Christians United for Israel: A Setback on Iran

Might the Iranians simply be enriching uranium for a peaceful nuclear energy program? There is no logical reason for them to do so.

Brog-224-88new (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
As I listened to the news a few weeks ago, I heard something spectacular. The reporter stated that a new National Intelligence Estimate ("NIE") has concluded that Iran abandoned its nuclear arms program back in 2003. My heart almost burst with joy.  Finally, this horrible, genocidal threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb had been lifted. It sounded too good to be true. And it was too good to be true. The actual facts of the story had little relation to the headline. The NIE claims that Iran has abandoned its weaponization program. But weaponization is to a nuclear bomb what icing is to a cake. It's simply the finishing touch. Even if the icing has been put aside, the dough is already in the oven, and it's rising. When it comes to building a nuclear bomb, the hard part is obtaining a sufficient supply of enriched uranium. The enrichment process takes years of very complex, technical work. The far faster, easier part is "weaponization" -- building a nuclear bomb from that uranium. UN experts have estimated that once Iran has a sufficient supply of enriched uranium, the weaponization process would take only a few months. Thus even if the NIE is correct and there are many reasons to doubt that it doesn't mean that Iran has stopped its march towards a nuclear bomb. It simply means that Iran has decided to save the last step in the process for last. No matter what the status of the weaponization program, all observers agree that Iran is continuing its uranium enrichment program at a furious pace. The Iranians recently announced that they have 3,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges up and running. If the Iranians can keep these centrifuges running continuously, they could have enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon within a year.  This enrichment program is in clear violation of binding UN resolutions. Might the Iranians simply be enriching uranium for a peaceful nuclear energy program? There is no logical reason for them to do so. Russia has already agreed to supply Iran with all the fuel it needs for civilian nuclear energy. And the whole idea that Iran is interested in nuclear energy is absurd when you remember that it sits on one of the largest supplies of oil in the world. The most tragic aspect of this NIE is that it actually recognizes the value of international pressure in getting Iran to change its behavior. The NIE claims that Iran was responding to just such pressure when it abandoned the weaponization part of its program in 2003. Yet this report will make it far more difficult to organize effective international pressure in the future. Russia and China have always been reluctant to sanction Iran, and we've now handed them an excellent excuse to block the next round of economic sanctions. Rest assured that we in CUFI will not be fooled or deterred by the headlines about the NIE. We've read the rest of the story. And we're more worried now than ever. We intend to redouble our efforts to secure economic sanctions on Iran. This remains the only way short of war to avert a tragedy. For more of Brog's Blog, please visit Previous entries: Annapolis Arrives A Year to go? No picnics in Gaza Constant Vigilance The fate of the Sunday People