CSM Article on Iran

"In the meantime, debate rages over how far Tehran may be from getting the bomb – something the regime continues to insist it has no designs on acquiring. "If it’s true the Iranians want a nuclear capacity for energy, then why these long-range missiles they are developing?" says Patrick Lang, a Middle East specialist and former Defense Intelligence Agency officer.

Some experts believe the Iranians could be within a year of perfecting the nuclear fuel cycle, but still at least five years from possessing a deliverable weapon."  La Franchi


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23 Responses to CSM Article on Iran

  1. searp says:

    Seems to me that the real debate ought to be what we can/should do about it. I cannot see arguing over whether the Iranians want nukes – seems to me they wanted them, even under the Shah.

  2. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Nothing effective could be done.
    Iran is a proud and resourceful country and nothing can stop it from developing and deploying nuclear arms if its leaders (dictators, democrats, mullahs, etc.) determine that such weapon systems are needed. Iran cannot be bribed or intimidated in this regard. Best that can be achieved is a promise by Iran not to create such weapons as a matter of course.
    This is all an exercise in futility and a pursuit of a red herring; a few years from now many states, including Iran, will be developing & deploying fuel-air explosive devices with lethality equal to fission weapons and for which there are no international arms control instruments.

  3. Why says:

    “why these long-range missiles they are developing?”>
    As it looks, not for nukes. Some knowledgable folks calculated the Iran missiles cone size and find no way it could fit Iranian nukes.
    But the question should probably asked the other way around.
    The US is currently “denuking” 24 of its Trident missiles to use them with conventional warheads.
    If there is no use for long-range missiles with conventional warheads, as Pat’s Iran sentence obviously assumes, why is the US so?
    Why shouldn´t Iran do so?

  4. ali says:

    Yes that does look suspicious and there’s little doubt they want the same sort of capabilities as Pakistan. But if they fast track a bomb it’s probably going to be a hefty payload.
    “The bottom line: Iran might, might, be able to deliver a nuclear weapon against an Israeli city, but that would be at the extreme edge of their capabilities.
    Much more worrisome, I would think, would be the weapon delivered by terrorists, perhaps on a ship.”
    A cargo plane with a IJO guy in the pilot seat would seem a good deal cheaper/reliable and more in the Pasdaran style.
    It’s also worth considering that Baghdad was a far more likely target for an Iranian nuke than Tel Aviv a couple of years ago and these programs change slowly.

  5. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t buy the “no fit” argument. you can make anything fit if you design it yourself.
    As for the Navy’s toys, we have lots of these in inventory, far more than any strategic requirement and the Navy is looking to play some role in the “Long War” with its boomers. pl

  6. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The Shihab series is, at this point, open ended in its development.
    Cargo plane? Could be if someone would give or sell them a nuke. I don’t expect to see that. Terrorists are too erratic for states to be willing to do that. pl

  7. Patrick Henry says:

    Good Comments here by everyone..Its an interesting situation to analyze..and alot of you do a good job..
    I thought I read that Iran recently Had changed its missle cones to a Concave??
    design that would accomadate nuke warheads..
    I doubt they would do a nuke missle attack on Israel since they would also probably take out many Arabs..Palestinians..and then the Radiation problem..
    If they do plan on backing up thier rhetoric about taking out Israel..it is probably more of a Convential Plan like many of you refer too..
    Another all out Co-ordinated invasion with thier own coalition Forces..perhaps back by a
    Nation with mjor military capabilitys..
    my concern is what the real story behind the 9/11 attack was..and the consequences and reactions if they had been able to use all five planes and hit all intended Targets including the White House..
    Congress etc..
    Was ther anything else going on that indicated some kind of immediate follow up..i/e Invasion..?
    I believe all our combined intel Agencys had and have alot of information they aren’t sharing with the public..Intel that can make alot of difference in how one would analyze events..
    All i know is that the Terrorists attack was strategic..and unique..
    But I’m sure they knew what would be set in motion and that they desired to set in motion as a result..
    What types of retaliation and series of events beyond what has curretly taken place is the Question in my mind..
    i want to thankk Pat and all of you for putting up with an armchair amature like me..but i enjoy the debate..and opportunity to share my thoughts..

