Commentary Magazine


Iran’s Centrifuges Head to the Bunker

In a further sign of Iran’s efforts to defend its nuclear program from the possibility of foreign attack, the regime announced today it is moving the devices that enrich uranium for nuclear fuel to an underground bunker near the holy city of Qom. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, moving centrifuges to Qom was a “further deviation” from several United Nations Security Council resolutions that called for Iran to suspend all enrichment-related activities.

Coming as it does after Iran’s announcement in June it plans to triple its capacity to enrich uranium, the move of the centrifuges is an indication of Tehran’s determination to go ahead with its nuclear project. Though it claims the project is intended for peaceful uses, the IAEA has noted in recent months that Tehran has been working on construction of a triggering device whose only purpose would be to set off a nuclear weapon as well as upgrading the quality of their centrifuges and their enrichment capacity.

For the last year and a half after the collapse of its attempt to “engage” Iran, the Obama administration has sought to build an international coalition that would isolate and sanction Iran so as to convince it to abandon its nuclear ambitions. The meager results of this diplomatic offensive have been so poor, they did not convince the Iranians they have little to fear from either the United States or the United Nations. And they have used each effort to re-start talks on the nuclear question — such as the latest one put forward by Russia last week — to spin out negotiations indefinitely while they continue to expand their efforts and get closer to their goal of a weapon.

The Iranians are already counting on the reluctance of either the United States or Israel to initiate hostilities to protect them against the possibility of an attack. The move of the centrifuges will make the already daunting task of eliminating Iran’s nuclear program by force even more difficult.

The bottom line is despite President Obama’s promise he will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, Iran is proceeding directly toward that end with little sign America is prepared to act to prevent this from happening. The ayatollahs seem to have come to the conclusion Obama’s America is a paper tiger they need not worry about. Whether or not they are right, with each new development in this story, it appears we are getting closer to the moment when Iran will become the latest and among the most dangerous members of the nuclear club.