William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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LET US NOT AVERT OUR EYES – AT 10:30 A.M. ET:  With all that's happening in the Mideast, and here, we tend to forget that the Iranian nuclear program can still, potentially, be the greatest threat we face.  The news on that front, is worrying.  From The Wall Street Journal:

Iran has finished installing nearly 3,000 nuclear-fuel production machines at its underground military facility near the holy city of Qom, providing Tehran the capability to double its production of medium-enriched uranium in the coming months, a new report said.

These advances, outlined in a report on Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, could allow Tehran's Islamist leaders to accumulate in as little as three to four months enough uranium enriched to 20% purity for one atomic weapon, according to nuclear experts.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cited this level of nuclear-fuel production by Tehran as the "red line" for when the Jewish state might launch military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. Iran was likely to amass this stockpile of fissile material by next summer, Mr. Netanyahu estimated in a September speech at the U.N.

The installation of the nearly 3,000 centrifuge machines at Qom could allow it to reach this point much quicker, experts say, if the machines there and at a second nuclear-fuel site at the city of Natanz are utilized.

"The number of centrifuges are steadily increasing, which diminishes the time for a breakout for a nuclear weapon in two ways," said Olli Heinonen, a former chief weapons inspector at the IAEA. "Iran's inventories will increase as well as its pace of production." Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and denies it is pursuing bomb production.

COMMENT:  Obama has reiterated his commitment not to allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon, although I wonder how we would know if they assemble one or two, or more, secretly.

There is a theory floating around that Obama is being supportive of Israel's attacks against Hamas, which is supported by Iran, to try to force Iran to the negotiating table in regard to its nuclear program.  It seems to me that's a false hope.  Nothing, in all the years of talks with Iran, has worked in slowing its drive toward nuclear weapons.  I'm afraid some very grave decisions must soon be made.

November 17, 2012