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Monday, November 25, 2013

The devil's in the details: Iran can keep building plutonium reactor after all

Remember how we were promised that Iran couldn't make progress on the plutonium reactor in Arak during the next six months? Well, not quite....
Sunday's agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program contains an apparent gap that could allow Tehran to build components off-site to install later in a nuclear reactor where it has promised to halt work, experts said.
They said any impact of the omission is likely to be small if Iran follows other undertakings in the interim accord, which is designed to restrain Tehran's nuclear program for six months in return for limited sanctions relief.
But the gap, which one diplomat described as a potential "loophole", could provide a test of Iran's intentions, and demonstrates how difficult it will be to reach a final deal to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff with the West once and for all.
In the deal, Iran agreed that it will "not make any further advances of its activities" at Arak, language that also covers its two big uranium enrichment plants, Fordow and Natanz.
Footnotes hammered out in the final hours of the talks set out a range of activities that would be forbidden at the reactor. For the half year covered by the agreement, Iran is barred from starting the reactor up, bringing fuel or heavy water to it, testing or producing more fuel for it, or installing any remaining components.
But no language explicitly prevents it from making components elsewhere, which could then be installed later.
Former chief UN nuclear inspector Olli Heinonen, now at Harvard university, said the measures were good, but could have been better: "I would have also included the manufacturing of key components," he told Reuters in an e-mail.
 And I'm sure that Iran has only the best of intentions.... /sarc.

Oh, and by the way, the agreement only covers the Iranian nuclear facilities that the West has discovered. If Iran has any secret facilities, they're not covered by this agreement either.

What could go wrong?

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At 9:42 PM, Blogger Smijj said...

Can anyone tell me exactly why this is being hailed as a good deal? I keep hearing from the beeb that this deal is going to save Israel, but I can't see how they think this will stop Iran.

Maybe it's just me, but I thought we'd realized that pandering to dictators' maniacal plans with pieces of paper as evidence of they're good intentions 60 years ago. Clearly idealism blinds them to historys wisdom.

You tell them they can't have them, and you threaten them. If they don't comply, you apply economic pressure, then military pressure until they surrender. You do not give them time to arm themselves or build a WMD.


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