Eye on the ball

While the professional news media, the blogosphere, and much of the world remain distracted on hunting accidents and Danish cartoons, the major story of the day remains Iran’s progress in nuclear development:

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia and Iran will hold talks in Moscow on Monday on Russia’s offer to enrich uranium for Tehran, the Russian Embassy in the Iranian capital was quoted as saying Wednesday.

The Iranian government informed Russian officials about their intention to participate in the negotiations on Feb. 20 – four days later than originally planned, the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted an embassy official as saying.

“The Russian side has agreed to this,” the Russian diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Moscow has offered to host Iranian enrichment in Russia, where it would have better oversight – a proposal meant to ease an international standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program. The two sides had set Feb. 16 as a date for talks in Moscow.

But after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Iran to the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 4, Tehran suspended some cooperation with the U.N. watchdog agency and said it resumed small-scale enrichment of uranium – a process that some fear could lead to the production of nuclear bombs.On Monday, Tehran abruptly postponed the talks in Moscow, but a day later, officials in Iran said they had requested a new date: Monday.

Interfax quoted Russian Embassy official Vyacheslav Moshkalo as saying that the postponement had no particular significance and had been overblown by the media.

“I don’t see anything extraordinary in this delay,” Moshkalo said. “There was a lot of fuss about nothing.”

In Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it could not immediately confirm the date for the talks.

Bull Moose Marshall Wittman agrees:

The world will soon forget the Cheney hunting accident. Unfortunately, the Iranian Hitler making steady and uninterrupted progress toward the objective of obtaining a nuclear weapon which may long influence world history. However, it is perhaps asking too much of the media to focus on the fact that a terrorist state once again defied civilized nations in its effort to obtain weapons to intimidate the West and perhaps eliminate a nation.

Meanwhile, poster Trent Telenko of Winds of Change believes that Iran will test a nuclear weapon in one to six months:

Iran’s possession of at least a few crude but working nuclear weapons, awaiting only testing before more can be designed for delivery by ballistic missile, means that bombing alone cannot stop Iran from testing the nukes it already has. Bombing can at best delay Iran’s production of better nukes capable of delivery by the missiles it already has, again mostly courtesy of North Korea.

And we can’t be sure just how effective Iran’s nukes already are, because the Chinese and Pakistanis might have sold them designs for better weapons just as they sold designs for cruder and older designs.

Tom Holsinger contended that Iran would delay its first nuclear tests until it had backfilled a complete nuclear weapons production line, from unprocessed uranium, to fissionables being cooked at every stage, and to finished weapons-grade fissionables being fabricated into weapons. But Iran doesn’t have to wait that long. It would be prudent to do so, but it doesn’t have to wait if it already has some working nuclear weapons made with North Korean materials and assistance.

If Trent’s prediction proves correct, we may all regret having taken our eyes off the ball.

My previous posts on Iran:

The debate on Iran continues
The debate on Iran
Carrots, sticks, and Iran
The blogosphere on Iran
Options on Iran II
A sketch history of U. S. military bases in the Middle East: the Overthrow of Mossadegh
The game of rat and dragon
Are we already at war with Iran?
Options on Iran
Courting disaster

4 comments… add one
  • Trent is an alarmist. That does not necessarily mean he is wrong in this case, but he is more often wrong than right on his alarmist predictions. (I certainly hope he’s wrong.)

  • I agree with you, Jeff. I seem to recall his predicting an imminent invasion of Iran two years ago.

  • phil Link

    “While the professional news media, the blogosphere, and much of the world remain distracted on hunting accidents and Danish cartoons…”

    Indeed. What’s of note here is the inclusion of the blogosphere, after all one of the great features of the blogosphere has been its ability to bypass the professional news media gatekeepers. But I’ve been noticing recently that many of the blogs that I have been reading have become dominated by posts that simply follow the lead of the MSM. One of the complaints of the right-of-center blogosphere has been about how too many print and broadcast outlets follow the story agenda set by the New York Times, and yet too many blogs do the same thing. Blogs that fall into the trap of doing only “story of the day” commentary risk become indistinguishable from many other blogs doing the same thing as well as the MSM. Fortunately the blogosphere offers a rich variety to choose from. I recently discovered Eaglespeak (eaglespeak.blogspot.com) which focuses on maritime security issues particularly piracy.

  • Thanks for the tip, phil. I’ll check it out.

    Bloggers left and right pay a penalty for straying too far from the meme du jour. Bloggers (like me) who try to hew closely to real issues rather than going off after every snipe hunt rarely have high traffic.

    Thanks for dropping by.

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