Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is Tehran deliberately inviting an air strike?

Iran has moved almost all its enriched uranium out of underground storage and into plain view. But why?

By Julian Borger
The Guardian

".....The move is risky because it involves shifting Iran's crown jewels, its 2-tonne LEU stockpile, from subterranean safety where it was invisible to Israeli air force targeteers, to a clearly defined location that might as well have a bullseye painted on the roof.

Why would a regime that is normally so paranoid about its LEU leave itself so vulnerable?.....

All three versions are all quite plausible, and they are all extremely dangerous. Israel may not be considering a strike imminently and appears content for the time being to explore how far sanctions will go, but that position may not last. The Israelis may consider 2010 a brief window of opportunity, following the exposure of the secret enrichment plant near Qom, and before Iran gets very far with the ten new ones it says it wants to build.

In this window, Israel may believe it has a unique chance to set back the Iranian programme several years by destroying its enriched uranium stockpile, particularly if Iran is running out of feedstock for its centrifuges.

True, the heavy steel cask containing the two tonnes of UF6 will be a hard nut to crack, but doable if large numbers of big bombs are dropped, or special forces are sent in to do the job...."

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