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Tilting at Windmills

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April 11, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

IRAN UPDATE....Iran's game of nuclear chicken continues apace:

Iran has enriched uranium, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Tuesday.

"I'm announcing officially that Iran has now joined the countries that have nuclear technology," Ahmadinejad said in a carefully staged speech carried live across Iran. "This is a very historic moment, and this is because of the Iranian people and their belief. And this is the start of the progress of this country."

It's sort of like watching the Cuban Missile Crisis in ve-r-r-r-y slow motion. And without the possibility of the entire planet being incinerated, of course.

Kevin Drum 2:43 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (103)

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I think it's more like watching the Cuban Missile Crisis where both sides are lunatics, and the planet probably won't get incincerated.

Very, very comforting that we're using these analogies. Yep, things are going great.

Posted by: theorajones on April 11, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Good timing. I just read an article at CounterPunch by Grant F. Smith, who says both Russia and China may be planning to install nuclear missiles in Iran to counter US aggression. The US should take my advice and offer to arm Iran with its own nukes rather than let Russia or China do it. But that would be antithetical to US sentiment that Iran is evil and must be punished for not obeying US hegemony.

Posted by: Hostile on April 11, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if there is any kind of conflict that substantially disrupts oil supplies, then the end result probably won't be all that different from planetary incineration.

I have recently realized that sometime in my life, taking a trip across the country may be an incredible luxury because we won't have any fuel. Not that this is a certainty or even likely, but the mere fact that it is possible is frightening.

Posted by: Doctor Gonzo on April 11, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.counterpunch.org/smith04112006.html

Posted by: Hostile on April 11, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

"without the possibility of the entire planet being incinerated, of course"

At least not in the course of a single afternoon. Who knows what The Last Days of Bush will bring. After all, what's a few billion dead heathens if you can make your own apocalypse.

Posted by: Matt on April 11, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Problem is, game theory tells you that the winning strategy for "chicken" is to behave like a lunatic. I think the only reason to prefer this to "mutually assured destruction" is that Iran in fact does not yet have sufficient weapons or delivery system to be the sort of threat that we faced in the Cold War.

Posted by: dr2chase on April 11, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

My biggest hope if the neocons do start to take definite, deliberate steps towards dragging us into war with Iran, is that this time the Democrats realize that they've got the sure-footing politically to stand opposed to it. My biggest fear is that the DC consultants will con the Dems into a 2002 redux by telling them to support a bullshit war in order to look strong on national security. The word has to start spreading now that a military option in Iran is absolutely contrary to our national security interests, especially with the incompetant republicans at the helm.

Posted by: beedee on April 11, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

The only certain way to stop Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to destroy his nuclear sites with tactical nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Al on April 11, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

And without the possibility of the entire planet being incinerated, of course.

Yep, all that's at stake is a large portion of the world's oil supply and tens of millions of lives.

Posted by: Stefan on April 11, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Nice, Kevin.
That comment on Cuban missile crisis in slo-mo was broadcast on Morning Edition this morning.
At least change the order of the wording.
Creep.

Posted by: killervmac on April 11, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Pearl Harbor teach you anything about Iranian treachery?

Posted by: Wingnut on April 11, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

I guess my reaction to this news is, What the hell does it mean?

Are the Iranians far ahead of what we had expected? Are they almost certainly bluffing?

Anyone?

Posted by: frankly0 on April 11, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Doctor Gonzo said: "I have recently realized that sometime in my life, taking a trip across the country may be an incredible luxury because we won't have any fuel."

No it won't. Taking a trip across the country in a gasoline-fueled car might be, but you can always travel by horse-and-buggy, or, if things work out a little better, fuel cell or some such technology.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on April 11, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I am relieved to note that American foreign policy is not designed to immediately respond to every instance of hysteria by the liberals and that there is no danger of it being modified in the near future as the continuous foaming of the liberal mouths is going to gurantee that the Democratic party retains its minority status for a long time to come.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 11, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Al: Nuclear war -- it's what's for dinner!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some remote Pacific islands to go check out.

Posted by: Doug on April 11, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Are the Iranians far ahead of what we had expected?

No, they're pretty much where U.S. intelligence thought they were at, still about ten years away from a bomb.

The enriched uranium to 3.5%. You need 20% enrichment for fuel rods and 90% enrichment for bomb-grade uranium. And enirchment is only one part of the complicated process of making a nuclear weapon.

Posted by: Windhorse on April 11, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

I am relieved to note that tbrosz is a douche.

Posted by: beedee on April 11, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

"the" = "they"
"enirchment" = "enrichment"

The remaining answers to today's word puzzle will be posted here tomorrow.

Posted by: Windhorse on April 11, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't be so sure about that last clause, Kevin.

Posted by: John Sully on April 11, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

When France , the UK and Germany were trying to come to agreements with Iran the the Bush administration did all they could to undermine the efforts, insisting it was useless, and making it clear they would use nuclear weapons even against non nuclear nations.

We do know the Bush Administration is a rogue government, no way to trust them, they are crazy.

Posted by: Renate on April 11, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Just what the world needed- two empty-headed demagogues "playing to their base" with promises and threats they can't hope to fulfill.

This should be fun. Not.

Posted by: serial catowner on April 11, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

For now at least, its a game of words.

We got 'W'.

Posted by: deanomite on April 11, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kind of a foamy comment there, tbrosz. I hope you have napkins handy when you type....

They won't do it*, but I can think of a useful role that Dems might play in defusing this crisis: They can 1) emphasize that there is no reason to act precipitously, and 2) raise the simple question of why, exactly, an Iranian bomb is so much worse than the Pakistani one, or the North Korean one. A nuclear Iran won't be a good thing, but there seems to be an unspoken assumption that it will be the worst possible development, and I just don't think that either history or current realities support that hysteria.

