Is Iranian enrichment a realistic target set?

750pxgas_centrifuge_cascade "From the time that Iran halted the suspension of its centrifuge manufacturing efforts and  its adherence to the Additional Protocol, the IAEA’s knowledge of Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing complex has degraded dramatically. U.S. and other intelligence agencies appear to have only partial information about Iran’s centrifuge complex and its ability to reconstitute its program following an attack. Iran’s decision to disperse and keep secret several of its key sites further hinders the development of a full picture of its centrifuge complex. Considering the modular, replicable nature of centrifuge plants, we conclude that an attack on Iran’s nuclear program is unlikely to significantly degrade Iran’s ability to reconstitute its gas centrifuge program."  Abright et al


Albright knows his business.

If it is his judgment that it would be this difficult to severely damage the centrifuge enrichment program, then it is probably so.

This analysis places the putative Israeli onslaught against these facilities in sharp perspective.  The Israelis lack the capability for this.

Only a full fledged US air campaign would have any chance of doing the necessary degree of damage to that complex of facilities.  Such a US campaign would involve hundreds if not thousands of strike sorties plus many, many more support sorties.

Then, there is the issue of whether or not available targeting intelligence is adequate for the job.

Think deal.  pl

Download Centrifuge_Manufacturing_7August2008.pdf

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18 Responses to Is Iranian enrichment a realistic target set?

  1. b says:

    Only a full fledged US air campaign would have any chance of doing the necessary degree of damage to that complex of facilities.
    Even then Iran could rebuild the capacity. If after an attack it would make this a state priority, it would probably take a year to do so.
    What could hinder this is something like was done to Iraq between 1991 and 2002. Permanent bombing of anything that might get reconstructed. It is difficult to imagine a global political situation that would allow for such.

  2. par4 says:

    Dick and George don,t care about success they just want to bomb Iran.Ditto McCain.

  3. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “That soon-to-be-flaming location is where the Book of Esther was set: namely Persia, or in modern parlance, Iran.Seated beside Lapin in the ornately gilded Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) studio was Pastor John Hagee, the author of an incendiary new book purporting to show that the Bible predicts a military confrontation with Iran. By then, Hagee’s book, Jerusalem Countdown, had sold nearly 500,000 copies. It had occupied the No. 1 position on the Wal-Mart inspirational best-seller list, showed up on Wal-Mart’s list of top 10 best sellers for seven weeks, and made the USA Today top 50 best-seller list for six weeks.”

  4. Alex says:

    Albright knows his business. Does he? My understanding was that he has greatly exaggerated his technical qualifications to talk about nuclear affairs. But I don’t have time to look out the references. Someone else will have to do it.
    His judgement isn’t worth much, but he may well be right in this case. That is not difficult.

  5. Alex says:

    having read the report, I should withdraw the remark in my last comment, “he may well be right in this case”. I hadn’t understood the point of the report, which is not necessarily what it seems.

  6. J says:

    it looks like the iaea’s el-baradi has been demanding that iran in addition allow inspections of the working centrfuge sites, must show their locations all under the guise of ‘transparancy’, when in reality it’s all about obtaining bombing intelligence versus real transparancy.
    under the terms of iran’s safeguards agreement, iran is only required to allow the iaea inspect the working centrifuges — centrifuges which actually contain nuclear material. iran is under no obligation to show the places where the centrifuges themselves are designed and built, since the iaea’s inspection rights are limited to nuclear material not to everything else.
    however, el-baradei has been insisting that iran has to show “transparency” in excess of its legal obligations — even in excess of the additional protocol– in order to resolve the supposed “uncertainties” in its nuclear program.
    now to the biggie — the centrifuges manufacturing sites that el-baradei is demanding to see are precisely the sites that the u.s./israel would have to include among its targets of any bombing raid to prevent iran from simply rebuilding its enrichment program.
    now let’s also put in context of iraq what iran is most probably seeing — U.S. SPIED ON IRAQ UNDER U.N. COVER, OFFICIALS NOW SAY
    iranians are no fools, taking six steps back and looking at the situation — is el-baradei serving the same function, and gathering targeting information, under the guise of seeking “transparency” from iran?

