January 29, 2006


EU hosts last-ditch talks on Iran (BBC, 1/30/06)

The EU is set to hold last-minute talks with Iran - at Tehran's request - to try to resolve a stand-off over Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

Iran requested the meeting with envoys from Britain, France and Germany.

Foreign ministers from the EU-3 will also discuss the issue at separate talks in London with their counterparts from the US, Russia and China.

On Thursday, the UN nuclear watchdog is due to hold urgent talks and could refer Iran to the UN Security Council.

The EU and the US want Iran to be referred to the council for possible sanctions after Tehran restarted its nuclear programme.

The Iranians are in way over their heads.

Calculating the Risk of War in Iran (F. William Engdahl, January 29, 2006, GlobalResearch.ca )

In January 2003 President Bush signed a classified Presidential Directive, CONPLAN 8022-02. Conplan 8022 is a war plan different from all prior in that it posits ‘no ground troops.’ It was specifically drafted to deal with ‘imminent’ threats from states such as North Korea or Iran.

Unlike the warplan for Iraq, a conventional one, which required coordinated preparation of air, ground and sea forces before it could be launched, a process of months even years, Conplan 8022 called for a highly concentrated strike combining bombing with electronic warfare and cyberattacks to cripple an opponent’s response—cutting electricity in the country, jamming communications, hacking computer networks.

Conplan 8022 explicitly includes a nuclear option, specially configured earth-penetrating ‘mini’ nukes to hit underground sites such as Iran’s. In summer 2005 Defense Secretary Rumsfeld approved a top secret ‘Interim Global Strike Alert Order’ directing round-the-clock military readiness, to be directed by the Omaha-based Strategic Command (Stratcom), according to a report in the May 15, 2005 Washington Post. Previously, ominously enough, Stratcom oversaw only the US nuclear forces. In January 2003 Bush signed on to a definition of ‘full spectrum global strike’ which included precision nuclear as well as conventional bombs, and space warfare. This was a follow-up to the President’s September 2002 National Security Strategy which laid out as US strategic doctrine a policy of ‘pre-emptive’ wars.

The burning question is whether, with plunging popularity polls, a coming national election, scandals and loss of influence, the Bush White House might ‘think the unthinkable’ and order a nuclear pre-emptive global strike on Iran before the November elections, perhaps early after the March 28 Israeli elections.

Some Pentagon analysts have suggested that the entire US strategy towards Iran, unlike with Iraq, is rather a carefully orchestrated escalation of psychological pressure and bluff to force Iran to back down. It seems clear, especially in light of the strategic threat Iran faces from US or Israeli forces on its borders after 2003 that Iran is not likely to back down from its clear plans to develop the full nuclear fuel cycle capacities and with it, the option of developing an Iranian nuclear capability.

The question then is what will Washington do? The fundamental change in US defense doctrine since 2001, from a posture of defense to offense has significantly lowered the threshold of nuclear war, perhaps even of a global nuclear conflagration.

While the latest Iranian agreement to reopen talks with Moscow on Russian spent fuel reprocessing have taken some of the edge off of the crisis for the moment. On January 27 President Bush announced publicly that he backed the Russian compromise, along with China and El Baradei of the IAEA. Bush signalled a significant backdown, at least for the moment, stating, ‘The Russians came up with the idea and I support it…I do believe people ought to be allowed to have civilian nuclear power.’ At the same time Rice’s State Department expressed concern the Russian-Iran talks were a stalling ploy by Teheran.

Bush added ‘However, I don’t believe that non-transparent (sic) regimes that threaten the security of the world should be allowed to gain the technologies necessary to make a weapon.’ The same day at Davos, Secretary Rice told the World Economic Forum that Iran’s nuclear program posed ‘significant danger’ and that Iran must be brought before the UN Security Council. In short, Washington is trying to appear ‘diplomatic’ while keeping all options open.

The thing about havcing such a devastating option available is that it gives you plenty of time to avoid using it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 29, 2006 11:57 PM

The mini-nukes are aleady in-theater.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 30, 2006 12:21 AM

I believe we have stopped developing 'mini' nukes.

Posted by: ic at January 30, 2006 12:25 AM

The EU Is out numbered and France, UK, Old Germany are becoming Muslim states, the fact is the Iranians will use the west to make time and will attack when the bombs come on line within one year, remember the muslims are buying time and being helped by Moscow for political reasons.

its all in the game.

its best to see 10 million dead muslim now and save 20 million Europeans and Americans.

don't be a fool its war and its a race/culture and religious war all in one. fight it like world war two or die in a bunker that is the way of the world.

Posted by: Fred Dawes at January 30, 2006 12:49 AM

A nuke has to be exploded in the air; fused even as low as 6 meters it would impart only a small fraction of the seimic energy of a deep pentrating weapon.

The GBU-28 is the best weapon in the US arsenal for taking out deep bunkers.

Posted by: Gideon at January 30, 2006 12:50 AM

Get some more facts about Iran's nuclear program which aren't being reported in the US at Le Monde Diplomatique Nov 2005 issue article entitled "Iran needs nuclear power, not weapons" and see a copy here:

Posted by: Hass at January 30, 2006 12:52 AM

We have tactical nuclear weapons in-theater, some underwater. Just not the earth-penetrating variety the author mistakenly thinks we have in our arsenal. Nukes have always been our insurance policy against Iran and Syria over-running our troops in Iraq. And did you notice the recent deployment of 75-80 F-16's to "Southwest Asia"?

Posted by: ghostcat at January 30, 2006 1:17 AM

Hass, you cite an article written by Cyrus Safdari.

Dr. Safdari is currently the newsletter editor of the International Institute for Caspian Studies.

A quick perusal of the website of the International Institute of Caspian Studies shows it to be headquartered in Tehran, and to be an organization given to parroting the official positions of the Iranian government.

Now I suppose Dr. Safdari COULD be a completely disinterested scholar, one who's got no agenda, but circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at January 30, 2006 1:25 AM

Hass, just what are you smoking?

Saw this crap on Die Welt's english version.

They don't need it. Especially when the world will get off it.

There's more than enough to run their country.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 30, 2006 12:54 PM

There's no reason they shouldn't have nuclear energy but be denied nuclear weapons.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2006 1:35 PM

oj: Sure there is. Their gov't denies its people their most fundamental rights, hence the gov't has no rights that we need respect. Didn't you edit a book on this topic or something?

Posted by: b at January 30, 2006 2:13 PM

Even nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is a stupid decision for Iran.

They'd be far better off building some oil refineries.
It cannot be overstated just HOW MUCH wiser and smarter it would be for Iran to build refineries, and not nuclear power plants.
Like, lots.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 30, 2006 2:15 PM

People don't behave wisely, why would nations?

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2006 2:48 PM


They aren't denied fundamental rights.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2006 2:49 PM

Iranians are not denied fundamental rights?

Posted by: David Cohen at January 30, 2006 4:11 PM

No, they have the same rights we do; speech, assembly, religion, etc.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2006 4:17 PM

"they have the same rights we do"

Yeah sure easy for you to say, but can they donate to the political candidates and finance issue ads that they want to like we do...ah use to be able to do before CFR.

Posted by: h-man at January 30, 2006 4:29 PM

Instead of attacking Dr Safdari (called "shooting the messenger") why not deal with the content of his Le Monde article -- which incidentally cites entirely WESTERN source of info rather than "parroting" anyone. In fact, it seems to me that YOU'RE the one parrotting official spin.


Posted by: Hass at February 2, 2006 1:16 PM