Monday, November 16, 2009

Another toothless ultimatum for Iran

An unnamed official with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, says that Iran will start up its previously undisclosed nuclear facility outside the holy city of Qom in 2011.  From Fox News:

Iranian technicians have moved highly sophisticated technical equipment into the uranium enrichment site in preparation for starting it up, the nuclear watchdog reported Monday.

The IAEA report offered no estimate of the new plant's capabilities but a senior international official familiar with the agency's work in Iran said that it appeared designed to produce about a ton of enriched uranium a year. That would be enough for a nuclear warhead but too little to fuel the nearly finished plant at the southern port of Bushehr and other civilian reactors Iran is planning to bring on line in the coming years. [snip]
President Barack Obama turned up the pressure Sunday by saying Iran is running out of time to agree a U.N.-brokered plan to ship its low-enriched enriched uranium out of the country to enrich it to a higher level. The West had hoped this plan would dramatically reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium and thwart any attempts to build nuclear weapons.
Running out of time?  Or what exactly?  Didn't we issue Iran an ultimatum back in September when Iran first disclosed the existence of the Qom facility?  And what about the ultimatum before that back in July?  When Iran issued its own plan for nuclear talks back in September, Michael Ledeen succinctly put the whole charade in perspective:
The seriousness of the West has been tested once again, and once again the West has chosen dishonor. Today that grand master of appeasement, Javier Solana, announced that Iran's proposal for broad talks has been accepted, and the State Department tells us that the talks will take place in December.

In other words, when we announced that we would give Iran until September to fish or cut bait on their nuclear program, it was a hoax. All we wanted — all the Obama administration has ever wanted — was the chance to sit down around a table with the Tehran tyrants. If you haven't actually read the Iranian letter, you should. To say that it is unresponsive to the endless ultimata issuing forth from the "Five plus One" (meaning France, Britain, Germany, China, and Russia, plus the United States), and all the leaks promising "tough sanctions" if the Iranians didn't actually take action to stop their nuclear program, would be a colossal understatement. It's pure pablum, unworthy of a smart sixth-grader. Five and a half pages of cliches and slogans without any real content.
When I wrote about the administration's plan to ship Iran's uranium to Russia for enrichment, it was clear to me that the only way that would ever happen is if Iran is able to buy low enriched uranium from somewhere else. Iran doesn't want uranium for medical purposes or for nuclear energy.  They want to build a nuclear weapon.  What is there to negotiate?

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