  7. Dadi says:

    And this is precisely why the US has been pressing the IAEA to get Iran to show it the centrifuge manufacturing sites. In its last report (May 2008) the IAEA said that it requested “transparency” visits to the centrifuges manufacturing plants. Under the guise of getting “transparency” from Iran to resolve “ambiguities” in Iran’s nuclear file, the IAEA is actually providing bombing intelligence to the US.

  8. Patrick Lang says:

    I decline to publsih your two comments this AM. Ad Hominem attacks on anyone as a basis for argument are not acceptable.
    If you wish to support an alternative view on its own merits, do so. pl

  9. Marcus says:

    Think Bush’s fervent religious belief of good vs. evil compared to the dominant religion of his cronies–greed.
    The corporatists see the danger to their bottom line in this folly. Shame that they weren’t as wise with the Iraqi adventure.

  10. mo says:

    Iran will never use nukes whether it has them or not.
    But the Israelis and the US know that anyway. This isn’t about the nuclear threat its about deterrence. Israel just doesn’t want Iran to have nukes because it, like any neighborhood bully doesn’t want anyone in so strong a position that it cannot threaten them. It cannot afford a situation of MAD because its existence is its raison d’etre.
    But they won’t attack. Israel isn’t ready for more of 2006, or at least Israeli society isn’t. And the US isn’t in any position for the kind of sustained attack required.
    My only caveat: I cannot for the life of me figure out what Petraeus was doing in Beirut this week.
    Like the Colonel says, think deal; That is if the Iranians deem a deal necessary.

  11. Curious says:

    Global domination shopping list:
    -Make your own maraging steel
    -Corrosive resistance ultra vacuum pump

    Hey look, the chinese knows how to do the whole steel thing. why not just buy it from them?
    Mom, can I borrow your credit card…

  12. jose says:

    Maybe the Russians are sending us a warning via Georgia.
    Russia will not allow the West, really just America, to invade Iran and use the Georgia pipeline to avoid Russian infrastructure.
    Remember, Iran has applied to join the SCO, similar to Georgia asking to join NATO.

  13. Rob73 says:

    Anyone think there’s any plausibility to the speculation in certain quarters that the US’ inaction on Georgia (plus Israel’s early August public backing away from large arms sales to Georgia) signals some sort of deal where Russia will stay out of the upcoming attack on Iran?
    Seems a bit far-fetched to me, but curious if anyone thinks otherwise.

  14. bstr says:

    Dear Sir, I am sorry, but we must move on from concerns with Iran. My Vice President (Shooter Cheney) has determined that Russia needs a spanking.”Russian aggression must not go unanswered, and that its continuation would have serious consequences for its relations with the United States.” The man knows no boundaries.

  15. fnord says:

    With Operation Brimstone just over, get ready for a naval blockade of Iran in one to two weeks…?

  16. J says:

    what will prove interesting is when iran receives armed russian/chinese escorts through the purported intended blockade. both the russians and chinese feel that it should not be the west alone who has access/controls regarding mideast oil.
    when the house of cards crumbles, we can thank the feckless bush-cheney-neocon-israeli bunch running d.c. for it.

  17. Alex says:

    On your refusal to admit ad hominem attacks on David Albright, the accusation came from Scott Ritter, who is certainly a loose cannon, but an honest one, I think.
    I studied Albright’s work on the “Box-on-the-Euphrates”, and I didn’t find the argumentation rigorous. He accepted elements as proof which were not (the water pumping station) and ignored necessary elements which were not there (where were all the surrounding support buildings necessary?). The fact that the US came out later with ground photos does not convince me. They had plenty of time to fabricate them.
    So why should we believe Albright on Iran?

  18. Curious says:

    His senate testimony from last year seems to jibe with what is known in public and current estimate.

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