Is the Iranian nuke weapons program an illusion?


There is so much rubbish said about the supposed Iranian nuclear weapons program that it is a good idea to "review the bidding." about this.

Iran does have a nuclear power program, but:

"In 2012, sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, reported that Iran was pursuing research that could enable it to produce nuclear weapons, but was not attempting to do so.[15] The senior officers of all of the major American intelligence agencies stated that there was no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any attempt to produce nuclear weapons since 2003.[16] In a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the United States Intelligence Community assessed that Iran had ended all "nuclear weapon design and weaponization work" in 2003.[17] U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated in January 2012 that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, but was not attempting to produce nuclear weapons"  wiki on Iran and weapons of mass destruction.

As you can see from my 2017 post linked below I have long thought that Iran does not have a nuclear WEAPONS production program and has not had one since 2003 when US occupation of Iraq eliminated the possibility of the survival of some elements of the earlier Iraqi nuclear weapons program eliminated by the UN inspections regime acting on US intelligence (I was involved) after the 1st Gulf War.  In 2003 the Ayatollah Khomeini ruled that an Iranian nuclear weapons program could no longer be justified as a deterrent in the absence of an Iraqi program.  He then cancelled authorization for the program.

The IAEA has not found that Iran has a nuclear WEAPONS program.  This is taken by the hawks as PROOF that the IAEA is not inspecting thoroughly enough.  On that basis it can never be proven that Iran does not have a nuclear WEAPONS program.

If that is so why is it that the notion persists that Iran does or did have before JCPOA a nuclear WEAPONS program? 

1.  The Israeli terror at the thought that Iran might secretly be constructing the necessary one or two nuclear weapons needed to destroy Israel drives the media IO campaign for maximum means and levels of pressure.  This has been an enormously successful campaign.  It has made the image of an Iranian program vivid and enduring

2.  Iranian cleverness.  The Iranian perception seems to have been that if the West, especially the Gringos,  wish to believe that there is an Iranian nuclear WEAPONS program, then let us negotiate with them over it.  Before JCPOA, there was an immense amount of Iranian money impounded in the US.  Now there is less.  If Trump had not cancelled US participation in JCPOA, who knows what other benefits might have accrued to Iran.

JCPOA was probably a lot like Qaddafi surrendering his nuclear weapons program to earn good will from GW Bush.  Libya's nuclear program consisted of warehouses full of crates that the Libyans treated with superstitious awe.

Is there REALLY an Iranian nuclear WEAPONS program?  pl

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81 Responses to Is the Iranian nuke weapons program an illusion?

  1. blue peacock says:

    IMO, the only way out for Iran is for Khamenei to call Trump and have a media spectacle of a summit in Switzerland. Now, that may not work out either as Rocketman Kim has found out that sanctions remain as Bolton & Pompeo make sure no real deal can be made. Rocketman has an advantage however that military options are off the table as even the crazy neocons know that he can incinerate Seoul and his patron Xi makes sure that the sanctions have no real teeth.

  2. Jack says:

    Would it matter if Iran does or does not have a nuclear weapons program or actual deployable nukes? After all isn’t what the ziocons in both the US and Israel want is the surrender of the theocracy and regime change to someone compliant to their diktats?
    As this article points out Khamenei is hung up about resisting US hegemony in the region. It seems the impasse can’t be bridged. We want surrender, they insist on resistance.

  3. Eric Newhill says:

    I have read conflicting reports as to Iran’s ability to complete a nuclear weapon or two or three in a few years given the materials and capabilities that they have or could have within reasonable assessment. Some say “yes”, others say “no”. I don’t know who to believe. Obviously there is a lot of politics and info ops involved. Are any of the agencies involved in creating the reports truly unbiased (not a rhetorical question)?
    Is this really just about Israel’s fears? My understanding is that Saudis, the Gulfies and others in the region are also deeply concerned about Iran’s intentions and what they would do if they had nukes.
    World economies are tied to the region. Stability must be assured.

  4. b says:

    Just for the record Iran says it does not have a nuclear WEAPONS program.
    Mr. Shinzō Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, met with Ayatollah Khamenei– the Leader of the Islamic Revolution– this morning June 13, 2019.

    The Leader of the Revolution quoted the Japanese Prime Minister again regarding the US determination to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons and added: “We oppose nuclear weapons, and we have issued a religious fatwa (verdicts) prohibiting building nuclear weapons. But rest assured that if we wanted to build nuclear weapons, the U.S. would not be able to do anything about it, and the United States’ prohibition would not be an obstacle.”

    Khamenai also tweeted that on his official account.
    I don’t believe that he publicly speaks of his Fatwa and secretly circumvents it. The potential damage to his authority prohibits that.

  5. ted richard says:

    iran does not need a nuclear weapon at this point in time.
    it has such a substantial number and quality of missiles that line the entire west coat of iran that borders the gulf should war erupt saudi oil production would be destroyed as well both usa air base in qatar and navy base in bahrain. likely no usa ship in the gulf would escape intact.
    add to that the thousands of missiles hezbollah has and may well rain down on israel if war erupts rendering israel an indefensible nightmare… what more, might having a nuclear weapon do?
    exactly, so why have one?

