Cue freaking out about Iran’s nuclear program
Robert Dreyfuss over at The Nation offers some good perspective on the release of a new IAEA report on Iran:
The headlines are scary. "Iran ready to build nuclear weapon, analysts say," screams CNN. "Iran Has More Enriched Uranium Than Thought," shouts the New York Times. "Iran has enough uranium to make bomb," proclaims the Jerusalem Post.
Don't believe any of this nonsense.
What Iran has is one ton or so of low-enriched uranium. You can't build
a bomb with that. To do so, Iran would first have to re-enrich all of
it to weapons-grade uranium, which it isn't doing. Right now that
uranium is under lock and key, watched over by the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA). In order to enrich it, Iran would have to do so
right in front of the inspectors, who'd tell us all about it, or kick
the inspectors out and do it secretly. Either way, (a) we'd know about
it, and (b) it would still take Iran a long time, many months, if not a
year or two, and that's assuming that they do it right and that the
machines don't break down..
Buried in the Times story, but headlined elsewhere, is the news
that Mohammad ElBaradei, the IAEA chief, says that surprisingly Iran
has slowed, not accelerated, its program of enrichment lately, perhaps
as a sign to the Obama administration that it wants to talk. ElBaradei
called it a "political decision," meaning that it's not a technical
…The point is, there's plenty to time for Obama to work out a deal with
Iran, presumably one that would enlist Iran's help with Iraq and
Afghanistan, Hamas and Hezbollah, and other problems, including the
nuclear file, as part of a broad arrangement.