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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Obama lied. Will Israelis die?

On Friday, I reported that Israel would not bomb the Bushehr nuclear reactor or any other Iranian facility - for now - because the Obama administration had 'convinced' Israel that the Iranians will not have nuclear weapons for at least another twelve months. Gary Milhollin, the executive director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, writes that Obama (or his administration) lied. Iran's nuclear clock has not slowed (Hat Tip: Yochanan).
The clock is still ticking, vigorously. By the beginning of this year, Iran had produced enough low-enriched uranium to fuel two nuclear weapons if the uranium were further enriched to weapon-grade. By now, Iran has added almost enough of this low-enriched uranium to fuel a third weapon, and by the middle of next year (at the current production rate), it will probably produce enough to fuel a fourth. To make matters worse, in February, the Iran started to further enrich this uranium to a higher level, a level at which the Islamic Republic will have accomplished 90 percent of the work needed to raise its enrichment to weapon-grade. All this is happening at a time when Iran is successfully fielding ballistic missiles that can carry a nuclear payload far enough to reach Israel.

To allay fears about Iran's progress, the administration is claiming that it could take Tehran as much as a year to raise its low-enriched uranium to weapon-grade. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), while acknowledging that it could, indeed, take this long, says also that it could take as little as three months. Theoretical calculations based on Iran's known capacity support the IAEA's lower figure. There is also the risk that Iran has one or more secret centrifuge sites (it was caught building one recently). If even one such site exists, the administration's estimate -- based on the sites that we know exist -- becomes meaningless.

But why quibble about how long the final phase of bomb making might take? Instead, we should keep our eyes on the big fact here, which is that Iran is fast approaching the status of a "virtual" nuclear weapon state -- one with the ability to kick out UN inspectors and build a handful of nuclear warheads.
What could go wrong?


At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

12 months is not a long time

but carl, the leap between low level and weapons grade is huge


and lets be honest now

iran didnt do what iraq did

we arent talking one facility on the surface that can easily be bombed.

we arent talking one bombing run with a few bunker busters...we are talking all out war

and not all out war against an enemy who will bend over and hold their knees

this is indeed a big problem


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