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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.

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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.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Could This Be Iran's 'Nuclear Surprise?'

Reuters reports that Iran has made an announcement regarding their nuclear program: The Arak heavy-water reactor plant, is "operational."

Iran has completed a new phase in its Arak heavy-water reactor plant, a presidential official said on Saturday, referring to part of Iran's atomic program which the West fears is aimed at producing bombs.

The official said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would give a speech later in the day "announcing that the heavy-water project has become operational", southwest of the capital Tehran. The plant's plutonium by-product could be used to make atomic warheads.

Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to master technology to produce nuclear weapons. Iran, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, insists its aim is only for electricity.

A small group of correspondents from foreign news organizations were being taken with Iranian journalists to Arak to attend the president's speech.

A senior Iranian nuclear official earlier this week said Iran would start up the heavy-water production part of the project but not the reactor. He had said this part of the project was not a proliferation risk.

"The product of this project provides for cooling and depleting systems of the reactor, that can be used in various industries," the official had told Reuters.

He said heavy water had no military use so supervision by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was not obligatory.

One Western diplomat agreed that the heavy-water portion could not be diverted to military uses but said that such an announcement coming amid the current standoff over Iran's nuclear program would not be a constructive step.

The West's main concern is Iran's program for enriching uranium, a process that can be used to make fuel for nuclear power stations or material for bombs.

The U.N. Security Council has demanded Iran stop this work by August 31 or face possible sanctions.

In its reply to an incentives offer backed by six world powers aimed at encouraging Iran to halt enrichment, Iran hinted it might be ready to consider halting the work as a result of talks but not as a precondition, which the package proposed.

Just one more step in a long line where Iran continues its march towards being able to create nuclear weapons. And, of course, we're still being slapped int he face with defiance from Iran. While the incentive package looks good tothem (a mighty tasty carrot), Iran refuses to end its enrichment per the US offer, This is the first step in breaking the deal before the ball even gets rolling. And the US should maintain the stance that until it has stopped its enrichment, there will be no talks.

Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen. It should also be noted that as long as Iran has this up and running, they can put unenriched uranium into it to create weapons-grade plutonium. This removes th idea that if their enrichment facilities were hit that it ended Iran's nuclear program. Now that this is up and operational, targeting the enrichment facilities is virtually moot. (I say 'virtually' for the sole purpose that if the reactor is taken out, they would still have their enrichment facilities. A strike conducted to remove this facet from their program would mean that ALL enrichment sites--including their heavy water reactor--would have to be hit.

But regardles of that, this is simply more defiance from Iran. And after all that has been said and offered, you'd think that Iran would tone it down a little. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case. And it is running us directly on a path towards confrontation. This week, Israel announced that if they have to 'go it alone' against Iran, they would. This tells me two thigns. Either Olmert is trying to sound tough and brave to save his weakened position within the government, or that Israel is preparing a pre-emptive strike on Iran. And on any normal day, I would choose the latter, though now I'm not too sure.

Of course for Iran there is another option that I'm sure our intel experts have taken into account. Time is running out for them, and if they think they might heading towards a stand-off, where the possibility of the reactor becomes a target, they may be rushing ahead to get as much plutonium from the reactor as they can before the reactor becomes part of a target package. If that is the case, then they may have the technological know-how to construct a warhead. If this isn't Iran's predicted 'nuclear surprise' then a warhead using weapons-grade plutonium just might be.

Publius II


Blogger chad said...

Iran is insane, and they are obviously making weapons. I read that they have Russian scientists there! In any case, it's not pretty.


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