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Iranian Nuclear Reactor Launch Delayed

October 13, 2010
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This apparently marks a change from Salehi’s comments In September, when he said the plant was to join the national power grid in the fall. He has expressed the hope that it would reach full nominal power next spring.

It should be noted that the Bushehr reactor has safeguards in place that are supposed to prevent Iran from using the spent nuclear fuel for weapons, meaning it is not the greatest threat in the Iranian program. At this point the Stuxnet malware is believed to be state-run sabotage targeting Iran’s nuclear program, although no nation has stepped forward and claimed responsibility.

Dr. Emily Landau, senior research fellow and director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, told Bridges for Peace in an interview that sabotage cannot permanently derail Iran’s nuclear pursuits unless somehow enough delays could be achieved until there was a genuine regime change in Iran. However, she noted that predicting the regime change process is extremely difficult and risky.  

Instead, Landau said she believed sabotage can delay Iran’s program as part of a broader strategy. “I think people are recognizing that…sabotaging behind the scenes is something that can be at least as effective as military action without all the negative ramifications,” said Landau. “At least it’s delaying the program, buying more time.”  

She also warned that the gained time needs to be put to good use. In her opinion, the most likely way to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis will come from “some kind of hard negotiation that needs to take place with the regime in Iran.”

“Even if the delay is three-to four years, then the major challenge is what you do with that time,” said Landau. “Because if you gain more time just in order to waste more time, then you haven’t done very much unless your ultimate goal is just to wait it out until there is finally a regime change…But short of that, if you’re thinking of dealing with the current regime, then delays are fine, but they’re only delays, and the time that you gain is only a really positive thing if you use it in order to push things to the next stage and finally resolve this crisis.”

Posted on October 13, 2010

Source: (By Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, October 13, 2010)

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