January 28, 2007


Nuclear plans in chaos as Iran leader flounders: Boasts of a nuclear programme are just propaganda, say insiders, but the PR could be enough to provoke Israel into war (Peter Beaumont, January 28, 2007, Observer)

Iran's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, the material used to make nuclear bombs, are in chaos and the country is still years from mastering the required technology.

Iran's uranium enrichment programme has been plagued by constant technical problems, lack of access to outside technology and knowhow, and a failure to master the complex production-engineering processes involved. The country denies developing weapons, saying its pursuit of uranium enrichment is for energy purposes.

Despite Iran being presented as an urgent threat to nuclear non-proliferation and regional and world peace - in particular by an increasingly bellicose Israel and its closest ally, the US - a number of Western diplomats and technical experts close to the Iranian programme have told The Observer it is archaic, prone to breakdown and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production.

Just as Cold Warriors strangely overestimated the efficacy of Communism, so too is it putative anti-Islamists who bizarrely have the greatest faith in the capacities of Islamism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2007 2:20 PM

The time line for Iranian acquisition of nuclear bombs has been shortened dramatically. If just months ago US intelligence officials claimed that Iran would not acquire nuclear weapons until 2011, and if just six weeks ago Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Iran needed two years to acquire the bomb, the report that Iran could test a nuclear weapon by the end of 2007 means that there is reason to fear that Iran will have the means to launch a nuclear attack against Israel next year...

Aumann noted that there is every reason to fear that Iranian nuclear bombs could be transferred to its terror proxies. A nuclear attack against Israel aimed at annihilating the Jewish state can be conducted by relatively primitive delivery systems. And there is little reason to doubt that Hizbullah possesses such systems... today throughout the world there is a large and growing sense that wiping Israel off the face of the earth wouldn't be particularly objectionable.

Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Jan 26 2007.

Posted by: Gideon at January 28, 2007 4:38 PM


Why not cite the John Birch Society on the coming Soviet invasion?

Posted by: oj at January 28, 2007 5:35 PM

The underlying message in the article is quite misleading. While Iran may or may not have a functional nuclear weapon in 12 months or 12 years, the author's sneer towards "capacity" is wrong. "Capacity" means something different today than it did in 1940. Reverse-engineering is the order of the day.

It doesn't take military muscle to kill thousands (or tens of thousands) in a single strike. And suicidal martyr nutjobs make all sorts of painful events possible, ones that we in the West don't consider.

With respect to Iran's nuclear program, the Soviets weren't supposed to have a nuke until 1953-5. The Chinese weren't even on our radar screen. India, Pakistan, even the North Koreans weren't supposed to 'have' them. But they do.

Obviously, we could destroy Iran's facilities the day after a successful test just as easily as today. They know that, so the question is will they conduct a test like the other members of the club, or will they do something different?

Posted by: ratbert at January 28, 2007 9:40 PM

OJ, Pakistan and North Korea have done it, so why not Iran?

Posted by: PapayaSF at January 29, 2007 12:43 AM

North Korea hasn't. But the difference is that the Ayatollah has ruled it out for Iran.

We should certainly though destroy the weapons programs of all three.

Posted by: oj at January 29, 2007 8:32 AM