* Are the Dems going to repeat their brilliant, winning 2002 strategy, and simply cede central foreign policy decisions to Republican lunatics? So far I'm not seeing much evidence that they're going to do otherwise. This is the moment when they have to at least pretend to be leaders.

Posted by: sglover on April 11, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

I just posted on this earlier. The important part-- the part that we should all commit to memory when Bush starts saying they are an active threat-- is this:

"Iran has put into operation the first unit of 164 centrifuges, has injected (uranium) gas and has reached industrial production," the news agency quoted him as saying.

"We should expand the work of these machines to achieve a full industrial line. We need dozens of these units (sets of 164 centrifuges) to achieve a uranium enrichment facility," he said.

Enriching uranium to a low level produces fuel for nuclear reactors. To a higher level, it produces the material for a nuclear bomb.

Iran would require thousands of operating centrifuges to produce enough uranium for either purpose.

They're not even close, we have time to nip this in the bud. The question is whether we truly use diplomacy OR of we falsify a case for war based on a belief that they are an immediate threat without evidence-- again.

The other question is whether Americans or even the rest of the world would let Bush do this-- again.

At this point I'd wager that Bush might very well try but it won't work this time.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on April 11, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I'm thinking, if this goes down, that "not being able to drive across the country" thing could happen, like, tomorrow.

Posted by: serial catowner on April 11, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

The ONE thing that will ensure America's national security is if Iran HAS nuclear weapons.

The cost of attempting to prevent that inevitable occurrence is much, much too great.

The benefit of resisting the tide of history is negligible.

On the other hand, actively ensuring that Iran's nuclear program is fully-fledged and contains both energy-producing and weapons components has an overwhelming array of immeasurable benefits.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on April 11, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. I screwed up the blockquote. Sorry.

"Iran has put into operation the first unit of 164 centrifuges, has injected (uranium) gas and has reached industrial production," the news agency quoted him as saying.

"We should expand the work of these machines to achieve a full industrial line. We need dozens of these units (sets of 164 centrifuges) to achieve a uranium enrichment facility," he said.

Enriching uranium to a low level produces fuel for nuclear reactors. To a higher level, it produces the material for a nuclear bomb.

Iran would require thousands of operating centrifuges to produce enough uranium for either purpose.The fact is that they are actually bragging that they only have a very small percentage of what they need to make any nukes.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on April 11, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

If Ahmadinejad and Bush switched places, would anyone be able to tell the difference?

Posted by: moderleft on April 11, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, 3rd time is a charm. (Blockquote doesn't work across paragraph breaks-- who knew?)

"Iran has put into operation the first unit of 164 centrifuges, has injected (uranium) gas and has reached industrial production," the news agency quoted him as saying."We should expand the work of these machines to achieve a full industrial line. We need dozens of these units (sets of 164 centrifuges) to achieve a uranium enrichment facility," he said. Enriching uranium to a low level produces fuel for nuclear reactors. To a higher level, it produces the material for a nuclear bomb. Iran would require thousands of operating centrifuges to produce enough uranium for either purpose.
Posted by: zoe kentucky on April 11, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

In a nutshell-- they are bragging they have 164 and they need thousands. We have time. Don't let Bush & Co. try to convince Americans otherwise.

Posted by: baby jane on April 11, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

I guess my reaction to this news is, What the hell does it mean?

It means that we will bomb Iran before the November elections. And the bombings will include the use of the B61-11 nuclear armed, ground penetrating bombs. This will not occur until the results of the Divine Strake test, scheduled for June 2, have been analysed. My guess is the strikes will begin on July 2, 2006.

Call me crazy, but I predicted the Gulf War in June of 1990 (before Saddam invaded Kuwait). I predicted that Bill Clinton would win the 1992 election in June of 1991 (before Clinton announced his candidacy and with Bush at 90% approval). I predicted the current Iraq war on September 11, 2001 (but that was no-brainer). And, yes, everyone called me crazy then, too.

Posted by: tom on April 11, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some remote Pacific islands to go check out.

if you can find any that haven't been reduced to cinders by h-bomb testing...

Posted by: cleek on April 11, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

The world can be incinerated in slow motion as well.

Posted by: cld on April 11, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

I am relieved to note that American foreign policy is not designed to immediately respond to every instance of hysteria

Does a pre-empitve invasion against a country that posed no threat qualify as an 'instance of hysteria'

Posted by: Stephen on April 11, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Call me crazy, but I predicted the Gulf War in June of 1990 (before Saddam invaded Kuwait). I predicted that Bill Clinton would win the 1992 election in June of 1991 (before Clinton announced his candidacy and with Bush at 90% approval). I predicted the current Iraq war on September 11, 2001 (but that was no-brainer). And, yes, everyone called me crazy then, too.

Okay, who's gonna win the World Series this year? :)

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 11, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

The tactical nuke threat by the US is a failed gambit. The iranians are throwing it right back in Bush's face with this anouncement. At this point diplomacy is failing and all out war is not a viable option. All that's left is face-saving.

I reckon Bush will launch a cruise or two, kill some people and swagger around a bit. He needs something to spin. Ironically, I think the iranians might actually welcome such an attack.

Posted by: deanomite on April 11, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

sglover:

Are the Dems going to repeat their brilliant, winning 2002 strategy, and simply cede central foreign policy decisions to Republican lunatics? So far I'm not seeing much evidence that they're going to do otherwise. This is the moment when they have to at least pretend to be leaders.

