As has been widely anticipated, Iran is currently in the last stages of preparation before pushing the On button for its brand, spanking new (and 20 years in the making) nuclear power plant. As Reuters reports: "Television showed live pictures of Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi and his Russian counterpart watching a fuel rod assembly being prepared for insertion into the reactor near the Gulf city of Bushehr." Yet despite Russia's guarantee that it would collect spent rods that could be used to make weapons-grade plutonium, Israel is not taking this development lightly at all, and as Jerusalem Post reported earlier, warned that "It is totally unacceptable that a country that blatantly violates decisions of the United Nations Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and ignores its commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty charter, will enjoy the fruits of using nuclear energy," according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy said. Which in turn has prompted Ahmadinejad to warn that a strike on Iran would be answered with "harsh and painful" response. All in all, just another Saturday in the middle east.
Yet that's not all, as Iran now seems intent on seeing how far the already frayed nerves in the region can stretch (and recall that recently Gulf states announced that the military option may be the best strategy for the region).
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chose Saturday to tell a meeting of university professors of plans to shoot satellites to altitudes of 700 km, then 1,000 km -- certain to add to Western concerns about Iran's development of missile technology.
"Once this target is realized, placing a satellite at a geosynchronous orbit of 35,000 km will be easy," he was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency. "This will be done within the next two or three years."
Long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit can also be used to launch warheads.
Iran launched a domestically made satellite in 2009, but only to an altitude of 250 km. Washington called that a "provocative act."
As for the whole reactor situation, even with ever increasing jawboning, Israel was very careful not to provoke or incite Russia:
The Foreign Ministry was pointedly making no reference to the Russian involvement in the reactor, an apparent effort not to say anything that could in any way complicate Israel's relations with Moscow.
The US State Department said Saturday that they do not consider Iran's Bushehr nuclear power facility a proliferation risk, AFP reported.
“We recognize that the Bushehr reactor is designed to provide civilian nuclear power and do not view it as a proliferation risk,” State Department spokesman Darby Holladay told AFP on Saturday.
Yet just in case there is escalation, Iran made its feeling known that WWIII would follow promptly any incursion, which he nonetheless did not expect to occur.
As the opening of the Bushehr plant took place on Saturday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Qatari newspaper Al-Shark that if the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities were attacked, the response from Teheran would be "worldwide" in its scope.
"Our possibilities would be limitless and would encompass the whole world," said Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad discussed Israel, stating that the Jewish state would like to attack Iran but understands that the Islamic Republic is a "fortress that cannot be destroyed" and that the Iranian response to such an attack would be "harsh and painful."
"I don't believe their American masters would let them attack," Ahamadinejad added on Israel.
The weeklong operation to load uranium fuel into the reactor at the Bushehr power plant is the first step in starting up a facility the US once hoped to prevent because of fears over Teheran's nuclear ambitions.
In other words, the world is suddenly back to relying on the rationality of two people both in possession of launch codes, and a hope that both are familiar with the M.A.D. doctrine. In other words, stability rules. Surely, this is precisely the environment for stocks to surge to 36,000 on 3-4 shares traded, as the New York Fed "prices in" global thermonuclear warfare. Absent fireballs sprouting everywhere tomorrow, the likelihood of the delayed POMO reaction on Monday to send stocks well above the 50 DMA is suddenly all too real.
Below is a look at Iran's reactor, courtesy of Reuters: