or Washington DC? Every place on Earth that terrorists have struck, they would have attacked with nuclear weapons if it had been possible. Next time, it might be.
What can be done to stop this threat? If we think we have the time -- and that depends entirely on our intelligence services, which have not exactly had a good track record in the Middle East -- we can attempt to impose sanctions. Most of Iran's oil exports are shipped through the Straits of Hormuz, which can be blockaded with just a small percentage of America's naval force. With the bulk of its oil income halted, the Iranian economy would collapse, but not overnight. Will we have the determination to keep up the blockade long enough? Other oil-exporting nations would undoubtedly halt their exports to any participating nations, and gas and oil prices would rise higher than ever before. (One has to wonder whether this is why President Bush refuses to release oil from the nation's emergency reserve.) The only other option is to strike Iran's suspected nuclear facilities before they can enrich enough uranium to build a weapon, although knowing their locations depends on our intelligence services as well.
The only certainty either way is that the "mainstream" media, Democrats and Liberals would vilify President Bush even more than they already do, if that's even possible. One really has to wonder whose side they're on. Of course, they wouldn't be too kind to him if whole cities begin disappearing, either.
A frightening and thought-provoking article. Thanks for the ping.
The mullahs are just wasting time to finish their dirty business.
Thanks for the ping!
Mariani "gets it". Thanks, F14 Pilot!
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