As you probably know by now, or maybe not, that post wasn't me.


Kevin has wondered about this in a number of posts. Fact is, the Democrats have nothing in their quiver to deal with situations like this, and the only thing they can do is stand around and pretend that their ideas are useless since they have no political power.

A few numbers:

Iran electricity consumption: 132.1 billion KwH

Iran electricity production: 142.3 billion KwH

Iran electricity exports: 840 million KwH

Oil production: 4 million barrels a day

Oil consumption: 1.43 million barrels a day

Natural Gas production and consumption are equal, at 79 billion cu m.

Proven natural gas reserves: 26.2 trillion cu. m., or about 300 years supply for Iran at the current consumption rate.

This is also about 16 percent of the world's known reserves.

Almost 80 percent of Iran's power plants use natural gas. None use coal.

Iran needs nuclear power like a fish needs a bicycle.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 11, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, who's gonna win the World Series this year? :)

Sorry, I don't do sports predictions. Nor will I attempt to predict Ahmadinejad's reaction. It's not clear how long a leash he will recieve from Khamenei.

Posted by: tom on April 11, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

The Iranian announcement indicated that they have made made one unit of centrafuges operational, consisting of 164 linked machines. They said is would take '10's of units' to make commercial quantities of enriched uranium.

So where are they in development? On the path but just barely. Thousands more centrafuges needed. Lets not overreact.

This level of enrichment is not sufficient for nuclear weapons but is adequate for power reactors.

Posted by: JimPortandOR on April 11, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry! The UN is on the job. Aren't you lefties happy that Bush is leaving this problem in the capable hands of the UN and the French?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on April 11, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I am thoroughly confused. The military option against Iran is not a good one, will delay Iran having nuclear weapons only for a short while, will lead to all sorts of Iranian retaliation and concievably involve something more than condemnation from a number of countries including Russia, China and Pakistan, all of whom have nuclear weapons but have sort of avoided provoking us in recent times, and will further isolate the United States from the rest of the world. On the plus side we will unite the Iranian people behind a leadership that at least the right seems to think does not enjoy popular support and we let every other country that has an interest in Iran not having nuclear weapons off the hook. We have always had the option of airstrikes against Iran, conventional or otherwise, Iran has always known we have had that option and known it is not a good one, and Europe has had to at least think about whether we would go forward with it if Europe fails to get the deal done. It seems to me that we got nothing by threatening airstikes. IMHO, with an admitted lack of expertise, the way to bring Iran and the rest of the world to the table is to rule out airstrikes--except in support of an invasion by a coalition that has few , if any US troops--absolutely and positively. We need to tell Europe that we will not save its bacon this time and that it will have to deal with a nuclear Iran if it does not step up to the plate. Iran, of course, will not believe us, but if they do not know what we are going to do, they may be a bit more concerned about thumbing their noses at the rest of the world. Especially a world that will praise us for our maturity and ability not to stick our noses into everybody elses business. Will it work? Who knows, but it seems like a much better strategy than threatening or carrying out airstrikes.

Posted by: terry on April 11, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

What the fuck?

There isn't any possibility that the entire planet being incinerated?

I am afraid this idiot just might do it.

Posted by: angryspittle on April 11, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

No, Kevin, it is not like the Cuban missile crisis.

In the Cuban missile crisis, both sides had nuclear weapons, and the threat of nuclear war was taken so seriously that my British uncle, who was a Ministry of Defence attache to the British embassy in Washington, was fully packed and set to move to a bunker in the hills of West Virginia, because it was anticipated that strongly that Washington, DC, would be hit in a nuclear exchange.

The Iranians do not have a bomb and are not close to one. They have gone to the next stage of a nuclear enrichment program which, if allowed to run its course, might yield enough enriched uranium for a bomb or two. Even if Iran gets the bomb, it would be of value to them mainly as a deterrent against attack; they aren't going to give it to terrorists or launch a strike because they don't want to get wiped out.

Comparing this dispute to the Cuban missile crisis does not serve anyone and plays into Bush administration attempts to create fear.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 11, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Just the pretext we need to steal one of Iran's states.

After all, who the hell would WANT the rest of Iran?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on April 11, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Nut> the French?

What IS it with you nutbars and the French? Is it just over Iraq? Almost the whole western world, most traditional allies, including those bordering you north and south, disagreed with that one. Why heap so much animosity on the Frogs? Hell hath no fury like a wingnut scorned?

And the EU? Name another regional power block closer in culture, level of democracy, outlook, and political/economic power. If you can't treat them as friends with a few disagreements, what is it then, Amerika vs the world?

If you find the French arrogant and at times machievelian, how do you think the rest of the world views American republicans? Grow up and get over it.

It just might be possible that if the Bush junta had a little less of a small-man chip on its shoulder, problems such as Iran could actually be dealt with as a common cause, through the UN or not. This is pathetic. No wonder you're getting so isolated.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on April 11, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Iran needs nuclear power like a fish needs a bicycle.

I find that whole line of argument bogus and unconvincing. One could argue that neither the U.S. nor the U.S.S.R. "needed" to do space exploration, yet both chose to, largely because of abstractions like "national prestige". Both powers stockpiled lunatic numbers of nuclear warheads in pursuit of other intangibles. The Iranians wouldn't be the only people to make a similar case for nuclear power generation, and nuclear weapons. And the fact is that Bush gives Tehran ample reason to want a nuclear deterrent.

That deterrent is pretty much coals to Newcastle anyway, because just as North Korean artillery effectively holds Seoul hostage, so Iran holds a knife to Persian Gulf oil production and shipping. There is no American military action whose costs won't outweigh its (hypothetical) benefits by orders of magnitude.

