Editorials: Ad­dicted to ura­nium

Trump must re­sist Iran’s crav­ing for the stuff of nu­clear weapons

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY -

When gen­tle­men com­pete, they honor the rules of the game and ac­cept the ref­eree’s calls. But no one would mis­take the rulers of the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran for gen­tle­men, and their games­man­ship in pur­su­ing nu­clear weapons is deadly se­ri­ous. As the mullahs make a bid for more ura­nium, They have been called out for cheat­ing. The United States is obliged to with­hold ap­proval of a new sup­ply of the ra­dioac­tive ma­te­rial un­til the regime can prove its not up to mis­chief. Any­thing else is sim­ply tom­fool­ery.

Iran is said to be about to re­new a pe­ti­tion to im­port 950 tons of yel­low­cake, the raw ma­te­rial from which ura­nium is ex­tracted. The U.S. State Depart­ment has is­sued a per­func­tory state­ment ver­i­fy­ing con­form­ity, but Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son put his own, hard-boiled mark on the process: “The [nu­clear deal] fails to achieve the ob­jec­tive of a non­nu­clear Iran; it only de­lays their goal of be­com­ing a nu­clear state. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has no in­ten­tion of pass­ing the buck to a fu­ture ad­min­is­tra­tion on Iran.”

Given the mullahs’ his­tory of de­cep­tion, if Pres­i­dent Trump in­tends to re­trieve the buck that Barack Obama passed on as his legacy achieve­ment, he is en­ti­tled to as­sume Iran is guilty un­til the mullahs can prove other­wise.

Two prom­i­nent Ira­nian op­po­si­tion groups have charged that while the regime in­sists its nu­clear pro­gram is pro­gress­ing in strict com­pli­ance with its agreement, it is se­cretly play­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity like a vi­o­lin, con­duct­ing re­search into banned ac­tiv­i­ties that in­clude trig­gers for nu­clear bombs. The engi­neer­ing is be­ing con­ducted at a Parchin mil­i­tary fa­cil­ity, south of Tehran, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Coun­cil of Re­sis­tance of Iran (NCRI) and the Peo­ple’s Mu­ja­hed­din of Iran. The nu­clear deal made govern­ment mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tions off-lim­its for in­ter­na­tional in­spec­tors, leav­ing a gap­ing hole in any re­al­is­tic ef­fort to au­then­ti­cate Iran’s com­pli­ance with a 10-year de­lay in its nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

The re­sis­tance or­ga­ni­za­tions pro­vided satel­lite pho­to­graphs show­ing where the il­licit re­search is con­ducted within the mil­i­tary fa­cil­ity. “There is se­cret re­search to man­u­fac­ture the bomb and ba­si­cally cover up the real ac­tiv­i­ties of the Ira­nian regime,” says Alireza Jafrazadeh, the deputy di­rec­tor of the re­sis­tance group’s Washington of­fice. The Ira­nian re­sis­tance has been largely re­spon­si­ble for awakening the world to the dan­ger of Iran; dis­re­gard­ing this most re­cent rev­e­la­tion would be se­ri­ously un­wise.

The Iran deal en­ables the regime to pur­chase yel­low­cake to en­rich ura­nium for its own peace­ful pur­poses and to sell the sur­plus on the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, but the pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity sought now sug­gests that the regime may in­tend to hide some for ne­far­i­ous pur­poses. “Ve­to­ing Iran’s pro­posal to buy 950 tons of ura­nium yel­low­cake from Kaza­khstan should be a no-brainer,” says Sen. Marco Ru­bio, Florida Repub­li­can. “Iran does not need this nu­clear ma­te­rial, which far ex­ceeds its needs and could some­day be fur­ther en­riched for the pur­poses of nu­clear weapons.”

If Iran’s nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties smells like mack­erel left in the sun, rather than hold his nose Mr. Trump should block the yel­low­cake sale. The mullahs have demon­strated they will lie, cheat and steal to sat­isfy their nu­clear ad­dic­tion. By block­ing their bid for ura­nium, the pres­i­dent can demon­strate he won’t pass the buck to the mak­ers of the bomb.

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