T Nation

The Iran SItuation


#1

Well, the other thread with a predicted invasion date was a bit extreme. Here is an article with fairly detailed information about the state of affairs with respect to Iran's atomic program.

The most useful parts are highlighted below.

Criticism mounts over Iran
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060412/ts_nm/nuclear_iran_world_dc_7
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Asked if the council might impose sanctions, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: "That's a possibility as well, that's one option that's available."

But Russia and China, veto-carriers at the Security Council, have hitherto opposed sanctions.

Several council members insisted it would stick to its plan, announced last month, not to consider further action until International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei made a report at the end of April.

President Bush this week dismissed media reports of U.S. plans for strikes on Iran as "wild speculation."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the use of force was no answer to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

"If such plans exist they will not be able to solve this problem. On the contrary they could create a dangerous explosive blaze in the Middle East, where there are already enough blazes," he said.

China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said the Iranians' move was "not in line with what is required of them by the international community," but that talk of sanctions or military steps "will not be helpful under the current circumstances."

Diplomats said the five permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- plus Germany would meet in Moscow next week alongside a Group of Eight meeting to discuss Iran.

...

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan urged all parties to return to talks and "cool down the rhetoric."

Three European states behind a deal to suspend enrichment which broke down last year weighed in with criticism of Iran.

British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said the announcement was "deeply unhelpful" and undermined confidence. His German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said Iran was "going in precisely the wrong direction" for a return to negotiations.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said it was a worrying step and Iran should stop its "dangerous activities."

...

Deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove said reaching a diplomatic solution with Iran "is going to be tough because they are led by ideologues who have a weird sense of history," and that Ahmadinejad was "not a rational human being to deal with."

The State Department said it was unable to confirm that Iran had enriched uranium and some experts said even if Tehran's assertions were accurate, it would still be years before the Islamic Republic was able to produce a nuclear weapon.

The level of enrichment needed for nuclear bombs is many times higher than the 3.5 percent Iran says it has reached.

It would take about two decades for Iran's current cascade of 164 centrifuges to yield enough highly enriched uranium for one bomb. But Tehran says it wants to install 3,000 centrifuges, which could produce enough material for a warhead in one year.
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#2

An updated version from AP says they have 54,000 centrifuges proposed or in action per the Iranians. Recent announcements by the Iranian proudly proclaim they are a nuclear power.

They also say "be angry at us and die for this anger". Again from the Iranians not the US or Europe.

That's the scary side. Even France doesn't talk like that in public.

Iran Vows Not to Back Away From

Enrichment By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 13 minutes ago

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Thursday that Iran won't back away from uranium enrichment and said the world must treat Iran as a nuclear power.

The comments were made as Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, arrived in Tehran for talks aimed at defusing tensions over Iran's nuclear program.

"Our answer to those who are angry about Iran achieving the full nuclear fuel cycle is just one phrase. We say: Be angry at us and die of this anger," the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

"We won't hold talks with anyone about the right of the Iranian nation (to enrich uranium)."

Ahmadinejad declared on Tuesday that Iran had successfully produced enriched uranium for the first time, a key process in what Iran maintains is a peaceful energy program.

Iran's deputy nuclear chief, Mohammad Saeedi, then said Wednesday that Iran intends to move toward large-scale uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges, signaling the country's resolve to expand a program the United Nations has demanded it halt.

"Today, our situation has changed completely. We are a nuclear country and speak to others from the position of a nuclear country," IRNA quoted the president as saying Thursday.

The United States accuses Tehran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to produce nuclear weapons but Tehran says its nuclear program is merely to generate electricity.

The U.N. Security Council has insisted that Iran stop all enrichment activity by April 28.

ElBaradei told reporters after arriving at Tehran airport that he believed the time was "ripe" for a political solution." He said he would try to persuade Iranian authorities to meet international demands for "confidence-building measures, including suspension of uranium enrichment, until outstanding issues are clarified."

Also Thursday, China said it is sending an envoy to Iran and Russia to discuss the dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai is due to leave on Friday.

"Recently, there were some developments of the Iranian nuclear issue," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao. "We expressed our concern. ... We hope the parties should exercise restraint and not take any actions that lead to further escalation so we can solve the question properly through dialogue and diplomacy."

At the United Nations a day earlier, China expressed strong concern over Iran's announcement that it had successfully enriched uranium and called on Tehran to suspend enrichment. However, both China and Russia have repeated their opposition to any punitive measures against Iran.

On Tuesday, Iran announced it had produced enriched uranium on a small scale for the first time, using 164 centrifuges, at a facility in the central town of Natanz.

Saeedi said using 54,000 centrifuges will be able to produce enough enriched uranium to provide fuel for a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant like one Russia is finishing in southern Iran.

In theory, that many centrifuges could be used to develop the material needed for hundreds of nuclear warheads if Iran can perfect the techniques for producing the highly enriched uranium needed. Iran is still thought to be years away from a full-scale program.

The IAEA is due to report to the Security Council on April 28 whether Iran has met its demand for a full halt to uranium enrichment. If Tehran has not complied, the council will consider the next step. The U.S. and Europe are pressing for sanctions, a step Russia and China have so far opposed.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday the Security Council must consider "strong steps" to induce Tehran to change course. Rice also telephoned ElBaradei to ask him to reinforce demands that Iran comply with its nonproliferation requirements when he holds talks in Tehran on Friday.

On Wednesday, Iran's nuclear chief, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, said the United States had no option but to recognize Iran as a nuclear power. But he said Iran was prepared to give the West a share in its enrichment facilities to ease fears that it may seek to make weapons.

"The best way to get out of this issue is for countries that have concern become our partners in Natanz in management, production and technology. This is a very important confidence-building measure," he told state-run television.


#3

Since nuclear power is very cheap, clean and efficient, I'd like to see more of the poorer nations of the world have access to this remarkable resource. But when a country sitting upon the 4th largest reserves (I think) in the world talks about obliterating its neighbor, what does it expect to happen?

Watch for October, when the weather starts to turn over there. Hmmm...and there are elections in November...


#4

I'm actually in favor of nuclear power, but there are technologies that don't easily lend themselves to weoponization that could be used instead of the ones desired in Iran.


#5

You know, I'm getting the hunch that Iran is only going to be working on the components of their nuclear program that are consistent with non-military use.

Iran said on Tuesday it had enriched uranium to 3.5 percent, the level needed to make fuel for nuclear power reactors but well below the grade required to make weapons. It said it would press ahead with plans for industrial-scale production.

For example, low level enrichment processes only, at this time. Right now they are able to say that the UN teams have admitted they have zero evidence that Iran has worked to create nuclear weapons.

Despite three years of probing, the IAEA says it still cannot verify Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful, but it has found no hard proof of efforts to build atomic weapons. Iran says its program is only for power generation.

To be clear, I have no doubt they intend to develop the military technology, but I suspect they will first develop only peaceful uses, and do a lot of sabre rattling to encourage a military crisis.

Why they are willing to face attack, or whether or not they believe one is imminent, is of course something I don't have figured out. What they will do if they are attacked I also don't know.

Perhaps, to them, an airstrike on their facilities will sacrifice a few lives, which they aren't too concerned about, but will give them a lot of political capital or allow them to pursue some other goal.

I mean, somewhere at the top there is probably some reason they are willing to play brinksmanship over this, other than simple hatred.

Anyway, just thinking out loud.


#6

Vroom I think you are right. They have a reason and the scenario doesn't include them being bombed.

The problem with brinkmanship is the other side doesn't always behave the way you think they will.

How close to making a weapon do they have to be is the question? A month, a week, a year? I don't know.


#7

"Iran Leader: Israel Will Be Annihilated
Apr 14 12:34 PM US/Eastern
Email this story

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran

The president of Iran again lashed out at Israel on Friday and said it was "heading toward annihilation," just days after Tehran raised fears about its nuclear activities by saying it successfully enriched uranium for the first time.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "permanent threat" to the Middle East that will "soon" be liberated. He also appeared to again question whether the Holocaust really happened.

"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."

Ahmadinejad provoked a world outcry in October when he said Israel should be "wiped off the map."

On Friday, he repeated his previous line on the Holocaust, saying: "If such a disaster is true, why should the people of this region pay the price? Why does the Palestinian nation have to be suppressed and have its land occupied?"

The land of Palestine, he said, referring to the British mandated territory that includes all of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, "will be freed soon."

He did not say how this would be achieved, but insisted to the audience of at least 900 people: "Believe that Palestine will be freed soon."

"The existence of this (Israeli) regime is a permanent threat" to the Middle East, he added. "Its existence has harmed the dignity of Islamic nations."

The three-day conference on Palestine is being attended by officials of Hamas, the ruling party in the Palestinian territories.

Iran has previously said it will give money to the Palestinian Authority to make up for the withdrawal of donations by Western nations who object to Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence. But no figure has been published.

On Tuesday, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had successfully enriched uranium using a battery of 164 centrifuges, a significant step toward the large-scale production of enriched uranium required for either fueling nuclear reactors or making nuclear weapons.

The United States, France and Israel accuse Iran of using a civilian nuclear program to secretly build a weapon. Iran denies this, saying its program is confined to generating electricity.

The U.N. Security Council has given Iran until April 28 to cease enrichment. But Iran has rejected the demand.

The chief of Israeli military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, was quoted Wednesday as saying Iran could develop a nuclear bomb "within three years, by the end of the decade." "

Goddamn it all!!!

I'm sorry, I believe EVEN the pox's/dirty harry's/ron's/bradleys of the world see what a threat this regime is.

I have to believe even THEY would support (and keep supporting) an effort to remove this freakin' loon.

Unfortunately, I felt this way about them and Iraq.

I was wrong there.

JeffR


#8

Actually, I think this is a good indicator of what this is about.

Making statements like this is all about ensuring that some type of first strike is carried out by the western world.

If Iran can make that happen, I imagine they will attempt to escalate the situation and somehow engage Israel in the process. Perhaps they feel that if they are given an excuse to go to war they can drag fundamentalists from other nations in with them due to the nature of the propaganda it will make available to them?

By the sound of it, they'd be willing to sacrifice their nuclear program for a chance to create a large scale war that could engulf Israel. How much would it take to get large scale uprisings to occur in the region if US forces are bogged down in Iraq?

Am I out to lunch or does that aim coincide with fundamentalists goals?


#9

I'll second that!


#10

Just what we needed! Another Iran thread! It'll be interesting to see how the situation plays out in the coming months. Endless speculation about what will happen is a waste of time.

Vroom, Iran wants nuclear weapons. They've said as much. Even now they don't deny it; they're just not trumpeting it to the world. They don't need to enrich any uranium in order to build nuclear power plants. Most nations build 20 plants before they even start enriching uranium. Iran hasn't built anything. They want weapons!


#11

No kidding. Did I manage to give you the impression that I didn't think so?


#12

Saw a blurb on CNBC this AM about how Iran is forming bomb squads, to hit the USA and Europe.


#13

See?

Stuff like this, if true, seems like a sure way to get yourself attacked due to the "preemptive strike" policy.

Of course, if it wasn't true, it would certainly be inflammatory enough to get the public behind a strike.


#14

Very interesting article on the tack Iran may take on this:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/04/16/do1609.xml

EXCERPT

Last Monday, just before he announced that Iran had gatecrashed "the nuclear club", President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disappeared for several hours. He was having a khalvat (t?te-?-t?te) with the Hidden Imam, the 12th and last of the imams of Shiism who went into "grand occultation" in 941. . . .

Last year, it was after another khalvat that Ahmadinejad announced his intention to stand for president. Now, he boasts that the Imam gave him the presidency for a single task: provoking a "clash of civilisations" in which the Muslim world, led by Iran, takes on the "infidel" West, led by the United States, and defeats it in a slow but prolonged contest that, in military jargon, sounds like a low intensity, asymmetrical war.

In Ahmadinejad's analysis, the rising Islamic "superpower" has decisive advantages over the infidel. Islam has four times as many young men of fighting age as the West, with its ageing populations. Hundreds of millions of Muslim "ghazis" (holy raiders) are keen to become martyrs while the infidel youths, loving life and fearing death, hate to fight. Islam also has four-fifths of the world's oil reserves, and so controls the lifeblood of the infidel. More importantly, the US, the only infidel power still capable of fighting, is hated by most other nations.

According to this analysis, spelled out in commentaries by Ahmadinejad's strategic guru, Hassan Abassi, known as the "Dr Kissinger of Islam", President George W Bush is an aberration, an exception to a rule under which all American presidents since Truman, when faced with serious setbacks abroad, have "run away". Iran's current strategy, therefore, is to wait Bush out. And that, by "divine coincidence", corresponds to the time Iran needs to develop its nuclear arsenal, thus matching the only advantage that the infidel enjoys.

Moments after Ahmadinejad announced "the atomic miracle", the head of the Iranian nuclear project, Ghulamreza Aghazadeh, unveiled plans for manufacturing 54,000 centrifuges, to enrich enough uranium for hundreds of nuclear warheads. "We are going into mass production," he boasted.

The Iranian plan is simple: playing the diplomatic game for another two years until Bush becomes a "lame-duck", unable to take military action against the mullahs, while continuing to develop nuclear weapons.

Thus do not be surprised if, by the end of the 12 days still left of the United Nations' Security Council "deadline", Ahmadinejad announces a "temporary suspension" of uranium enrichment as a "confidence building measure". Also, don't be surprised if some time in June he agrees to ask the Majlis (the Islamic parliament) to consider signing the additional protocols of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Such manoeuvres would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director, Muhammad El-Baradei, and Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to congratulate Iran for its "positive gestures" and denounce talk of sanctions, let alone military action. The confidence building measures would never amount to anything, but their announcement would be enough to prevent the G8 summit, hosted by Russia in July, from moving against Iran.

While waiting Bush out, the Islamic Republic is intent on doing all it can to consolidate its gains in the region. Regime changes in Kabul and Baghdad have altered the status quo in the Middle East. While Bush is determined to create a Middle East that is democratic and pro-Western, Ahmadinejad is equally determined that the region should remain Islamic but pro-Iranian. Iran is now the strongest presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, after the US. It has turned Syria and Lebanon into its outer defences, which means that, for the first time since the 7th century, Iran is militarily present on the coast of the Mediterranean. In a massive political jamboree in Teheran last week, Ahmadinejad also assumed control of the "Jerusalem Cause", which includes annihilating Israel "in one storm", while launching a take-over bid for the cash-starved Hamas government in the West Bank and Gaza. . . .

On Monday, he was as candid as ever: "To those who are angry with us, we have one thing to say: be angry until you die of anger!"

His adviser, Hassan Abassi, is rather more eloquent. "The Americans are impatient," he says, "at the first sight of a setback, they run away. We, however, know how to be patient. We have been weaving carpets for thousands of years."

#15

This doesn't sound very promising!

Newsview: U.S. on the Spot With Iran
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060417/ap_on_go_pr_wh/iran_no_good_options_2
[i]
WASHINGTON - President Bush bats away talk of bombing Iran's disputed nuclear sites as "wild speculation." But plodding diplomacy hasn't borne fruit so far, and the administration is facing a hard truth: There may be no way to stop Iran from getting the bomb.

The Bush administration's choices are few and fraught with problems. They include a military strike to end or slow Iran's alleged drive to acquire the ability to build nuclear weapons, international diplomacy, and direct U.S. negotiations ? and concessions ? to persuade Tehran that it has more to gain from giving up weapons than from building them.

...
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