Thursday, April 13, 2006

Years Away

According to the New York Times, Iran has a ways to go before they will have nuclear weapons.

Western nuclear analysts said yesterday that Tehran lacked the skills, materials and equipment to make good on its immediate nuclear ambitions, even as a senior Iranian official said Iran would defy international pressure and rapidly expand its ability to enrich uranium for fuel.

The official, Muhammad Saeedi, the deputy head of Iran’s atomic energy organization, said Iran would push quickly to put 54,000 centrifuges on line — a vast increase from the 164 the Iranians said Tuesday that they had used to enrich uranium to levels that could fuel a nuclear reactor.

Still, nuclear analysts called the claims exaggerated. They said nothing had changed to alter current estimates of when Iran might be able to make a single nuclear weapon, assuming that is its ultimate goal. The United States government has put that at 5 to 10 years, and some analysts have said it could come as late as 2020.

Well, that’s the good news. Right now the most Iran can do with their nuclear material is turn out glow-in-the-dark toys for Hallowe’en. The bad news is that the neocons are saying, “Why wait? Iran could blow us away in ten years, so why give them a decade to get their shit together and do it? Take them out now while we have the chance. Hey, we’re in the neighborhood; a little tactical strike from Iraq and Afghanistan would be a half-day hike.”

The problem with that is that these are the same folks who said that we would be in and out of Iraq in six weeks, we would be greeted as liberators with candy and flowers by the Iraqi populace, and that we would find all the WMD’s just like they said were there.

I’m waiting for someone to tell us that the smoking gun from Iran will be a mushroom cloud. Yeah, except this time it could be one of ours.