The big story today concerns the discovery of a what's described as a previously unknown and hidden Iranian nuclear site:
President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain blasted Iran's construction of a previously unacknowledged uranium enrichment facility and demanded Friday that Tehran immediately fulfill its obligations under international law or risk the imposition of harsh new sanctions.
"Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow," Obama said, detailing how the facility near Qom had been under construction for years without being disclosed, as required, to the International Atomic Energy Agency. "International law is not an empty promise."
The new Iranian plant, the country's second uranium enrichment facility, is believed by U.S. officials to be part of a broad effort by Iran's leadership to pursue the ability to build nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly denied having any such goal, insisting that its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity. U.S. officials said they believe the Qom plant is not yet operational but is intended to produce highly enriched uranium -- suitable for nuclear weapons -- and will be capable within months of producing enough material for at least one bomb per year.
In an early indication of Iran's reaction, President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad warned Western officials against pressing their case about the new enrichment plan during the upcoming talks.
"If I were [President] Obama's adviser, I would definitely advise him to refrain making this statement because it is definitely a mistake," Ahmedinejad told Time magazine Friday in an interview in New York that took place even as Obama was publicly revealing the plant's existence. "It would definitively be a mistake."
As far as I'm concerned, this is a huge non-story.
Anyone with an iota of common sense who's been following this knows that Iran has been pursuing its clandestine illegal nuclear weapons program for over a decade.
And this latest discovery is by no means the total story. This is just another one that leaked out.
We already know that Iran is working on perfecting nuclear weapons. The heavy water plant at Arak, which has no peace time applications proves this if nothing else does.
We also know (or we should) that we're not dealing with rational actors here.
And finally we know that after six years of going around and around with the mullahs, diplomacy and carrots are not going to work. Iran is an economic basket case, and if 'incentives' were going to do the trick, they already would have.
Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs have been quite clear on numerous occasions that they have no intention of even discussing their nuclear program any further. Why we refuse to take them at their word is a mystery.
The story goes on with quotes about the Western leaders resolve to *Hold. Iran. Accountable* but what that means exactly is anyone's guess.
If they're talking about UN sanctions, they might as well save their energy. Russia and China will veto anything substantive and violate any watered down sanctions that manage to be approved by the UN Security Council.
If the Western powers plan on implementing sanctions on their own, it gets even worse. Russia can ship to Iran overland or by water via the Caspian Sea, and even if Europe was inclined to cooperate, Russia has the ability to blackmail Europe because of their control of the energy pipelines coming from the East. And interdicting Iranian shipping via the Persian Gulf is going to involve the West instituting a naval blockade and stopping ships, something I doubt Obama or the other Western leaders have the will to do.
So the real story remains, what are we prepared to do the stop Iran from getting its hands on nuclear weapons? Will we go to war over it? Will we bomb the sites ourselves? Will we wait for the Israelis to get tired of waiting and take out the nuke sites for us?
Or will we just sit there and continue to vote "present"?
I guess we'll see.