Friday, November 6, 2009
Afternoon report: Israeli and Arab experts agree a nuclear conflagration is at least a year off.
Courtesy of Dan Friedman
The IDF confirms that none of the Iranian weapons it seized on Wednesday appear to be nuclear devices. One high-level Israeli military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent, "it was a calculated risk bringing the ship and its cargo into a major Israeli port like Ashdod. Even a low-yield nuclear bomb could have blown half the country sky high. But we are pretty confident it will take at least a year before Iran can miniaturize an atomic weapon and get it to fit inside the small wooden boxes they now use for their Katyushas. We'll worry about it when the time comes."
In other reassuring news, UN Atomic Energy chief Mohamed ElBaradei said there was "nothing to be worried about" at Qom, the previously secret uranium enrichment site Iran revealed in September. "It's a hole in a mountain," he said. The Egyptian-born ElBaradei, whose name means "Mohamed the liar" in Arabic, also told reporters he was examining possible compromises to unblock a draft nuclear cooperation deal between Iran and three major powers that has foundered over Iranian objections. "We still have plenty of time to get back on track," he told the New York Times. "It will take at least a year before Iran can miniaturize an atomic weapon and get it to fit inside the small wooden boxes they now use for their Katyushas."
On a personal note, ElBaradei, who will be retiring next year, was asked if he planned to spend his golden years in his native Egypt. "Are you shittin' me?," the suave diplomat replied. "The whole freakin' Middle East is going to become one radioactive powder keg the day after I hang up my dark grey suit. A nice basement apartment near the White House, that's where you'll find me."