Iran to continue uranium enrichment after nuke deal

Posted on May 17, 2010

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Myopic leaders the world over greeted with relief a deal struck between Turkey, Brazil, and Iran that would see Iran ship uranium to Turkey in exchange for fuel rods. Some think that this is a significant step in curbing Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions, but there’s only one problem – Iran will continue to enrich uranium, including production of 20% enriched uranium, despite the deal.

Iran will continue its uranium enrichment activities, including production of 20 percent enriched uranium, even after signing a nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil on Monday, a senior official told Reuters.”There is no relation between the swap deal and our enrichment activities … We will continue our 20 percent uranium enrichment work,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation.

Some are calling the nuclear deal a breakthrough, but it’s really a stalling maneuver. This lets Russia and China off the hook on supporting a new round of sanctions and allows the rest of the world to breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Look, they’re willing to make a deal! We have nothing to worry about!”

Meanwhile, the centrifuges will keep spinning and Iran will continue inching closer to getting a nuclear weapon. It doesn’t matter whether or not they get a launch vehicle capable of reaching the United States or even Europe. A nuclear Iran completely changes the game in the Middle East and constitutes an existential threat to Israel.

Many in the West are wise to the game being played here (including the United States and France) but it looks like we got out-gamed by Ahmadinejad on this one. No matter how much skepticism exists in Western capitals, the move is going to take some diplomatic pressure off of Iran and allow its allies on the Security Council to stall on punitive measures over its weapons program.

I’m no longer certain there is any scenario where Iran doesn’t get the bomb. The world community seems utterly reluctant to do anything about it, and the Obama administration seems perfectly comfortable with the idea of a nuclear Iran. I sincerely hope some kind of real breakthrough comes soon, because nukes in the hands of the Revolutionary Guard would represent a profound threat to world peace. Empty sanctions won’t do the trick, but military action is unwise as well. The world is in a bad place on this one.

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