Those in Congress who oppose U.S.-Iran negotiations to settle the nuclear issue essentially argue that Iran is untrustworthy and is simply trying to buy time in talks to build a nuclear bomb.
Anyone paying attention can see this is irrational. First of all, the consensus opinion in the U.S. intelligence community is that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and has not made the political decision to build a bomb. And despite all the hype about increased enrichment, according to U.N. and Israeli intelligence, Iran has been diverting much of its medium-enriched uranium to fuel rods and medical isotopes, a process which can’t be reversed if Tehran decides to break-out at a later date.
But here are two more little factoids that seem to puncture the hawkish opinion that Iran is really out to trick the international community and build a nuclear bomb after negotiations.
Reuters reports that the IAEA, the UN nuclear watch-dog that inspects Iran’s enrichment facilities, has found that Iran has essentially halted its nuclear enrichment capacity since Hassan Rouhani was elected president. For example, in the three month period prior to Rouhani’s inauguration, Iran installed more than 1,800 new centrifuges. In the three months since Rouhani came into office, they’ve installed only four.
And Laura Rosen cites a former U.S. official that worked on Iran issues in Obama’s first term as saying the deal proposed by Iran and scuttled at the last minute by France would have doubled the time it would take for Iran to “break-out.”
A former senior Obama Administration official told the House Foreign Affairs Committee today that the deal proposed to Iran by the P5+1 countries in Geneva last weekend would “double Iran’s breakout time.”
“That means it would take Iran twice as long” to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Colin Kahl told the committee. “That is meaningful. The deal puts firm restrictions on Iran building fuel assemblies for the Arak fuel reactor.” It would “increase the inspections regime. [It] serves US and Israeli interests.”
So as far as confidence building goes, one wonders how much more evidence the Iran hawks need. And then one remembers that he’s an idiot for asking such a question, since Iran hawks don’t care about evidence.