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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 10:54 AM
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Crisis Over Teheran's Alleged Nuclear Plans Nearing Climax
http://www.counterpunch.org/christison03082008.html


Crisis Over Teheran's Alleged Nuclear Plans Nearing Climax

March 8-9, 2008

Crisis Over Teheran's Alleged Nuclear Plans Nearing Climax
By BILL AND KATHY CHRISTISON

Time after time we have heard statements from Israeli officials, spokesmen of the Israel lobby in the U.S., and Israels supporters in Congress that Iran must never obtain nuclear weapons. On March 3, 2008, all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus nine of the ten non-permanent members approved a new round of sanctions against Iran. Chalk up the final vote of 14-0 with one abstention (the Muslim nation of Indonesia) as another victory at the U.N. for the Israel-U.S. partnership.

The spectacle of the five permanents in the antiquated Security Council hierarchy -- all of whom refuse to eliminate their own nuclear weapons -- adopting a double standard with respect to Iran does not, of course, raise more than a peep in the mainstream media of the U.S. Iran, a nation of proud people in a neighborhood of proud peoples, sees only absurdity in the discrimination against it when the nearby nations of India, Pakistan, and Israel have all developed their own nuclear weapons without the U.S. stopping them. Israels nuclear weapons program particularly sticks in the Iranian craw, because Iranians know that Israel, an enemy but a far smaller country, acquired nuclear weapons over 40 years ago, considerably earlier than either India or Pakistan. Most Iranians also know that Israel accomplished this only with public and/or private aid from the U.S. Its all seen as just one more example of the U.S. favoring Israel and picking on Iran.

The issue of the moment is not even actual production of nuclear weapons by Iran, but the enrichment of natural uranium so that it contains a higher percentage of one particular uranium isotope, U-235, than is found in nature when the ore called uranium is first mined. Such enrichment provides the single most-difficult-to-obtain product used in most nuclear weapons. (In the natural state, the raw ore contains other uranium isotopes as well, and usually has by volume less than one percent U-235. When concentrated to around three percent U-235, the product is widely used in common forms of nuclear power reactors. When concentrated to much higher levels -- 90 percent is the figure often cited -- the product becomes the weapons-grade material used in nuclear weapons. The equipment used in this enrichment process is not only complicated to build, manage and maintain; it also requires large amounts of electric power to operate. But all of this is within the capabilities of numerous nations and, probably increasingly, some subnational groups as well.)

Iran now possesses, has tested, and is using all the equipment required, and it has the necessary electric power, to produce enriched uranium. It claims it has already reached an enrichment level of around four percent U-235 in early tests. It also claims that it does not want nuclear weapons and will use the enriched uranium only to produce larger amounts of electric power for the nation in a series of nuclear power plants. But if one chooses to believe that Iran really wants nuclear weapons, another element comes into the equation: the ease with which an enrichment operation can be converted to produce weapons-grade uranium. Various Western experts commonly believe that if a nation or group is capable of going from less than one percent to a three or four percent enrichment level, then the technical difficulties of moving from three or four to 90 percent enrichment are not at all major.
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PDJane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:22 AM
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1. If Iran were going to build weapons,
They would have them by now. The technology is there: even the fuss about Nataanz is a tempest in a teapot. The biggest problem is that Iran insists on maintaining control of their own resources and choosing their own leaders. The US overthrew Mohammad Mossadegh and installed the Shah. When Iranians themselves overthrew the Shah, that's when they became an enemy. How DARE they decide to run their own country their own way. Ingrates!!!

Iran will stop being an enemy when the US stops making them an enemy.
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