01/31/2006: How do we know Iran has a nuclear program? Well, we looked at the receipts....
[Apologies to a stand-up comic (I think) whose name is escaping my rapidly failing memory. Incipient senility is a bitch sometimes.]
Via Polar Donkey we get a pointer a most excellent guest editorial at Informed Comment: Beeman Guest Editorial: US to Blame for Iranian Nuclear Program Go read it, but the bottom line is: if Iran has a nuclear program, it's because we set it up for them (granted, that was before the ayatollahs took over, back when our puppet was sitting his fat ass on the Peacock Throne). The same way we know that Saddam Hussein once had chemical weapons--because we sold them to him.
Professor Beeman also makes the point that the Iranian nuclear facilities aren't optimal for the production of nuclear weapons, unlike the nuclear facilities of a certain ally of ours:
As the late Tom Stauffer and I wrote in June, 2003, the Bushire (Bushehr) reactor--a "light water" reactor--does not produce weapons grade Plutonium. It produces Pu 240, Pu241 and Pu242. Although these isotopes could theoretically be weaponized, the process is extremely long and complicated, and also untried. To date no nuclear weapon has ever been produced with plutonium produced with the kind of reactor at Bushire. Moreover, the plant would have to be completely shut down to extract the fuel rods, making the process immediately open to detection and inspection. (The plant IS shut down to change the fuel rods, but only every 30-40 months to provide longer and better energy generation)A fascinating read; go check it out.
By contract, the Dimona reactor in Israel--a "heavy water" reactor--is an example of a reactor that is ideal for producing weapons fuel. It produces Pu239 and the fuel rods can be extracted "on the fly." without any need to shut down the plant or alter its operation. The fuel rods are exchanged every few weeks.
Len on 01.31.06 @ 11:44 AM CST