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Iran: bluff or truth?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, April 17, 2006

In the last couple weeks, Iran has introduced a new anti-ship missile, a stealth flying boat and claimed to have successfully enriched uranium.

I can't help but think now that those revelations were made to give some credence to this claim:
Of all the claims that Iran made last week about its nuclear program, a one-sentence assertion by its president has provoked such surprise and concern among international nuclear inspectors they are planning to confront Tehran about it this week.

The assertion involves Iran's claim that even while it begins to enrich small amounts of uranium, it is pursuing a far more sophisticated way of making atomic fuel that American officials and inspectors say could speed Iran's path to developing a nuclear weapon.
Bluff or truth?

If true the "5-10" year predictions we've all heard concerning when Iran might develop nuclear weapons are out the window. The crisis looms closer. And frankly I don't think anyone has a reasonable solution to the dilemma at this point.

And to those who still believe those predictions to be true (and that's all they are), consider this point:
Mr. Ahmadinejad's statements, and those of other senior Iranian officials, are always viewed with suspicion by American and international nuclear experts, because Iran has, at various times, understated nuclear activities that were later discovered, and overstated its capabilities. Analysts and American intelligence officials, bruised by their experience in Iraq, say they are uncertain whether Mr. Ahmadinejad's claim represents a real technical advance that could accelerate Iran's nuclear agenda, or political rhetoric meant to convince the world of the unstoppability of its atomic program.
That's a very round-about way of saying "experts" haven't a clue. So assuming the worst case (i.e. Iran is telling the truth) what does that mean?
If Iran moved beyond research and actually began running the machines, it could force American intelligence agencies to revise their estimates of how long it would take for Iran to build an atom bomb — an event they now put somewhere between 2010 and 2015.
Bluff or truth?

Your guess is as good as our intelligence agencies at this point.

And if it is the truth, what should we, what can we, do about it?
 
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Wait for the Israeli’s to take care of it for us....Osirak.
Europe will shake their fingers at Israel, wring their hands in concern, and secretly breath a sigh of relief.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I don’t know why people continue to listen to the 5-10 year estimates by "experts." These are the same "experts" who missed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Norks getting nukes, the AQ Khan network, etc.
 
Written By: A fine scotch
URL: http://
I’d bet no more than 5 years, Iran has a leg up in design and production planning. Now the question is one of production and production engineering and construction... They’ve been working on this since the 1990’s.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I don’t know why people continue to listen to the 5-10 year estimates by "experts." These are the same "experts" who missed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Norks getting nukes, the AQ Khan network, etc.
Weren’t they saying India was 5-10 years away when the Indian bomb was detonated?
I’d bet no more than 5 years, Iran has a leg up in design and production planning. Now the question is one of production and production engineering and construction... They’ve been working on this since the 1990’s.
As Dale likes to point out, we’re talking about 60 year old technology. How hard is it to get info about that? Apparently, given India, NoKo and Pakistan, not very.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
McQ it’s not the knowledge, per se... it’s the technical ability to put the knowledge to use. In terms of Uranium enrichment it is determining where to start the flow into a gaseous diffusion system, and it’s not at the beginning. It’s about designing the filters in gaseous diffusion systems and PRODUCING them, uranium hexaflouride is TREMENDOUSLY corrosive. It’s building the plant, it’s building the the massive electrical system for it.

It’s precision engineering of centrifuges, which I wonder why centrifuges? Is that REALLY the Iranian plan, gaseous diffusion was the better route for the US. Centrifuges are elegant, but they require a precise and delicate balance to work properly.

For plutonium, there’s a lot of corrosive material to be created and stored and then used. Most fissile material is very toxic, and whilst Iranians may not "care" about that as much, the best and brightest of Iran aren’t likely to be squandered in dangerous labs, either. Uranium is extremely HARD, and requires difficult machining to produce a weapons pit.

The explosives are a bother, modern weapons use less than 100 kilograms of advanced explosives, 1950’s weapons required HUNDREDS of kilo’s. The detonator is important. Are they using neutron initiators or the polonium-beryllium "golf ball". Neutron initiators are better, more efficient, easier to use and maintain. The timing devices for the high explosive systems and the battery systems supplying power are critical, as is the fusing system.

All-in-all the development of a nuclear weapon is a formidable undertaking, even knowing that they work and having a very good idea of HOW they work.