  6. Willy B says:

    For the Neocons and the Zionists, an Iranian nuclear weapons program is an article of faith, not a proven fact. As such, you’re speaking blasphemy if you argue with them about it, as they see Iran as the fount of all evil in the Middle East, if not the world. We’re talking religion here, not factual analysis as the NIEs that the good colonel referenced appear to be attempts at.

  7. turcopolier says:

    Under Shia practis a mujtahids fatwas die with him, So what Khamenei is saying is that he has re-issued Khomeini’s fatwa.

  8. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    A Shia cleric of his standing cannot use “takiyya”. Only the slime from KSA and the MB engage in such.
    Ishmael Zechariah
    p.s: tayyip & co. got a resounding rejection in the Istanbul elections today. It is a good night in Turkey.

  9. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Eric Newhill,
    “Saudies, and Gulfies, in addition to Israel…” but you repeat yourself.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  10. Eric Newhill says:

    Good point.
    Maybe “nuclear weapons” is just a way of packaging and marketing a more general concern over Iran’s intentions and capabilities in the region.

  11. turcopolier says:

    It matters a great deal whether or not the WEAPONS program is real or an IO illusion. A real WEAPONS program would be an actual threat.

  12. Walrus says:

    (Sigh) follow the money. An open and relatively transparent Iran would be a magnet for western investment. As such, Israel becomes an irrelevant side show. Iran’s ECONOMIC power would be such that they could dictate solutions to the Palestinian problem as well as support shia minorities in KSA and elsewhere.
    Think oil, gas, agriculture and the infrastructure associated with OBOR. Folks, there would be real money to be made by investing in Iran and not just the Tehran Hilton. Israel cannot abide such a possibility. The corollary is that if it wasn’t their nuclear program it would be something else.
    Trumps tweet; “Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!” will scare the heck out of the Israel lobby!.

  13. Patrick D says:

    The durability of this IO is remarkable, Colonel, especially considering the most (all?) of the heads of the Israeli military and intelligence organizations agreed with that NIE.

  14. rswojo says:

    Israel is rumored to have about 100 nuclear warheads. What is Israel’s rational for that? Israel would be a pariah country if they used them but if Iran had a few nukes available for retaliation on Israel that would be a much better deterrent to Israel than a rain of conventional missiles and world shaming.
    I have no problem with Iran keeping a “small” nuclear deterrent to Bibi and Israel.
    In an ideal world Israel would be subject to the same sanctions Iran is enduring because of Israel’s known WMD as opposed to Iran’s so-called “intentions” to obtain WMD.

  15. Eugene Owens says:

    Will he stand for the loss of Istanbul? Isn’t that where he got started in politics? I read that the HDP party steered a million Kurdish Istanbulites to vote for Imamoglu’s CHP ticket.
    Is tayyip going to declare martial law next?

  16. J says:

    I thought that Russia had taken any and alleged toys to prevent Iran from being used by Israel and their NEOCON buddies as an excuse to further enflame the region. Any nuclear exchange or accidents, the clouds of contamination would blow over Russia.

  17. J says:

    The real problem IMO is Israeli nuclear weapons controlled by mad men in Jerusalem.

  18. Enrico Malatesta says:

    I believe that Iran has, or does not have, a nuclear weapons program just as Japan has, or does not have, one.
    Both Iran and Japan have the academic, industrial, economic, and engineering capabilities to do as their government wishes with a nuclear weapons program.
    The question posited requires a diplomatic answer.

  19. Stueeeee says:

    The Iranians want breakout capacity. They are actively seeking the know-how. Does that constitute a weapons program? If yes, then why debate? The core assumption is that the Iranians are not rational. They cannot be permitted to acquire the knowledge. The only way to prevent them from learning/acquiring knowledge is to obliterate them. Application of soft power reinforces their belief that nuclear weapons are essential for their survival. War must be total to the point that what grows from the rumble should only be innocuous weeds. Harsh? Would not work in our sentimental age? On the contrary, it is to protect the chosen people and who will dare criticize that purpose?

  20. turcopolier says:

    that is not a weapons program.

  21. PavewayIV says:

    Trump axed the JCPOA at Netanyahu’s insistance because Israel recognized 1) the growing Iranian *conventional* ballistic missile threat to Israel (precision and range), and 2) Iran’s persuit of a rocket capable of either launching their own satellites or potentially destroying Israel’s surveilance satellites snooping on Iran. How dare Iran ignore Israel’s rules that Israel has the right to spy on anyone, anywhere, anytime with their satellites and no other country it doesn’t like (Iran) is allowed to put satellites in orbit to spy on them!
    The U.S. abandoning the JCPOA didn’t really have anything to do with Iran persuing nukes – that was just the cover story to fool a gullible public. Netanyahu and Trump (and sidecar MbS) figured the only way to prevent Iran from possessing or further developing their Israel-reaching ballistic missiles and space-capable rocketry was to conflate it with an imaginary, covert, continuing weaponized nuke program. There is no other way on earth Israel or the U.S. could force Iran to willingly give up their conventional ballistic missiles or stop their space program development (other than assassinating every last Iranian rocket scientist). All the sanctions in the world are not going to convince Iran to further
    disarm themselves at Israel’s insistance. Can you blame them?
    Even if the U.S. and Israel could have cobbled together a new JCPOA acceptable to Iran that prohibited ballistic missiles and space-capable rocketry (snowball’s chance in hell), they would eventually scrap THAT one once they figured out that Iran’s drones were a threat. A year from now:

