The Corner

Wmds: Iran

And while on the subject of WMDs, there’s more grim news here from Iran:

“International suspicion of Iran’s nuclear programme heightened yesterday when it was revealed that Tehran had obtained a blueprint showing how to build the core of a nuclear warhead. Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told diplomats that his inspectors had recently obtained documents from Tehran showing that the Iranians had been given various instructions on processing uranium hexafluoride gas and casting and enriching uranium. These had been obtained via the black market in nuclear technology headed by the disgraced Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan.”

The more I think about it, the more obvious it is that we are going to have to learn to live with the ghastly prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. The idea of ‘taking out’ Iran’s nuclear facilities is a fantasy, and it is a dangerous fantasy in that it is a substitute for real thought. Sanctions are unlikely to do much (who will support them?) and the long-waited Iranian revolution never quite seems to materialize. As a practical matter, of course, the real nightmare is not that Iran will start launching nuclear missiles at anyone (despite all the overheated rhetoric), but that elements in the regime will be tempted to hand over nuclear materials to terrorist groups who share their ideology but cannot be linked to any one state. Do that, and the usual rules of deterrence do not apply.

So, what to do?

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