Nov 22 2008

The Growing Iranian Nuclear Threat

Published by at 12:14 pm under All General Discussions,Iran

 

Sorry for the light posting folks, we had a new project start up on November 3rd on my ‘day job’ and the start up phase has been kicking my butt. Anyway, the holidays always slow things down on government projects so I will hopefully have a few more windows of opportunity here in the coming days.

In what has to be history’s most ironic and disconcerting example of “watch what you ask for, you just might get it” the Democrats have been handed the reigns of power at a time when the nation’s challenges are of a nature most likely to become worse under Democrat policies than better. It is an odd perfect storm that swept out the infighting conservatives and gave power to a party whose policies can produce in times of bountiful peace and economic growth. In times of national security challenges and a weak economy liberal policies are impotent at best, self destructive on average.

The largest threat facing this country since 9-11, hell since the Soviets and the Nazis, is a nuclear armed Iran run by martyrdom-mad Mullahs. And that threat is now more than ever a reality:

According to an article published Thursday in the New York Times, “Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts.”

“The figures detailing Iran’s progress were contained in a routine update on Wednesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been conducting inspections of the country’s main nuclear plant at Natanz. The report concluded that as of early this month, Iran had made 630 kilograms, or about 1,390 pounds, of low-enriched uranium.”

One must not forget that the enriched uranium is low grade. For now, it can be used for nuclear power plants. However, it can be further refined into higher grade uranium. To do that, enrichment facilities at Natanz would have to go through major visible reconfigurations. For example, all the piping infrastructure will have to be redone. This would make it very difficult for Iran to hide from the IAEA inspectors.

Unless, that is, there are secret facilities where the low enriched uranium is purified, away from the eyes and knowledge of the IAEA. And this is very possible.

What really irritates me about the reporting on this issue is the 6th grade level of thinking that goes into the reports. The concepts sound like something out of 1970′s network TV scripts. Let’s assume Iran is working to build a bomb. Would they be doing it in the facilities the IAEA are monitoring or would they be doing it someplace else. And if they could siphon off, say, half the low grade uranium without the IAEA detecting it they could then move this material someplace else. Maybe even to another allied country like Syria:

A senior Syrian official on Friday all but ruled out new visits by U.N inspectors probing allegations that his country had a covert program that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

The IAEA has said it suspects three other sites may have been nuclear-related and linked to the bombed location.

Othman described the three sites as (non-nuclear) “military bases” that could not be visited by outsiders, although higher Syrian authorities could decide otherwise.

An IAEA report this week heightened concerns about Al Kibar, saying that satellite imagery and other evidence showed it had the characteristics of a nuclear reactor. It also said that soil samples taken from the bombed site had a “significant number” of chemically processed natural uranium particles.

The fact is a UN inspections only work when the country wants to demonstrate compliance. They can easily be duped as Saddam Hussein did many times over many years. The UN allows itself to be a hazy cover for rogue nations intent on gaming the inspection system. The UNWMD inspection results should NEVER be given much credence when dealing with hostile nations, just like hostile witnesses cannot be given the benefit of objectiveness or honesty. 

So to assume Iran is honestly trying to comply with international restrictions on nuclear weapons is a dangerously foolish prospect. With these rose colored glasses on one could find excuses to not investigate all sorts of sophisticated efforts to hide a nuclear weapons program from prying eyes. In fact, we know Iran has been running the weaponization side of a program to build nuclear weapons. That was reported in the infamous NIE on the Iranian nuclear weapons program (see here, here and here). Even Democrats had serious reservations on the Pollyannish NIE that was produced as a media event:

Iran expert Ray Takeyh, a former professor at the National War College and National Defense University, said that although his own politics are left of the president’s, he agrees with Bush that Iran’s nuclear program is a continuing threat.

“The position I take is that President Bush is right on this,” said Takeyh, now at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Takeyh, who has long argued for engaging Iran in diplomacy, said the intelligence report was too easy on Tehran by not objecting to the uranium enrichment program, which many Western governments have alleged is meant to build the knowledge base to eventually develop nuclear weapons. The American intelligence agencies, in effect, accepted Iran’s contention that the enrichment is for peaceful purposes, Takeyh said.