  8. Curious says:

    I am not sure what the big deal is Iran having nuke.
    1. They are only going to be able to make em fast enough on the cheap. So I can’t imagine they are handing them out like candy to terrorists. Plus, lesson learned from Pakistan and North Korea, they seem okay so far. In fact it’s a stabilizing force. Nobody cars about North Korea and everybody just leave ’em be. (surprise, surprise… they just sit there minding their own business again.)
    2. The Iranian bom is so big. It’ll take 20 terrorists and a big truck just to lug one of those around. By the time they master miniaturisation, we are already in the middle of WWIII with the way things are going.
    I for one, think Iran having nuke is unavoidable and a good thing if played right. It will give them sense of security. It will balance Israel and create new stabilizing equilibrium. (Israel won’t mess around with Syria and finally settle Golan height and Lebanon for real)
    What Iran need is stable, scure feeling where they can sort out their theocratic bent in positive manner. Keep squeeshing them will drive them farther to the right.
    But then again, maybe everybody thinks they are impervious to radioactive fallout and think they can pull a limited thermonuclear war.
    …maybe that too is a good thing. Just seal off the entire region as radioactive zone and ends the curse.

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Aren’t missiles equivalent to long range bombers? Why all the fuss?

  10. ked says:

    “scure feeling where they can sort out their theocratic bent in positive manner.”
    this seems a bit of wishful thinking – theocracies may be bent, but not positively.
    “Aren’t missiles equivalent to long range bombers?”
    No, among many distinctions… ICBMs follow ballistic trajectories, are unmanned, can’t be recalled from their targets & are very very difficult to intercept.

  11. ckrantz says:

    It’s understandable if Iran feels confident. They do seem to hold all the cards at the moment.
    I wonder to what degree Iran have learned from North Korea about using the nuclear card as bargaining chip. Iran and the US seems to be coming up against each other all over the Middle East from Lebanon to Iraq to the Gulf states competing for influence, with the Saudis and Israelis looking on in the background.
    It is ironic that a good check on a expansionist Iran could have been a militarily strong united Iraq funded by the Saudis which seems to have worked in the 1980s.

  12. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t think that an FAE has the same blast effect as a nuclear device – I would say they are not even close. FAE’s yield a larger blast the conventional HE, but nukes wipe out cities.
    Here are two references on FAE:
    We and the Russians have had them in the inventory for years, and many other countries have researched them. As the commenter says, they are not controlled by any international agreement.
    Rick” (Francona)

  13. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I was comparing FAEs with fission bombs and not thermonuclear weapons.

  14. Patrick Henry says:

    for a follow up..Irans new nuke warhead missle cone design is supposed to be shaped like a baby bottle..
    Does that fit any known existing nuke warhead..??
    in someone elses inventory
    that Iran has already covertly obtained or believes it will obtain..??
    What is suspected of being available on the black mkt
    for sale..?
    I believe I have read that Iran has developed a Cadre of suicide bombers who will carry Nuke Devices and deliver them..Why..?/
    There is noting to indicate they have the Devices..unless they believe they can obtain them at any time..
    What is the real story about missing suitecase or Tactical Nuke Devices..??
    That could be used similar to IEDS..??
    Irans long range missles also pose a threat to europe and iran is sending signals to the Europeans too..
    Will Iran suddenly announce that it has already obtained Warheads..covertly..using smoke screen coers for how they were obtained..??
    How do we respond then..??
    Why the sudden and apparently more Radical Posturing by Iran..??
    Why do they as a Nation tolerate thier Presidents Radical Statements when it may provoke War or Attack by Isreal and the United States..??
    Is is posturing similar to Saddams behaviour..?
    Do they feel more confident because they feel they have assurences from Russia/ China that are giving Iran a False or Real Sense of Security..??
    Or are they stepping up the Rhetoric because they are fearful that The United States is making Gains in Iraq ..is in this for the Long Haul in a Way that will Neutralize the Objectives of the JiHadists and Extemists ..??
    Perhaps we are being more effective than we realize..
    and it is forcing new strategic thinking..??
    They certainly seem to be suddenly alot or Confident..or a lot more Suicidal..