Posted by: sglover on April 11, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Iran needs nuclear power like a fish needs a bicycle.

Iran's per capita consumption of electricity (and oil) is low (less than a third of saudi arabia's, about an eigth of the US as of 2001).

How do you plan to keep it that low?

Their population is growing 3.3% annually. I hate to ask how you plan to check that ...

Posted by: deanomite on April 11, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Iran needs nuclear power like a fish needs a bicycle.

But nuclear weapons, that they kind of need. Look at a map: to its north, Russia, to its east, Pakistan, India and China, to its west, Israel, and on its immediate northeast and west borders and in the Persian Gulf, the United States. All nuclear-armed powers which do or could pose a threat to Iran some day. If you were a rational Iranian leader why on Earth wouldn't you want a nuclear deterrent?

Posted by: Stefan on April 11, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Comparing this dispute to the Cuban missile crisis does not serve anyone and plays into Bush administration attempts to create fear.

Depends on which Cuban Missile Crisis you're talking about. If it's the one of myth, in which JFK's steely resolve made the Russians step back from their heinous plans, you're right. But if it's the crisis that more recent scholarship has brought to light, in which neither side had a really clear grasp of the other's intentions, and dumb luck was a larger factor than is widely known, it's not a bad analogy.

Posted by: sglover on April 11, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

It just might be possible that if the Bush junta had a little less of a small-man chip on its shoulder, problems such as Iran could actually be dealt with as a common cause, through the UN or not. This is pathetic. No wonder you're getting so isolated.

Have you been watching the U.N. deal with Iran? With luck, and a good tailwind, in five years they may get around to writing their disapproving proclamations on the good stationery.

Their theory is that there is no problem that won't go away if you talk about it long enough. And after all, if Tel Aviv takes a nuke, not one person at the U.N. will lose his job.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 11, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Iran needs nuclear power like a fish needs a bicycle.

How true. But oil prices will continue to rise, eventually making nuclear power a cheaper alternative. Iran can increase its wealth by selling high priced oil and consuming low priced nuclear energy. It may not be necessary, but it is certainly a wise business decision. There was a time when the republican party was controlled by people who made wise business decisions. Now the decisions are based on the bible and republicans have lost their business acumen. Unfortunately, the democrats will never have any business acumen, so we are screwed.

Posted by: tom on April 11, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

If you were a rational Iranian leader why on Earth wouldn't you want a nuclear deterrent?

South Korea, Germany, and Japan could all make similar cases for building their own nukes (and all are certainly capable of it), but none have done so.

Perhaps the US ought to offer Iran a deal similar to the one we've set up with them. We'll bring Iran under the US nuclear umbrella and even offer to station a few troops in Iran to cock the US nuclear trigger.

If nothing else, it'd make for interesting diplomacy.

Posted by: deanomite on April 11, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

KD:And without the possibility of the entire planet being incinerated, of course.

really, without that possibility, you sure?

Posted by: e1 on April 11, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

sglover, Stefan (I'm surprised that you missed this):

er, tbrosz's point was that Iran doesn't need nuclear power and thus its uranium enrichment has to be aimed at weaponization.

Posted by: Nathan on April 11, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

South Korea, Germany, and Japan could all make similar cases for building their own nukes (and all are certainly capable of it), but none have done so.

How much oil do they have?

Posted by: Stefan on April 11, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

er, tbrosz's point was that Iran doesn't need nuclear power and thus its uranium enrichment has to be aimed at weaponization.

Oh no, I got that. My point was that it's besides the point, as it's simply common sense for Iran to go for weaponization. They have every reason in the world to want nuclear weapons of their own.

Posted by: Stefan on April 11, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

And after all, if Tel Aviv takes a nuke, not one person at the U.N. will lose his job.

If Tel Aviv takes a nuke, Israel will turn the Middle East into a sea of fire, and they all know it.

Posted by: Stefan on April 11, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

er, tbrosz's point was that Iran doesn't need nuclear power and thus its uranium enrichment has to be aimed at weaponization.

I acknowledged that they want nuclear weapons. You didn't read carefully. But I also think that arguments about how Iran shouldn't want nuclear power, because of their fossil fuel resources, are bogus.

And earlier I said we should look past the hysteria, and acknowledge that there's little reason to believe that an Iranian nuclear weapon is so much worse than, say, a Pakistani one. There's no convincing case for military action, here.

Posted by: sglover on April 11, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like most of us choked on Kev's last sentence.

Wind: The remaining answers to today's word puzzle will be posted here tomorrow.

Heh.

Posted by: shortstop on April 11, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK
Well, if there is any kind of conflict that substantially disrupts oil supplies, then the end result probably won't be all that different from planetary incineration.

If there is any kind of conflict that substantially disrupts oil supplies, the major nuclear powers (and everyone else, but they don't matter as much for this purpose) will have a motive to intervene to protect their own (contradictory) interests, which doesn't exactly bode well for the prospects of avoiding literal incineration.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Told you so. I bet they were A.Q. Kahn's first and best customer, and they're years ahead of North Korea. At least a dozen fission bombs by now.

Posted by: JamesP on April 11, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK
Problem is, game theory tells you that the winning strategy for "chicken" is to behave like a lunatic.

The problem is that people think that the situation with the US and Iran is accurately reflected as a one-shot game of Chicken.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

sglover says: "And earlier I said we should look past the hysteria, and acknowledge that there's little reason to believe that an Iranian nuclear weapon is so much worse than, say, a Pakistani one."

assuming, arguendo, that this is true...that Iranian possession of nukes and Pakistani possession of nukes present equal risk factors to the U.S., that would also mean that Iranian possession would double the threat posed to the U.S. by Pakistan alone.

in other words, unless you're of the "nuclear proliferation is a good thing" school,
I don't understand the argument that since you have (potentially) one "mad mullah bomb" that therefore its no big deal to have more.