…

Sharon Squassoni, a former government nuclear safeguards expert now with the generally liberal Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, noted that the intelligence report said Iran suspended its enrichment program in 2003 and later signed an agreement allowing U.N. inspections.

But, she said, the portion of the report made public was silent on the fact that the Iranians reversed both actions in 2006.

…

Gary Samore, who was a top arms control official in the Clinton White House, agreed that the National Intelligence Estimate did not adequately emphasize Iran’s continuing efforts to enrich uranium and build missiles.

“The halting of the weaponization program in 2003 is less important from a proliferation standpoint than resumption of the enrichment program in 2006,” said Samore, director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Samore said the report undermined Bush’s warnings about Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons and left Tehran in a strong position, allowing it to develop its enrichment capacity without a substantial challenge from the United States and its allies. The secret weaponization program is “on ice,” he said, but Iran preserves the option to resume that when it wishes.

What really bothers me on this is the short attention span and the inability or unwillingness to see the big picture here. One of the comments is the enriched uranium is useless without a functional nuclear weapon design and missiles. We know the Iranians have the missiles. And we know, sadly, the Clinton administration provided Iran with the most complicate element of a nuclear weapon – the trigger systems:

Last night, radio talk show host and former US Justice Department official Mark Levin shocked many listeners when he reported that President Bill Clinton gave nuclear technology to the Iranians in a harebrained scheme.

He said that the transfer of classified data to Iran was personally approved by then-President Clinton and that the CIA deliberately gave Iranian physicists blueprints for part of a nuclear bomb that likely helped Tehran advance its nuclear weapons development program.

The CIA, using a double-agent Russian scientist, handed a blueprint for a nuclear bomb to Iran, according to a new book “State of War” by James Risen, the New York Times reporter, who exposed the Bush administration’s controversial NSA spying operation, claims the plans contained fatal flaws designed to derail Tehran’s nuclear drive.

With all these pieces together, with a mindset that Iran is trying to hide their activities verses demonstrate sincere peaceful intentions (a.k.a. healthy skepticism) we can see the nation faces a real threat. They have the trigger design, they have the uranium, they have the missiles, and the NIE confirmed the weapon design plan, which they claimed was ‘suspended’ in 2003, but others claim was restarted in 2006 (when the Dems won Congress, not surprisingly).

The test will be how the democrats play this to the nation. If they keep presenting scenarios that are more like afternoon-TV script than serious threat assessments we will know they are trying to deny or hide the threat. The Iranians will be watching for this too, and when we all see it that will be the green light for the Iranians to take the final steps. Will the Dems wait until there is a smoking hole where a major Israeli city once was, or a US base in Iraq?

If they present serious concerns in an effort to garner public support here and across the world for severe sanctions, then they will be doing what they can to stop the Iranian threat short of military action. Sadly I think we will not see this serious debate from the Democrats.

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “The Growing Iranian Nuclear Threat”

  1. kathie says:

    I don’t know if Risen said this, re Clinton’s plans that were sent to Iran, but the Russians noticed the faulty plans and corrected them so Iran got good plans. One of the great tragedies of all times.

  2. Jules Roy says:

    After what the Americans (and British lapdogs) did to Iraq all countries Israel doesn’t like would be wise to get nukes. Speaking of Israel I don’t suppose there is much hope of a President Obama pressurizing Israel to make the MidEast a nuke free zone when he’s appointing fanatics like Rahm Emanuel (who may well be an Israeli citizen) and AIPAC lackey Hillary Clinton.

    The Mid East is the part of the world where American terrorism and support for Apartheid policies in Israel most disgusts the rest of humanity. If Obama wants to restore America’s reputation, or at least make it seem like it is not on a quest for world domination, he should start with the that region.

