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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We Have Crossed The Rubicon

Drastic? Rash? I doubt it when you this story about Iran today:(Emphasis below is mine)

Iran's hard-line president said Tuesday that the country "has joined the club of nuclear countries" by successfully enriching uranium for the first time — a key process in what Iran maintains is a peaceful energy program.

The announcement from President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was certain to heighten international tensions surrounding Iran's nuclear program. The U.N. Security Council has demanded that Iran stop all enrichment by April 28 because of suspicions the program is designed to make nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad warned the West that trying to force it to abandon uranium enrichment would "cause an everlasting hatred in the hearts of Iranians."

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, was heading to Iran on Wednesday for talks aimed at resolving the standoff. The timing of the announcement suggested Iran wanted to present him with a fait accompli and argue that it cannot be expected to entirely give up a program showing progress.

Former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, a powerful member of Iran's ruling clerical regime, said the breakthrough means ElBaradei "faces new circumstances."

The White House, which is pressing for U.N. sanctions against Iran, said the enrichment claims "show that Iran is moving in the wrong direction."

"Defiant statements and actions only further isolate the regime from the rest of the world," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

Britain's Foreign Office issued a statement reiterating the U.N. call for a halt to enrichment work and warned that "if Iran does not comply, the Security Council will revisit the issue."

The Iranian enrichment announcement "is not particularly helpful," it said.

Uranium enrichment can produce either fuel for a nuclear energy reactor — as Iran says it seeks — or the material needed for an atomic warhead.

Tuesday's announcement does not mean Iran is immediately capable of doing either. So far it has succeeded only in getting a series of 164 centrifuges to work in the enrichment process. Thousands of centrifuges are needed for a workable program.

But successfully carrying out the highly complicated and delicate process even on a small scale would be a breakthrough, and Iran's nuclear chief said the program would be expanded to 3,000 centrifuges by the end of the year.

Ahmadinejad announced it at a nationally televised ceremony clearly aimed at drumming up popular Iranian support for the nuclear program. He addressed an audience that included top military commanders and clerics in an ornate hall in one of Iran's holiest cities, Mashhad. Before he spoke, screens on the stage showed footage of nuclear facilities and scientists at work.

"At this historic moment, with the blessings of God Almighty and the efforts made by our scientists, I declare here that the laboratory-scale nuclear fuel cycle has been completed and young scientists produced enriched uranium needed to the degree for nuclear power plants Sunday," Ahmadinejad said.

"I formally declare that Iran has joined the club of nuclear countries," he said. The crowd broke into cheers of "Allahu akbar," or "God is great."

As part of the ceremony, costumed dancers performed on the stage, holding aloft vials of raw uranium and also chanting "Allahu akbar."

Ahmadinejad said the West "has to respect Iran's right for nuclear energy."

He said Iran wanted to operate its nuclear program under supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency and within its rights and the regulations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

According to the IAEA, a total of 31 countries have nuclear power plants either in operation or under construction.

In Vienna, officials of the IAEA, whose inspectors are now in Iran, declined to comment on Ahmadinejad's announcement.

But a diplomat familiar with Tehran's enrichment program said it appeared to be accurate. He demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss information restricted to the agency.

Speaking before the president, Iran's nuclear chief — Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh — told the audience that Iran has produced 110 tons of uranium gas, the feedstock that is pumped into centrifuges for enrichment.

The amount is nearly twice the 60 tons that Iran said last year that it had produced — an amount that former U.N. nuclear inspector David Albright said would be enough to produce up to 20 nuclear bombs if Iran developed the capacity.

Aghazadeh also said a heavy water nuclear reactor, under construction near Arak in central Iran, will be completed by early 2009. The U.S. fears that the spent fuel from a heavy-water reactor can be reprocessed to extract plutonium for use in a bomb.

The IAEA is due to report to the U.N. Security Council on April 28 whether Iran has met its demand for a full halt to uranium enrichment. If Tehran fails to comply, the U.S. and Europe are pressing for sanctions against Iran, a step Russia and China have opposed.

Under the non-proliferation pact, nations without nuclear weapons pledge not to pursue them in exchange for a commitment by five nuclear-weapons states — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — to negotiate nuclear disarmament. The treaty guarantees countries that renounce nuclear weapons access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

North Korea withdrew from the treaty in 2003. Three countries have refused to join — India and Pakistan, which conducted rival nuclear tests in 1998, and Israel, which is widely believed to possess weapons.

Let me take this point by point that I made. Iran's announcement is a gauntlet thrown down. They want to paint the world into a corner to simply accept the fact that they have joined the "nuclear Club." This will not stand in the West, at all, as the United States and Great Britain displayed after the announcement. Can they drag the UN in the right direction? That remains to be seen, but things are not looking good. It is looking more like a repeat of Iraq. The problem is that at this point we are running out of time, and that is a precious commodity we ought not lose too much of.

The centrifuges are key to the whole announcement. They admitted that they did not have too many centrifuges right now, but they are now willing to ramp up the program. Actually, that is the wrong phrase. This is now a crash program. I said we do not have a lot of time, but neither does Iran. They know our patience is only going to hold out so long. So they are going to throw everything they can into getting the program up and running, and producing as much enriched uranium as they can.

The religious undertones of the announcement is nothing new. I reported back in December of 2005 that he sees himself as some sort of religious figure fulfilling prophecy. He has announced his intentions to unleash "holy fire" on Iran's enemies (read: Israel) to usher in the mahdi, or 12th Imam; effectively, the Islamic messiah. So, to have this inclusion in the news piece should only reinforce how much of a nut Ahmadinejad and the mullahs really are.

The uranium gas is also key to the story. It reinforces the fact that they did, indeed, have enough already for twenty bombs. Now, they have enough for another forty bombs. With their rhetoric, and their consitent challenges to the world community (and the West directly), it cannot be argued that they are not moving towards nuclear weapons. They have enough now, and the only thing they lack is the way to turn it into plutonium, and the ability to make the warhead; of course that is pure supposition. Nothing like that has been revealed, either through their direct use, or through a secondary party. But neither possibility can be ignored, at this point.

If you think I am worried, I can confirm that much for you. I am not stockpiling cans, and preparing for World War IV just yet, however, I am keeping a close eye on this. We can ill afford allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons, and now they are simply one step closer. The world must realize that, at this point in time, we have crossed the Rubicon. This is heading towards a confrontation, and it could be a potentially dangerous one when it commences.

The Bunny ;)


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