UN: Iran Delays Opening of Nuclear Reactor By More Than a Year

The delay is another illustration of how undeveloped Iran's nuclear program is.

Iran has announced that the planned opening of a nuclear research reactor has been delayed by about a year and a half, according to a United Nations report.

The heavy water plant near the town of Arak was due for activation in 2013, but Iran has postponed that opening until late 2014, without giving a reason.

Some say the Arak reactor could give Iran a second route towards getting a nuclear weapon. If Iran were to develop plutonium at Arak and reprocess it, it could be material eventually used in a bomb. Iran maintains, and Western intelligence confirms the claim, that is has no intention to doing this.

The delay is another illustration of how undeveloped Iran’s nuclear program is. Last month, UN reports and Israeli intelligence confirmed that Iran diverted large portions of its enriched uranium towards peaceful medical research. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said this set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program almost a year.

The debate about a nuclear threat from Iran is mostly fabricated. Western leaders don’t much care about weapons proliferation per se: the real concern, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says, is allowing Iran to enter a “zone of immunity” wherein it can deter attack or invasion. The US and Israel, according to this thinking, must be able to bomb Iran without concern for retaliation.

Obama has refused to launch a military strike on Iran’s non-existent weapons program, but he has given in to Israeli pressure to impose economic warfare on Iran. After extremely severe economic sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors, Iranian civilians are being subjected to high unemployment, rampant inflation and food shortages, and even dramatically less access to vital pharmaceuticals and medical treatment. Some estimate the sanctions could end up killing tens of thousands of Iranians.

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.