    Of course, he should also signal to the Russians, that unlike the previous two administrations, he will not treat them as enemies and force them into a corner possibly precipitating another major conflict. Lastly, Obama should stand up to the Cuban nationalists in Florida and renew US relations with that impoverished nation. The communists cannot hang on forever. Bringing the (mutual) benefits of trade to Cuba can begin the process of loosening the grip of the communists providing the people with some of the benefits of a free market economy that will make their inevitable transition from communism much smoother.

  3. Birdalone says:

    Jules Roy sounds just like the anti-war far left KosKidz who turned Obama’s official website into a home for the “zionist-neocon-AIPAC-Israel” conspiracy theorists.

    The same Jew-haters who brought me here and elsewhere to escape from Israel-bashing based on revisionist history.

    You want to find apartheid in the Middle East? Ask any Arab Christian from Iraq (half of all Iraqi refugees are Christian) to Egypt (10% of Egyptians are Coptic Christians: eight million of them) or an Arab Christian whose family home for 2,000 years is in Bethlehem what THEY think of Israel versus the Arab muslims who are committing near-genocide of Arab Christians, a process the Turks started in the 1920′s. (Read William Dalrymple’s history of Arab Christians or today’s Christian Science Monitor)

    Ironically, the heart of Obama’s foreign policy is nuclear non-proliferation – the issue that links him with Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, Susan Eisenhower, and Sam Nunn. Yeah – all THOSE leftist radicals.

    If I wanted to read opinions like Jules Roy, I’d be at Daily Kos or HuffPO.

  4. lurker9876 says:

    Hate to say this…

    I’d say let them….and the world will be forced to change their minds…

    How short will their memories be?

  5. kathie says:

    Israel doesn’t disgust the rest of humanity, the Palestinian people do. Those who have made an art of wanting what they can’t have. They are poor miserably people who no one wants, just ask Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon or any of the other Middle East countries. Israel has made a thriving country of a little bitty sliver of land in a little over 50 years. What have the Palestinian people done? With hat in hand bombed the hell out of it and not much more. Now you know the story Jules. That is pathetic!

  6. conman says:

    I think Obama and the Democrats do and will take the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran seriously. Don’t assume that they will adopt the same postion on this issue that they did while Bush was in office. The Democrats were very concerned that Bush was hyping the Iranian danger to set up support for unilateral military action against Iran, like he did with Iraq. The Democrats won’t have those same concerns with Obama. Even if you don’t buy into the theory that the Iranian leaders are a bunch of mad-men that will risk the destruction of their country by launching a preemptive nuclear attack against Israel (which I don’t – they would have attacked Israel long ago – its been over 30 years and no such suicidal attack has occured yet), almost everyone recognizes that it will led to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Such an outcome is unacceptable.

  7. crosspatch says:

    Things have changed considerably for Iran over the past six months or so. But first off, I would say that it wouldn’t surprise me to discover at some point that Iran has a nuclear lab somewhere in the jungles of Venezuela.

    Iran’s economic crisis is deepening at the same time oil prices are dropping to levels not seen in a long time. The deterrent of fear of skyrocketing oil prices is gone as it relates to a tactic to prevent a Western response to Iranian idiocy. If we were to take Iran’s production facilities off the face of the Earth we would probably be facing no worse oil market conditions than we saw this past Spring.

    Iraq is stabilizing and lies between Iran and her proxy Syria. There are indications that Syria is more interested in better relations with the West these days than she has been in the past. An alliance with Iran at this point seems to be more of an economic hindrance than advantage. Iran’s economy is falling apart and there is some question about exactly how much popular support the government really has from the people and from the mullahs.

    Syria is slowly being brought back into the world community and this acts to further isolate Iran and acts to cut off routes of communications with her other proxy, Hezbollah, in Lebanon. Overall the longer term prospects don’t look good for Iran.

    Iran’s only allies at this point seem to be Russia and Venezuela. I believe the only thing preventing us and/or Israel from turning Iran into a parking lot is the fact that Iran and Russia have a mutual defense treaty. If Israel attacks Iran, they could find themselves at war with Russia. It begins to look a lot like the World War I array of alliances causing a regional conflict to erupt into a full on global war.

