June 4, 2006


The World vs. Iran (ELAINE SHANNON, 6/04/06, TIME)

Chalk up a diplomatic win for the White House. President Bush's surprise offer last week to talk to Tehran yielded breakthroughs that have momentarily quelled fears of U.S. military action against the Iranian regime. During a marathon meeting in Vienna with diplomats from the four other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, as well as Germany and the E.U. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice obtained an unprecedented commitment from Moscow and Beijing to support penalties in the Council if Iran refuses a package of political and economic incentives and continues nuclear activities that could enable it to build a Bomb. [...]

[F]or now the pressure on Iran from all sides is growing. An International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran's activities is expected next week, and Western diplomats tell TIME that it will include "potentially incriminating" details about traces of highly enriched uranium recently found by inspectors on equipment at the Lavisan-Shian military site. The find is significant not because of the residue--it isn't Bomb grade and may have been on the equipment when it was bought from renegade Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan...

Iran's nuclear ambition hits piggy banks (Iason Athanasiadis, June 5, 2006, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Threats of an international financial squeeze stemming from the showdown over Iran's nuclear program have sent Iranians scrambling to get their savings out of the country, or if that won't work, to convert them into gold.

An estimated $200 billion has left the country since last year's election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, accompanied by panic buying of gold. The Iranian stock exchange lost an estimated 20 percent of its value even as other bourses in the region rose.

"The most tangible effect of the threat of sanctions in the private sector is downsizing," said Farhad Sanadizadeh, a Tehran-based oil and gas consultant who has let 40 employees go in the past six months. "A lot of companies are not hiring new people and reducing their work force." [....]

"Stage by stage [the sanctions process] is starting, and it's all the fault of Ahmadinejad for insisting on us having a nuclear program," said Hamid Abedi, a 45-year-old furniture repairman who supplements his income by driving around in search of fares in the evenings.
"What's the point of us having nuclear energy if we're deprived of everything else?"

Only good relations with the U.S. and internal reform can save the Iranian economy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 4, 2006 11:09 PM

Well there is the military again raising flags about it's involvement. Those cunning devils are closer than we realize. Maybe even there, who knows?

The Times article is not wholly accurate. If they found traces of 'highly enriched' Uranium but it's not bomb grade? How do they conclude that? Highly enriched has crossed the threshold of atom separation into fusionable material. Uranium doesn't come with a Bomb Grade label.

At any rate, the situation is getting more interesting. You're probably right, Orrin, we seem to be winning at bit at a time.

Posted by: Tom Wall at June 5, 2006 12:46 AM

You are Satan and we will destroy you.

- Um, how about some economic incentives?

You are the decadent enemies of God and we will uproot you.

- We'll give you some incredibly good financial terms!

You deny the true religion and engage in immoral practices constantly. You deserve to be reduced to rubble.

- We'll even throw in whatever nuclear reactors you want--for peaceful purposes, of course--as long as we, well, um, you know, have some sort of monitoring rights....

It is God's will that the Glorious Islamic Democratic People's Republic be in charge of its own destiny. Who are you cockroaches to even hint otherwise?

- We are really trying to help out here. We'll give you all kinds of economic assistance to help out your citizenry, who, as you are well aware---let's be honest, here---aren't in such hot shape financially.

You have been waging war on Islam from time immemorial. Therefore, you will rot in hell, and we will help you get there.

- Really now, that wasn't helpful. Come on, tell us what we can do to um show you that we really do want to work this out.

You deceitful Zionist enablers will learn that you can't fool around with the true believers.

- Ah, yes, Israel, well what more can we do really? Come now. Let's approach this like adults.

We are not afraid of your threats. We will bury you.

- But we will give you access to our markets and tax-free status on trade!

Why do you insist on constantly insulting us--and all of Islam? You will deeply regret your patronizing, colonialist attitudinizing!

- We are truly very glad to be able to conduct this dialogue with you and we are certain that we can find a mutually acceptable solution.

We absolutely refuse to negotiate with you under pressure! And to show you how displeased we are, we will enrich some more uranium. Maybe then you will understand our grievances.

- We thank you for your patience. Are you sure there's nothing else we can give you?

We despise your pretentiousness. Why won't you negotiate with us in good faith?

- But we are, we are. Please understand our position!


Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 5, 2006 7:27 AM

Folks never talk tougher than when they're folding.

Posted by: oj at June 5, 2006 7:31 AM

Mr. Wall;

You need to enrich uranium to about 50% U-235 to get bomb grade material. You need it enriched to about 3% for reactor fuel. It wouldn't be completely off base to describe uranium enriched to something in the 4-49% range as "highly enriched but not bomb grade".

Note that the term "weapons grade" means 90+%, because you need that level of purity to make powerful weapons. 50% would be enough to make a low yield dirty weapon, but not an effective military weapon.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at June 5, 2006 9:08 AM

By dirty weapon do you mean one which will spread radiation but not do too much actual damage as in murder and mayhem?

Posted by: AOG at June 5, 2006 3:41 PM

Yes. If it's not sufficiently pure, the chain reaction doesn't proceed fast enough to complete before the critical mass is blown apart.

Also note that "not too much damage" is relative to what the same mass of weapons grade material would do. You still get a good sized boom from the bomb grade stuff.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at June 5, 2006 5:02 PM