Letters to the Editor

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Dear Editor,

Response to Monitor letter re NYT editorial on Iran nuclear deal

On Sunday, Jan. 14, the Los Alamos Monitor published an editorial entitled “Iran deal did not pan out;” the actual title of this New York Times Editorial Board item is, “Unrest Shows the Iran Deal’s Value, Not its Danger.” The changed title affects the nature of the actual editorial. I wish to counter the implication of the Monitor’s title by advocating that the Iran Nuclear Deal, is incredibly good.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran Nuclear Deal, is far better than I ever expected. Indeed, if followed by all parties, 

 It effectively blocks all possible avenues for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon.

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The most important part of the agreement is that Iran will modify its ARAK reactor, that could have been used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, so that this is not be possible. Over 90% of the nuclear weapons ever produced in the world used plutonium, not highly enriched uranium.

Contrast this with Israel that has the third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world, after the USA and Russia. Israel’s Dimona reactor has produced enough plutonium to fabricate over 500 A-bombs of the yield of Fat Man that was dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945. Israel also has thermonuclear (H-bombs), neutron bombs, and others that have much greater yields. Israel has the capability with submarine-launched cruise missiles and Jericho missiles to deliver these anywhere in the world, including the USA.

We know Israel, President Trump, and GOP Congressmen are vehemently opposed to the JCPOA; what hypocrisy. I am a physicist; my field for over 45 years is Nuclear Safeguards and Nonproliferation. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has the responsibility to inspect Iran’s nuclear facilities, which they have done since the early 1970s. Every new IAEA inspector has come to Los Alamos for part of his/her training in NPT safeguards and the measurement of nuclear materials. Many of their measurement instruments have been developed by LANL’s Safeguards Program that has celebrated 50 years during 2017.

Dr. T. Douglas Reilly

Los Alamos