Jul 10 2012

Iran and the bomb

Category: election 2012,Iran,Islam,Israel,national securityharmonicminer @ 4:20 pm

Iran is accelerating its uranium enrichment program.

A position paper obtained by The Times of Israel, understood to have been used by Iran’s negotiators at last week’s technical-level talks with the P5+1 powers in Istanbul, makes plain the Tehran regime’s unyielding rejection of international efforts to negotiate safeguards and restrictions that would prevent Iran attaining a nuclear weapons capability.

Far from indicating Iranian readiness for a suspension or scaling back of its nuclear program, indeed, the document, made available by an informed source on condition of anonymity, includes references to Iran’s expansion plans. “Facing constant threats, we need a back up facility to safeguard our enrichment activities,” it states at one point, when discussing the Fordow enrichment facility, the underground complex built beneath a mountain near Qom where Iran carries out its 20% uranium enrichment.

A later point, related to the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), refers to the need “for at least 4 other research reactors because of the territorial extent of Iran and the short lifetime of medical isotopes.” The next clause in the document declares an Iranian ambition “to sell fuel complexes to other countries.”

The position paper, dated July 3, first sets out Iran’s objectives in the diplomatic process — which include obtaining international recognition of what it claims are its rights to enrichment activities, and securing “total termination” of all sanctions against it. It then details Iran’s bitter response to proposals from the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) for a negotiated agreement, notably including rejection of the international demand that it shut down its enrichment facility at Fordow.

Israel’s ambassador to the US on the threat:

America is a very large country with very big military capabilities. It’s not threatened with destruction by Iran the same way that Israel is. Israel is a small country with limited capabilities, and we’re in Iran’s backyard, and the Iranian regime never misses an opportunity to say that its finest dream is to wipe Israel off the map. They said it just yesterday again. And so given our capabilities, our timetable is much more limited that the United States timetable is, and it’s not determined by the American elections. It’s not determined even by the tempo of the contacts with the Iranians that have been going on in various capitols. It’s determined by the degree to which the Iranians are progressing on the nuclear program, moving parts of that program into fortified underground bunkers. And those are the clocks that we are looking at, and they will determine our actions.

That sounds to me like Israel has some internal clock running, some point of no return where it will probably attack Iran.  I hope that point isn’t reached before the election of 2012 in the USA, which has the potential of changing everything about how the US and Israel cooperate in heading off an Iranian bomb.

I wish I was so sanguine about the prospects of Iran attacking the USA.  How hard would it be for Iran to put a bomb on board a ship of another registry and sail it into New York Harbor?  Would we even be able to be sure who did it?  What about six or seven ports at the same time, each destroyed by a bomb on board a ship of a different registry?  Again, how would we defend against this, and how would we even know who to retaliate against?

Not that retaliation would be much comfort after such a disastrous attack on the USA.