I wish there were truth in all the claims about the Iran nuclear deal in the Aug. 14 Washington Forum column by Fareed Zakaria, “Vote yes, Sen. Schumer,” and commentary by Harold Brown, “A no-brainer of a deal.”
Zakaria asserted that “Iran must destroy 98 percent of its enriched uranium and all of its 5 percent to 20 percent enriched uranium.” But the agreement clearly states that “All remaining uranium oxide enriched to between 5% and 20% will be fabricated into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR),” which “will not be counted against the above stated 300 kg UF6 stockpile.”
Uranium is not destroyed by making it into fuel, any more than gold is destroyed by making it into jewelry. Thus, Iran could easily recover its highest enriched uranium, providing a big head start to the bomb. That is only one reason the breakout time under the deal will not be at least a year, as President Obama has claimed, but only “many months,” as 29 Nobel laureates and other top scientists wrote him in a recent letter.
Brown asserted that in 10 to 15 years, Iran would still be “a couple of years away from a nuclear weapon.” But the agreement permits Iran to expand enrichment massively during this period using advanced centrifuges. Nonproliferation analyst Greg Jones concluded: “Thus after 15 years, Iran will be able to produce the [highly enriched uranium] for a nuclear weapon in a week or less” — too quick for us to prevent.
I support the fantasy agreement Zakaria and Brown described, but I oppose the actual agreement negotiated by Obama, which paves Iran’s path to the bomb.
Alan J. Kuperman, Austin
The writer, an associate professor, is coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
In his Aug. 16 op-ed, “White House scare tactics on Iran,” former senator Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) demanded that Congress reject the nuclear deal the Obama administration made with Iran. Lieberman was identified simply as a former U.S. senator and a current New York lawyer. From that, one could conclude that he just dropped in to help us understand the issues in this very complex area through the lens of his experience in the Senate.
It was not said that Lieberman is the new head of the anti-Iran deal advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran. Clearly he was writing from a position of interest. Why did The Post not tell its readers about Lieberman’s new job?
Michael Weston, Washington