Iran Goes All In

Rich Trzupek is a veteran environmental consultant and senior advisor to the Heartland Institute. He is the author of the new book Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry (Encounter Books).


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On the eve of international talks in Geneva about its nuclear program, Iran upped the ante once again on Sunday, declaring that it is now self-sufficient throughout the entire nuclear fuel cycle. “Today, we witnessed the shipment of the first domestically produced yellowcake … from Gachin mine to the Isfahan nuclear facility,” Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on state television on Sunday. Yellowcake is a uranium concentrate, the raw material that represents step one in a complex refining process in which fissionable U-235 is separated and concentrated from the more common, non-fissionable U-238. The ability to produce yellowcake internally means that Iran is no longer dependent on outside sources for any part of its nuclear production program. Thus the rogue Islamic state now has the infrastructure in place to produce low-grade refined uranium used in nuclear reactors and the high-grade (90%+ U-235) refined uranium used in weapons of mass destruction. Western nations hoped that Iran was running low on yellowcake, a claim Iran has denied, but this announcement would appear to make the issue moot. Most of Iran’s previous stock of yellowcake was obtained from South Africa by the Shah in pre-revolutionary Iran, although Western sources strongly suspect that China supplemented that inventory to some extent.

Clearly, the timing of this announcement is no coincidence. Iranian representatives will meet with delegations representing the so-called P5+1 nations today and tomorrow. The P5+1 nations are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was once again hopeful that the talks would bear fruit. “This is an opportunity for Iran to come to the table and discuss the matters that are of concern to the international community — first and foremost, their nuclear program,” she said. From the West’s perspective, this is an opportunity to wring some concessions and safeguards out of Iran before pushing for sanctions that could, if enforced, result in severe repercussions for Iran’s economy. For its part, in addition to the opportunity to engage in the usual saber-rattling of which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is so fond, the yellowcake announcement strengthened the Iranian hand as it prepared for this latest round of talks. Iran thus appears to be following the North Korean model of dealing with the West: threaten as much as you can, for the more that’s on the table, the less you have to give away — and besides, you know that you’ll be able to do whatever you want at the end of the day, anyway.

The ideal way to end the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions without resorting to a military strike is to continue to obstruct and delay the program, as the West works to destabilize the nation’s current regime at the same time. As former President George W. Bush has said, solving the Iran problem in a peaceful way is essentially a two track issue. On the one track, you have Iran’s timetable to build useable warheads, and on the other track, you have a timetable for regime change. The more you do to stretch out the former and accelerate the latter, the better chance you have to avoid a military confrontation.

As pathetically ineffective as the West’s history of imposing and sticking with meaningful sanctions to influence rogue regimes is, there is real opportunity in Iran. There are two areas in which Iran appears especially vulnerable: crude oil production and gasoline refining capacity. A detailed study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released earlier this year summarizes Iran’s weaknesses in these two areas.

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  • Farhad

    Hi
    Iran is standing there bear-handed to welcome your attacks???!!! If they have decided to go nuke , they have prepared to defend it as well. THe only way to go by Iran is to recognize it as a nuke state and make the necessary arrangement to embrace that country. U.S will not find a better friend than Iran in the world. See the Arabs how they are betraying U.S by funding Al-Qaeda while at the same time benefitting from U.S stupidity.

    • http://www.intellectualconservative.com Steven Laib

      Iran, which calls the United States the "great satan" and funds the shia terrorist group that the Saudis don't. Iran has imperialistic ambitions. It only accepts "friends" that it can use, or that it benefits from in the short term. Eventually China will have to deal with them if no one else does first. China is their helper right now, because it is in China's best interest to use them as a surrogate agains the rest of the world. But Iran will eventually become a danger to China as well as the rest of the region.

      Beware of people with messianic complexes and political power.

    • Matt

      "U.S will not find a better friend than Iran in the world"
      Under what rock have you just crawled from? Iran is under the control of fundamentist psychopaths hell bent on hastening the return of the 12th imam & who have stated publicly & often that their goal is the destruction of Israel, The USA & western civilization in general.
      You would'nt be practicing Taqiyya by any chance?

  • Matty

    The suggested solution of obstruction and delay may seem rosy if only looked at from an isolated perspective. While the Iranian nuclear program is being obstructed, other events worldwide or particularly on the Iranian side such as a technical breakthrough could change the circumstances. My judgment is that the Iranians, as they have announced as part of their 20-year plan, would like to have a nuclear program similar to that of Japan's. That is a peaceful program but ready to be weaponized if the republic is faced with sever threats.
    My thoughts: obstruction, delay, or physical intervention would not yield any profound result. In fact, this will further antagonize the republic. A fair regional management and engagement will gradually align Iranians with American interests. The current policies towards Iranian conundrum leads to a quagmire, in my perspective. At this point of history a respectful win-win situation should be perused. Also remember that other parties are benefitting from the current deadlock; therefore, a resolute will shall carry through an act of wisdom.