Posted by: Nathan on April 11, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Since people have brought up game theoretic considerations here, it is worthwhile to note that the situation with Iran is perfect for applying the Nash/Moser theorem. If you are patient with the necessary mathematical manipulations required to apply this theorem you will quickly come to the conclusion that the GWB tactics are perfect to deal with an opponent like the President of Iran.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 11, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK
assuming, arguendo, that this is true...that Iranian possession of nukes and Pakistani possession of nukes present equal risk factors to the U.S., that would also mean that Iranian possession would double the threat posed to the U.S. by Pakistan alone.

Only if you think the risks are independent; if you think the risks are in part overlapping rather than independent, or that they in some ways mitigate each other (I can see arguments from common motivation in some areas for the former, and from conflicting interest for the latter), then even if they were equal risks independently, together they could be far less than double.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Iran needs nuclear power like a fish needs a bicycle.

Your utterly inexpert judgment is noted. I'm sure there are number of sovereign countries and democracies in addition to Iran that couldn't give two shits about what you think their needs are.

I'm wondering: why didn't you include the electricity import numbers from the factbook? Could it be that they wipe out the export numbers and weaken your "case"? Also -- did you know that Iran's growth has set it to become a net importer of oil within the next twenty years? And when that happens their economy will essentially collapse, being dependent on oil exports?

That's the problem with throwing up "static" numbers about production and consumption; they have no predictive value and hence no analytical importance.

And citing three year old figures has little if any value. What were gas prices three years ago? What were oil prices three years ago? What were worldwide production rates? Consumption rates?

You are striking out all over the place today. Better stick to insulting Democrats; it's quick and easy and more your speed.

Posted by: Windhorse on April 11, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

The other, more important, issues aside, tbroz's argument that the Iranians don't "need" nuclear power is economic nonsense. If they can export more dear oil by satisifying local electricity demand with cheaper nucler power, they come out ahead. This is just the Econ. 101 concept of opportunity cost.

Posted by: Matt on April 11, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Iran needs nuclear power like a fish needs a bicycle.

The same is true of the USA, but that doesn't prevent idiots like you from demanding that the taxpayers pay for building hundreds of new nuclear power plants here.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 11, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: It's sort of like watching the Cuban Missile Crisis in ve-r-r-r-y slow motion. And without the possibility of the entire planet being incinerated, of course.

In other words, it is nothing remotely resembling the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 11, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

The point is that Israel must no longer be regarded as pariah state in the region. Whatever gets us all on board- nukes, terrorists, whatever- with the regime change program will do. Just as in the 'Get-Saddam-that-evil-tyrant' project. As the neocons and their allies see it, the cost of opposing Israeli and US interests must be too high for any regime. They first tried encouraging regional war between Iraq and Iran, then in the 1990s under Clinton the US implemented Martin Indyks dual-containment policy. This was not enough for the neocons who wanted to permanently remove the anti-Israeli regimes. Now the US has taken care of one of the enemies the other can be reduced. This will also clean up the problem of a Iran-allied coalition in post-war Iraq and the hope of pan-Muslim nationalism (the neocons understand Islam, terrorism, and the function of nation-states through lenses they developed in their long ideological struggle against communism. The Threat of Islamofascism is rhetorically identical to the 'Threat of Communism'. Confounding these distinct phenomenon often creates fantastic, even mystical, exaggeration and has no doubt led to serious policy blunders) The overall strategy is to create a world in which Israel can live and the US is not resisted outright in the region. Intra-muslim division, including civil war, is a good thing from this point of view because those that are divided cannot be united against you.

Posted by: bellumregio on April 11, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

assuming, arguendo, that this is true...that Iranian possession of nukes and Pakistani possession of nukes present equal risk factors to the U.S., that would also mean that Iranian possession would double the threat posed to the U.S. by Pakistan alone.

But that doesn't address the question of why we would be compelled to respond to an Iranian nuclear weapon with war, while we respond to Pakistan's nuclear weapons not at all. What is it about Iran that makes it so much more of a threat than Pakistan?

Moreover, the total risk to the US is not double. The number of risks would increase, but the sum total of the risk itself would not necessarily double.

Posted by: Stefan on April 11, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

From the WaPo article Kev linked to:

"Iran has put into operation the first unit of 164 centrifuges...We need dozens of these units to achieve a uranium enrichment facility."

Hell, maybe the US should sell Iran the rest of the centrifuges they are asking for, along with contracts for long-term technical support...As long as Iran allows joint IAEA/US oversight of the enrichment activites, including monitoring the entire process from uranium acquisition through the radioactive waste disposal...Iran will pay for the technology by selling their oil and natural gas on the open market.

After that, we ask them where they want us to build the McDonald's: Next to Target or across from Kroger's? After 30-odd years, the country will be like China, except with more Iranians.

It's a crazy idea. But then again, we're kinda near 'crazy' right now.

Posted by: grape_crush on April 11, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

It strikes me as deeply unserious to simply accept Iran's current rational that they want to have nukes for civilian purposes. We, and I mean all of the people in the world who believe in nuclear non-proliferation, have a particular responsibility to challenge any country's stated reason for developing these weapons.

