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The mullahs of Iran have given the E.U.-3 and the International Atomic Energy Agency their word that they will stop enriching uranium and, after negotiating back and forth for weeks, they are allowing for IAEA verification. That was the word at the end of November. So, we can all stop worrying, right?

Not so fast. Not even one month later, and the mullahs have created enough exceptions to fly a Shahab-3 through.

First, the Iranians insisted they needed to keep some 20 or 30 centrifuges running, for “research purposes,” of course. Besides, the centrifuges wouldn’t have any uranium in them, or if the centrifuges had some low-grade uranium in them, that would be the uranium already in the pipeline, not new uranium, just the old stuff already there. Not to worry, the IAEA could run cameras on a 24-hour basis to watch the centrifuges real-time, just to make sure nobody cheated. The IAEA bought it. Why not? Sounds fully verifiable, doesn’t it?

Sure, but what was the real point the Iranians were after. Intelligence specialists in the United States pointed out that our satellites are able to detect the unique sound centrifuges make. The Iranians needed to keep some centrifuges running, somewhere, somehow – just so they could keep the secret ones going, the ones they had always planned to keep running no matter what the agreement said, to enrich the uranium they hadn’t disclosed.

The “research” centrifuges would “mask” the signature whirring noise of the clandestine centrifuges and the Iranians would have an excuse to throw everybody off track. By the time the IAEA figured it out, a lot more uranium would be enriched to weapons grade. The whole proposition was an elaborate ploy and the E.U.-3 fell for it, along with the IAEA. The mullahs got proof once again that they are smarter than the E.U.-3 and the IAEA, something that as terrorists they pretty much started out believing.

The latest ploy came this week, when the Iranians told the IAEA that they had decided to continue UF4 production (uranium tetafluoride) until the end of February. UF4 is the precursor to uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the gas that is fed into the centrifuges which spin at supersonic speeds to purify the fuel that is used in peaceful power plants to the richer grade of uranium that is used in bombs.

Somehow, the Iranians didn’t feel like this exception violated the IAEA agreement reached at the end of November. Nobody said anything about UF4. What’s the problem? Since you can’t do anything harmful with UF4, there’s no problem if the Iranians produce some. The IAEA, you remember is watching the empty centrifuges with real-time television, so how could the mullahs cheat? They can’t, unless the take the UF4 over to the clandestine centrifuges whose sound is being masked by the empty ones being watched. Pretty clever, huh? The mullahs probably think so.

Then there’s the 37-ton exception. “What’s that?” we ask? The Iranians reminded the IAEA that before the November agreement was reached they were already enriching a disclosed 37-ton quantity of yellowcake uranium. The agreement talked about not enriching any new uranium, the Iranians argued. Nobody said anything about stopping the enrichment of what they already had. This, it turns out, is enough uranium to make five nuclear warheads. Sounds like enough to take out Israel, doesn’t it? Maybe there would be one or two weapons left to drop on some U.S. troops in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, maybe both.

The Iranians are playing the world for a fool. Ayatollah Khamenei last July told a group of mullahs meeting in Hamadan, west of Tehran, that, “We are at war with the enemy,” meaning the United States. “The central battlefield is Iraq.” Iran is funding insurgents right now to cross the border and destabilize Iraq before the scheduled January elections. “We must have two bombs ready to go in January,” the Ayatollah told the gathering in Hamadan, “or you are not Muslims.”

Well, these guys are Muslims, and from the sound of their threats, they may be only weeks, maybe only days, away from having an atomic bomb. What will the mad mullahs do when they get an atomic bomb? Probably, they will use it.

Terrorists don’t like to sit around to warehouse weapons. Terrorists like to use weapons before somebody comes along and takes them away from them.

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