How to give sanctions a last chance....
Iran, for its part & utterly predictability, warns that sanctions impede negotiations. The mullahs also warn that Iranian missiles can strike every US Mideast base. This weekend negotiations "faltered," reports the NY Times, because--imagine this--Iran insists that its nuclear program remain inviolate.
Meawhile, Iran now has enough commerical-grade low-enriched uranium (LEU) to make five bombs; its 6.2 tons of LEU, if enriched to full 93.5 percent weapons grade high-enriched uranium (HEU), would yield about 150 lbs. of HEU, enough for 5 well-designed uranium bombs. Here is the May 25 ISIS report with their latest assessment of Iran's progress. At its new, deeply buried al-Fordo facility Iran is enriching uranium to 20 percent medical research grade, with 145 kg so far (close to enough for one uranium bomb), plus traces enriched to 27 percent--beyond even medical research purposes (possibly due to centrifuge startup kinks).
The NY Times article linked above--here is the link again, for reader convenience--puts matters neatly:
Iranian officials have been unclear about how much of the higher enriched uranium they want to produce. A Friday report by the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran had produced 145 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 20 percent, more than it ordered from Argentina in 1988, the last time it needed a stockpile for its medical reactor. In other words, it has already made enough to keep its reactor, which produces medical isotopes, running for another two decades. Iran’s insistence on producing more — though it has no reactor to burn the additional fuel — has increased suspicions about its intentions.
This May 22 AEI Critical Threats evaulation explains (see slides) why Iran could be anywhere from 42 days or 247 days (8 months) away from actually producing one nuclear bomb.
Commentary Blog assembles narrative and links on more evidence that iran's mullahs are irrevocably committed to developing nuclear weapons. Yet, as Bret Stephens notes, in agreeing to yet another round of talks the West likely will be gulled again by the mullahs:
This isn't the first time the West has hopped with excitement at the promise of a diplomatic breakthrough with Tehran. "Iran experts and regional analysts say . . . that Iran may finally be ready to make a deal." That was the analysis in the New York Times—in October 2009.
"European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana was optimistic Friday about progress in talks to persuade Iran to bring its nuclear program into line with international demands." That was from an Associated Press story from September 2006.
You can root around Google or Factiva and find similar sequences of headlines from other years: high hopes for a negotiated breakthrough, followed by Iran's rejection of a deal, followed by the agreement to meet again, followed by—you get the point. How many times can the West allow itself to be fleeced in this bazaar?
Iran's guess: plenty more. The regime's tactical gamble is that the Obama administration has its own reasons to drag out the talks at least through November's election. That's probably right.
Which is why Israel is increasingly likely to take military action, given the fecklessness of the US & Europe..
Bottom Line. Iran marches on, while the West dreams on. This is hardly a recpie for a happy ending.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, National Security, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Proliferation, WMD, Conservative Politics