    • Chezwick_Mac

      MATTY: "A fair regional management and engagement will gradually align Iranians with American interests."

      RESPONSE: Pie-in-the-sky romanticism. Iran's Shia identity could make it a natural ally of the West against the Sunni Muslim world, but only in the event of an end to the mullah-ocracy. As things stand, the only "alignment" of American-Iranian interests possible is a US policy of abject appeasement.

      MATTY: "Also remember that other parties are benefitting from the current deadlock; therefore, a resolute will shall carry through an act of wisdom"

      RESPONSE: Might this be a cryptic reference to the Jewish state? Is Israel REALLY "benefiting" from the current deadlock?

      • Matty

        Realistically, Iran would not need to ally with the west against the Sunni Muslim world. Maybe you mean the Persian Gulf Arab states? Even in the case of Persian Gulf regional states, Iran already dominates with conventional methods. I really do not see a need for Iranians to take on the regional states in a company with the west. In fact, this would not be good for the US, for the Arab states, nor for Iran. You want to keep the region safe for it directly connects with the capital market. Actually, are we tempted much about getting physical?

        No, I did not try to encrypt my response. Please do not decipher. Since you were concern about Israel, yes it is logical for it to use the opportunity as well. The Jewish State has and will use the opportunity in cutting good deals over the latest American technology and aid. However, I really meant countries such as China, and Germany who have replaced other western states in their exports to Iran. Russia will also try to play Iran card with the US as in not delivering S300 defense systems to Iran in exchange of others, especially a seat on WTO.

  • Farhad

    Some times the wise approach is to cope with the realities on the ground and not try to alter it. Maybe it is the time for the U.S to adapt itself to the new rules and gradualy forget the days of monopoly. I think Iran and U.S will both arrrive in a good outcome of this battle soon or late. there are promising voices from inside Iran as well. Iran has come to the conclusion that its main enemies are Arabs and not the U.S . So in order to silence Arabs he has to come to terms with the U.S. Iran is waiting to see how U.S is outreaching to his legitimate demands.

  • suprkufrB

    Farhad:
    You just din't get it, do you? The most treacherous policy of Barak Hussein and Bush before him has been the failure of both to flatten iran back into the stone age. Iran makes no bones about it – its plan is to wipe every kufr from the face of the earth in order to establish a mind-numbing, backward stone age theocracy which would rule the world. We have every right to initiate preemptive action.

  • Farhad

    SuperkufrB
    So it is wise to coonvert to Islam to save yourself. Ha Ha Ha

  • SHmuelHaLevi

    Presently and in spite of a rather bothersome forest fire likely to have been started by islamic saboteurs, we are confident that Iran is on its way to meet a super worm that will not just drive their rather primitive 1470 RPS centrifugues into mechanical shock and self destruction. Iran will not be allowed to become a military nuclear power. They may assemble and arm a couple of nuclear devices, but that will be the last thing they will observe. No physical intervention needed…

  • DogWithoutSlippers

    Only Atomics will stop them!

  • USMCSniper

    Oh my, Farhad sounds like one of those Dhimmi "Useful Idiots" of Islam that doesn't realize that they don't want to be tolerant, they don't want allies, they don't want to assimilate, they want to change America to conform to Islam and Sharia law. Or maybe you just want no conflict and the alligator to eat you last. Muck the Fuzzlims! Kill 'em all, wrap 'em in their prayer rugs and put 'em all in piles, burn 'em all using pork grease for a starter, and let Allah sort 'em out. Oh deaaaarrr, I am just awful.

  • Matt

    The most prominent threat to world peace is ISLAM, a theology that at its core requires Israel’s destruction. The crux of the problem lies in the ambiguous manner in which too many western countries are reacting to this situation. ANY criticism of Islam is seen as bigotry & labeled as Islamophobia, As such, the west has failed to rationally respond to this growing threat to our democratic values. The truth is that Islam is intolerant, aggressively competitive, violent to the point of being barbaric & invented by a murderous psychopath who is viewed as the standard by which all men are to be judged. Talk about setting the bar low!
    “O Ye who believe! Murder those of the unbelievers…and let them find harshness in you.” [Koran, Repentance: 123]
    In simple terms, Islam has never & will never bring peace to any region of the world & the west is at war with Islam.

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