Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Crisis With Iran In The New Year

For more than three years, every quarterly International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran has contained details of various violations.

Usually the reports cite obstruction of inspector's visits, inconsistencies between official claims and the results of tests from samples taken from various facilities and other actions of non-compliance with international regulatory oversight.

The final assessment in each report, signed by IAEA Director-General, Mohamed Elbaradei absurdly concludes that the evidence does not demonstrate that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

However, the last IAEA update contained new information that has increased concern in the International community. The latest IAEA report indicates that as of last month, Iran had made 630 kilograms, or about 1,390 pounds, of low-enriched uranium. Many experts now say that this amount of enriched uranium is enough to build a bomb.

Meanwhile, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz can see a showdown between Iran and the West coming. He recently told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York; "Iran's nuclear program is proceeding like an express train. The diplomatic efforts to thwart Iran are like a slow train. If we cannot derail the Iranian train from the tracks, we are on the verge of a nuclear era that will totally alter the regional reality."

Indeed, the most up-to-date intelligence predictions by US nuclear experts is that by the end of 2009, Iran will have stocked enough weapons-grade fuel to build three nuclear bombs. The first will be ready for assembly by the time Barack Obama is sworn in as US president on January 20, 2009; the second shortly after Israel’s February 10, 2009 general election produces a new prime minister, and the third by the end of the year.

So, time is fast running out for the International community to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions. To do nothing, means taking a high risk security gamble that holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a nuclear capability can safely be ignored. However, a decision to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities means higher worldwide energy prices and another Middle East war.

The failure of international diplomacy and the speed in which Iran is enriching uranium are backing the President-elect into a very difficult corner. As a result, Barack Obama's first major foreign policy test will soon follow his January inauguration. A crisis with Iran is on the horizon for the next Administration early in the new year.

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