Monday, January 9, 2017

Another Parting Shot: Obama 'Gifts' Iran With Massive Uranium Shipment

Obama "Gifts" Iran With Massive Uranium Shipment From Russia Sufficient "For More Than 10 Nuclear Bombs"

In what amounts to an 11th hour "gift" by the outgoing Obama administration to Tehran's leadership to keep the country, which on Sunday was involved in yet another shooting incident with a US destroyer, content and compliant with Obama's landmark "Nuclear deal", the AP reported that Iran is to receive a huge shipment of natural uranium from Russia to compensate it for exporting tons of reactor coolant. The move was approved by the outgoing U.S. administration and other governments "seeking to keep Tehran committed to a landmark nuclear pact."

AP cites two senior diplomats who said that the transfer which was recently agreed by the U.S. and five other world powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, foresees delivery of 116 metric tons (nearly 130 tons) of natural uranium. U.N. Security Council approval is needed but a formality, considering five of those powers are permanent Security Council members, they said.
The swap is in compensation for the approximately 40 metric tons (44 tons) of heavy water exported by Iran to Russia since the nuclear agreement went into effect. Another 30 metric tons have gone to the U.S. and Oman.
While Uranium can be enriched to levels ranging from reactor fuel or medical and research purposes to the core of an atomic bomb, Iran has claimed it has no interest in such weapons and its activities are being closely monitored under the nuclear pact to make sure they remain peaceful. As we reported at the time, Tehran previously received a similar amount of natural uranium in 2015 as part of negotiations leading up to the nuclear deal, in a swap for enriched uranium it sent to Russia. But the new shipment will be the first such consignment since the deal came into force a year ago. 
The news comes ahead of a meeting in Vienna, where of representatives of Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany will review Iranian complaints that the U.S. was reneging on sanctions relief pledges included in the nuclear deal.

As AP adds, "the uranium agreement comes at a sensitive time. With the incoming U.S. administration and many U.S. lawmakers already skeptical of how effective the nuclear deal is in keeping Iran's nuclear program peaceful over the long term, they might view it as further evidence that Tehran is being given too many concessions."

The troubling part, if only for those who see Iran as hell bent on creating nucleaar weapons was noted by David Albright, whose Institute of Science and International Security often briefs U.S. lawmakers on Iran's nuclear program, says the shipment could be enriched to enough weapons-grade uranium for more than 10 simple nuclear bombs, "depending on the efficiency of the enrichment process and the design of the nuclear weapon."

While it remains to be seen if Trump will comment on the unexpected delivery, we are certain that Israel, and especially its embattled prime minister Netanyahu, will raise a substantial fuss over the renewed possibility of a nuclear-armed neighbor. Heavy water is used to cool a type of reactor that produces more plutonium than reactors cooled by light water. Like enriched uranium, plutonium can be turned into the fissile core of a nuclear weapon
The Obama administration says Iran's ballistic missile tests have not violated the nuclear agreement with Tehran, but Trump, who criticized the accord as "the worst deal ever negotiated", has said he would stop Iran's missile program.
"Those ballistic missiles, with a range of 1,250 miles, were designed to intimidate not only Israel ... but also intended to frighten Europe and someday maybe hit even the United States," he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC in March. "We're not going to let that happen."

So one hand, we have Obama desperate to salvage his diplomatic legacy (having already seen TPP implode and Obamacare starting the repeal proess), appeasing Iran in every possible way, even if it means further antagonizing Israel; on the other we have Iran taking advantage of Obama's weakness, and accelerating the ballistic weapons program which has been banned per the same treasury that Obama wants to see continue. Finally, throw in Trump and Netanyahu in the mix, and the future for US-Iranian relations after January 20 suddenly looks rather volatile.


Sam Y. said...

The first thing I thought about is that Israel will be taking out Iran's nuclear facilities sooner rather than later. Maybe as early as this spring? That event will trigger the Psalm 83 war with Israel's nearest neighbors...Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran. Of course, to no avail. It might be possible that this war could set up conditions for the rapture and 7 year tribulation. Maybe.

Scott said...

Thats a good point, unless its too late now...I hadn't thought of that point though,and it certainly is a possibility now, more than over the last 8 years