    “JCPOA II – worst deal ever! We need to renegotiate and further ban on any an all Iranian long-range drones. They could be used to deliver the imaginary covert Iranian NUKES!!”

    And on and on. The 2028 JCPOA XII will ban all Iranian ‘nuclear-capable’ twin-cylinder motorcycles.
    I’m not arguing a philosophical point about a country’s ‘right’ to posess one kind of conventional weapon or another. This is just about the patent absurdity of Netanyahu getting Trump to dump the JCPOA and figuring Israel and U.S. can somehow shoe-horn their (our) latest paranoid Iranian threat/obsession into JCPOAII and get Iran to willingly disarm itself at their behest, or more sanctions!
    Whether you like Iran or hate them, you have to acknowledge the basic stupidity of another country expecting some wacky 12-dimensional chess ‘diplomacy’ (or further economic beatings) to change Iran’s mind on voluntarily disarming. Israeli-firster neocons just don’t get it. Like all their previous failures, they’ll learn nothing and simply double-down again.

  22. jdledell says:

    I’m sure that Iran has noticed that when Pakistan and India aquired nuclear weapons. The U.S. quietly shut up about the danger of those countries possessing nuclear weapons. Similarly, the U.S. has to ask North Korea to pretty pretty please give up your nuclear weapons. I would guess that since there is no advantage of being a non-nuclear power, Iran will proceed to a quick breakout posture. I am also guessing that the Saudi’s have been promised some nuclear weapons from Pakistan if Iran gains them.
    The world has begun to notice if you are a nuclear power, you don’t have to take any crap from others. No country wants to hear another head of state promising to ‘Obliterate” your country like Trump did today.

  23. Mark Logan says:

    Pence said today Iran must both agree to a new version of JCPOA…AND abandon Hezb’allah.
    Could the later be the actual primary goal in all this? The JCPOA being held hostage to get that?

  24. David Solomon says:

    The only thing I can say about Stuee’s posting is that I am very glad that he does not have any say in US war policy (or at least I hope he does not have any say).

  25. Eric Newhill says:

    Ok. I said it twice here and once on the other thread and you have answered it 0 times.
    What do you think?

  26. BabelFish says:

    Excellent summary.

  27. BabelFish says:

    One point. It is not the knowledge that is important. That has been around for 75 years. It is the material, the fissile material, that is the crux of the efforts to demonize Iran.

  28. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Eugene Owens,
    This is off-topic, and I do not have a crystal ball. tayyip is in a hard place. The previous difference was about 15k votes, now it is 800k. If he cannot fix the economy and the mess in Syria that he created, he will lose next election. If he plays games, anything is possible. He might be sultan-for-life, or he might end up like Ceaușescu.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  29. Artemesia says:

    Several years ago Richard Butler was among the speakers at a conference chaired by Dr. Flynt Leverett at Penn State Univ., where he heads a department on international relations.
    Butler was the negotiator when the NPT was up for renewal (in 1995, iirc). The negotiations took place around his dining room table. The Arab states and Iran were finally persuaded to assent to renewal of the NPT when they were promised a conference to discuss making their part of the world a Nuclear Free Zone. They were promised that Israel’s nukes would be on the table and part of the conference. Iran was among those at the table and one of the signatories to the renewal of NPT.
    That conference has never taken place.
    If the International Community is so concerned about Iran’s nuclear capability, why not re-visit that negotiation and make good on that promise?

    One of the expectations of the JCPOA was that, with relief from sanctions, Iran would more robustly enter into commercial relationships with other nations, and would be loathe to jeopardize those trade relationships by developing nuclear weapons — which Iran’s leaders have declared several times that they do not want and do not see as a strategic asset.
    That is, one of the goals of JCPOA was for Iran to become the “normal, prosperous” nation Trump said he hoped it would become — just before new rounds of sanctions were set in motion to further cripple Iran. (I am reminded of “International Jewry’s” March, 1933 Declaration of Economic War on Germany
    Then as now, the underlying issues had to do with who wielded economic control and political power.)
    In other words, Iran as a nuclear threat is just as bogus as the whole-cloth narrative that “Trump pulled back from bombing Iran at the last minute out of concern for 150 dead Iranians.”
    The mistake media always makes is pushing those scripted narratives so uniformly and so relentlessly that anyone with half a brain — or half the cynicism of this writer — has to know they are entirely concocted.

