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Beware Of "Unintended Consequences": Iran Announces Plans For 10 New Enrichment Sites, Makes Veiled Threats To Leave NPT

In 2008, Peter W. Galbraith wrote a book entitled, Unintended Consequences: How the War in Iraq Has Strengthened America's Enemies, in which he argu

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In 2008, Peter W. Galbraith wrote a book entitled, Unintended Consequences: How the War in Iraq Has Strengthened America's Enemies, in which he argued--much as we have here--that Bush's Doctrine has actually made us less safe against terrorism by taking the fight to the wrong people and by posturing ourselves with this ridiculously cowboy diplomacy of "yer either with us or agin us".

Well, don't look now, but we're doing it again. If we keep on ignoring our own intelligence and the IAEA to keep insisting that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, pretty soon, they have absolutely no motivation to behave, do they?

A conservative Iranian legislator warned Saturday that his country may pull out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty after a U.N. resolution censuring Tehran – a move that could seriously undermine world attempts to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons.

Iran's official news agency quoted a hardline political analyst who made the same point, another indication the idea could be gaining steam.

If Iran withdraws from the treaty, its nuclear program would no longer be subject to oversight by the U.N. nuclear agency. That in turn would be a significant blow to efforts to ensure that no enriched uranium is diverted from use as fuel to warhead development.

The lawmaker's threat came a day after the board of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution demanding Tehran immediately stop building its newly revealed nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom and freeze uranium enrichment.

Speaking of that facility, if Iran pulls out of the NPT, it would be impossible to monitor the ten other sites now being planned:

Iran's government has approved plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants, according to state media.

The government told the Iranian nuclear agency to begin work on five sites, with five more to be located over the next two months.

It comes days after the UN nuclear watchdog rebuked Iran for covering up a uranium enrichment plant.

Western powers say Iran is trying to develop nuclear arms. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.

BBC Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne says Sunday's announcement is a massive act of defiance likely to bring forward direct confrontation over Iran's nuclear programme.

Iran says the new plants would be of a similar size to its main existing one at Natanz.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his cabinet that parliament had ordered that Iran should produce 20,000 megawatts of nuclear energy by 2020.

It therefore needed to make 250-300 tonnes of nuclear fuel a year, he said, which would require 500,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium.

Natanz has nearly 5,000 working centrifuges, with plans to build 54,000 in all.

Okay, when you're in a hole, you are supposed to stop digging. Clearly, the cowboy diplomacy has put us in a hole with Iran. Isn't it time we stop digging and try a different diplomatic approach?

UPDATE: And if there isn't enough instability in the region, the NY Times is reporting that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has ceded his position in Pakistan’s nuclear command structure to his prime minister, in a sudden political maneuver widely seen as a fresh sign of turmoil on the eve of President Obama’s strategy announcement for the Middle East.

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