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As for sanctions, prominent British commentator Con Coughlin reports in The Telegraph that China and Turkey are already helping Iran get around them. China is Iran’s biggest oil customer, and Coughlin cites Western security officials saying Chinese banks, instead of buying the oil directly, are now “using the money to buy goods on behalf of the Iranians and then shipping them to Iran.” Turkey, for its part—despite Obama’s praises of it as a great ally—has been helping Iran skirt the sanctions by gaining access to European trade and especially to German banks.
Another British paper, The Guardian, reports that U.S. officials themselves “are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran.”
Meanwhile AP reports on further, chilling operational advances by Iran. It cites “senior diplomats” who say:
Iran is poised to greatly expand uranium enrichment at a fortified underground bunker [i.e., Fordo] to a point that would boost how quickly it could make nuclear warheads….
…Tehran has put finishing touches for the installation of thousands of new-generation centrifuges at the cavernous facility—machines that can produce enriched uranium much more quickly and efficiently than its present machines.
The article also cites “diplomats accredited to the IAEA” who “expect little from [the agency’s] current visit” and “told the AP that—as before—Iran was refusing to allow the agency experts to visit Parchin, the suspected site of explosives testing for a nuclear weapon….”
This is, undoubtedly, some of what Defense Minister Barak has been talking about when he says the window is closing and time is running out.
The Obama administration thinks it has time and indeed seems more worried about the effects of an Israeli strike—particularly rising oil prices and economic disruptions in an election year—than about nukes in the hands of a fanatic, expansionist regime that has been employing international terror for over three decades.
Israel, for its part, seems near the end of its tether.
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