Monday, January 09, 2012

Iran inches closer; the U.S. does, too

The Iranian government has announced plans to start a second enrichment uranium plant before the end of this month. And as Voice of America reports, the U.S. government is ready to respond...but just not yet.
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Fereidoun Abbasi said late Saturday the injection of uranium gas into centrifuges at the Fordo enrichment facility will begin before February 1. Iran revealed the existence of the plant to the U.N. nuclear agency in 2009. It is located beneath a mountain near the Shi'ite holy city of Qom.

Western powers suspect Iran's enrichment activities are aimed at developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is designed only to generate electricity and material for medical research.

The United States and its ally Israel have not ruled out military action to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to the Jewish state's existence.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Iran's nuclear program has not progressed to the stage of building a nuclear bomb. But in an interview with U.S. television network CBS broadcast on Sunday, Panetta says that if Iranian leaders take that final step, the United States will stop them.
Echoing the Americans' concern that Iran is a legitimate threat to world peace, Canada's National Post notes that the Canadian prime minister also is talking tough.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the recent actions of the regime in Tehran illustrate Iran is the greatest threat to global security and that the country is not only looking to acquire nuclear weapons but possibly also use them.
Mr. Harper said Iran's musings in the past week to close the Strait of Hormuz - one of the busiest oil shipping routes in the world - reinforce the danger the country poses to the rest of the world.
"Iran is a very serious threat to international peace and security. In my judgment, it is the world's most serious threat to international peace and security," Mr. Harper said in an interview Thursday with Calgary radio station CHQR.
"This is a regime that wants to acquire nuclear weapons, it is clearly trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and it has indicated some desire to actually use nuclear weapons."
Press TV is under the control of the Iranian government. Needless to say, it sees comments from Western governments a bit differently.

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