Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reading for detail

I read many headlines and only a few articles. The problem with that practice is the potential for misunderstanding.

Here's my latest example. The excerpts here are not adequate to explain all the important details. If you ask your students to read the articles (maybe ask 4 groups of students to read one article each) and then compare the information they understood, I think they'll see the importance of reading details. They can also compare the sources of the information.

Iran has enough fuel for a nuclear bomb, report says

"Iran has enough nuclear fuel to build a bomb if it decides to take the drastic steps of violating its international treaty obligations, kicking out inspectors and further refining its supply, U.N. officials and arms control experts said Thursday.

"Iran has made no such gestures and has slowed its expansion of machinery producing nuclear fuel... according to a report issued Thursday by the International Atomic Energy Agency...

"The reports, the latest updates from the arms control watchdog for the United Nations, show that Iran had amassed about 2,227 pounds of low-enriched, or reactor-grade, nuclear fuel by late January. Physicists estimate that producing the 55 pounds or so of highly enriched, or weapons-grade, uranium needed for an atomic warhead requires 2,205 to 3,748 pounds of low-enriched uranium...

"By crossing the 2,205-pound threshold, experts say, Iran has improved its 'breakout' capacity, the ability to renege on treaty obligations, kick out inspectors and quickly build a bomb..."

IAEA finds no weapons-grade enriched uranium in Iran

"VIENNA, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said its inspectors have not found that Iran is attempting to process low-enriched uranium into weapons-grade uranium, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported on Friday...

"The report quoted an anonymous IAEA expert as saying, 'If the Iranians intend to transport these uranium substances to a secret location for further processing, agency's inspectors will find out.'

"In a report submitted on Thursday to the United Nations Security Council, Mohamed El Baradei, director general of the IAEA, said Iran was still refusing to fulfill the UN's requirement of stopping its uranium enrichment activity.

"The report said Iran had so far produced around 1,000 kg of low-enriched uranium, an amount according to experts, was sufficient to produce weapons-degree enriched uranium with 95 percent purity required for one nuclear bomb..."

Iran Understates Uranium Stocks to IAEA: Diplomats

"Iran recently understated by a third how much uranium it had enriched and U.N. nuclear inspectors are working with Tehran to ensure such a significant gap does not recur, diplomats said Friday...

"An IAEA report Thursday showed a significant increase in Iran's reported stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) since November to 1,010 kg, which U.S. analysts said could be converted into enough high-enriched uranium for one bomb.

"Even then, the technical steps needed to 'weaponize' enrichment would probably take two to five years..."

Iran Easing Aspects Of Nuclear Program

"Iran appears to be putting the brakes on key aspects of its controversial nuclear program, U.N. officials said yesterday in a report that nonetheless showed Tehran edging closer to nuclear-weapons capability...

"'The pace of installing and bringing centrifuges into operation has slowed quite considerably since August,' a senior U.N. official said in briefing journalists on the new IAEA inspection report. The official, speaking on the condition that he remain anonymous, said the agency 'has no information' to explain the slowdown.

"Yet, the official said, while curtailing growth in some areas, Iran continues to amass enriched uranium and, in theory, may have already acquired enough to make a nuclear bomb. Such a move would require months or years of additional work, after Iran first expelled U.N. inspectors from the country, he said..."



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