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December 14, 2009
"Smoking gun" Iranian document proves military component to nuke program
The TimesOnline has obtained some documents, apparently smuggled out of Iran, that provide indisputable proof that the mullahs have been pursuing a two-track nuclear program since at least 2007, with the eventual goal of constructing a nuclear weapon.
The key is the Iranian's attempts to construct a "neutron initiator" - a necessity to start the chain reaction in the fissile material and explode the bomb. Intel analysts believe this is the last piece of the nuclear puzzle and that it is probably close to being a reality.
This is very, very bad. I won't say that Iran has duped western countries. The fact is, the US and others have fooled themselves. They substituted political calculation and wishful thinking for honest, hard headed, realistic analysis.
And the price we may pay for that stupidity could be incalculable.
Some details from ToL:
Confidential intelligence documents obtained by The Times show that Iran is working on testing a key final component of a nuclear bomb.
Yes, our "friends," the Pakistanis. There has always been a strong suspicion that the government was at least partially aware of scientist A.Q. Khan's nuclear black market. Khan has recently been released from house arrest and will never see the inside of a courtroom for his crimes - many of which may lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
The documents have been seen by intelligence agencies from several Western countries, including Britain. A senior A source at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that they had been passed to the UN's nuclear watchdog.
Couple this with the revelations about the secret enrichment facility near Qom, and the announced desire of Iran to construct 10 more enrichment plants and you have what any sane person would describe as a full blown nuclear crisis with Iran.
The article points out that there may be a "point of no return" reached by Iran in about 6 months. Once that neutron initiator is finished, all that would be needed for an Iranian bomb would be for them to upgrade their already low enriched uranium (about 4-5%) to highly enriched uranium (about 85%). The process to upgrade is the same as enriching low grade uranium; you simply spin the centrifuges for a longer period of time.
And the Israelis? They are up against a series of deadlines including the little talked about completion of the reactor at Bushehr and its capability to produce Plutonium. The problem is that once that reactor goes online, destroying it will send a deadly radioactive cloud over much of the Middle East - including Israel. Thankfully, the Russians have halted construction - temporarily. This gives the world a few extra months, although what good that is going to do in halting the Iranian drive for a nuclear weapon isn't apparent.
But the Obama administration appears ready to go through the motions of trying for another round of sanctions anyway. The only thing that can be said about this is that it will at least put most of the world on record as having opposed the Iranian drive for the bomb. Of course, this doesn't matter a fig to Israel. They are the ones in the crosshairs and will make their decision on bombing based on their own definition of national security.
The UN will take up the issue of sanctions later this week. Expect a lot of posturing but not much in the way of punitive sanctions. There just isn't a consensus on doing something drastic like cutting off the Iranian's refined petroleum imports, including gasoline. This means that even if another round is agreed to, they will be just as useless as the previous two rounds in getting Iran to halt its enrichment activities.
Somewhere in Israel, a clock is ticking down to zero. What will happen when that occurs is still anyone's guess.