Iran Announces Uranium Enrichment

The Iranian government has announced that it now has enriched enough uranium to create a working reactor, a critical step towards enriching weapons-grade material. The Iranians now have at least 164 gas centrifuges in operation, presumably at their nuclear facility near Natanz, south of Tehran.

The Iranians are clearly on the technological track towards becoming a nuclear power, and it will be difficult to prevent them from doing so short of somehow managing to destroy their nuclear facilities – which are no doubt underneath a thick layer of concrete designed to foil conventional munitions. The US is planning on developing nuclear “bunker buster” bombs, but the political fallout from such an action would be dire. Our military options have never been very good for Iran, and short of a preemptive strike, there’s little we can do to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear status.

Diplomatic pressure has clearly failed, and Russia and China are unlikely to support any kind of sanctions regime. The use of “soft power” versus Ahmadi-Nejad’s iron fist is an exercise in futility. The most harshly-worded condemnation from the IAEA and the hapless Mohammad al-Baradei are unlikely to sway the ruling mullahs.

We can only hope that the Iranian regime falls organically, but that seems unlikely as the ruling cadre has tight control over the army and police, and the student revolutionary movement is too disorganized to offer an effective and realistic counter to the regime.

Our options keep dwindling, and time keeps running out. A nuclear-armed Iran would be a disaster for world peace, but unfortunately, it’s also becoming inevitable.

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