  30. Roy G says:

    MAD has long been accepted as the status quo in nuke game theory. That it is not acceptable to the Israelis and the neocons betrays their desire for hegemony and unwillingness to deal with reality.

  31. Flavius says:

    Of course Iran has a weapons program. It has been given every reason to have a weapons program. John Bolton could hand pick a new governing regime for Iran from the Knesset or, what amounts to the same thing, the Heritage Foundation, and within 5 years they would all be out and Iran would be back to developing a weapons program. Is that not the story that has played out in Russia? Iran is going to open its country to being reorganized by the likes of John Bolton or ‘Bibi’ Netanyahoo? Whoever is in charge there would have to be out of their cotton pickin’ minds to go for that ploy; and ditto for any fool in Beltwayville who is stupid enough to think they would. They will have their weapons and they will not be bullshit out of them. Where we choose to go in the face of that reality is the only debate.

  32. turcopolier says:

    They probably do not.

  33. MP98 says:

    We don’t really know, do we?
    US “intelligence” is incompetent and busy trying to overthrow the 2016 election (incompetently, BTW).
    So why would anyone have any confidence in “analysis” by the same bozos who missed 9/11, Iraq WMD and who knows what else?

  34. Barbara Ann says:

    “Make Iran Great Again”. I’ve been thinking about what that astonishing phrase says about Trump’s thinking and what he may do next. At the very least it has no doubt alarmed those who thought they had bought or otherwise manipulated him into doing their bidding. Maybe they have, maybe not. What if it is a hint of a warning, or even a threat?
    Others here have speculated on whether the frozen pre-conflict, as it were, with NK may be a guide as to how it pans out with Iran. I think it will and I think Trump will seek a similar deal where again he, personally, plays the role of guarantor. It may look something like this:
    Trump gets Iran to agree to no more enrichment and ‘promise’ not to develop nukes. In turn he gives some measure of sanctions relief (not enough for Iran to prosper) and promises them he’ll keep Bolton & crew at bay if they stick to the deal. On the other side, he declares to Israel, Gulfies etc that he has successfully stopped Iran’s nuke program and kept them in check. The twist is that while there may be a photo op of Khamenei holding a nice letter, or even a meeting, there will be no formal JCPOA-type agreement. Thus Trump can argue that it is solely he, as President, standing in the way of Iran becoming “great again”.
    Before Bibi, MbS & others figure out how they’ve been had, Trump will make it clear he expects their support for his 2020 bid, lest his deal be put in jeopardy. Call it a protection racket or just Trump being the center of the show, the effect is the same. But what happens after 2024 you ask? What does he care, après moi le déluge.

  35. turcopolier says:

    I am not incompetent and you are far too disdainful of the IC. What the hell do you know about it?

  36. Jack says:

    Note the role of Jared and Ivanka. Reportedly ardent zionists like Jared’s parents.
    The question I have is what does the first 30 days look like if missile strikes are initiated by Trump? What are Iran, Iraqi militias, Syria and Hezbollah gonna do before and as the 1000s of US sorties strike 24×7 in retaliation for the retaliation?
    I’m in complete agreement with Tucker Carlson that military hostilities with Iran will sink Trump’s presidency. In his segment he had a clip of Bolton saying to a cheering audience they would celebrate regime change in Teheran. With Bernie already full-throated in opposition to any strike, it wouldn’t take long before anti-war sentiment coalesce around his campaign giving him the spot of primary opponent to the war. The societal division and political environment will be unlike Bush’s Saddam WMD propaganda. There will be substantial domestic opposition to the war.

  37. Jim Ticehurst says:

    I Have not Read about any Testing of Nukes by Iran…Doubt of North Korea Has Been doing it for Iran Or sending them Warheads ..That seems to be a Push Button Issue around the Middle East,,Im Reading a lot about Things Hypersonic ..Robots…AI and things that really do make unconventional Humming noises when they fly over..Glad all my electronics still work…

  38. blue peacock says:

    “We’re talking religion here, not factual analysis as the NIEs…”
    It seems like this is very similar to the Iraq WMD propaganda. The issue is not if Iran has a nuclear weapons program or not. The issue is all about regime change.
    At 6:24 in the below Tucker Carlson segment you have Bolton clearly articulating what the agenda is. And this speech was in 2017. It has been a longstanding aim of the ziocons to get the US military to destroy Iran. Nukes are always the propaganda du jour to hoodwink the American people who will be doing the dying & paying for the trillions in cost to mask the real agenda of regime change.
    It looks like neocons Pompeo & Bolton are heading out to the Middle East to possibly discuss how they get Trump to capitulate.

  39. jon stanley says:

    Col, you have often cited Trump’s accountant mentality. My words. I hope they capture what you were getting at regarding him. Its what allows him to abruptly change his course. With people and with policies. My question if you desire to speculate on it: Does he have the capacity, given his financial backers, Abelson, et al, and his previous positions on Israel, to abruptly change course and make the Iranians ‘his new best friends’? Or, is that a bridge too far, at least in a first term, anyway?