This is not to say that Iran should be bombed. Rather, this is to make clear to everyone in the world that Iran is proceeding with a program specifically to (take your pick)

  • deter

  • intimidate

  • negotiate with

  • provide electricity

  • anialate israel
  • My gripe with the US admin is that their diplomatic presupposes the answer. Its hardly a dimplomatic effort at all, just a serious of escalating ultimatums. Since it reveals nothing new about Iran's intentions, it makes it possible for others to take the Iranian position that its just a civilian program and the US is a bully.

    We will be fortunate to find a merely political and non-military resolution to this crisis. What's unfortunate is the opportunity we will have missed to create a real precedent for preventing a unecessary proliferation of nuclear weapons at the start of this century.

    Posted by: deanomite on April 11, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

    SecularAnimist:

    The same is true of the USA, but that doesn't prevent idiots like you from demanding that the taxpayers pay for building hundreds of new nuclear power plants here.

    Please look up the same numbers on domestic oil and gas energy resources and consumption for the United States, and sit down and think about it for a while.

    Do I have to bring out the hand puppets?


    Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 11, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

    Posted by: tbrosz on April 11, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

    Stefan said:
    "But that doesn't address the question of why we would be compelled to respond to an Iranian nuclear weapon with war, while we respond to Pakistan's nuclear weapons not at all. What is it about Iran that makes it so much more of a threat than Pakistan?"

    It doesn't have to be more of a threat, in fact, it can be less of a threat and still justify intervention. Why? Because it doesn't have nukes....yet. Once a country has nukes your options are sharply diminished. (they were always nonexistent with NK because of the geographic location of Seoul.) that's the difference.

    "Moreover, the total risk to the US is not double. The number of risks would increase, but the sum total of the risk itself would not necessarily double."

    I never said it would.

    Posted by: Nathan on April 11, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

    This is not to say that Iran should be bombed. Rather, this is to make clear to everyone in the world that Iran is proceeding with a program specifically to (take your pick)
    ...
    Posted by: deanomite on April 11, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

    How about drum up domestic nationalist support (both in Iran, and in the US)?

    Conflict and trash-talking = votes.
    (Bush proved that.)
    (So did Hitler.)

    Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 11, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

    Has anyone seen Mark Steyn's article on this?

    Also, from the London Times article on this here: (boldface mine)

    Mr Rafsanjani said that Tehran had successfully run a single "cascade" of 164 centrifuges. Although a crucial development, as many as a dozen cascades of centrifuges are needed produce enough enriched uranium for use in nuclear power stations.
    Around 1,500 centrifuges running constantly for a year are needed to produce enough material for a bomb.

    ...The next Iranian official to give details of the enrichment was the country's Vice President and nuclear chief, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who introduced Mr Ahmadinejad to his audience in Mashhad. Mr Aghazadeh said Iran had produced 110 tons of uranium gas, nearly twice the amount it managed to produce last year.

    Mr Aghazadeh said Iran plans to expand its enrichment programme to be able to use 3,000 centrifuges by the end of the year.

    I only hope this is the same kind of BS as the "stealth seaplane" and "super torpedo."

    Posted by: tbrosz on April 11, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

    . . .it is worthwhile to note that the situation with Iran is perfect for applying the Nash/Moser theorem. If you are patient with the necessary mathematical manipulations required to apply this theorem you will quickly come to the conclusion that the GWB tactics are perfect to deal with an opponent like the President of Iran.
    Posted by: tbrosz on April 11, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

    That's because just as Nash was, GWB is a fucking paranoid psychotic dingbat.

    Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 11, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

    Since people have brought up game theoretic considerations here, it is worthwhile to note that the situation with Iran is perfect for applying the Nash/Moser theorem. If you are patient with the necessary mathematical manipulations required to apply this theorem you will quickly come to the conclusion that the GWB tactics are perfect to deal with an opponent like the President of Iran.

    I always thought that about how we handled Saddam too, prior to Iraq. The problem, of course, is that you don't get to roll the dice once, the game itself lasts forever, and the penalty is lots of dead people.


    Posted by: tinfoil on April 11, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

    sorry - you don't get to roll the dice more than once

    Posted by: tinfoil on April 11, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

    I reckon Bush will launch a cruise or two, kill some people and swagger around a bit. He needs something to spin. Ironically, I think the iranians might actually welcome such an attack.
    Posted by: deanomite on April 11, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

    . . . I don't suppose they've got an Asprin Factory over there anyplace. (never mind. FoxNews will say it was really a disguised nanotechnology weapons lab, and Cheney will believe it).

    Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 11, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

    It doesn't have to be more of a threat, in fact, it can be less of a threat and still justify intervention.

    Iran had better nuclear arm soon, because Americans can justify killing people without any reason.

    Posted by: Hostile on April 11, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK
    Iran had better nuclear arm soon, because Americans can justify killing people without any reason.

    In the thread above this one, a paper arguing that war might turn out to be cheaper than containment was is being offered as a justification for the Iraq war.

    I wonder if they'd accept such an argument as a defense for homicide: "It might conceivably have been cheaper for me to shoot him than to maintain the level of vigilance I thought would be necessary against an assault he may or may not have made against me in the future, therefore, I was justified in shooting him."

    Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

    assuming, arguendo, that this is true...that Iranian possession of nukes and Pakistani possession of nukes present equal risk factors to the U.S., that would also mean that Iranian possession would double the threat posed to the U.S. by Pakistan alone.

    Double, triple, quadruple -- it's stupd to try to pretend one has any idea of the risks here with any precision. You seem indifferent to the very considerable risks of a wider war, yet more regional instability, and oil shipment interdictions. Sorry, but you don't get to pick and choose only the risks that you find worrisome, and only the consequences that you find desirable. They're all intertwined. And I would think that the embarrassing predictions of Iraq war enthusiasts would give advocates of another military adventure a helluva dose of humility.

    in other words, unless you're of the "nuclear proliferation is a good thing" school,
    I don't understand the argument that since you have (potentially) one "mad mullah bomb" that therefore its no big deal to have more.

