Crescendo: Iran's Frantic Race To Nuclear Arms
Significant events swirl around Iran. The pace of information is dizzying. But it is when you begin to feel dizziness coming on that bearings are most important. And the information can be found in almost innumerable places, including editorials, which these days can contain as much hard news as most news reports contain editorialized content.
Consider this opening from Investor's Business Daily's editorial from Thursday, September 10, Iran And The Khan Con.
"Iran is now either very near or in possession already of sufficient low-enriched uranium to produce one nuclear weapon, if the decision were made to further enrich it to weapons grade," Glyn Davies, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, told the IAEA's board of governors this week in Vienna.
That means, Davies added, that Iran is now "closer to a dangerous and destabilizing possible breakout capacity." And he expressed the U.S.' "serious concerns that Iran is deliberately attempting, at a minimum, to preserve a nuclear weapons option."Well, no kidding. Anyone not in a deep sleep for the last five years knows that. Yet Davies' statement gets reported as if it should be some kind of shock.
For a bit more, see also David Sanger's New York Times article from the day prior, "U.S. Says Iran Could Expedite Nuclear Bomb".
It may well be a shock to those reporting it. It should not be to you. Iran has been racing to enrich as much uranium within its borders as possible virtually unabated for years. That they most probably have enough low-enriched material to create one highly-enriched uranium device if they so choose only follows the course of logic, not bewilderment.
Be sure to note that the above read "uranium" and "within its borders." You can be assured that the tasked among America's (and Israel's) intelligence agencies are deeply concerned about "plutonium" Iran is engaged in attempting to produce "outside its borders." In, say, Syria.
The plutonium facility in Syria that Israel took out in an air raid was of North Korean design, and North Korean and Iranian scientists and military were killed along with Syrians in the strike. Any questions?
Now, with that mindset consider a report in the Jerusalem Post in which former US ambassador to the UN's IAEA nuclear watchdog agency, David Schulte, shares logic in saying that Syria likely has more than just the one nuclear facility Israel destroyed. And that, in turn , would also most probably mean that Iran is just as deeply entrenched in those facilities as well. This is their "beyond the eyes of the IAEA" farm team. Or was until Israel dragged the IAEA to a former plutonium reactor in the Syrian desert.
Syria may be operating more nuclear sites, apart from the reactor at Deir Azour which was bombed by Israel on September 6, 2007 in what came to be known as Operation Orchard, former US envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Gregory Schulte told Channel 10 Thursday evening. "I think there were other activities that gave us concern, that gave the IAEA concern... IAEA inspectors actually asked to go to a number of other sites, and the Syrians wouldn't let them go there; they claimed they were military sites. They claimed the uranium particles that the inspectors found at the destroyed reactor came from Israeli bombs," Schulte said.
Don't let the mention of uranium particles throw you in regards to the plutonium reactor. Uranium is the source fuel that is enriched into its plutonium by-product.
And what's the big deal, the layman observer may ask, between uranium and plutonium? Essentially, uranium is to plutonium as the Sundance Kid's dynamite is to plastic explosives. Smaller, much lighter amounts required for a 'bang' exponentially greater in scale. And with Iran's missile challenges, this is important to them.
But they can't do this with the IAEA crawling around from time to time. Sure, the IAEA isn't exactly the most motivated or capable lot. At least its leadership, that is. The inspectors are generally quite highly regarded and proficient. Those whom they report to? Not so much. The IAEA stands accused of hiding damning weapons research evidence under ElBaradei's charge recently.
So they are building in Syria. The destroyed plant there was ready to go online, which gave Israel the impetus to bomb it.
And Iran is attaining uranium under the radar from various places in Africa, and utilizing its newfound kinship with Hugo Chavez and Venezuela, among others. To get a grasp of that dynamic, consider the two important columns below by Claudia Rosett and Michael Ledeen, respectively.
Claudia Rosett: It Takes A Nuclear Village - Forbes
Michael Ledeen: The End of the World: Evidence of a Global Alliance - Faster, Please!
Those are just a few of the dots to connect, like stones across a stream to get you from one side to the next. Readers would do well to also consider the following, still very partial in scope.
IRANIAN NUCLEAR ADVANCE
US Envoy Says Iran Has Nearly Enough Low-Enriched Uranium for a Nuclear Weapon - Washington Post
Does the Obama Admin know what Venezuela is doing to assist Tehran's weapons programs? - Washington Post
Russia Rejects New Iran Sanctions - Wall Street Journal
Iran nuclear package 'not really responsive,' U.S. says - CNN Wire
Iran Urges Worldwide System to Eliminate Nukes; Plan Ignores Tehran's Enrichment Efforts - Washington Post
Iranian Nuclear Proposal Text (PDF) - Propublica
US rejects Iran nuclear proposals - BBC
There's so much more, such as the latest intrigue surrounding Israel's intervention of Russia's supply of anti-aircraft missile defense systems to Iran. The pace is becoming like an Olympic downhill skiing race at breakneck speeds.
The wind in your face is almost always the first thing felt before the storm.