“Nice Country, Vlad. Shame If Somethin’ Would happen To It.”


The news out of the Middle East, to put it in Lewis Carrol terms, is getting “curiouser and curiouser”.

The case for serious, united, international action against a country that is making North Korea look like an oasis of reason and restraint is unavoidably clear.

Iran built nuclear site shielded from air attack

TEHRAN, Iran – In an unusually frank disclosure, Iran‘s nuclear chief said Tuesday the country’s new uranium enrichment site was built for maximum protection from aerial attack: carved into a mountain and near a military compound of the powerful Revolutionary Guard.

Iran’s revelation that it covertly built a second uranium enrichment plant has raised international concerns that other secret nuclear sites might exist as well.

Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi’s statement came with a hard-line message ahead of crucial talks this week with the U.S. and other world powers — Iran will not give up its ability to produce nuclear fuel.

The details emerging about the secret site near the holy city of Qom have only heightened suspicions Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, despite repeated denials.

If you are keeping score at home, Iran has secretly built a nuclear facility into the side of a mountain, in back of a major military installation that is too small to do anything but enrich uranium for weaponizing purposes.

Suspicious?

As noted 20th Century philosopher Bugs Bunny would put it, “Ehhh. COULD be!”

It gets worse.

Pictures of the day: 28 September 2009

Iran's newly disclosed nuclear fuel facility near Qom, Iran, is pictured in this GeoEye satellite photograph

“This site is at the base of a mountain and was selected on purpose in a place that would be protected against aerial attack. That’s why the site was chosen adjacent to a military site,” Salehi said.

“It was intended to safeguard our nuclear facilities and reduce the cost of an active defense system. If we had chosen another site, we would have had to set up another aerial defense system.”

He said Iran is willing to have a general discussion about nuclear technology when it meets Thursday in Geneva with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. But he insisted Iran will not give up its “right” to uranium enrichment, which produces fuel that can be used for both nuclear energy or nuclear weapons.

The nuclear facility, named Meshkat or Lantern, is located next to a military compound of the Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s most powerful military force, equipped with an air defense system, Salehi said.

“This is a contingency plant. It is one of the pre-emptive measures aimed at protecting our nuclear technology and human work force. It is a small version of Natanz,” he said, referring to Iran’s other nuclear facility in central Iran.

“This is to show that the Islamic Republic of Iran won’t allow its nuclear activities to stop under any circumstances even for a moment.”

Pretty brash and bald faced stuff.

So how will the international community respond to this threat?

Israel has portrayed the latest disclosures as proof of its long-held assertion that Iran seeks nuclear weapons and is a strategic threat. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday that Israel is keeping all its options open, suggesting a pre-emptive military strike on nuclear facilities is still a possibility.

However, some Israeli analysts believe the disclosure of the new nuclear facility could actually put off an Israeli strike because it increases the chances the international community will impose harsher sanctions.

“If there ever was a thought of going with a military option, it’s been put off,” said Ephraim Kam, the deputy director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute of National Security Studies.

“Iran was caught lying again, it’s clearly moving toward becoming a nuclear power,” he said. “Now the Americans are better able to try to persuade the Europeans, and even the Russians, to go for tougher sanctions.”

“Sanctions! That’s it!

We’ll hit Iran in the pocketbook where it really hurts!”

Two questions.

Would even harsh sanctions deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons?

No.

To pretend that the leadership of Iran cares even the slightest bit for the economic well being of its citizens requires quite a bit of imagination, especially after the brutal repression of the so called “Green Uprising” following the fraudulent re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Grand Ayatollah Khameni and his associates are committed devotees of what has been called a death loving, apocalyptic cult that believes world war is the way to usher in their Muslim messiah.

They believe that all they have to do is hang in long enough to launch their kamakazie-like assault and trust the 12th Imam to take care of the rest.

Sanctions are only effective if a government actually cares about its people and wants to thrive and prosper in a secular sense.

Neither of these impulses fit the picture in Iran

Second question – Will harsh sanctions ever be realized?

No.

For two reasons.

Following each and every outrage perpetrated by the Iranian government a predictable pattern has emerged.

Israel threatens to take action.

The United States tells the Israelis to wait and let diplomacy work.

The UN Security Council takes up the idea of isolating or sanctioning Iran.

Russia and China promptly veto the motion.

Why Do Russia and China defend this rogue nation?

In China’s case – here’s your answer.

Chinese oil demand fueling Iranian defiance

Despite tough talk from Washington, China needs Iran’s oil too much

to support sanctions that might actually bite.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Don’t look for Iran to throw up the white flag anytime soon.

The Obama administration is scrambling to tighten trade sanctions against Iran after the disclosure last week that Tehran was hiding a heavily fortified facility that many believe is designed to make material for nuclear weapons.

But the kind of sanctions that would really hit Iran’s economy – sanctions against its energy industry – are thought to be off the table because China and other nations are too reliant on Iran’s oil.

“They look to Iran as a major source of future oil supplies,” said James Placke, a senior associate at Cambridge Energy Research Associates who specializes in the Middle East. “They’d have to go through a substantial policy reversal, and I’d be surprised if they did that.”

China looks to Iran as a major source of supply for their burgeoning energy needs.

And no doubt, Iran provides the oil at a Premium Customer Discount in return for their help with the UN Security Council.

Russia has more oil than it knows what to do with.

Why then, do they go to bat for the Mullahs?

Because the Mullahs have called off the Islamic terror attacks that were threatening to topple the Putin dominated government.

Less than five years ago, Muslim terrorists from Chechnya took over a school in Beslan in the North Caucasas Region of the Russian Federation.

Over 1,100 hostages were taken, including 777 school children.

334 people were massacred, including 186 students.

This was only one of a regular bombardment of Russia with increasingly bold and effective acts of terror.

From airliners blown up in flight, to massive casualties in apartment explosions in Moscow, the Putin government looked powerless to deal with the threat.

That is, until the Russians turned over a new leaf in diplomatic and military cooperation with – you guessed it – Iran.

It’s amazing how much peace one can buy with, oh, say, a nuclear power plant, or a state of the art air defense system or two.

Not to mention a reliable no vote on the UN Security Council.

In essence, the Russians are victims of the classic “protection racket”.

No doubt in the tradition of Don Corleone, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said,  “Nice country, you’ve got here Vlad. Too bad if somethin’ happened to it.”

Nothing personal. It’s just business.

And so the dithering continues.

Strongly worded statements of shock and dismay.

Offers of “meaningful dialogue”.

Meanwhile, the centrifuges keep churning away at Qom, and who knows where else in Iran.

The fact that immediate actions were not voted on in an emergency session of the Security Council is a pretty good indicator that sanctions will not even be given the chance to work.

The only possible road block between Iran and a nuclear weapon seems to be either Divine intervention, or a full blown assault by Israel.

Maybe it will be both.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
Prosperity within your palaces.” (Psalm 122:5-7)

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