Friday, October 16, 2009

Iran's Big Victory in Geneva

Update:  Iran's low enriched uranium supply contaminated?

A couple of weeks ago, John Bolton wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal detailing Iran's diplomatic victory in recent six-party talks in Geneva. He describes the "deal in principle" whereby, in brief, Iran will ship its low enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia for processing to high enriched uranium (HEU) needed for its research reactor (ostensibily to produce isotopes needed for medical procedures). In return, the U.S. will ensure that Iran has HEU for its medical needs.

Yes.  You got that right.  The U.S. is brokering a deal to provide enriched uranium to sponsor of terror, killer of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, Holocaust denier, Iran.  From the Washington Post:

"This is a real confidence-building measure," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities. "If they say they need it for medical purposes, we are offering it to them. If they accept it, it is LEU [low-enriched uranium] coming out. If they reject it, it is another data point that says, 'Look, these guys are not serious.' "

Enthusiastic (anonymous) advocates of this deal, explain to us simpletons, that once uranium is enriched and formed into fuel rods, it is safe from further enrichment.  Not true. Back to Bolton in the WSJ:
After Geneva, the administration misleadingly stated that once fashioned into fuel rods, the uranium involved could not be enriched further. This is flatly untrue. The 19.75% enriched uranium could be reconverted into uranium hexafluoride gas and quickly enriched to 90%. Iran could also "burn" its uranium fuel (including the Russian LEU available for the Bushehr reactor) and then chemically extract plutonium from the spent fuel to produce nuclear weapons.
In the interest of balance, there is an article today in World Politics Review by Kaveh Afrasiabi, an Iranian political science professor and author, refuting Ambassador Bolton's arguments.  Instead of giving you a comprehensive analysis of his points, I will just leave you with this snortworthy (borrowed that adjective from Michelle Malkin) tidbit:
Bolton's objections also ignore the protean value of confidence-building generated as a result of a successful good-faith negotiation, which could potentially culminate in a new multilateralization of nuclear cooperation with Iran.
Read it yourself if you want more.  I'm about to throw up.

Update: David Ignatius, at the Washington Post, reveals today that Iran may have been forced to send its LEU to Russia for enrichment due to contaminants in its supply, this from the October 8 issue of Nucleonics Weekly.  If true, this may be good news about the current state of Iran's nuclear program. Sadly, it will also make our President look more naive than ever.

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