Iran to enrich its own uranium – for medical purposes; War games suggest West won't stop Iran getting nukes; China goes after internet hackers; Karzai demands end to NATO raids as US-led forces prepares new campaign; and more
Top of the Agenda: Iran to Announce Enriched Uranium Plans
Iran will inform the International Atomic Energy Agency about its plans (NYT) to enrich uranium for use in a medical reactor, heightening international tensions over its nuclear ambitions. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered his atomic scientists to begin enriching the stockpile. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said the uranium would be enriched to 20 percent, and Iran would halt the production if it received enriched fuel from abroad. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the process does not contradict (PRESSTV) the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Previously, Salehi announced plans to build ten new enrichment plants, which would begin on March 21. It is unclear whether Iran is capable of enriching uranium to 20 percent or building ten new plants, since in the past it has had difficulty obtaining materials from abroad. Iran currently (Reuters) enriches uranium to 3.5 percent. A nuclear bomb would require 80 percent or more.
On Forbes.com, Jamsheed Choksy says economic sanctions against Iran have not curbed its oppression, nuclear ambitions, or support for terrorism, because they have failed to target "the lavish lifestyles of those in power."
The Washington Institute's Jeffrey White and Loring White say war games conducted by Harvard University, Tel Aviv University, and the Brookings Institution suggest the West is unlikely to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
In the Financial Times, Philip Stephens says the United States and Europe should more aggressively support democracy and human rights in Iran, but recognize that overt foreign backing for the opposition movement would only hurt it.
This CFR Backgrounder explores Iran's nuclear program.
PACIFIC RIM: China Internet Hackers
China announced it is busting (WSJ) the country's largest distributor of malicious Internet attack tools, underscoring its pledge to help enhance global online security.
North Korea: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration will continue engaging (Yonhap) North Korea in an attempt to restart stalled international nuclear talks.
Karzai Demands End to NATO Raids
Bernanke to Detail Fed Tightening Plan