  15. ali says:

    I’d agree with Pat that it’s very unlikely that Iran would give an independent terrorist group like AQ a nuke; this is a truly ridiculous idea.
    A Salafi like al-Zawahiri might decide it was better used on the apostates in Najaf than Tel Aviv. Come to think of it al-Zawahiri’s whole game plan falls apart if Israel falls before the Caliphate is established, he’d lose the one part of his political agenda that’s widely popular with his potential base.
    But I’ve formed the impression that IJO are a deniable limb of the Pasdaran which is a little different.
    I do think stealthy terrorist delivery has numerous tactical merits especially with a large crude and probably untested enriched Uranium weapon which is what Tehran might have in the near future.
    A credible Iranian nuclear deterrent would require warheads and missiles that can reach Israel to serve it’s principle strategic purpose; the missile program is certainly evidence of that intent. Wiping Israel off the map is actually much easier. Though I don’t think a radioactive Al-Aqsa Mosque is a likely dream of the Mullahs it’s the leverage a nuke gives them that they want.

  16. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The al-Agsa masjad? These people might think it worth the price. pl

  17. W. Patrick Lang says:

    So was Rick. pl

  18. Patrick henry says:

    Im sure one objective of Iran is the assurance of having theInsurance of a Nuclear deterrent..
    and the Muslim Nuclear Bomb..
    I have no doubt at thier deep respentment over the tolerance of Isreals Nuclear Capabilitys..
    Its thier Rhetoric that concerns everyone..that seperates them from other
    members of the Nuclear Club..
    In the meantime..they will at least have “dirty Bomb'” Capabilitys..at a minimum..
    Iran and the Jihadist have clear religious and sectarian objectives..its violent and extreme..
    Thats part of what 9/11 was all about..
    we should always look at the whole picture..not piece meal it..
    I dont think anyone should be Testing “Gods Will”..
    I think it would be great if everone backed off..toned things down..
    stopped talking War..threatening War..or Planing War..
    Not with todays Weapons..
    There will be no winners..
    just alot of dead bodys and destroyed Nations ..
    I think the Moderates need to step up..get things under control..
    Or there may not be any Holy Sites for any of Us..
    Christian..Jew..or Muslim..
    I believe God wants us to live in peace and tolerance with one another..
    Blessed are the Peace makers..
    Let reasonable minds prevail..
    Other wise..mankind is just the most Evil and Destructive being in all of Gods Creation..
    And it will be Human EGO…not Gods will..that will shape events..

  19. Glen says:

    So if Iran cannot be stopped from nuclear arms then there’s a couple more shoes going to drop. The Saudi’s are working on the bomb:
    I’m not saying I trust this source, but this is to be expected if Iran gets the bomb. Plus if they get help from the Paks then they could very well beat Iran to to punch (so to speak).

  20. ali says:

    What the Mullah’s would do with nuclear “leverage” is a big question.
    The Bomb made Pakistan no less aggressive in it’s terrorist war against India and they still drip poison on the Afghans. An unstable hotbed of radical Salafism, with a truly insane military now shielded from conventional attack. Not good and they may yet bite us.
    Would Tehran continue their covert empire building? Rationally maybe not, Iran is becoming the dominant power in the Persian Gulf and terrorism is mostly a weak nations game. However with the Trenchocrats of the Iran-Iraq war coming into power rationality may have little to do with it. Old habits die hard.

  21. Stratfor just released a podcast of George Friedman on US-Iran nuclear negotiations. 8+ minutes. Worth the time.
    Regards to everyone, Trent/wtofd

  22. lorell says:

    How does this 700 ton conventional test in NV fit in and how could it possibly be delivered?

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