  8. crosspatch says:

    Iran seems to have a lot of construction companies working in Venezuela. Iranian construction operations have been covers for operations by the Quds in Iraq. Why are Iranians building housing in Venezuela when housing is in extremely short supply in Iran?

    What else might Iran be building in Venezuela?

  9. crosspatch says:

    And there’s lots of stories like this one around on the Internet.

  10. Mark says:

    Would someone remind me of the last thing the CIA got right? You’d almost think that incompetence was a requirement in the hiring process down there at CIA.

    It’s either that or we have some sort of black-ops system that renders nuclear weapons impotent and so don’t really care in the final analysis if nut-job regimes end up with one or two.

  11. ExposeFannyNFreddyNow says:

    “‘Tiny’ nations like Iran pose no threat to US.” (Barack “Neville Chamberlain” Obama)

    And who is vacuous Pez-head-in-waiting calling on as DH for His already legendary “Talks Without Preconditions”? BILLARY. Anyone want to call our folks from USS Cole to ask what they might think about that? Hillary as SoS is just too surreal and too Machiavellian in too many ways to maintain any semblance of sanity.

    Let’s just hope Iran and all those other “tiny” nations understand what Hillary REALLY means when she talks about dodging hails of gunfire. What she REALLY means when she says “missiles” or “nuclear armaments” though is still anybody’s guess.

    The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
    Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
    I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
    They’re really sayin……i love you.

    Undercover Mosque
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCu4prr_qWU

    Undercover Mosque The Return
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs24KykIGz0

    __________________

    Meanwhile on a lighter note, the Democratic back-end “think tank”, otherwise known as Hollywood actors, is yet again on the cutting edge of all things rational. California’s bankrupt and actors are determined to shut down the movie industry. Clever.

    Actors union to seek strike authorization
    http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSTRE4AJ8W320081122

    How many UAW workers do you know have an agent, a PR agent, and are incorporated entities with their own production houses? I’m not just talking about the $20M Club either.

    By most normal business practices, free-lance actors would be considered outside contracts, one business to another, not “workers”. And by Hollywood union standards, if the studios banded together to form a united front, it’s neither collusion nor monopolizing. It’s good unionism.

    No doubt that’s but one of the many IRS corporate “loopholes” destined to be closed on Pez-in-waiting BO’s unbiased watch. No doubt the day is coming when the Hollywood elite will be forced to choose between the “Evil Corporate America” they really are and the hallowed “union workers” they claim to be.

    No doubt Hollywood will be all too ready and willing to comply. Yes they will.

    Btw, the studios have satisfactorily completed contract negotiations with all other Hollywood studios to date, writers, directors, AFTRA (the other actors union) as well as the recent IATSE technicians contract.

  12. patrick neid says:

    Okay. I think we need a come to Jesus moment here. If Iran wants the “bomb” they are getting it. Any pretense at stopping them is as laughable as the Free Tibet/Save Darfur bumper stickers.

    The window for militarily stopping them passed several years ago. However that is not to suggest Israel might not try. I’m simply saying they can’t stop it. At best they can slow it down.

    The only power that can stop Iran is Iran. Societal collapse is not that far fetched, what with oil at $50 a barrel and hopefully on its way to $20-$40 given the world economic condition.
    Here’s hoping the oil bubble collapse puts Chavez and Imadinnerjacket at the end of a rope.

  13. Jules Roy says:

    kathie: Israel doesn’t disgust the rest of humanity, the Palestinian people do.

    You must be one of those Americans without a passport if you think that.

    BTW I specifically said Israel’s policies disgusted the rest of the world, not the whole of Israel. There are many positive things about Israel, but its treatment of minorities and Palestinians in the occupied territories are far from positive.

    Israel has made a thriving country of a little bitty sliver of land in a little over 50 years. What have the Palestinian people done?

