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On Monday, Iran admitted that 37 tons of yellowcake uranium had been enriched into UF-4 – uranium hexafluoride gas, the form in which uranium is fed into centrifuges for further enrichment to weapons grade. Once fully enriched, this quantity of UF-4 would yield more than 200 pounds of weapons-grade uranium, enough for five simple gun-type atomic bombs.

According to Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Iran will start up the centrifuge farm at Nantanz if the discussions with the Europeans don’t promise to give the mullahs the right to “pursue the full fuel cycle ” – code language for the right to enrich uranium to weapons-grade or near-weapons grade.

So what then is the mullahs’ negotiating position? “Permit us to enrich uranium or we’ll break off the talks and enrich uranium.” It’s almost impossible to distinguish this from an ultimatum. Even more remarkably, the mullahs seem to be adding the caveat: “But it doesn’t really matter what you do, we’re cheating and enriching uranium anyway.”

Looked at cynically, we have to conclude that time benefits the mullahs. The longer the negotiations drag on, the more time the mullahs have to cheat. Sooner or later, they will have an atomic bomb, simply because we were gullible enough to think the mullahs took the process of negotiating as seriously as we do.

Iran is following the path laid out by North Korea. The goal is to get whatever assistance the world will give to develop nuclear power for “peaceful purposes.” Once the “point of no return” is reached and the country has everything necessary to make an atomic bomb with no further assistance, then the rogue regime can thumb its nose at the world. Since it is much more difficult to disarm a country that possesses nuclear weapons capability, the game depends upon the success of lying long enough to drag out the process until the point of no return is reached.

Israeli intelligence claims that Iran will reach the “point of no return” in June – one month from now. From then until the mullahs actually have a deliverable atomic weapon is anybody’s guess, from a matter of months to one year, to the end of the decade. Intelligence experts appear to disagree about how long this interval will take.

The experience with Kim Jong Il should have convinced even the liberals that the process of negotiating with rogue regimes is a fool’s game. Terrorists are patient. From 1993 and the first attack on the World Trade Center until 2001, most Americans assumed that the culprits had been caught and convicted, so we were safe.

Americans once again are tempted to go to sleep and assume that the war on terrorism has been won. We have not suffered another terrorist attack since 9-11. Besides, in recent weeks, we have seen a series of stunning successes in capturing wanted terrorist bad guys. Yet, the terrorists are patient. Does anyone who has seen the Minuteman films of illegal aliens pouring across our borders doubt that we again have terrorist sleeper cells in our midst? Right now, we can only hope the mullahs aren’t secretly gunning for an Atomic 9-11.

Over the weekend, the mainstream media carried reports that the screening devices in our nations ports were not sufficiently sophisticated to distinguish the natural radiation thrown off by a container of cat litter from a container loaded with a pre-fabricated improvised nuclear device, very possibly one made in Tehran and shipped through the Port of Newark in New Jersey.

We at the Iran Freedom Foundation are beginning the Iran Freedom Walk on May 16, only a few days from now. Over the next three weeks, we will walk the 200 miles between Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. Our purpose is to support the process of peaceful change, reaching out in solidarity to the opposition groups planning a Lebanon-style protest in the streets of Iran on June 17, the date of the country’s next scheduled presidential election.

The time is short. If we can raise enough money, we will broadcast the Iran Freedom Walk each day over the illegal satellite radio and TV broadcast from California into Iran. We have produced three commercials which are going to be translated into Farsi to be broadcast into Iran hundreds of time between now and next Monday, May 16.

We are praying that peaceful change can avoid a war. But the time is short. If the mullahs succeed in fooling the world and end up producing nuclear weapons, the world will be held hostage to their terrorist ambitions. Just take a close look at pages 240-241 of the 9-11 commission report. The subtitle of that section reads: “Assistance from Hezbollah and Iran to al-Qaida,” and the text explains how Hezbollah assisted al-Qaida to get the 9-11 terrorists into the United States through Iran.

Let us all hope we are wrong and that as long as we are negotiating with the lying mullahs, we are winning.

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