  40. ISL says:

    I have not looked into the Iran case in particular; I know that Japan, which has no nuclear weapons is considered to have a 2-3 day breakout time.
    What I do know is that if Iran had a 2-3 year breakout time a decade ago, its much less now – technology moves forward. As to whether the earlier estimate was accurate or propaganda to suit the policy of the moment, I do not know.
    Ideally (from a negotiating point), Iran would position itself a month or so from breakout.

  41. turcopolier says:

    Jon Stanley
    He hasn’t changed yet. This AM he was bitching about not being compensated for keeping the sea lanes open.

  42. ISL says:

    The Iraq war is a good example of where you are wrong. Good intelligence was available to decision makers who chose to cherry pick what suited them. Its not the IC’s fault if the idiots we elect are well, idiots.

  43. Procopius says:

    Thank you, that’s helpful to know.

  44. Procopius says:

    Well, it seems to me Khamenei has already says he cannot trust anything the Americans say. That seems true. Pompeo says talks with no preconditions, and then lists a couple deal-breaking preconditions — basically unconditional surrender before talks can start. Bolton doesn’t want any talk, he wants the landing ships hitting the beaches right now !!!. I don’t know, are there any beaches along the Gulf coast?

  45. Procopius says:

    I’m sorry to be so ignorant, but why do the media always get away with referring to “Iran’s threat to exceed the limits of enriched uranium”? First of all why are they allowed to pretend the JCPOA is still in existence after Trump dissolved it? Oh, get it, it’s because Iran was still trying to adhere to the agreement while begging the other five signatories to fulfill their obligations. This is not Iran “threatening,” this is Iran commenting matter-of-factly that they are allowed to enrich uranium to the point where it can be used as fuel in reactors.They were selling it and shipping it to their customers, so it was not being added to their stockpile. Then the US essentially imposed a blockade on them, they are no longer able to ship their product, and soon the stockpile in their warehouses will be larger than the amount specified in the JCPOA. This is a “threat?”

  46. Procopius says:

    There are so many cases. I remember back about 1970, after they were caught using Air America to fly heroin from the Golden Triangle to Saigon, the joke was “CIA stands for ‘caught in the act.'” Their biggest failure — they did not see the collapse of the Soviet Union coming.

  47. Eric Newhill says:

    I have read articles that say that Iran’s breakout time is in the range of three months, but would become shorter than that as more material is stockpiled.
    Also, if Iran worked on the nuclear material more or less in the open, their activities would be detected in a one to two weeks. However, if they hid their activities and took more of a “creep out” approach they could conceivably complete the project before it would be detected.
    I imagine Iran would take the covert approach. So it does appear as though there is some risk of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. Col Lang says that there is a fatwa against it. Would anyone in the Iranian govt violate the fatwa? Could the fatwa by lifted quickly when convenient? Should anyone rely on a fatwa as protection against a nuclear armed Iran? Real questions. I sure don’t know.
    Of course nuclear tech is also well outside my realm of expertise. So I don’t even know if the breakout/sneak out scenarios are reasonable.

  48. ted richard says:

    israel is their own worst enemy. if you want to understand why antisemitism has burgeoned worldwide the past 20 years look no farther than israel’s treatment of defenseless palestinians.
    no one likes a bully least of all an entire nation predicated on a misplaced sense of their own genetic superiority. (does this ring a bell —ahem!)
    their army is imo no longer capable of defending their nation against a determined well armed enemy like hezbollah or the syrians should a real war erupt.
    their air force no longer has free rein to piss on any one at any time outside their own borders. having 100 nukes is like the high school wall flower getting breast implants. apart form a bigger pair nothing about her has changed and so it is for israel.
    imo again they will be lucky to make it through the 21rst century intact as a jewish theocracy because THAT is what they are, they are not a democracy in the true sense. they survive only because of largesse from foolish american support which is bought by pressure groups on our feckless politicians. take away american power which is ebbing now and israel becomes the classic…. short man who scares no one.
    imo again israels WORST crime for ordinary jews everywhere is cleverly conflating zionism with judiasm. even the iranians understand this fact. they have no quarrel with jews per se and have 10000 or so living in iran peacefully for millennia. their quarrel and every thinking persons quarrel ought to be with zionism which is a scourge on the world.

  49. Philippe Truze says:

    During the 70’s, in a time when Iran was ruled by the Shah and great friend of the West (and a regional gendarme), there was no discussion about Iran getting involved in a nuclear program : Iran was even holding shares in the French nuclear complex (EURODIF, COGEMA). Then Khomeiny came, and the troubles started, including many terrorist attacks in France and the assassination of Georges Besse. See wiki :
    The real issue is the nature of the regime, not the nature of weapons.

  50. MP98 says:

    First you’re retired and I would guess had nothing to do with 9/11 or Iraq WMD.
    Second, I look at results and if the “IC” wasn’t able to hide behind their (selective) “secrecy”, I suspect that the results would be a lot worse than the ones we know about.
    The 9/11 failure was enough to fire the lot.