    The Palestinians are up against not just Israel but the United States, and to some extent Europe as most of Israel’s trade, from which comes its wealth, is with Europe. The Israelis have certainly shown themselves to be an innovative and hardy people, not to mention skillful manipulators of American politics and public opinion, put if you are going to attack Palestinians for their resistance to Israel then we could also talk about Israeli terrorists, like Rahm Emanuel’s father, who butchered hundreds of British soldiers and thousands of Arabs in terrorist attacks prior to Israel’s existence. Palestinians are using the tactics of the Stern Gang. (Whether there’s much of a strategy to their actions is more debatable). It’s a difficult situation. Dehumanising the Palestinians, as you and most American commentators do, doesn’t help illuminate the situation.

  14. Jules Roy says:

    Birdalone: Jules Roy sounds just like the anti-war far left KosKidz who turned Obama’s official website into a home for the “zionist-neocon-AIPAC-Israel” conspiracy theorists.

    I’ve just googled ‘Koskidz’. I didn’t see anything interesting.

    Do you want to talk about conspiracy theories? As John Laughland has pointed out US foreign policy is based on the theory that a Saudi millionaire hiding in a cave in Pakistan or Afghanistan controls a worldwide network of tens of thousands of terrorists in more than 60 countries (George Bush’s words).

    The invasion of Iraq was based on the fantasy conspiracy theory that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were in cahoots and that Saddam had WMD.

    Those fantasies are far less believable conspiracy theories than my suggestion that AIPAC wields great influence over US politicians or that neocons used their influence to con the US into invading Iraq.

    The same Jew-haters who brought me here and elsewhere to escape from Israel-bashing based on revisionist history.

    Arab-haters like you do plenty of your own bashing based on revisionist history straight from the Weekly Standard and Fox News.

    You want to find apartheid in the Middle East? Ask any Arab Christian from Iraq (half of all Iraqi refugees are Christian

    Uh, those Iraqi Christians were cleansed as a result of the breakdown in order due to the American invasion of Iraq! Congratulations to the US for (predictably) creating the conditions for the destruction of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

    In general Christians aren’t treated well in the MidEast, including Israel. But there are exceptions such as pre-invasion Iraq and, of course, Syria which receives many Christian refugees and even immigrants.

  15. dave m says:

    You don’t need missiles to deliver a nuke. You only need a missile
    if YOU don’t want to be there when the bomb goes off.
    Iran has plenty of nut jobs that would love to be there when it goes off
    so all they need is a stealthy high end yacht with sails and some
    disguised guys on deck drinking Pimms and waving.

    A couple of those will go off in America, probably also Israel and
    I’d guess London and Paris too. Are they crazy? Yes. Delusional too.
    And Obama supporters are holding hands and drinking the kool-aid.

    Would Obama fight back? Probably not. That’s assuming he survives
    the DC blast, is out of town at that moment, he’ll probably say that
    , how did Rev Wight put it?, “The Chickens Have Come Home To Roost”.
    AE Rawls over at errortheory nailed the “maximum likelihood Obama”
    on the money. Whether the military would then continue to serve
    a president who advocates surrender in the face of nuclear war, I
    doubt that they would.

    I think the Israeli elections are Feb 10. Netanyahu is looking ahead in
    the polls. That will be a good thing. Bush still has two months to
    save his Presidency and maybe a whole lot of people. (The NYT
    has called on him to resign now) and I hope he uses the time he
    has left to eliminate the Iranian’s nuclear weapons program.”Obama” can clean up the mess.

    By the way, have I said lately that “Obama” is probably not a natural
    born American? Just in case I haven’t, there. It will be a real laugh
    if he “rules” for a year or so and then the truth comes out. All
    financial transactions with the US government will then be null and
    illegal and subject to being repaid, as would the effects of any
    international treaties signed up to. The financial ramifications
    would bankrupt the US government and collapse the economies
    of the entire Western world. Maybe I should shut up now, in
    case “Obama” hadn’t thought of that strategy. Kind of a more potent
    jihad act than merely blowing up a city.