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August 23, 2006
Dueling Nuclear Surprises

The Jerusalem Post hints that Iran will unveil a nuclear "surprise" in the next few weeks, but the Israelis may have beaten them to it. This comes as the fragile consensus at the UN Security Council on Iranian defiance appears to have unraveled:

A senior official in Teheran said Wednesday that in the next few days, a "surprise" was expected regarding Iran's nuclear program, Al-Jazeera reported.

Teheran's apparent refusal to suspend uranium enrichment set the stage for a showdown at the UN Security Council later this month.

Given the hype over the supposedly apocalyptic impact of August 22nd, it's difficult to get too excited over this latest assertion. The only surprise that Iran could possibly unveil is a functional nuclear device -- and many already figure they have at least a few. Perhaps the only way we could be surprised is if the Iranians renounce the uranium enrichment that has the UNSC threatening sanctions.

Or, it did have them threatening sanctions. As the Post reports, Russia and China have now backed away from their earlier support for sanctions. The pair have once again opted to trust in the sweet words of Ari Larijani and defied their own earlier votes to impose sanctions if the Iranians refused to stop their enrichment program. Now that the Iranians have countered with offers for more talks but insisting on continuing their program, the Russians and Chinese want to continue their appeasement.

However, the Israelis have the real nuclear surprise waiting for Iran. They have bought two nuclear-capable submarines from Germany, giving them a potential mobile platform for their own nuclear-tipped missiles:

WITH Iran confidently defying pressure to curb its nuclear programme, Israel has signed a contract with Germany to buy two more submarines capable of firing nuclear missiles, it emerged yesterday.

Israeli security sources said the submarines are needed to counter long-range threats from countries such as Iran, whose president has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map".

Israel has been expanding its military in the light of Iran's nuclear ambitions. It already has three Dolphin-class submarines which can fire nuclear missiles, but the newer models can remain submerged far longer.

One of the key issues with Israeli deterrence against Iranian aggression was its lack of ability to attack Iran directly. The new submarines solve that problem very nicely. The Israelis can easily sail the submarines through the Suez Canal and back up the Straits of Hormuz. From their the Israelis can easily sink Iranian shipping and destroy their ports -- or if Iran launches a missile at Tel Aviv, the Israelis can answer with multiple launches at Teheran and other strategic targets in Iran.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has shot off his mouth at every opportunity about the need to wipe Israel off the map. The Israelis took him at his word, even while other diplomats downplayed the significance of Ahmadinejad's rhetoric. Israel has now shown that they have the means to apply a little Mutually Assured Destruction, a capability that the mullahs have not taken into consideration until now.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 23, 2006 9:18 PM

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