Enough For One Bomb
This morning the New York Times is reporting that, based on the information in the latest update from the IAEA, Iran has produced a quanitity of low enriched uranium that, with enrichment, could be turned into enough highly enriched uranium to make one nuclear weapon:
Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts analyzing the latest report from global atomic inspectors.
The figures detailing Iran’s progress were contained in a routine update on Wednesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been conducting inspections of the country’s main nuclear plant at Natanz. The report concluded that as of early this month, Iran had made 630 kilograms, or about 1,390 pounds, of low-enriched uranium.
Several experts said that was enough for a bomb, but they cautioned that the milestone was mostly symbolic, because Iran would have to take additional steps. Not only would it have to breach its international agreements and kick out the inspectors, but it would also have to further purify the fuel and put it into a warhead design — a technical advance that Western experts are unsure Iran has yet achieved.
The materials to make a bomb are the real stumbling block. Since the development of the very first nuclear weapon once a country had passed that threshold nothing has prevented any country that wanted to do so from developing a nuclear weapon.
Over the years I’ve posted extensively on this subject both here and at The Glittering Eye, so much that I don’t much feel like recapping it now. Suffice it so say that I think that the preponderance of the evidence suggests that either a) Iran is developing nuclear weapons or b) they want us (and their own people) to think that they are. I also don’t believe that we should attack Iran either preventively or even preemptively for the simple reason that it would be counterproductive, not accomplishing what we might wish to achieve and encouraging what we don’t want to happen.
This isn’t good news if not unexpected. President Bush and President Elect Obama have both said that a nuclear-armed Iran was “unacceptable”. I’m not sure what that means. I’d much rather that we prevented that prospect with non-military action than attempted to respond to the fact of it either with non-military or military action. Tick tock.