Free Markets, Free People

Iran Ready To Build Nuclear Bomb?

That’s what the UK Times is reporting:

Iran has perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead and is merely awaiting the word from its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to produce its first bomb, Western intelligence sources have told The Times.

The sources said that Iran completed a research programme to create weaponised uranium in the summer of 2003 and that it could feasibly make a bomb within a year of an order from its Supreme Leader.

Of course, what we don’t know about Iran’s capability could fill a book. We’ve seen it variously reported that they a year away to ten years away – a good indicator that for the most part intelligence agencies haven’t a clue in reality.

However, as we know, nuclear bombs are old technology. The genie has been out of the bottle way too long to believe that Iran can’t build a bomb if it dedicates the time and resources to do so. And it certainly seems to have done both.

So now what?

That’s the salient question now. Let’s assume Iran has a bomb by this time next year – then what?

Well here’s the apparent game plan:

If Iran’s leader does decide to build a bomb, he will have two choices, intelligence sources said. One would be to take the high-risk approach of kicking out the international inspectors and making a sprint to complete Iran’s first bomb, as the country weathered international sanctions or possible air strikes in the ensuing crisis. The other would be to covertly develop the materials needed for an arsenal in secret desert facilities.

Last week, during a series of high-level US visits to Israel, officials outlined Washington’s plans to step up sanctions on Iran, should Tehran fail to agree on talks. Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, and General James Jones, the National Security Adviser, said that Iran had until the end of next month, when the UN General Assembly is to meet, to make a positive move towards engagement.

If Tehran fails to respond, Washington aims to build a tough international coalition to impose harsh sanctions focusing on petroleum products — an area where Iran is particularly vulnerable because it sends almost all of its crude abroad for refinement.

The feeling, of course, is if these sorts of sanctions can be imposed, it will hurt the regime even further by adding more unrest among a population already not happy with the election outcome. And, per the Times, hit directly at the Revolutionary Guards Council, which is the main exporter of terrorism through its surrogates in various parts of the world.

Of course what isn’t mentioned by the Times is the one big fly in the ointment of getting this done – China. No China, no sanctions. And China has developed a pretty close relationship with Iran based on petroleum trade. In 2004 it signed two huge oil and gas deals with Iran. Presently 45% of China’s crude imports come from the Middle East and that’s expected to rise to 70% by 2015. In 2008, China finalized a $70 billion deal to develop Iran’s Yadavaran oil field in exchange for the supply of liquefied natural gas. And much, much more.

So China is not going to be keen to cripple a nation which it has invested so much time and money in developing a relationship with – especially if it wants to maintain its own economy (and keep its own internal unrest to a simmer) during recessionary times.

Bottom line? My guess is a lot of tough talk and fist shaking at Iran, but in the end, nothing much happens and Iran ends up with its nuke. The play will be made in the UN where China has a seat on the Security Council and I’d almost bet the house that nothing comes out of that organization with any teeth whatsoever or China won’t vote for it.

Bottom bottom line – Israel, who we seem bound and determined to have worse relations with, is probably going to have to find a way to destroy the capability on their own. Militarily they’ve been quietly developing the strike capability for some time. And Saudi Arabia, which is very worried about an Iranian nuke and what it would do to the balance of power in the region, has given Israel a subtle nod that it would turn its back should the Israelis fly over their territory to strike Iran – unprecedented in the history of the region and an indication of the depth of fear the Saudis harbor.

But reliance on the UN and “sanctions”? I just don’t see that happening.

~McQ

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8 Responses to Iran Ready To Build Nuclear Bomb?

  • One can almost imagine the response that The Clown™ will give once it comes out – and it will come out – that he sat back with his “let’s talk to them” bullcrappola and allowed Iran to get the bomb:

    “Israel has NOTHING to worry about. Iran wouldn’t dare attack them.”

    “My administration did all it could. Now we have to see what happens next.” (One could say it will be a mushroom cloud.)

    “My Secretary of State…whose name I forget right now…is working on this important issue night and day. And as soon as I figure out a way to deal with it, I believe that we can deal with it in a way that deals with it.”

    “Let me make this clear: Iran should not have nuclear bomb.”

    “Wait a minute…do you mean IRAN? The country in the Middle East? That IRAN?”

    • You forgot Obama’s response after Israel tries to knock out Iranian nuclear capability: “Well, it’s clear that Israel acted stupidly.”

  • Maybe the UN could send a letter to Tehran telling the mullahs that the international community will be very angry with them… and write them a letter, telling you how angry they are.

    / sarc

    How many more times do we have to have demonstrated the f*cking uselessness of the UN and sanctions before people will realize how pointless they are????

  • “Of course what isn’t mentioned by the Times is the one big fly in the ointment of getting this done – China. No China, no sanctions. And China has developed a pretty close relationship with Iran based on petroleum trade. In 2004 it signed two huge oil and gas deals with Iran. Presently 45% of China’s crude imports come from the Middle East and that’s expected to rise to 70% by 2015. In 2008, China finalized a $70 billion deal to develop Iran’s Yadavaran oil field in exchange for the supply of liquefied natural gas. And much, much more.”

    So why did we engage so deeply in trade with China? Seems like we’re embargoing the wrong target. I’d rather suffer’s China’s absense than the absense of Iran’s oil from the marketplace. Especially when Iran’s tech has likely come in some combination directly from China and its other cold war proxy, NK.

    But wait, we need those $5 dollar cheaper toasters. Which is fine but ultimately means there will only be a military solution to Iran. Just a matter of when.

  • Maybe it is just me, but perhaps the issue of NK, IRAN, etc. getting nuclear weapons is just a wee bit more important than ‘reforming’ health care. Consider, for instance, the effect on health care costs of even one small nuke being detonated in the US. Then there are the environmental effects, which I am sure will be of great concern to the administration. The release of so much energy can only increase AGW.

  • This is nonsense and rubbish. Iran has supposedly been “just 2weeks/months/years away” from building the bomb for the last 25 years!

    The Iranians have offered to place additional restrictions on their nuclear program, well beyond their legal obligations under the NPT, to address even the hypothetical concern that they could secretly make nukes. For example they have offered to run the program as joint ventures with foreign governments. All of these offers were ignored.

    See IRANAFFAIRS.COM for the facts, rather than speculation and scaremongering.

    • Ah, the Iranian propaganda wing has shown up. How nice.

      Of course they haven’t been a few months/years away for “the last 25 years” because they haven’t had the capability for that long. Speaking of facts, you should know they’ve only been capable of producing what is necessary for a bomb since 2003.

  • Of course, Iran is a large country, and they know about Israel’s possible action.   So they’ll not only make it hard for Israel to be sure they can destroy Iran’s capacity, but they also have Hezbollah and other ways to make Israel suffer.   They’ll send a clear message:  You, Israel, have nukes, if we have nukes then we have mutually assured destruction.   That’s safer for you than starting a war with us now.
    That’s assuming Iran really will have nuclear weapons.   It’s smart for them to develop nuclear power, especially as oil reserves start to be used up — they need to sell all they can, and have an economy ready for the post-petroleum era.    So they may decide that having everyone know they are capable, but yet not to take the risk of provoking an Israeli attack (Iran doesn’t want to have to play the Hezbollah card and start a Mideast wide war either).  That would mean continued warnings that Iran can produce a bomb, but no actual bomb.