    One time -- war advocates like you, who try to pin straw man arguments to your opponents, can go fuck yourselves. I had enough of that kind of lying horseshit in the run-up to the Iraq adventure.

    Nobody's saying "nuclear proliferation is a good thing", fuckwit. It's plainly a bad thing. Unfortunately, it's a bad thing that we can't really do much about, without bringing really dire consequences on ourselves. By the same token, authoritarian governments are a bad thing, too. Ask your buddy G.W. Bush how the crusade to get rid of them is going.

    Posted by: sglover on April 11, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

    The guy above who linked to this one did the readers of this message board a great favor:

    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HD06Ak01.html

    About our strategy for picking apart the Persian empire and liberating Khuzestan (mostly Arab province that doesn't seem too happy to be ruled by Persians):

    "The ultimate prize is Khuzestan province, where 90% of Iran's oil is located and which provides the country with 80% of its funds from oil production. In January, Tehran announced it had evidence of British special ops and bombings in Khuzestan, starting last year. Two Iranian Arabs were hanged in public for bombing a bank in the provincial capital Ahvaz in January. Three others were executed in a local prison.

    "At least 50 Arabs were accused as perpetrators of bombings that killed 21 people last April - after an "official" (but unconfirmed) letter was leaked with detailed plans for the ethnic cleansing of Arabs in Khuzestan. President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has already had to cancel three trips to Ahvaz at the last minute."

    And remember: the map of the region is utterly arbitrary, set by imperial powers about a century ago. It would be easy, some think, to redraw the boundaries of the entire region.

    And look at the map of Khuzestan. Not too far from being contiguous with Iranian Kurdistan. Just a few bits and pieces inbetween. And, oh, what else? Yes, Iranian Kurdistan is also pretty much in the market for a nice little liberation.

    A bit of bombing, maybe a tiny little land invasion of Khuzestan (90% of Iran's oil right there!) and just an eensy weensy little bit of special ops support and weapons to Kurd rebels in Iran and we might be looking at a significantly smaller and nicely decimated Iran.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer gang of Mullahs.

    Persia Delenda Est.

    Posted by: peanut on April 11, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

    All the nonsense here about how Iran can hurt us if we take out their nuclear capabilities ignores that our capacity to hurt them is far far greater. Basically, if we want, we can pick the country apart in little pieces. Here's just a bit of background info on two of the provinces:

    In addition to Khuzestan, two remote Iranian provinces Balochistan and Kurdistan have witnessed serious unrest among ethnic and religious minorities.

    About 2.1 million Iranian Balochis reside here and have long resented the regime in Tehran, saying the government brutally oppresses and neglects the Balochi population, 35 percent to 50 percent of whom are unemployed and most of whom are Sunni.

    The province of Kurdistan in the northeast, bordering Iraq, has been a scene of sporadic anti-government demonstrations since June. At least 40 persons reportedly have died in clashes with the security forces, and more than 700 have been arrested.

    Iranian activists involved in a classified research project for the U.S. Marines told the Financial Times last month that the Pentagon was examining the depth and nature of grievances against the Islamic government, and appeared to be studying whether Iran would be prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kinds of fault lines that are splitting Iraq.

    Posted by: peanut on April 11, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

    We are already In Iran.

    Iraq was just a prelude for what's to come.

    It's going to get messy folks.

    Time to wean ourselves from oil...big time (look at Brazil/ethanol).

    Perpetuawar.

    Posted by: Tom Nicholson on April 11, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

    studying whether Iran would be prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kinds of fault lines that are splitting Iraq.

    Uh huh...so Iraq is undergoing a "violent fragmentation" along ethnic/sectarian "fault lines"?

    Please keep that in mind for your next post.

    The US (like other colonial and ex-colonial powers) has used this strategy of divide-and-rule, turning ethnic minorities against the central government, in country after country around the world. We arm friendly tribes, we turn them loose, we let them blow shit up; then a couple of decades later we appear surprised that the countries we were trying to "help" have descended into savage chaos. It's a lot like what we did with the Hmong and other hill tribes in Vietnam and Laos. Didn't work out so well, ultimately.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 11, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

    Iranian activists involved in a classified research project for the U.S. Marines told the Financial Times last month that the Pentagon was examining the depth and nature of grievances against the Islamic government, and appeared to be studying whether Iran would be prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kinds of fault lines that are splitting Iraq.

    Ummm... Lemme guess -- they're gonna shower us with rose petals, right after the cakewalk?

    I can remember when right-wingers weren't retarded. I must be getting old....

    Posted by: sglover on April 11, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

    Worshipping the Atom

    Posted by: tbrosz on April 11, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

    Jerry Pournelle on Iran and nuclear weapons.

    Posted by: tbrosz on April 12, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

    I'd be more worried if there were more posts about Iran in Powerline and the other right wing blogs. It doesn't seem like there is any coordinated marketing campaign going on to solicit support for an attack.

    Unless this time the plan is just to launch and explain later.

    Posted by: tinfoil on April 12, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

    Has it occured to people that Sy Hersh's big scoop was an intentional leak designed to make a conventional strike on Iran look like the "moderate" option?

    Posted by: The Blue Nomad on April 12, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

    Surely the sensible course here is sanctions directed at denying Iran centrifuge parts, etc. You can push off the day when they can do meaningful enrichment to the point where it is academic.

