We're all familar with the stall tactics used by Saddam Hussein in the years leading up to the recent invasion of Iraq by the United States and our allies. He played every trick in the book to slow down inspections, mislead investigators, lay false trails, and at the same time preserve either actual WMD, or the infrastructure needed to produce them.

So I wonder, is Iran playing a similar game? Obviously, no one is taking Iran's compliance with requests for documentation at face value -- not even the UN or the IAEA -- especially considering the rhetoric coming out of Tehran.

Basically, there are traces of highly-enriched, weapons-grade uranium on some equipment in Iran, and Iran says the equipment was contaminated when they bought it. What country did the equipment come from? Iran says it doesn't know, since it was bought through third-parties. (Un)fortunately, that pretty much blocks any attempt to verify Iran's claims.

The agency needs to match traces found inside Iran to isotope samples from the country the contaminated equipment came from as a way of testing the assertion that enrichment to weapons levels took place outside Iran. If the samples do not match, arguments by the United States and its allies that the high enrichment took place inside Iran as part of an arms program would be greatly strengthened.
Without knowing where the uranium supposedly came from, there's no way to verify that claim with actual data, and there's no way to demonstrate that the enrichment wasn't likely to have been done in Iran.

Dick Morris asks a sensible question: Why is this nation with among the world’s largest oil reserves seeking to develop nuclear power if not for a bomb? They don't need it for electrical power, since they've got enough oil to last them for centuries.

If Iran gets the bomb, do we seriously believe that the concept of deterrence will effectively preclude its use? What is to prevent the logic of the homicide/suicide bomber from functioning at the nation-state level? Is it beyond the realm of possibility that the Iranian ayatollahs might, indeed be willing to sacrifice the faithful in Tehran to obliterate the infidels in New York, London, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles?
Personally, I think that deterrence will be successful at preventing a nuclear holocaust, but I wouldn't be surprised if we're forced to prove our resolve by actually using a nuke or two in response to a threat of nuclear blackmail. Still, as Mr. Morris says, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that Iran will be willing to use nukes without warning -- although likely against Israel rather than America, for simple logistical reasons.
Iran yesterday defiantly showed off six of its new ballistic missiles daubed with anti-US and anti-Israel slogans in a move sure to reinforce international concern over the nature of its nuclear programme.
The Shehab-3, which means "meteor" in Farsi, underwent final tests this year and has a range of about 810 miles, putting Israel and US bases in the Gulf within striking distance. It is based on the North Korean No-Dong and Pakistani Ghauri-11 medium-range missiles.

Israel suspects Iran's theocratic leadership may be planning to arm the weapons eventually with nuclear warheads. Yesterday's show of military prowess will do nothing to dispel US and European suspicions that Iran has ambitions to build an atomic bomb.

If you're trying to convince your wary, worried enemies that you're not a threat, parading around ballistic missiles painted with prayers for their death isn't a good tactic.



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