How many times must Iran say no for the West to believe it? No, Iran won’t halt its nuclear program. Why would it? Pakistan and North Korea show that nuclear proliferation pays handsomely: the West courts illegal nuclear states. A nuclear Iran would receive more aid and political support than it does now. The suffering caused by sanctions? You don’t really believe that, do you? America, the world’s largest economy, sanctioned Iran for decades with no result whatsoever.

Current UN sanctions do not address the Russian-built Bushehr reactor. Light-water reactors are considered peaceful because they do not handily produce both energy and plutonium simultaneously. Analysts assume that any reasonable country would choose energy over plutonium. With Iran, that view is nonsensical. Iran can stop the reactor every four months to extract plutonium-239 before the 240 isotope poisons it – never mind that many people would be without electrical power for about a week.

Iran can also refuse to send used rods back to Russia and reprocess them into plutonium instead. If Russia stops shipping nuclear fuel, Iran can buy it from China or enrich it in Natanz from uranium mined in Yazd province.

The Bushehr nuclear reactor is far from the city and can be bombed safely. Iraq – thank you, Saddam – destroyed the previous two reactors during the war with Iran.

The original draft of the sanctions called for stopping work at Bushehr – too late at any rate – but that provision was dropped to appease Russia, hungry for Iranian cash. Now the UN crowd proudly trumpets the insipid sanctions.

The Iranian defiance of UN sanctions is encouraging. Disrespectful rhetoric, formal refusal to cooperate with the IAEA, and the Natanz uranium enrichment site at full capacity with 3,000 centrifuges offends the powers. The important part is whether Iran ceases economic cooperation with Russia because of its nominal approval of the sanctions or rewards Russia for emasculating the sanctions. America, the only military superpower, surprisingly looks to its defeated rival for approval. The nuclear mullahs deserve a token slap in the face. Bomb the Natanz plant.