The Real Danger of the Iran Deal

According to the treaty, Iran is being allowed to keep thousands of uranium-separation centrifuges. It doesn’t need to destroy them, just not use them to make bomb-grade material. Now the excuse that Iran needs its own enrichment capability to make reactor fuel (~4% enriched U-235) is clearly false. If all Iran wanted was reactor-grade material, it could easily buy it – at much lower cost than it can make it itself – from Russia or France. So the only purpose of having these centrifuges is to be able to make bomb-grade (~90% enriched) uranium.

Furthermore, the treaty allows Iran to stockpile reactor grade U-235. Once you have that, you have done more than three quarters of the work required to upgrade natural uranium (0.7% enriched) to bomb grade. It is true that the treaty limits Iran’s stockpile of reactor-grade material to 300 kg, and it would take about 600 kg of reactor grade feedstock to produce a bomb. So it might seem that that the Iranians will be kept about 300 kg short of what they need to make a weapon. However, if stored as uranium oxide, that amount of reactor fuel would occupy a volume of one cubic foot, and could easily be hidden in the trunk of a car. The treaty gives Iran 24 days’ notice before any inspection. Kept in the back of a couple of pickup trucks, enough reactor-grade fuel to make a nuclear arsenal could be spirited miles away from suspect location in 24 minutes.

Therefore, under the treaty Iran will be given the funds it needs to achieve strategic dominance over the region, making any effective action against it impossible. Furthermore, its purchases abroad will create a network of corporate vendors who would oppose any suggestion of such action, or even the reimposition of sanctions. While this is going on, Iran will also be using its centrifuges to create a stockpile of reactor-grade material that it will be able to rapidly turn into an atomic arsenal once its position is sufficiently impregnable.

The choice, then, before Congress is as follows: It can agree to Obama’s deal and provide the tribute needed to establish a nuclear-armed fanatical Islamist Persian Empire dominating a region containing 80 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Or, it can reject the deal, and tighten sanctions, with a goal of not only slowing the mullahs march of conquest, but of bringing down the regime and setting its subjects free.

Dr. Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Energy,  a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy, and the author of Energy Victory. The paperback edition of his latest book, "Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism" was recently published by Encounter Books.