Thursday, April 24, 2014

Iran is Backing away from a Bomb

I long ago decided that Iran was going to make a nuclear bomb and we were going to have to live with it. But maybe not.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, confirmed last week that Iran had effectively eliminated that “second stage” of uranium enrichment, as required by the interim deal negotiated between Iran and the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China. And news reports over the weekend hinted that a second path to the bomb may be blocked as well. . . .

When Hassan Rouhani became president of Iran in June 2013, he stopped expanding Iran’s uranium enrichment capability. The interim deal the U.S. and other nations secured with Iran last November rolled it back, directly addressing Netanyahu’s main fear. Iran agreed not only to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent, but to get rid of all it had made.

That goal has now been effectively reached. The IAEA report last week confirms that Iran cut its stock of medium enriched uranium by three-quarters. It has completely diluted half its stock down to low enriched uranium, and it has converted half of the remaining amount into reactor fuel, all ahead of schedule. It would be extraordinarily difficult and time-consuming to reverse these processes.
In other words, the much derided interim agreement that Iran reached with the US and others seems to be working, and Iran really seems to be backing away from its bomb program. There is still a lot that could go wrong, and much of that depends on the murky politics of Iran's ruling clique. After all, Supreme Leader Khamenei has said several times that nuclear weapons are "un-Islamic" even while Iran seemed to be pursuing them with gusto, so there must be a lot to argue about even within the government.

If the government has changed its mind, I wonder why? Because of sanctions and isolation, or because many mullahs have decided that pushing ahead would lead to war? Was it the extended hand or the dagger behind our backs?


vanderwater said...

Iran is not backing away from a bomb. Iran has repeatedly ignored U.S. and United Nations demands to curtail the nuclear development needed to build weapons of mass destruction. Instead, Iran has been caught several times cheating or building secret nuclear sites. Iran’s Natanz and Fordow nuclear-fuel enrichment plants were both built in secret. In May 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency warned of Iranian efforts “involving the removal of the conventional high-explosive payload from the warhead of the Shahab-3 missile and replacing it with a spherical nuclear payload.”
Why would a country that is not trying to build a nuclear bomb even try to fit a nuclear payload onto a missile?

John said...

All of the above dates to well before the actions I was writing about. As I said, I have assumed for years that Iran as pursuing a bomb. But lately they are reversing course.