Surprise: Iran declares it has found new uranium deposits

UN Iran Ahmadinejad
UN Iran Ahmadinejad

If the situation were not so dire, I would be laughing. Not must a gentle chuckle, but a rollicking, bowel-loosening belly laugh.

Iran has discovered an unexpectedly high reserve of uranium and will soon begin extracting the radioactive element at a new mine, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said on Saturday.

The comments cast doubt on previous assessments from some Western analysts who said the country had a low supply and would sooner or later would need to import uranium, the raw material needed for its nuclear program.

Any indication Iran could become more self-sufficient will be closely watched by world powers, which reached a landmark deal with Tehran in July over its program. They had feared the nuclear activities were aimed at acquiring the capability to produce atomic weapons – something denied by Tehran.

Why is this important? Because the Obama administration’s entire negotiations with Iran is based on the idea that Iran has to import uranium ore. If it doesn’t have to import the ore, there is no way the IAEA can rationally guess at, much less scientifically estimate, the amount of enrich uranium Iran is producing.

A report published in 2013 by U.S. think-tanks Carnegie Endowment and the Federation of American Scientists said the scarcity and low quality of Iran’s uranium resources compelled it “to rely on external sources of natural and processed uranium”.

It added: “Despite the Iranian leadership’s assertions to the contrary, Iran’s estimated uranium endowments are nowhere near sufficient to supply its planned nuclear program.”

As the article says, now Iran has a completely self-sufficient nuclear industry, from the mine to the nuclear warhead. All it needs is commercial deals with the West and about $150 billion in cash and it has a nuclear weapons program in full operation.