  51. Philippe Truze says:

    Everybody seems satisfied with the current no-war situation. But not the Iranians, who will have to endure a situation of starvation, lack of medicines, civil strife, etc… We know how many people died during the western embargo on Irak : hundreds of thousands… Do you really think that the regime will accept this statu quo? Iran has been warning : we won’t be the only ones to suffer from the interruption of oil exportations. If I had the choice between dying of starvation in silence and alone, and dying “gloriously” in the middle of an international war during which my ennemies would suffer huge losses, I wouldn’t hesitate too long… especially if I am a believer, and especially if I am a Shia impregnated with the cult of martyrdom… PS : it is not being a partisan of Bibi or Bolton or Adelson to estimate that Iran has been put in such a situation that the only way out is to start a war. On the contrary. And no need to be a Trumpist to think that DT is not a partisan of the war with Iran : with body bags returning home from the US bases in Afghanistan, Irak, Gulf states, etc. Trump will loose elections at 100%. Am I wrong?

  52. joanna says:

    As you can see from my 2017 post linked below
    Considering how long this has been the highest prized target, its no big surprise you feel it must have been 2017 when, it feels you reposted it already then …
    But yes, we should now maybe all concentrate on another perfect deal, we all should support.
    On a nitwit level, I don’t mind if anyone would erase us Germans completely. Let’s say France or GB, Russians, arbitrarily, in revenge. This is only semi-ironical, and maybe a bit egoistic. Après moi la déluge. But the idea that Iran cannot be allowed to study matters, since its a theocracy …, makes me really mad. …
    Is there some type of UN institution that regulates what people can and cannot study? Based on what precise “scientific expertise” about Asians, Africans, American, Europeans and their more or less more dangerous sub-clusters?

  53. Oscar Peterson says:

    I agree. The point here is not primarily–or perhaps not at all–about nuclear weapons. It’s about the potential of Iran for regional leadership and the fear this strikes in both the Israelis and the Saudis. For Israel to break out of its isolation and assume a dominant cultural and economic role in the region, all the leading Muslim states must be utterly subjugated. This has already happened to the hapless Arabs–even to the Saudis although they are probably too dumb to realize it. But the challenge posed by Iran–and also Turkey–is of an entirely different order. The leadership potential of Iran has been contained for decades, and now a containment effort against nominal ally Turkey is under way as well. All you have to do is break with Israel and then all the knives come out, one by one.

  54. turcopolier says:

    I agree that the main issue is Iranian leadership in the region, which, if tacitly accepted, would relegate Israel to the status of an enclave on the Mediterranean coast. But I think you are far too cavalier in your dismissal of the issue of whether or not the Iranians even seek a deliverable nuclear weapon or if the village pitchman is chasing a ch9mera that is basically an illusion.

  55. Oscar Peterson says:

    One dimension of recent Iranian history that bears on Iran-WMD issues and unsurprisingly gets not coverage in the US is its refusal to use chemical weapons in response to the massive Iraqi employment of them during the 1980s–first against military forces and then towards the end even apparently against civilian targets.
    I’m not aware that there has ever been a similar refusal to “fight fire with fire” and the Khomenini’s religious-based refusal to grant authority to employ CW is pretty amazing. What happened in the 1980s is not guarantee of behavior going forward, but this example deserves at the very least to be kept in mind rather than sent down the memory hole as our Israel-subservient media insists on doing.

  56. turcopolier says:

    We are the “shining city on a hill.” Don’t you understand that this is our manifest destiny?

  57. turcopolier says:

    “The lot?” You mean the thousands of people laboring in the vineyards or just their bootlicking bosses? Yes, I was seven years retired completely from hovernment or association with it when 9/11 occurred, but, you still managed to try to pin those messes on me by association.

  58. Dave Schuler says:

    Can someone please explain something to me? It’s a sincere request.
    I have never understood the JCPOA. I am convinced that Iran DOES NOT have a nuclear weapons development program and has not had since 2003, as described in the body of the post. Doesn’t the JCPOA assume that Iran HAS (or at least had) a nuclear weapons development program? But if it has or had one, then it’s a secret one. If it’s a secret one how is the JCPOA supposed to prevent it?
    In other words the JCPOA is only useful if it’s useless. It’s just too complicated for me.

  59. Oscar Peterson says:

    PL (Turcopolier),
    I don’t dismiss the question. I just don’t believe that that issue is really driving the relentless attempt at regime change.
    But as you have pointed out in any case, the IC doesn’t support the claims that they have pursued a weapons program since 2003. And I think that the secretive behavior the Iranians undertook prior to that after we prevented them from acquiring enriched uranium and other items necessary for a nuclear power program has been used erroneously or deliberately to sell the idea of an Iranian quest of nuclear weapons. I imagine that Iran has wanted, like Japan, to have the basic knowledge and expertise to show that they could go further if they wanted to, but I can certainly live with that.
    What do you think of Gareth Porter’s book, Manufactured Crisis?

  60. turcopolier says:

    “Would anyone in the Iranian govt violate the fatwa?” I think not. Your familial prejudice against Muslims should not make you think them unprincipled. You should all realize that in arguing with each other over how long from “breakout” to a deliverable waepon you are making the Ziocon case.

