So much for breathing space with Iran
The Post reports today:
In a six-month period between late 2009 and last spring, U.N. officials watched in amazement as Iran dismantled more than 10 percent of the Natanz plant's 9,000 centrifuge machines used to enrich uranium. Then, just as remarkably, hundreds of new machines arrived at the plant to replace the ones that were lost. . . .
Records of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog, show Iran struggling to cope with a major equipment failure just at the time its main uranium enrichment plant was under attack by a computer worm known as Stuxnet, according to Europe-based diplomats familiar with the records.
But the IAEA's files also show a feverish - and apparently successful - effort by Iranian scientists to contain the damage and replace broken parts, even while constrained by international sanctions banning Iran from purchasing nuclear equipment. An IAEA report due for release this month is expected to show steady or even slightly elevated production rates at the Natanz enrichment plant over the past year
In other words, neither the administration's touted sanctions nor a computer virus has slowed the Iranian regime's quest for nuclear weapons. For all the chest-puffing by the Obama team, sanctions have in fact not "worked."
The notion fanned by the administration that we, by virtue of sanctions and espionage (by unidentified players), had bought the West some time to defang the Revolutionary Islamic state's nuclear program turns out, like so much else with regard to Obama's foreign policy "successes," to be more spin than reality. (In this case, it seems to be all spin.)
I asked former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton this morning about this revelation and the president's newly-toughened rhetoric on Iran. The rhetoric didn't impress Bolton. He explains that the president's sterner rhetoric was "too little, too late" to be of much help to the Green Movement. He recalled, "The U.S. has a history of rhetorical support for opposition without material support that ends in tragic bloodshed (Hungary, 1956; Iraq, post-Desert Storm, 1991). U.S. policy should be regime change in Iran, with both overt and covert assistance to opposition groups willing to accept it."
Bolton had been skeptical of the impact of Stuxnet. He wryly reminds me, "I have been saying for some time that Mossad is an excellent intelligence agency but an even better propaganda agency." So what now? He says, "Stuxnet caused some minor delays to uranium enrichment program, but not nearly enough to change the basic calculus that, as the Obama administration itself said last spring, an Iranian crash program could produce a nuclear weapon in one year. That means there are still only two options: Let Iran get nuclear weapons or use preemptive military force."
Regime change, of course, would be a third option. But as a former official and Iran guru put it, "The problem is we are afraid to say we want regime change." And that, unfortunately, leaves us with the two options Bolton lays out.
Posted by: ConscientiousObjector1 | February 16, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: mfray | February 16, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 16, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: RitchieEmmons | February 16, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Natstural | February 16, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: abraham3 | February 16, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Shingo1 | February 16, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Shingo1 | February 16, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Shingo1 | February 16, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Shingo1 | February 16, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: abraham3 | February 16, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse