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Iran Nukes?

Via Juan Cole a bit of actual reporting on the Iran nuclear issue from Scott Peterson in The Christian Science Monitor from November 8, 2011: Imminent Iran nuclear threat? A timeline of warnings since 1979.

The Shah was still in power in 1979, but Iran was between 3 and 7 years from having a nuclear weapon, according to “intelligence sources”.

As Badtux has pointed out in comments before, based on the US Manhattan Project, any nation with its own source of uranium is about 5 years from building a nuclear weapon, if they really want to do it.

It has been over 30 years since Iran was supposed to be an average of 5 years from building a nuclear weapon. People keep saying this and they still haven’t got one. How long before people start to admit the possibility that they may not want one?

Another annoying recent point that the IAEA brought up was the Iranian ‘refusal’ to allow them to inspect a military facility that was rumored to have been involved in unspecified ‘nuclear related program activities’. Excuse me, but the US and USSR specifically excluded inspections of military facilities from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, because they didn’t want UN inspectors having access. Iran is under no obligation to allow the inspections, but seems willing to, if the IAEA sends actual inspectors, more particularly, inspectors not associated with governments who keep threatening to bomb them because ‘they are five years from having a nuclear weapon’.

I would also remind people that the reason the Iranians insist on having the ability to refine their own fuel is because governments keep imposing sanctions on them, sanctions that would make impossible for them to get the fuel they will need for their power plants. When you look at it from the Iranian side, they would be stupid to give up the ability to refine the fuel. They aren’t stupid, and they are rational. Can anyone really say that about Netanyahu and the Israeli government?

20 comments

1 Badtux { 03.08.12 at 12:27 am }

I think the problem a lot of people have is that the President of the United States is the most powerful man in the USA, while the President of most nations is a ceremonial post, sort of like the Queen of England, that has no actual power. And the President of Iran is crazy clown moron Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, so people think, “gosh, the most powerful man in the country is crazy, so the whole country must be crazy!” Err, no. The most powerful man in Iran is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad is basically the Mayor of Tehran, the Ayatollahs allow him some limited control over things that don’t matter, but Iran is fundamentally a theocracy where the Ayatollahs are in control, and the Ayatollahs are like the Chinese gerontocrats — they’re old, they’re cautious, they’ve managed to survive so long by cunning and intelligence, and they aren’t going to do something stupid just to do something stupid.

2 Bryan { 03.08.12 at 12:59 am }

The only thing of note that Ahmadinejad has done since being elected is enforce the laws against having dogs as pets. He attempted to allow women to attend football matches during the World Cup qualifiers, and got slapped down. He attempted to fire ministers and got slapped down.

The first clue should have been that when Putin visits Iran, he talks to Khamenei and has a photo op with Ahmadinejad at the airport. The Iranian papers and foreign press run the picture of the airport, but the Russians use the picture with Khamenei, because the Russians know who is in charge of the countries that neighbor them.

Ahmadinejad would love to have the power of the Queen, but the clerics won’t allow it. He needs permission to cut ribbons.

3 Badtux { 03.11.12 at 1:55 am }

And today I get an email blast from World Nut Daily Press flogging a book by Jerome Corsi (of birther fame) titled Atomic Iran, which states that Iran is on the verge of having an atomic weapon and if we don’t attack *now*, they’ll give the atomic weapons to terrorists and blow up Israel or an American port or something.

Only one problem: The book was published in 2006. Six years ago. And it boldly predicted that Iran would have a bomb within… err…. five years?

Fail.

– Badtux the “Can wingnuts do math?!” Penguin

4 Bryan { 03.11.12 at 12:41 pm }

Like you said – anyone with uranium can do it from scratch in 5 years.

Given how long it took them to make their first fuel rod, I don’t think Iran has an ‘accelerated’ program. They must be plagued with people who plan on staying alive, and aren’t too keen about radiation poisoning. This is what happens when you let people get an education. If they used rural farm workers like Japan, they would be much further along — well, those that were still alive.

5 Badtux { 03.11.12 at 2:22 pm }

Yah, it’s easy to build a nuclear weapon if you’re desperate and your people are in a hyperpatriotic furor and willing to be irradiated and you don’t care about sanctions because you already have sanctions against you and so on and so forth. And you wouldn’t need any centrifuges to do it either.

But of course reality is that Iran already has a “nuclear” weapon to use if invaded — close down the Strait of Hormuz (which would cut off their own oil exports too of course, but since their main oil field is on the border with Iraq and thus likely first to be occupied during an invasion, so what). If Iran was going to have an atomic weapon they would have had it by December 2008, five years after the invasion of Iraq caused the ayatollahs to collectively soil their britches in fear the U.S. was going to turn its troops eastward and continue invading. But the reality is that by six months after the invasion of Iraq it was clear that the U.S. was like the dog that caught the car — now what? — and was in too big a clusterfsck to even think of turning east. Any plans they had for nuclear weapons were undoubtedly quietly shelved at that time, since they no longer needed them for self defense.

– Badtux the Pragmatic Penguin

6 Bryan { 03.11.12 at 9:50 pm }

Fortunately the neo-cons decided to back Chalabi who was telling Iran everything that was going on and providing them with all kinds of US intel, so they knew they could relax as Saddam was no longer a threat, and any government elected in ‘free’ Iraq would be a good neighbor.

Iran isn’t very interested in spending huge amounts of its budget on weapons, since it rather obviously isn’t interested in invading anyone. After a couple of centuries you get out of the habit.

The Likud have to find an existential threat somewhere to justify the stupid things that they put their citizens through at home.

7 Badtux { 03.12.12 at 1:19 am }

Yah, the United States did not exist the last time Iran invaded anybody… meanwhile, the times when the U.S. *isn’t* invading someone are rarer than the times when the U.S. *is* invading someone. So who’s a peaceful people, again? Harumph!

– Badtux the Observant Penguin

8 Bryan { 03.12.12 at 11:08 am }

There you go again, injecting those liberal biased facts into the conversation. 😉

9 Kryten42 { 03.19.12 at 11:00 am }

There are countries that have nukes that the USA (and others) never mention, like Australia. 😉 I know… I’ve seen them (Why else would we buy FB-111’s?)! But *officially* we are a nuclear free country (just don’t mention all those pesky Uni’s and medical facilities scattered all around the country that produce all those short- & medium-lived medical isotopes!) It wouldn’t surprise me if Canada had some also, after all, they are the Worlds largest supplier of concentrated uranium oxides (somewhere around 28% I believe), and Aus is 2nd (about 23%), even Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia have far more than the USA (about 8th on the list I think) with only 2.5%! That and our extremely good agriculture are the only reasons the USA give a rats arse about Aus (I know)!

It’s why the USA has such a pathetic education system. If the sheeple weren’t so pig ignorant, none of dumb-arsed crooked morons who get elected, would.

*shrug*… so, what else is new?

10 Bryan { 03.19.12 at 10:27 pm }

The Canadians could put one together in a minimal amount of time, but I don’t think they bother to build and store them. They were Iran’s supplier for their medical reactor, which is why the Iranians are going to their own enrichment program – Canada stopped supplying them because of the ‘sanctions’. The West just hasn’t been a reliable supplier for Iran, and has broken contracts multiple times, so there is no reason for Iran to trust anything the West says.

The US politicians keep saying you can’t trust the Iranians, but the record shows that no one can trust the West to fulfill their agreements.

The US doesn’t want to spend money on a good education system because the ‘wrong people’ might actually take jobs that belong to the ‘right people’, and can’t be allowed to happen. Their better will tell them what they need to know, so the people should just be content and quiet.

11 Badtux { 03.20.12 at 12:44 am }

The Canadians actually had a significant supply of weapons grade plutonium for assembling nukes — remember, that was their whole reason for developing heavy-water reactors in the first place — but when they decided that officially joining the nuclear club was more trouble than it was worth (and the threat of the Soviet Union actually launching a war that took out the UK faded), they officially gave it all away to the UK. Note that I say “officially” — folks in the know say that the amount the UK accepted from Canada was less than the amount that Canada produced from their reprocessing plant while it was open. Or maybe Canada’s book-keeping is just lousy. I report, you decide :).

BTW, their reprocessing plant is a bit of a toxic waste dump right now, seems nuke spooks aren’t good at housekeeping. It’s a quiet scandal that keeps getting shoved under the covers by successive governments because they really don’t want to advertise that Canada once had the makings for nuclear weapons — according to the FAS, the Canucks even had the shells of bombs ready to fill with explosive goodness, and one of the UK nuclear tests was actually a Canadian test of their bomb design. (Hmm, I wonder if Australia got that same service from the UK… plausible deniability, eh?!).

So anyhow, I’m eagerly awaiting sanctions against Canada for their clandestine nuclear program. Oh wait… a clandestine nuclear program is only a crime if you’re brown. Alrighty, then!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

12 Bryan { 03.20.12 at 9:23 pm }

The hypocrisy of the situation is thick enough to float an Abrams.

South Korea finally admitted they ‘toyed’ with the idea, Japan’s new nationalists wouldn’t be adverse, and so on and so forth. If they had oil laying around they would be in trouble. Hell, most of Japan’s nuclear power system should be counted as nuclear weapons, except the Japanese will also be their target.

I just read a report on a DoD simulation of an attack on Iran – regional war lasting for about 8 years, but it would only delay an Iranian nuclear program for 3 years, meaning Iran could have nukes for the last 5 years of the war.

They forgot to mention the $10/gallon gas or the collapse of the world economy, so they must not think it’s important.

13 Kryten42 { 03.21.12 at 12:06 am }

Yes, hypocrisy is rampant the World over.

The Brit’s tested nukes here (officially that is) from ’55 to ’63 @ the now infamous Maralinga. But the first test was actually in ’52 at Montebello Islands (off the coast of WA), and two more bombs were detonated in ’53 @ Emu Field (in the Great Victoria Desert). Aus were not (as it has been portraid) innocent victims of the Monarchy, but in fact willing participants. After all, the only ones likely to suffer were the indigenous Aborigines, and who could care less what happened to them? *shrug* In fact, after the officially reported 7 nuclear tests at Maralinga (and only 7 nuclear detonations did occur), a further 100+ tests were carried out to determine everything from how radiation spread, to radiation sickness, and how the bombs themselves would react to fire, explosions, earthquakes etc.
Tests included forcing soldiers to run, walk and crawl across contaminated test sites immediately following detonation tests. (Which at least proves that the British, American & Aus politicians and Military commands are not so different). The Brit’s did lie to us about several things, including about our scientists concerns that fallout from the first test bomb would spread far as they believed the yield was too high (about 13kT) and that proved to be the case. After detonation, radiation was detected as far as NSW, QLD & Vic, and all over SA & NT. After a series of smaller yield tests, the Brit’s decided to test a thermonuclear device in ’57 with a yield of almost 27kT. There were two further tests planned, but the Aus Gov had had enough and pulled the plug on them. Further, much smaller, tests were allowed. BTW, all the *minor* tests were carried out in absolute secrecy (it was a bit difficult to hide the major tests obviously). These *minor* tests included how plutonium weapons would react to fire and explosions aboard an aircraft carrying them. The results were over 40kg (22kg in one test alone) of enriched, highly toxic plutonium being spread over a very large area. There were in fact about 700 tests conducted all up, some of which are still highly secret. A Royal Commission reported in ’85 that many of the sites were still highly contaminated, despite assurances by the Brit & Aus Gov’s that they were safe. We spent over AU$105mill between ’96 & 2000 cleaning up the worst sites.

They all lie. 🙂

14 Bryan { 03.21.12 at 11:01 pm }

There are a lot of people in the American West who found out much later what ‘their government’ had done to them.

The US used B-17s converted to drones to fly over the tests and then checked them for radiation when they landed. You can see some of those aircraft in the old movie “Twelve O’Clock High”, as all of the formation flying B-17s are in fact drones. The B-17s that crash in the movie are aircraft that were contaminated flying through the tests and slated for destruction. No one figured out that crashing an burning a radioactive aircraft was not a brilliant idea.

It took decades for the military to admit that the soldiers who participated in the tests were subjected to unsafe levels of radiation. Part of the problem was that no one knew for sure what a safe level was, so the soldiers were used as ‘lab rats’ and many died without knowing what had been done to them, and no government support for the illnesses they experienced as a result of the tests. Everything was classified.

A lot of ranchers downwind of the test sites lost stock and developed illnesses with the government not even mentioning what had been done to them. Great evil has been [and is still being] done in the name of ‘defense’.

It is amazing the things humans and their governments do, things that could easily wipe us off the face of the Earth.

15 Kryten42 { 03.22.12 at 10:09 pm }

Sadly, I couldn’t agree more. The problem is that most of the politicians and military commands are completely divorced from reality (though they would claim it is *we the people* who *don’t understand these things*. Humans can, and do, rationalize anything and everything, it’s pretty easy to find or invent a reason to *justify* anything. It’s amazing that we constantly find lot’s of reasons to destroy lives, but can’t seem to find reasons to help us all live happy, healthy, useful and productive lives.

I didn’t know that about the B-17’s. 😀 Thanks! Good to know I still don’t know everything! 😉 🙄 Heh…

Anyway, it’s easy to see why I think so very little of Homo Sapiens! Even with the so-called “great achievements”! Most of them were achieved through great pain and suffering (most often of the *little* people), and for all the wrong reasons (ego being the main one)!

16 Bryan { 03.23.12 at 12:42 am }

The profits are ‘privatized’, but the losses are ‘socialized’. Everyone is expected to share in the pain, even when they weren’t allowed the smallest of pleasures.

This is how revolutions start, and the people in charge are oblivious to it. They assume that the ‘people’ will just do what they are told and not bother the great and powerful. There are limits, and we are, alas, approaching them.

Yes, wars are always good for ‘great achievements’, because it is the only time governments will pay for real research, and then only in the hope of discovering ‘more efficient’ ways of killing people. Humans really are a piece of work.

My Dad worked on building drones from all kinds of aircraft. It was all done down here on Eglin AFB.

17 Kryten42 { 03.24.12 at 12:41 am }

The profits are ‘privatized’, but the losses are ‘socialized’.

Now THAT is an excellent and succinct way of putting it! 😀 I may borrow that (with attribution, naturally) if I may. 🙂

Your father was a very interesting man. I would have liked to have met him. 🙂 I’m sure he and my grandfather would have gotten on very well! Probably would have agreed on the *important* things, and argued like hell about everything else, and loved it! 😀 I miss grandad, of course (as I am sure you miss your father). But I smile a lot also, especially when I think (something like) “Well, you were right again, you old sod!” Heh… 🙂 Wisdom of the aged, eh? 😉

Yes, I feel revolution is inevitable. It may well be Global, and may well be the last one we ever have. *shrug* Suit’s me…

18 Kryten42 { 03.24.12 at 12:52 am }

Drat!! Wrong button again! *SIGH*

I was going to add:

I had a good friend for a number of years who was an ex-pat American who worked a lot in Aerospace & Shipbuilding etc. I wonder if your Dad knew him? No easy way of knowing I guess. He is an amazing man, and a great *human* (one of the rare ones). He’s a Scientist, engineer, businessman, humanitarian, and general *jack of all trades*. Sadly, I haven’t spoken to him in years. *sigh*

He’s a member of the Climategate Country Club

His brief Bio tells it all really:

Are you a scientist working within climate science?

NO

I am unqualified to work within climate science because:

I have a BSEE from MIT in thermal power plant design

I have a MSE in applied mathematics.

My Phd was computer modeling of Maxwell’s equations.

I am a PE (Ohio)

Most of all I do not suffer fools gladly.

LOL He hasn’t changed a bit! 😀

Dr. Brenton R. Groves.

Google him… I think you’ll be impressed. 🙂 Be warned… his list of publications is quite long! 😉 His wife, Lois, is also quite impressive. 🙂

19 Kryten42 { 03.24.12 at 1:00 am }

Meeeah!! I realized after I posted that I have mentioned Brent here before! I found the thread:

Neat Geek Stuff

😉

20 Bryan { 03.24.12 at 9:45 pm }

I didn’t create that one, Kryten. It has been around for a while in progressive circles, and it really is a nice encapsulation of what has been taking place in the global economy since the Great Meltdown.

The people who created the mess are getting away with it, while the vast majority are being hurt. People are not going to starve quietly while the bankers continue to live in their palaces.

The Arab Spring shows the result of long-term inequality. It can happen anywhere, and Europe may well be next.