The story of Pandora’s box is nothing more than a Greek myth, but a real life version with nuclear ramifications may be coming soon. With the major world powers intent on crafting a nuclear deal with Iran that would purportedly give everyone something—Iran gets a civilian nuclear program while the world gets safeguards against them building the bomb—Israel is warning that the deal could unleash the spread of nuclear weapons around the world.
Israel’s primary concern—and Iran’s primary demand in the nuclear talks—centers around Iran’s ability to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel. The West seems content to consider the peaceful states with such enrichment capacity as the model for Iran, but Israel is warning that North Korea and their slow-but-steady nuclear weapons program is more likely. And with rebellious Iran getting such a privilege of developing nuclear fuel, what would stop many more nations from demanding the same?
That’s the argument from Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz. In an op-ed for The Washington Post published on Saturday, Steinitz warned that even a reduced enrichment program would enable Iran to be just a year away from the fuel needed for a nuclear weapon at any time. If Iran is allowed to keep their current stockpile of nuclear fuel, that timeframe drops to six months. And that’s with a significant reduction by Iran of their enrichment capacity.
Quite simply, Steinitz argues that any enrichment ability gives Iran the potential to “break out” and build the bomb in the future. Moreover, he warns that if the West allows enrichment by Iran—despite Iran’s repeated violations of United Nations resolutions regarding their nuclear program—they will be unable to tell anyone else they can’t also have such a program.
“Inevitably, multiple countries, including some rogue states, would insist on their own enrichment facilities,” wrote Steinitz. Warning that could lead to the creation of numerous other states on the brink of nuclear weapons, Steinitz points out that eventually governmental or military conflicts would later lead to some nations crossing the nuclear threshold.
Forget dealing with a nuclear Iran, how about handling a dozen new nuclear-armed nations around the world?
Taking that warning from The Washington Post newspaper to the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to tell US President Barack Obama the same thing. According to Israel Hayom, Netanyahu wants the US to insist in the negotiations with Iran that Iran halt all nuclear enrichment.
Steinitz acknowledges that some nations have been able to have enrichment without going for the bomb, but he warned that Iran—which sponsors global terrorism and stirs up regional conflict—isn’t likely to keep their nuclear program peaceful.
So while the world powers may think that nuclear fuel production is harmless in and of itself, the consequences could prove to be devastating. After all, Pandora didn’t think opening her box would be such a big deal either.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, March 2, 2014)