Iran Nuclear NewsEditorial: Iran buys itself time

Editorial: Iran buys itself time


Source: Boston

A deal on how to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities, for which negotiations have been extended to June 30, will mean nothing unless Iran’s cheating is dealt with.

Source: Boton

A deal on how to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities, for which negotiations have been extended to June 30, will mean nothing unless Iran’s cheating is dealt with.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says its inspectors are still barred from some of Iran’s military sites. Previously the agency has documented Iran’s work on projects such as fitting warheads to missiles.

Arms are not on the agenda, nor is Iran’s support for the government of Syria and terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Talks have mostly dealt with Iran’s ability to enrich the nuclear fuel uranium to a point where it could be made into a bomb.

In reports about the talks, we have seen almost nothing about an unusual reactor at Arak (supposedly in a state of suspended animation) capable of efficiently producing plutonium. That can be used in bomb making too.

The sticking points are how much enriched uranium Iran could make and how fast, and how fast the remaining economic sanctions would be lifted. Iran has 19,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium, about half of them active. The Western negotiating countries have boosted their proposed allowance and at last report were offering about 4,500.

It’s hard to imagine talks failing over a centrifuge quota. But after seeing President Obama abandon almost every goal (including an end to enrichment as demanded by the United Nations) except the ability to make any development of a bomb take at least a year — a weak goal indeed — Iran’s real decision-maker, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, may think he can get more.

Last week he posted a message on his website saying, “In the nuclear issue, America and colonial European countries got together and did their best to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees, but they could not do so — and they will not be able to do so.”

The best course for the U.S. is a strengthening of sanctions in advance to take effect if the talks fail, and to turn attention to Iran’s other capabilities. Obama will threaten a veto, but an increasingly exasperated Congress might be able to override it

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