  61. joanna says:

    must have been 2017
    should have been 2016 as anyone can see.
    City on the hill? How should I relate that Philo- vs Anti-Americans?

  62. Christian J Chuba says:

    Does the JCPOA in and of itself declare guilt?
    Short answer: no. I’d call it a trust building measure.
    Iran starts to contract for nuclear power, we use our power and influence to sabotage most or all of those deals. Iran comes to the conclusion that they need to be able to produce their own fuel and have as much of their infrastructure in house as they possibly can. They build some bomb proof underground facilities without declaring it to the IAEA (I’d do the same thing). They say, we don’t have to declare it until it’s operational, the U.S. says, aha, this is proof that Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons. There are technical disputes over what the what the non-proliferation act specifically requires. There are many other disputes of this nature between the U.S. and Iran.
    The core conflict is that we’d prefer that Iran have no nuclear technology whatsoever but Iran insists that they must be able to enrich their own fuel. The JCPOA is developed as a trust building mechanism to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains for peaceful, civilian use. Iran agrees to some very stringent requirements for 10yrs in order to get back their frozen assets.
    BTW having Ahmadinejad as President during those early years did not help Iran’s PR efforts, whew, lunatic.
    This subject can get very unwieldy, I’m trying my best to summarize it. Many important details left out.

  63. Oscar Peterson says:

    “US intelligence” is not trying to “overthrow the 2016 election.” The attempt to nullify the election is a political campaign outside the IC. The IC allowed itself to be dragged into a brawl between competing power factions. I agree that bumbling leaders like Comey, McCabe, Brennen and Clapper are unimpressive, and there were some outliers like Strzok, but I don’t agree that Iran/WMD analysts have had any reason to undersell the Iran threat (unlike the overselling of the Iraq threat under intense political pressure post-9/11.) The political pressure still favors overselling–not underselling.
    And if we don’t go with their assessments, whose should we go with? Some foreign intelligence agencies and governments who are no doubt disinterested and have only our welfare at heart?
    In the matter of supposed Iranian nuclear weapons, I wonder who benefits from discrediting IC assessments that Iran has not pursued nuclear weapons since (at the latest) 2003. Hmmm–let’s see–who is desperate to justify a pretext for regime change in Iran and who can impose relentless political pressure in DC to realize its aims?
    Yes, there has been a campaign to nullify the 2016 election. But I think there is also a second and separate campaign to alienate Trump and his supporters from the IC in order to steamroller or evade their inconvenient intelligence assessment. Again, cui bono?

  64. joanna says:

    IZ, congratulations to Turkey for the Istanbul vote.
    be well

  65. ted richard says:

    ding ding ding!
    you’ve won the daily double!
    indeed lack of control is the bete noire for americans and their european allies.
    they could care less what happens to the people as long as the real estate (russias soft underbelly) and “””resources””” are neatly portfolioed under western banking control.
    nuclear weapons are merely how this scam is being sold to the peasants……..that’s you and i by the way in case you mistakenly thought you were a sovereign citizen as our founding documents specify.

  66. Eric Newhill says:

    I am making a major effort to avoid allowing my familial prejudice to not enter into my understanding of all of this. Hence a sincere question about the fatwa – and I accept your answer.
    I am inclined to think that this conflict is more about Iran’s conventional capabilities and its ambitions in the region as they relate to both Israel and the Arabs. As already mentioned, the nuclear issue is propaganda to package and sell those perceived threats to the rest of us.
    Israel and the Saudis/Gulfies seem to have arrived at a peaceful arrangement. Iran seeks to disrupt that. Should Iran be allowed to that? Personally, I don’t care if they all kill each other. However, the impact on global markets could be extremely negative and that does impact me and you.
    Furthermore, for those who take a social justice view, I do think that Israel’s position gets dismissed too easily. Where are Jews to live as Jews if Israel doesn’t exist? Surely, if Muslims were given everything they want in Israel, they’d eventually vote the Jews down and out. It would be like what has happened with liberals and Hispanics in CA. Europe has always been perennially plagued by pogroms and it’s not getting any better. I can understand the Israeli position better than many here. Whereas what is Iran’s main gripe other than getting to be the dominators in the Islamic world? Just analyzing; not advocating.

  67. Flavius says:

    I agree with you and apologize for not being clearer. I don’t think that the Iranian government has a weapons program that includes nuclear capabilities strictly defined, ie an ability to get into production nuclear war heads even within a matter of years. I understand that to be the view of our intelligence community and I am not aware of any reason to challenge their view, least of all on the basis of anything coming from Bolton, Pompeo, Bibi.
    I was referring to weapons programs designed to develop conventual weapons of waging war, offensive and defensive.
    But whether Iran will continue its policy of desisting from developing nuclear weapons in the face of suffocating sanctions, to hazard a guess right now, I would say that as of today there are more voices in Iran arguing for a nuclear program than there were before Trump’s policy by tweet amped up the mutual belligerence.
    Likewise, I have no idea what makes Trump think that forcing foreign governments onto the knife edge of crisis can only result in capitulation without resistance and on our terms. Eventually there will come a break to the bad and if the Democrats can find a candidate a tad more palatable than La Clinton, it’s going to cost him the election. Preventing another 4 to 8 years of progressive rule from Washington concerns me a lot more than Trump’s fatuous attempts to resolve 40+ years of hostility with Iran on terms satisfactory to Israel.

