Belarus, who had agreed to surrender its weapon-grade uranium to Russia, has decided to pull out of the deal. Why? The reverse is said to be “in response to new economic penalties imposed by the United States.”
The State Department earlier this month announced that four government-operated Belarusian firms were now prohibited from operating in the United States and encouraged other nations to similarly target the companies with sanctions. The department said the sanctions were a consequence of ongoing political repression in Belarus (Deutsche Presse-Agentur/Monsters and Critics, Aug. 19).
And I’m sure if such sanctions were laid down against Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea, they wouldn’t give up their nuclear weapons programs, either. Oh wait, there have been sanctions?! Nevermind. Those nations won’t give up their nuclear weapons regardless, a point that’s some lost on the Global Zeros.
Roughly 440 pounds of weapon-ready fissile material remained behind in the Eastern European nation, according to DPA [Deutsche Presse-Agentur]. The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies last year projected the nation retained between 375 and 815 pounds of highly enriched uranium, including no less than 90 pounds of material enriched to bomb-grade levels of around 90 percent.
The material by next year was to be sent to Russia for conversion to a more proliferation-resistant form of uranium, according to previous reports. The Obama administration pledged to "provide technical and financial assistance to support the completion of this effort as expeditiously as possible."
When the only tool in the Belarus tool box is highly enriched uranium, all the “solutions” are likely to involve that material. Don’t believe me? Think North Korea.