    Posted by: bob h on April 12, 2006 at 7:01 AM | PERMALINK

    If Tel Aviv takes a nuke, Israel will turn the Middle East into a sea of fire, and they all know it.
    The US Marines have intervened to keep the Israelis from wiping out the PLO, and the Palis still throw rocks at tanks. The Arabs have invaded (or attempted to invade) Israel, how many times now? And how many times just since Israel took 6 days to mop the floor with them in '67?

    Your opinion seems to have no support from history.

    Posted by: conspiracy nut on April 12, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

    The time to bomb these bastards is NOW.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060412/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_nuclear_35;_ylt=AgJifv3H0MlRmf4nDoKNd1FSw60A;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

    TEHRAN, Iran - Iran intends to move toward large-scale uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges, the country's deputy nuclear chief said Wednesday, signaling its resolve to expand a program the international community has insisted it halt.

    54,000 centrifuges means they could have a nuclear bomb in less than a year. There is no more time to waste. Natanz needs to be reduced to rubble immediately.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060412/ts_nm/nuclear_iran_world_dc_3;_ylt=As523vbqjmgTGUXjmT4jbUxSw60A;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

    t would take Iran about two decades to yield enough highly enriched uranium for one bomb with its current cascade of 164 centrifuges. But Tehran says it wants to install 3,000 centrifuges, enough to produce material for a warhead in a year.

    With 54,000 centrifuges they could make more than 10 nuclear warheads per year. Enough to raze to the ground anything within their (rapidly expanding) missile reach.

    Anyone not willing to take whatever military actions necessary to stop or delay their progress towards that goal, is simply not serious about survival.

    If necessary, we destroy their whole damn country. As to brookie, whining about how this would be "a lot like what we did with the Hmong and other hill tribes in Vietnam and Laos. Didn't work out so well, ultimately."

    - When was the last time the Hmong threatened us with nuclear weapons?

    Rubble doesn't make trouble.

    Posted by: peanut on April 12, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

    The time to bomb these bastards is NOW.

    Wingnut logic. I bet you were one of the Bushtards who said the time to invade Iraq is NOW.

    There is no more time to waste. Natanz needs to be reduced to rubble immediately.

    Drama queen! You are pissing yourself with your hand-wringing.

    But Tehran says ...

    Bwa-hahahahaha! Tehran says?! Simon says you're stupido. Now put on your dunce cap for believing what they say.

    Bush said Iraq had WMDs! Woo hoo! We know how reliable that chest-pounding was. Bet you believed George, didn't you, faithful obedient Bushtard?

    Anyone not willing to take whatever military actions necessary to stop or delay their progress towards that goal, is simply not serious about survival.

    You're. Not. Serious. About. Survival. Believing. The. Spin.

    Run along somewhere else to whine, hand-wring, and spread your wingutty propaganda, little hyperbole-bot.

    Bushtards... you just believe 'em. At. All.

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

    Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 12, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

    Bushtards... you just can't believe 'em. At. All.

    Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 12, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

    And then the United Stated detonated a big bunker buster nuke in the Nevada desert...and they all lived happily ever after the cancellation of the nuclear test ban treaty.

    Posted by: bcinaz on April 12, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

    sglover:

    try stopping the strawman shit. nowhere in this thread (or any other) have I advocated military intervention in Iran at this point.

    nowhere. sorry if questioning your idiotic argument that since Pakistan has nukes its no big deal if Iran has them makes me some sort of administration sycophant. grow up.

    Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

    Stick your heads in the sand all you want, you little leftie bitches.

    It won't change reality: 271 days until Iran has a nuclear bomb:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/economy/politics.html

    Iran Could Make Bomb in 16 Days if Centrifuge Plans Continue, U.S. Says
    April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Iran, defying United Nations Security Council demands to halt its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days, a U.S. State Department official said.

    Iran will move to ``industrial scale'' uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges at its Natanz plant, the Associated Press quoted deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Saeedi as telling state-run television today.

    ``Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days,'' Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in Moscow.

    Rademaker was reacting to a statement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said yesterday the country had succeeded in enriching uranium on a small scale for the first time, using 164 centrifuges. That announcement defies demands by the UN Security Council that Iran shut down its nuclear program this month.

    The U.S. fears Iran is pursuing a nuclear program to make weapons, while Iran says it is intent on purely civilian purposes, to provide energy. Saeedi said 54,000 centrifuges will be able to enrich uranium to provide fuel for a 1,000-megawat nuclear power plant similar to the one Russia is finishing in southern Iran, AP reported.

    ``It was a deeply disappointing announcement,'' Rademaker said of Ahmadinejad's statement.

    Weapons-Grade Uranium

    Rademaker said the technology to enrich uranium to a low level could also be used to make weapons-grade uranium, saying that it would take a little over 13 years to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon with the 164 centrifuges currently in use. The process involves placing uranium hexafluoride gas in a series of rotating drums or cylinders known as centrifuges that run at high speeds to extract weapons grade uranium.

    Iran has informed the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency that it plans to construct 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz next year, Rademaker said.

    ``We calculate that a 3,000-machine cascade could produce enough uranium to build a nuclear weapon within 271 days,'' he said.



    Posted by: peanut on April 12, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

    try stopping the strawman shit. nowhere in this thread (or any other) have I advocated military intervention in Iran at this point.

    Right. Best to lay the foundations, before you come to your (foreordained) conclusion.

    Fuckwit.

    Posted by: sglover on April 12, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

    sglover:

    I don't support military action in Iran at this point.

    can't help if you take exception to the fact that Pakistan's nukes are an irrelevancy to the question of whether Iran should be allowed to have them.

    Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK




     

     

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