Once again we are reminded of the willful naivete that is such a major part of life and politics.
Here’s is a nice Who’s Who of people who assured us that Israel would not be attacked from Gaza once it retreated from there:
Rockets had already been falling on Israel from Gaza for years before the Disengagement. It was obvious that handing a huge victory to the terrorists would embolden them and encourage others to join them. How anyone in Israel could say otherwise is a mystery, even taking ideology into account.
Unfortunately, it is absurd to expect much contrition from people were so spectacularly wrong, in fact so spectacularly stupid, even though they were caught on video.
…Producing higher-grade enriched uranium marks a new and potentially dangerous turn in Tehran’s confrontation with the West over its nuclear ambitions.
….It means that Iran will be a significant step closer to possessing the raw material needed to build a nuclear bomb.
Indeed, Iran does not have the expertise to build the specialized fuel rods needed for the research reactor — only France and Argentina are expert at it — so the main consequence of Iran’s decision appears to be moving up the enrichment ladder. If Iran tried to fuel the reactor itself, absent international assistance, it would be risky to the reactor and for public safety, according to David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.
Albright said 70 percent of the work toward reaching weapons-grade uranium took place when Iran enriched uranium gas to 3.5 percent. Enriching it further to the 19.75 percent needed for the reactor is an additional “15 to 20 percent of the way there”.
Once the uranium is enriched above 20 percent, it is considered highly enriched uranium. The uranium would need to be enriched further, to 60 percent and then to 90 percent, before it could be used for a weapon. “The last two steps are not that big a deal,” Albright said. They could be accomplished, he said, at a relatively small facility within months.
U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis C. Blair told the House intelligence committee last week that “Iran has the scientific, the technical, the industrial capacity to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon in the next few years and eventually to produce a nuclear weapon. The central issue is a political decision by Iran to do so.”
The Iranian government took the dramatic action just one week after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared to open the door to new negotiations on fueling the research reactor. The IAEA, along with Russia, France and the United States, had offered to provide reactor fuel by using the bulk of the low-enriched uranium produced by Iran, but the negotiations broke down late last year. The countries made the gesture in hopes of reducing Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium — and because the fuel would be returned in metal alloy rods that could not be turned into weapons material.
What will it take for someone to stand up and stop Iran from getting the bomb?