Bottom-Line: McQ aircraft are a 100 year old technology, but few nations have a commercial aviation industry and you don’t just create one easily. The PRC and India have laboured MIGHTILY to produce effective combat jets, with little success. It’s not easy playing in the technical big-leagues. Both the PRC and India mastered nuclear technology and WILL produce first class aviation, but it will not be overnight and not without a large number of failures and cost over-runs. Nuclear weapons, like aircraft, are complex pieces of engineering, design, and production.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ it’s not the knowledge, per se... it’s the technical ability to put the knowledge to use.
I understand that Joe. I would suggest that the knowledge (and people to apply it) is readily available for a price. As I understand it, that’s essentially how Pakistan became a nuclear power.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
There ya go - we had to do it from scratch, who were we going to buy the tech from?
Iran? They have a range of suppliers to choose from, some of whom are already part of their ’Axis of evil’ and some of whom are our allies. Admittedly the sort of allies who like to creep around behind our backs and supply things just to ’keep us in our place’ in a geopolitical sense.

I can’t fault them however, as they are doing exactly the sort of thing we used to do to prevent the Soviets from co-opting various parts of the world.
When Saddam was a convenient foil for the Iranians we weren’t expecting within about a decade to have to drive him out of Kuwait. I’m sure the French/German/Russian parties that sell Iran what it needs aren’t looking out on the 15 year forecast where Iran is providing the nuclear threat muscle for some Ottoman empire like expansion into Southern Russia or the ’soft underbelly of Europe’.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, most of the technology for nuclear weapons IS NOT FOR SALE. What Iran has bought is legitimate dual-use technology. DPRK hasn’t sold weapons to Iran and I doubt any of the Nuclear Club sold weapons TECHNOLOGY to Iran.

Any way, buying weapons or even fissionable would not be the best policy for a nation. Nuclear weapons require a great deal of maintenance, without the proper nuclear infrastructure inside a few years you "Weapon" degenerates into a large and expensive "Haz-Mat" exercise. If I were two to three MONTHS or less than a year away from domestic weapons I might purchase a weapon or the fissionables, but otherwise you don’t get much for your money.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I wish I could agree, not that I have an particular insight into the matter, but I have so little faith in some of our allies and even less faith in the DPRK.
Somehow I don’t think Kim Il Jong or Ahmadinejad worry too much about their stockpile going hazardous. It’s like two certified loons having tea and yellowcake and chumming over how they’re going to show "amerika".
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Well the DPRK can’t have that many weapons, so how many can it sell? And how many weapons would Iran consider "enough?" Is Iran in a better place with 1-5 weapons or not? Yes Iran is in a better place if it has 1-5 weapons and MORE coming on line in a few months, then 1-5 purchased weapons simply decrease the amount of time until Iran is in serial weapons possession.

And our allies have little incentive to sell weapons or the weapons technlogy...France did not sell Iran the ability to make the M-4 warhead, and Russia didn’t sell Iran the ability to make SS-19 warheads. They are willing to sell technologies that can lead to those devices, but not the devices themselves, much less the weapons themselves.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well, we *could* make it clear that the US enjoys near-absolute (or, more likely, truly absolute) nuclear supremacy over the rest of the world, and make it crystal clear, in no uncertain terms that if Iran wanted to threaten anyone anywhere, we and our allies would call their bluff. The credibility and predictability of our response would be the most powerful tool we could hope to have in that situation. And if that’s not a signal for the pragmatists and potential revolutionaries to get the nutballs out of power in Iran before they really hurt somebody, nothing is. And if the pragmatists aren’t willing and powerful enough to do so by the time Iran does get nukes, that’ll be as good a sign as any that we can make total war on Iran. No peace protests. No isolationist wavering. Just a clear-cut case for everyone versus Iran.

The one worry, then, is what Iran will have the power and inclination to destroy if the leadership goes ballistic.
And that sounds like the perfect case for the missile defense shield people to make for their program.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Uh OrneryWP Iran HAS ALREADY THREATENED SOMEONE, or have do you not consider Israel "someone?" And as iran has NO nuclear weapons now, that program seemed to not work too well. So practically one has question the value of your proposition.

Also, ask yourself this hypothetical...IF Iran threatens Riyadh AND could also threaten portions of the East Coast would the US risk D.C. for Riyadh? Valid question for deterrence theory, don’t you think? So if Iran justs suggests to OPEC to raise oil prices to $80 a barrel will the US and the EU get to threaten nuclear weapons?

