Thursday, May 24, 2007

Iran's nuclear program as a reason to attack

Yesterday I posted Ominous news regarding U.S. plans to attack Iran, providing links to five previous posts and four articles that I read yesterday on the possiblity that the US will attack Iran.

The big deal, of course, is Iran’s nuclear program. At least that’s the ostensible reason for our wanting to “take down” Iran. According to Robert Fisk in his excellent The Great War for Civilisation - The Conquest of the Middle East, we’ve consistently been on Iran’s case since 1979, when the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, the political leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, overthrew Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran and set up a theocratic government.

But let’s focus on the Bush Administration’s overt reason to attack Iran: its nuclear program. The UN Security Council, prodded by the Bush Administration, is apparently planning another round of sanctions against Iran.

First, you may see a headline in the mainstream media that states, “IAEA Understanding of Iran’s Nuclear Program Has ‘Deteriorated, ‘” quoting top U.N. nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei. I wonder if the article will cover what I read today in the Nuclear Threat Initiative's e-mail alert, Global Security Newswire.

Buried in the article, you will find:

1. Iranian officials told the agency [the International Atomic Energy Agency, which made a surprise visit on Iran’s centrifuge facility on May 13] that their equipment was enriching uranium to contain up to 4.8 percent of uranium 235. Agency officials were ‘in the process of verifying’ that figure.

2. Light-water nuclear power reactors, such as the one Russia is building for Iran at Bushehr and the one Iran says it has begun to build independently typically use fuel enriched to below 5 percent uranium 235.

3. Western nations have pressed Iran to stop its enrichment program, fearing that Tehran could use the same equipment to create material containing 90-percent, or nuclear weapon-grade, uranium 235.

My observation: There's a substantial difference between 4.8 percent and 90 percent!

4. Meanwhile, U.S. officials would probably lodge a formal complaint with ElBaradei over his recent comments suggesting that the world might have to accept Iran’s enrichment program, a diplomat told Agence France-Presse.

“From a proliferation perspective, the fact of the matter is that one of the purposes of suspension — keeping [Iran] from getting the knowledge — has been overtaken by events,” ElBaradei told the New York Times last week. “The focus now should be to stop them from going to industrial-scale production, to allow us to do a full-court-press inspection and to be sure they remain inside the [Nuclear Nonproliferation] Treaty.”

Then there’s Hans Blix, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1981 to 1997 and executive director of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) supervising international inspections for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq until the inspections were suspended in March, 2003.

In an Associated Press article dated February 26, 2007, Former U.N. weapons chief says U.S., Europe and Security Council are "humiliating" Iran, Blix accuses these governing entities of “humiliating” Iran by demanding that it suspend uranium enrichment before any negotiations.

"He [Blix] said the package of economic and political incentives put forward in June 2006 by the U.S. and key European countries, which was later endorsed by the council, did not mention the key issue of security guarantees for Iran or adequately address the possibility of U.S. diplomatic recognition if Tehran renounces enrichment.

"The first incentive, I think, is to sit down with them in a direct talk rather than saying to them 'you do this, thereafter we will sit down at a table and tell you what you get for it,' Blix said. ‘That's getting away from a humiliating neo-colonial attitude to a more normal (one).’"

I know I’m na├»ve because I continue to wonder why the U.S., Europe and the UN Security Council don’t listen to these wise and experienced men.

(photo of nuclear facility at Natanz, Iran –


Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

Anonymous said...

Indeed, a cool blog because it cuts to the chase, i.e., that enrichment at 4.8% is a lot different from the 95%plus level necessary to make weapons grade uranium.

It's this distinction that we need to keep in mind as the Republican noise machine and especially our Vice President starts trying to instill visions of mushroom clouds in our brains.


Gary Goss said...

I have never seen an explanation of how it came about that the USA had the right to tell other nations what sorts of power systems they could build or, for that matter, what sorts of weapons they could own.

But I doubt if Bush can attack Iran. The Republicans are beginning to crack apart, and an attack on Iran would likely finish them as a political party. The next six months will be interesting as the Republicans attempt to squirm away and the Democratic leaders act like, well, Democratic leaders.

Troy said...

One. I think Iran is trying to profit from the threat of their ability to produce nuclear weapons while simultaneous trying to gain the means to produce nuclear weapons. But I don't think they actually want or need nuclear weapons. They're just scamin'.

Two. I think every sovereign nation has the right to protect itself by whatever means they see fit.

Three. both one and two are, on their face, crazy.

Four. The Democrats aren't gaining power, the Republicans aren't loosing power. It's a single party playing a shell game. In America, the fascists rule. Gail knows as well as anyone that they're rigging elections now. The public be damned.

Five. All this said, Iran is jockeying for position in a dangerous game that has been lost before. If they play their cards right, They hone skills at making industrial grade uranium and walk away with a lot of bribes from world powers to keep it that way. All the while, they have practical institutional knowledge on board that will allow them to make the weapons they claim not to be aiming for.

If Iran looses. They loose big. I'm sure everyone on both sides are not fully understanding the subtleties of the other side and I'm sure all this goes much deeper than what is apparent on the surface. For my two cents worth, I don't see much difference between 95% Uranium 235 and only 5%. The process wasn't all that hard to get down sixty years ago so it's probably not that much of a leap to refine things further. But I'm not a nuclear scientist. Just putting it out there. Along with my idea that I don't think any country really wants nuclear weapons. They're probably just trying to profit from the treat of them. Unfortunately, in the middle east, America wants what’s already there. Oil. And the power it brings. That makes the whole thing a gamble for Iran. Their gambling against America’s ability to PR anything into an excuse for conquest.

Gail Jonas said...

Thanks for your comment. I don't think Iran is squeaky clean in this set-to with the U.S. and other countries who already have a leg up with nuclear weapons.

However, I think Iran has been singled out over and over again as a troublemaker, especially since 1979 when the CIA-installed Shah was unseated and a theocratic leader installed.

Robert Fisk's "The Great War for Civilisation" goes into great detail about the Iran-Iraq war (he was in the trenches) and how the U.S. supported Iraq.

Also, the U.S. is "proliferating" nuclear weapons, so it's hardly setting an example.

Regarding our elections, we have at least 3 problems:
1. secret vote counting
2. lack of public funding of campaigns, leading to a one-party state
3. media ignoring the issues and focussing on candidates' hair dos.