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Asia Times Online :: Middle East News - Ties on Iran's nuclear program loosen
It's a tough pill for Washington and its European allies to swallow, yet the fact that the new US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) warrants a considerable revision of Western strategy toward Iran's nuclear program is inescapable and, already, new cracks in the previously rigid US stance on Iran can be discerned.

Case in point, Matthew Bunn, a leading nuclear expert at Harvard University, has maintained that the US's option of "zero centrifuges" is no longer viable, in light of Iran's rapid advances in mastering the nuclear fuel cycle, and the US should now probe a range of other options.

According to Bunn, a viable option is an international consortium producing nuclear fuel for Iran, while allowing a limited number (ie one to four) cascades of centrifuges to operate in Iran. Each cascade contains 164 centrifuges. This would be well below the 3,000 centrifuges that Iran has reportedly assembled already, considered a "magic number" because of the potential for diversion to bomb production.

Considering this a "face-saving" option for Iran, which prides itself for making the scientific breakthrough with centrifuge technology, Bunn argues that Iran's limited centrifuges would give Iran a fallback option in case the international guarantees on the delivery of nuclear fuel did not pan out. Per Bunn's proposal, Iran has a medium to high probability of accepting this "package". It would be linked to various incentives, such as a security guarantee. Iran's alternative of rejecting such a package would be continued sanctions and even threats of military action.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:09:31 AM EST
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