Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Ticking Bomb - Iran's Nuclear Plans (Times of London Editorial)

By announcing that it has embarked on a process that will lead to uranium enrichment, and thus the material for an atomic arsenal, Iran has, in effect, said "no" to further cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Few now doubt that Iran has the facilities and the components to make nuclear weapons. European nations have realized that Tehran has taken advantage of their willingness to compromise in negotiations.

The regional and international implications of a nuclear Iran are profound and grave. It would be much tougher to deal with an actual nuclear power than an aspiring one. To put faith in moderates to act in a responsible fashion has not worked, and it is not clear whether, on this issue, they disagree with the hardliners. It is now time for the UN Security Council finally to address this matter and to make it clear what the sanctions will be if the IAEA ultimatum is disregarded. This may well, alas, be the very last chance left to prevent Iran from becoming a dangerous nuclear power.