  68. turcopolier says:

    What would “progressevive” rule in Washington be for you? Government control of the means of production, finance and distribution?

  69. turcopolier says:

    There are numerous places in Europe, Oceana and N. America where Jews can live as Jews.

  70. JamesT says:

    My apologies to the committee for also going off topic – but this is fascinating. Could it be that this is how the Idlib situation is going to be resolved? It sounds to me that if Tayyip is to survive he will need to agree to become a vassal of either the US or Russia.

  71. turcopolier says:

    It is your misfortune that you are trapped in a world in which the strongest power is obsessed with such an idea. As the English here have reminded us the US is the only place in the world where the nuttiness of 17th Century Puritansism survives as a major factor in governance.

  72. Oscar Peterson says:

    Agree on the absurdity. How did it become our job to ensure an Israeli regional monopoly of every category of advanced weapon? Hell, the Jericho III falls in the ICBM range. Why does Israel need that?

  73. MP98 says:

    “………but, you still managed to try to pin those messes on me by association.”
    Not at all.
    I am advocating strong skepticism of anything that comes out of the IC, as they seem to have become agenda driven and political.
    As for 9/11, no one was held accountable, much less fired.

  74. Jack says:

    Stephen Walt has a realpolitik suggestion set for President Trump on Iran policy. I agree with him that America First means getting the US out of the hegemony business in the ME. We don’t need another multi-trillion dollar quagmire.

    “..your entire approach to the Middle East is based on the mistaken belief that a combination of unconditional support for familiar U.S. partners (Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Gulf states, etc.) and unrelenting hostility to long-standing adversaries like Iran is the path to success. But here’s what your advisors aren’t telling you: Just as you like to say that you’ll always put U.S. interests first, America’s so-called friends in the region are out for themselves too. That’s why the country’s current partners (and their supporters or paid lobbyists in the United States) are happy to watch America confront Iran while they look on from the sidelines.”

  75. Jim Ticehurst says:

    Osama Bin Laden was Held Accountable..I am sure He Got “FIRED” I recall that it was NOT the IC that Refused to Issue Search Warrants For the Terrorists trainng to Fly Commercial Planes in the United States PRIOR to 9/11 ,,,It was The Legal Attorneys at the FBI..Had they issued Agents the Warrants..There would have been no 9/11..And Why NO Warrants….? Well..people may have lost their Jobs..for”” PROFILING..”” Politicians RULE..And the Money that buys them…

  76. O'Shawnessey says:

    Hmm. I thought the full-spectrum attack on Iran was to take out the so-called “weak node” of Eurasian integration, much like the hybrid/lawfare attack on Lula was designed to take the weak node (not counting SA) out of BRICS.
    Isn’t this nuke shadow play in Iran just a cover story to keep Bibi happy and to attempt to destroy China’s BRI before it can truly integrate Eurasia?
    My sense is that the US military isn’t quite so fully delusional to start a shooting war with Iran, though the B-team is working on that, no doubt.

  77. turcopolier says:

    More geopolitical anti-US claptrap. A master plan, eh? Is Dr. Moriarty behind this? You just refuse to understand that the US military will execute a presidential attack order with precision but will not attack on its own except in self defense.

  78. ISL says:

    There is not a fatwa against nuclear technology, just nuclear weapons, which have many civilian applications that Iran has been pursuing. AEC was set up to encourage globally, including in the Shah’s Iran, peaceful use of nuclear technology. Nuclear medicine comes to mind.
    This suggests one could get right up to the breakout line (but not cross) and be within the fatwa. It certainly would be in Iran’s interest to do so (and to creep there as uncertainty works in their favor). particularly if they were to leverage existing design work (North Korea?) – the design work would be on the wrong side of a fatwa against a nuclear weapons program.
    As to whether stockpiling nuclear materials is against the fatwa I suspect not as long as they have other uses. But that is a very specific islamic legal question for which I have no expertise.

  79. MP98 says:

    You’re correct, but remember that the CIA never told the FBI that the hijackers were already in the country.
    CIA, FBI, ABC, XYZ….. – all part of the massive clusterfuck that is the government.

  80. Stephen McIntyre says:

    A few years ago, I attended a presentation in Erice on Iran nuclear program by Richard Garwin, a co-developer of hydrogen bomb and very prominent physicist active both as US government consultant and in nuclear war avoidance. As I recall, he explained that enrichment of uranium to weapons grade (not permitted) used exactly the same centrifuges as were used for enrichment of natural uranium to reactor grade (permitted). Also that, as of that time ~2014, Iran had no intention of producing weapons grade uranium. He was in favor of the deal. I found him very persuasive.

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