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Preventing a Cascade of Instability

John on March 4, 2009 at 11:54 pm

A Presidential Study Group on deterring Iran’s nuclear ambitions released it’s nine page report Wednesday. You can download the report for free here. The big headline coming out of it is that Israel is still seriously considering a strike on Iran. That made the headlines in the Jerusalem Post. Beyond that, the general message is that time for diplomacy is running out and the US would be far more likely to succeed if China and Russia could be persuaded to back our efforts.

More interesting than the report itself was the press conference at which it was unveiled. Dr. William Schneider, a Reagan-era official, made two statements worth noting that don’t appear in the report itself. First he said that Iran presently had enough yellowcake (raw uranium) on hand to produce 50 nuclear weapons, albeit after much processing. Video of that statement is here (scroll in about 4 minutes).

The second statement isn’t in the video but was heard by a Fox News reported who was at the event:

Schneider said Iran has already “perfected the industrial aspects of enriching uranium,” and can easily develop a nuclear weapon long before 2014.

“The ability to go from low enriched uranium to highly enriched uranium, especially if [the Iranians] expand the number of centrifuges, would be a relatively brief period of time, perhaps a year or so, before they’d be able to produce a nuclear weapon,” Schneider said at the news conference. “So it’s not a long-distance kind of problem.”

Note that this is almost a direct contradiction to what the Secretary of Defense said last week:

They’re not close to a stockpile, they’re not close to a weapon at this point, and so there is some time.

If you’re wondering which way the wind is blowing on Iran, Hillary’s statements Wednesday might be a clue:

Missiles not only with a nuclear warhead but a conventional warhead or some other chemical, biological weapon could very well be in the hands of a regime like Iran’s, which we know will use whatever advantage they have to intimidate as far as they think their voice can reach…

Good for her. Now let’s hope Obama doesn’t go wobbly on us. The moment to stop this is at hand.

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Category: Foreign Affairs |

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