Iran's Nuclear 'Trigger' Work May Confirm Worst Fears

A 2007 document may indicate Iran's direct pursuit of nuclear weapons

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Iran may be working towards a neutron initiator, the "trigger" for a nuclear weapon, reports the Times of London based on recovered documents dated 2007. If true, it would mean that, as of 2007, Iran was actively developing the potential for nuclear weaponry. As the U.S. and other nations strain to deter Iran from developing even medical-grade nuclear material, the news is a discouraging indicator of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

  • Dishonest Iran, Clumsy West The Times of London laments, "The discovery is an indictment both of Iran's duplicity and of the West's complacency. The Iranian regime has not been a monolithic force in the 30 years since the revolution. Western diplomats have had to make fine judgments as to whether the mullahs seek to spread Islamist revolution throughout the Middle East, or are more concerned to consolidate the country's status as a leading power in the region."
  • There's Your WMD The Washington Times shudders, "The Islamic republic has long argued that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes, but there is no peaceful use for the neutron initiator." They write, "The greatest national security challenge that will face the Obama administration is coming, and Mr. Obama will either shape events or be shaped by them. He said in Oslo that 'those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war.' However, the United States has been standing idle for years, and time is running out."
  • Iran Will Use Nukes as Shield The American Enterprise Institute's Danielle Pletka derides the argument for the containment, which suggests "that once it possesses such a weapon, Iran will neither use it nor share the technology. But there are few things Iran has not been willing to share, and it is certain to be tempted to use its nuclear weapons as a shield from behind which it can engage in adventurism in Lebanon, Iraq and Israel."
  • It's Now About Disarmament The Times of London's Amir Taheri writes, "If the leaked documents are authenticated, we must assume that the Islamic Republic has reached the 'threshold' and is beginning to cross it, albeit gingerly. As long as Iran was suspected of merely moving towards full nuclear status, the problem the international community faced was one of prevention. If Iran has crossed the threshold, the problem becomes one of nuclear disarmament." Taheri writes, "Unwilling to contemplate pre-emptive war, some may believe the only alternative is pre-emptive surrender. It is not. It is still possible to raise the cost of Iran's nuclear ambitions by fully applying" sanctions.
  • Iran's Growing Nuclear Expertise The Washington Post's Joby Warrick reports, "The internal documents and expert analysis point to a growing Iranian mastery of disciplines including uranium metallurgy, heavy-water production and the high-precision explosives used to trigger a nuclear detonation. Although U.S. spy agencies have thought that Iran's leaders halted research on nuclear warheads in 2003, European and Middle Eastern analysts point to evidence that Iran has continued to hone its skills, as recently as 2007."
  • Sanctions Won't Work The Guardian insists on diplomatic engagement, citing the Iranian regime's deep political struggles. "Engagement with the various power centres in Iran does not automatically entail support for a regime that suppresses domestic dissent. It could be used to widen the cracks. Smart engagement could have proved a lot smarter than the sanctions that are about to be unleashed on a battered and weary nation," they write. "As the regime sheds legitimacy, there is serious dissent among the conservative elites about the wisdom of continuing to back President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.