US SENATOR MARK KIRK - FULL THROTTLE ON SANCTIONS In case you missed it, and you probably did, Iran is expected to clear an important nuclear hurdle by mid-2014 on its way to full weapons capability: "Iran is expected to achieve a critical capability
PoliticalNews.me - Aug 07,2013 - US SENATOR MARK KIRK - FULL THROTTLE ON SANCTIONS
CHICAGO TRIBUNE EDITORIAL
In case you missed it, and you probably did, Iran is expected to clear an important nuclear hurdle by mid-2014 on its way to full weapons capability: "Iran is expected to achieve a critical capability ... to produce sufficient weapon-grade uranium from its safeguarded stocks of low enriched uranium for a nuclear explosive, without being detected," the Institute for Science and International Security concluded this week.
We added the Italics, but if ISIS is right, Iran will soon be poised for what's known as a nuclear breakout. Tehran will able to enrich enough nuclear material to weapons grade without setting off alarms at the International Atomic Energy Agency.
For U.S. officials and their allies, who have spent the better part of a decade trying to jawbone Iran out of its nuclear ambitions, this would mean only one thing: Game, set, match to the mullahs.
The U.S. and its allies don't have much more time to stop Iran's rogue nuclear program by ratcheting up already stringent economic sanctions. Good news: On Wednesday, the U.S. House overwhelmingly approved a strong measure that aims to shut off Iran's oil exports, its economic lifeblood. If enforced — a big if — it could virtually shut down Iran's oil industry.
The Senate can and should strengthen that measure by adopting a plan co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois that would blacklist all Iranian exports, including oil. It would force the Tehran regime to make a stark choice, between nuclear weapons and economic collapse.
But the Obama administration wants to go slow. Iran's president-elect, Hasan Rouhani, is set to be inaugurated this weekend. He won a surprising victory in June as a relative "moderate" in a field of ultra hard-liners. Rouhani has raised hopes in the White House that Iran might soon get serious about negotiating.
So U.S. officials want to give Rouhani a chance to prove himself. In recent days, the administration has moved to ease sanctions on some humanitarian and medical aid, as a gesture of good will to Rouhani. Some House members had asked their leaders to delay a vote on the sanctions bill. Two problems:
◾Rouhani isn't a dew-eyed naif scattering rose petals to bring the U.S. to the table. He spent two years as the regime's top nuclear negotiator, and he once bragged that his relatively conciliatory stance was a clever gambit that allowed Iran to continue its nuclear program unimpeded. "We're not negotiating with folks who trained at the Harvard Negotiation Project," Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told The New York Times. Amen.
◾Rouhani doesn't run the country. His boss, the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, does. While inflation rages and unemployment spikes in Iran, Khamenei has shown no signs of veering from the nuclear path. A few months ago, he even challenged the notion that ordinary Iranians were suffering as the West has gradually tightened its economic tourniquet. He told visitors