I think you’re just whistling in the dark on this threaten Iran thing...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I miss Clinton....sigh.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
i am a iranian and i think that the nuclear plant is peacefull and the iranian goverment do not want war over a peaceful plant. so before war would start they will give it up. they just want to be treated fairly, how comes other countries are allowed one but iran are not.
 
Written By: a_iranian
URL: http://
they just want to be treated fairly, how comes other countries are allowed one but iran are not.


Well it’s the continued existential threats to the Zionist Entity, a.k.a Israel that make us a little cautious about Iran’s nuclear program. Whne a government suggests that Israel must be destroyed AND that government is acquiring nuclear weapons, possibly, it makes a man think...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
...how comes other countries are allowed one but iran are not.
Actually they are ... for peaceful use. But the Iranian government signed a treaty in which they promised not to seek nuclear weapons, and now they won’t assure the world they aren’t.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
i am a iranian and i think that the nuclear plant is peacefull and the iranian goverment do not want war over a peaceful plant. so before war would start they will give it up. they just want to be treated fairly, how comes other countries are allowed one but iran are not.
Is this a joke?
 
Written By: derek
URL: http://
Is this a joke?
Actually it’s pretty common sentiment.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Hey Joe —
Uh OrneryWP Iran HAS ALREADY THREATENED SOMEONE, or have do you not consider Israel "someone?"
Take your blood pressure medication and read what I said again.

I said that if they threaten anyone, we call their bluff.
That means we say publicly: Go ahead, chump. Try it. Try attacking Israel. We dare you — we double dog dare you.

And yeah, I’m really such a f*ckin’ idiot that I don’t consider Israel "someone," Joe. You hit the nail right on the head.
And as iran has NO nuclear weapons now, that program seemed to not work too well. So practically one has question the value of your proposition.
Well, if you comprehended the basic proposition in the first place, you’d realize that it’d work just fine right up to the point that they get nukes and beyond.
Also, ask yourself this hypothetical...IF Iran threatens Riyadh AND could also threaten portions of the East Coast would the US risk D.C. for Riyadh? Valid question for deterrence theory, don’t you think?
That one’s easy: we don’t tolerate nuclear aggression period. If we didn’t risk our hides to protect our allies, nominal or not, our credibility as provider of security to the world would evaporate before the first prince of Saud does.
So if Iran justs suggests to OPEC to raise oil prices to $80 a barrel will the US and the EU get to threaten nuclear weapons?
That’s exactly what I’m talking about though: we wouldn’t need to threaten a nuclear attack. If Iran tries to throw their weight around, our allies can just say, "We’re not going to go along with your plan, Iran. What are you going to do about it, huh?"
Iran doesn’t have a solid answer. They can rattle that saber allll day, and we can look them dead in the eyes and tell them we’re not buying it. If Iran wants to go postal over $10 a barrel, it’ll be the last stupid move they ever make, and we’ll have every excuse in the world to make a glass parking lot of old Persia.

If the pragmatists in Iran think their leaders are crazy/stupid enough to launch, or even won’t tolerate the danger of it, they’ll overthrow the nutballs. If they don’t, they know they’ll go down with them.

If, on the other hand, Iran’s leaders are sensitive to the exigencies of force, and don’t want to be incinerated after all, I see no reason why we need to risk so much attacking them. We can wait until better opportunities come up.
I think you’re just whistling in the dark on this threaten Iran thing...
Thinking is good.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Your guess is as good as our intelligence agencies at this point.
I’d submit that our guesses are probably destined to be more accurate than our intelligence agencies. We lack the avarice those employed therein do.
 
Written By: srv
URL: http://
US did repeat the same mistake of vietnam by destroying iraq and killing many of its peace loving population. Well, how can any country be sure that US will not repeat the same mistake again? why should the "mistake" of US kill a million people ... and is it worth an excuse? I believe, even though Iran is seeking nuclear research for peaceful purposes, it has all the right to develop nuclear weapons as well so that no power on earth dare to foolishly repeat the same mistakes again and again and again (like the US proved in iraq by repeating the same "mistakes" of vietnam).
 
Written By: zak
URL: http://nil
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Written By: OOOYY
URL: http://

 
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