Tuesday, September 21, 2004

So, how long before Israel conducts a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities in Bushehr, Natanz, Arak and/or Parchin? Learn the names and watch the recipe come together.
Iran today defied international calls for it to end fuel manufacture, announcing that it had begun preparing uranium ore for enrichment.

Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, said the country - which maintains it has no military ambitions for its nuclear programme - was converting 37 tonnes of raw yellowcake uranium into a state suitable for nuclear centrifuges.

"The tests have been successful, but these tests have to be continued using the rest of the material," he told reporters at the general conference of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog.

Iran had told the IAEA it intended to begin tests of its uranium conversion facilities, but today's announcement came less than 48 hours after the board of governors passed a resolution calling on Iran to halt all activities linked to enrichment. The US, the EU and Russia yesterday urged Tehran to comply with the demand.

Mohammad Khatami, Iran's reformist president, had earlier restated his country's opposition to calls to end enrichment, saying Iran was prepared to continue its nuclear programme either with or without international supervision.

His comments - an endorsement of Tehran's threat to pull out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty - indicated that reformers were as committed to pursuing a nuclear programme as hardliners.
Now fold in this from today's New York Times.
A final unpredictable factor in the discussions involves Israel, which some intelligence experts say would be willing to strike one or more Iranian weapons sites, as it did with the French-built nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981.

Israeli and American officials insist that the idea of a strike against Iranian sites is impractical. Nevertheless, some diplomats were rattled by a recent warning from Iran's defense minister, Vice Adm. Ali Shamkhani, that Iran would retaliate if Israel tried any such thing.
Next, add the following story from Ha'aretz. Mix well.
The United States will sell Israel 5,000 smart bombs for $319 million, according to a report made to Congress a few weeks ago.

The funding will come from the U.S. military aid to Israel [ed. -- so the US is giving the bombs to Israel, not "selling" them] . . .

Among the bombs the air force will get are 500 one-ton bunker busters that can penetrate two-meter-thick cement walls . . .

An unidentified senior Israeli security official said, "This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria," according to Reuters.
Finally, stir in some additional word from Reuters. Turn oven to 375 degrees.
Mounted on satellite-guided bombs, BLU-109s [aka bunker-busters] can be fired from F-15 or F-16 jets, U.S.-made aircraft in Israel's arsenal. This year Israel received the first of a fleet of 102 long-range F-16's from Washington, its main ally. "Israel very likely manufactures its own bunker busters, but they are not as robust as the 2,000-pound (910 kg) BLUs," Robert Hewson, editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, told Reuters.
If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake.

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