Debate intensifies over Iran and their nuclear weapon program. President Obama has set a deadline for negotiation, but seems no closer to resolving the diplomatic gridlock that has perpetuated for so long.
The Iranian regime obstinately refuses to compromise their quest for nuclear energy, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has the support of key political forces in this respect. He still denies that his state is seeking nuclear weapons. Should we believe him?
Russia, China and North Korea have collectively provided Iran with the missile technology capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. The BBC reports on recent missile tests, that simply confirm the sanctions from the US and EU have so far been ineffective.
Experts also claim that the Natanz enrichment facility in Iran could create enough weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb by 2010 – roughly in line with the National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) released by the US government in November 2007.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms that they have enough low-enriched uranium now to begin this process. Although they maintain that Iran have not siphoned off any material without their knowledge, they have been misled in the past. Until recently, the IAEA were underestimating the amount of low-enriched uranium that Iran possessed.
Iran’s denials should therefore be treated with some contempt. The September 2008 report from the IAEA described the extent of their non-compliance with nuclear inspectors, including but not limited to: refusal to give answers, documents, access to individuals, and to address issues relating specifically to activities linked to the development of nuclear weapons. They’ve improved recently, but not much.
Economists note the unsustainability of nuclear energy in Iran, which make claims that the enrichment is for commercial use entirely unconvincing. To provide perspective: a 1,300-stage facility being built in Ohio is designed for enrichment to the 10% level suitable for power generation and costs about $1.7 billion. The gas centrifuge facility at Natanz in Iran, if carried through to completion, would hold 50,000 centrifuges and be capable of enrichment suitable for weapons beyond 90%, with costs in the neighbourhood of $10 billion. That just doesn’t make any sense.
Furthermore, Iran redundantly pursues both a heavy water program (which allows nuclear energy without enriched uranium) and a gas centrifuge enrichment program (which turns natural uranium into enriched uranium, appropriate for nuclear energy without heavy water). Iran claims that it uses the heavy water for medical research, but clearly is producing more than it could ever need at a higher cost than the price of importing.
If Iran’s nuclear amibitions are solely for the purposes of energy creation, these parallel programs constitute an expensive redundancy. There is only one rational explanation: Iran intends to use the heavy water to turn Uranium into Plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.
© The Free Marketeer 2009