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November 15, 2006
Plutonium Found In Iran, And Everyone's Surprised?

The IAEA found traces of plutonium and enriched uranium in Iran, it stated yesterday, and also noted that the Iranians have not cooperated with nuclear inspectors. And in other breaking news, the sun will rise in the East this morning:

New traces of plutonium and enriched uranium — potential material for atomic warheads — have been found in a nuclear waste facility in Iran, a revelation that came Tuesday as the Iranian president boasted his country's nuclear fuel program will soon be completed.

Tuesday's IAEA report, prepared for next week's meeting of the agency's 35-nation board, did little to dispel concerns.

Beyond detailing the new plutonium and enriched uranium findings at a nuclear waste facility, it also faulted Tehran for lack of cooperation.

"The agency will remain unable to make further progress in its efforts to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran" without more cooperation from Tehran, the report said.

The U.S. ambassador to the
United Nations, John Bolton, said Ahmadinejad's comments and the IAEA's latest discoveries "both demonstrate the urgency for the Security Council to act on Iran."

"Sanctions are obviously the only means to get Iran's attention," Bolton said.

None of this comes as any surprise, does it? Is anyone shocked that Iran had traces of plutonium at its waste site? How many readers really thought that Iran was cooperating with the IAEA?

Iran wants to build nuclear weapons as well as nuclear power plants. No one has any doubts about this at all. However, we have to continually listen to UN officials tell us that it's raining while the Iranians p*** on our heads. The AP report contains exactly this kind of quote from one of its Turtle Bay sources. Both traces could be explained as byproducts of peaceful nuclear research, the unnamed UN official assured people. Just because the uranium was enriched to a higher level than needed for nuclear power generation doesn't necessarily mean that the Iranians were trying to make weapons-grade fissile material.

Don't believe me?

A senior U.N. official who was familiar with the report cautioned against reading too much into the findings of traces of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, saying Iran had explained both and they could plausibly be classified as byproducts of peaceful nuclear activities.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the report publicly, said that while the uranium traces were enriched to a higher level than needed to generate power, they were below weapons-grade.

We're playing games, folks. When the world gets serious about denying Iranians their weapons programs, then we'll see the West shut down Iranian economic contacts. Right now, all we see is that the US may have the will to face down Teheran, but Europe, Russia, and China have all decided to throw in the towel. Even the UK wants to hold talks with Ahmadinejad and the Guardian Council to discuss terms, rather than show some tenacity and demand sanctions for their continued defiance of the IAEA and the UN.

We know war is a bad option -- in fact, it would be a disastrous choice -- but economic isolation works. We need to rally the West and bully the East into a shutdown of the Iranian economy. The Iranian people already have made their displeasure known at the increased hardship this standoff has caused them; if we can completely cut them off, they may do more than just complain about it. That's why Ahmadinejad took pains to tell Iranians that they had almost completed their nuclear efforts, even though they haven't even produced enough reactor-grade uranium to start Bushehr. The mullahcracy wants to convince the populace that the standoff will be over soon.

That's a chink in the armor. Smart leaders would recognize it as such and press their economic advantage home. Unfortunately, we seem to have a shortage of those at the moment.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 15, 2006 4:50 AM

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» IAEA discovers traces of plutonium, enriched uranium in Iranian waste facility from Bill's Bites
Plutonium Found in Iran Waste Facility VIENNA, Austria -- International Atomic Energy experts have found unexplained plutonium and highly enriched uranium traces in a nuclear waste facility in Iran and have asked Tehran for an explanation, an IAEA repo... [Read More]

Tracked on November 15, 2006 11:13 AM


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