Saturday, August 26, 2006

Iran inaugurates heavy water reactor

Oh joy. Just days from the deadline for Iran to stop enriching uranium, they fire up a reactor that produces plutonium as a reaction byproduct instead. Great. Now they can stop enriching uranium all they want; they can just churn out plutonium devices instead. Like that's so much better.

This has got to stop. Nobody, least of all Iran's regional neighbors, can afford a nuclear-armed Iran. The current regime compounds the problem, but there are too many factors that make a powerful Iran dangerous no matter what.

First, Iraq. The United States inadvertently did Iran a huge favor when it eliminated Saddam Hussein; we removed their biggest local military rival. Now the Iranians have a vested interest in making sure that Iraq remains unstable or, worse, falls under Iranian influence so that it can never again pose a serious military threat. A democratic, Westernized, and militarily powerful Iraq with the backing of the United States is the Iranian government's worst nightmare. Nuclear arms are a sure way to make sure Iraq remains cowed no matter what happens.

Second, Israel. Even without Ahmadinejad's standing threat to wipe Israel from the map, Iran has never been a friend to the only remotely Westernized state in the region, and never will be. A nuclear standoff there would be frightening, especially as it would be less likely to remain a standoff with the ayatollahs and their puppets in charge.

Third, Afghanistan. Much like Iraq, the Taliban was no friend to the Shi'ite Iranian government. The Iranians similarly have a vested interest in ensuring that Afghanistan never again presents a threat, which means that they exert destabilizing influence directly counter to Coalition and NATO objectives.

And we can't forget the direct enmity that the Iranians have for the United States. There's a reason the Swiss embassy handles all of our diplomatic business in Tehran, and it isn't because our own embassy staff is too busy enjoying the pleasures of the city's night life, if you know what I mean.

I just hope they realize that the more they do this, the more crosshairs military strategists paint on their facilities.

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