Iran on the Warpath

BERLIN – While Europe remains preoccupied with its own slow-motion crisis, and other global powers continue to be mesmerized by the bizarre spectacle of European officials’ myriad efforts to rescue the euro (and thus the global financial system), clouds of war are massing over Iran once more.

For years, Iran has been pursuing both a nuclear program and the development of long-range missiles, which points to only one conclusion: the country’s leaders are intent on building nuclear weapons, or at least on reaching the technological threshold beyond which only a single political decision is required to achieve that end.

The latter course would arguably keep Iran within the scope of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which it is a signatory. But there can be no reasonable doubt about the Iranian leadership’s intentions. Otherwise, Iran’s nuclear and missile programs would be a pointless waste of money. After all, Iran does not need uranium-enrichment technology. The country has only one civilian nuclear reactor, with fuel rods supplied by Russia, and the Iranian technology now being developed cannot be used in it.

But uranium enrichment makes a lot of sense if you want a nuclear weapon; indeed, for that purpose, enrichment is indispensable. Moreover, Iran is building a heavy-water reactor, supposedly for research purposes, but which is also needed to build a plutonium bomb.