A new week, soon a new month and a new year, and the world still anxiously speculates on whether or not Israel will attack Iran; and firstly whether Iran will finally begin to come around to the West’s demands for it to halt its uranium enrichment. The rhetoric from the Iranian camp continues in the same arrogant and belligerent vain. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, said on Monday, “The Zionist regime doesn’t dare to attack Iran because it is currently in its weakest position.”
Be that truth or lies, Iran could certainly prevent an Israeli attack by agreeing to and sticking to stipulations drafted in Vienna, earlier in October, in which Iranian negotiators and Western diplomats agreed to export 70% of its enriched uranium stockpile, to Russia. If indeed Iran ships its uranium to the Russians, to be further enriched into metal fuel rods, it would show an adherence to the UN-drafted plan â€“ actually a step in the right direction.
Currently Iran is deciding whether to purchase fuel for its nuclear reactor and continue further enrichment, or selling its low-grade enriched Uranium, which it does not need, as sited in the new Vienna agreement. Mottaki said, “Iran’s legal peaceful nuclear activities will continue and this issue has nothing to do with supplying fuel for the Teheran reactor.”
Jerusalem officials say that it is far too early for rejoicing, because Iran has in the past talked about sending enriched uranium to Russia for processing, only to backtrack a short while later. What is there to make us think that Teheran can be trusted this time?
The amount of enriched uranium that Iran would be required to ship abroad – over 1,100 kilograms, exceeds the amount of fissile material needed to produce a bomb. On the other hand, though, the low grade of enrichment is an obstacle for Teheran’s alleged nuclear development race.
According to the size of the stockpile which Iran has actually declared, the US has estimated that Teheran could be able to produce a nuclear weapon between 2010 and 2015. Israel has independently come up with similar data.
The French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, told the Daily Telegraph on Monday that:
“There is the time that Israel will offer us before reacting, because Israel will react as soon as they know clearly that there is a threat. Israel will not tolerate an Iranian bomb. We know that, all of us, decrease the tension and solve the problem. Hopefully we are going to stop this race to a confrontation.”
With the looming threat of an Israeli attack and strong support from allied Western nations towards the Vienna Agreement, it will be interesting to see what a squirmish Iran, actually decides to do.