Maybe it is posturing, but it appears that the Obama-Kerry were so desperate for a deal that, yes, they went beyond what even the French (as ridiculous as that sounds) wanted to give. Even liberal organs like the Washington Post are highly skeptical of this agreement.
The idea that being harder on Iran is going to “slide inevitably into war” doesn’t seem to make much sense. In a real war, Iran loses BAD. That isn’t really a viable option for them to pursue, so they don’t have a lot of leverage in that regard.
It seems like the western powers could stand to be much, much harsher on Iran, and make much more strict demands before lifting the sanctions. Iran dismantles its nuclear program, or else the sanctions stay (or indeed, get worse).
Do you mean “nuclear program” or “nuclear weapons program”?
They’re basically the same thing at the moment.
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. In 2012, U.S. intelligence agencies reported that Iran was pursuing research that could enable it to produce nuclear weapons, but was not attempting to do so.
The line between a civil and a militar program is think, and Iran is certainly reaching the capacity to start a weapon program if so it desires. But there’s no evidence that they are pursuing a weapon program at all. I think they consider the possibility enough of a deterrence… If they get started on a weapon program the chances of war are so high that I don’t think they can consider it.
The problem is that the prerequisites for a weapon program is a civil program, and thus if the goal is denying Iran the possibility of starting a weapon program, you are in fact denying them the ability to have an independent civil program at all. Most proposals rely in Iran ceding sovereignty of their nuclear program to some other actor.
This is more about limiting Irans influence and ability to grow than about nuclear weapons per se. Iran, even with everything that’s wrong with the regime, is a pretty rational actor, certainly one of the most stabilizing influences in the region along with Israel (another regime with countless issues).
If they get harsh enough, Iran walks away and builds a bomb eventually. Odds are they get the bomb before they topple from internal pressure. Iranian bomb= Saudi bomb and maybe even Egyptian bomb. Then everyone loses, as those two regimes are much more likely to use a bomb.
Then you have to declare war on them to remove the bomb (and Iran might use it in such a scenario). Yeah, we could curbstomp Iran, and if they used a bomb we’d really curbstomp them, but that’s not a win for the West given the cost.
Democracies can’t really play the “this will hurt you more than us” card the way dictatorships can.
Iran has been 1-2 years away from a bomb for a long time. Other non-first world countries that have bombs developed them faster than Iran. Seems like we have three options.
- Keep sanctions going; Iran eventually gets bomb.
- Bomb Iran. Delays the bomb, but won’t stop it, and Iran have even more reason to get a bomb.
- Let’s make a deal.
I’m sure Iran is aware that it will lose in a straight one-on-one fight if it comes to war, but they’re not going to do that. They’ll go totally asymmetric. And we can bomb the shit out of them, but you don’t want to invade/occupy Iran. It’s basically Afghanistan, but three times larger in terms of size and population. (Afghanistan is about the size of Texas, Iran is the size of Alaska. Both are equally rugged and mountainous.)
Not at all. There are single-use components for civilian reactors, you need more equipment - and a much higher volume of it - for enrichment to weapons-grade material, etc.
Then there’s the specialist research you need to actually make and test nuclear weapons.
Yes, but there’s no proof that Iran has even stepped onto weapon research for the last 12 years. If the goal was to only stop a weapon program, it would be a non issue.
The problem is that their civilian program allows them to start one very quickly should they want to. And they have obviously used this as a bargaining chip/deterrent. They are far from blameless in all this. Taking away this capacity from them as with previous demands implied reducing their civil program to levels where it’s not self sustainable and they would have to rely on foreign actors for supply (like most of the world does, btw) or on inefficient equipment (the weapon-capable reactors are more advanced and efficient on civilian use). Complying with what was demanded from them in previous negotiations would leave them with a civil nuclear program, just not an independent (self-sufficient) one. I can see how that is a very hard sell.
With this deal they can’t use top of the line equipment, but they keep their technological independence and their civilian program. They are going to be heavily limited on the possibility of selling the (civil) technology to third parties, which also limits a possible avenue of industrial growth for the country, but I guess this is very minor if this defuses some tensions in the area.
If anything, Israel’s stance that the deal does not reduce Iran’s nuclear capacity enough stresses how hard is to distinguish between purely civil and weaponizable technologies.
If you want to ignore the evidence on research…
And no, it’s because the deal is a simply a crap one, which does little to dismantle the weapons-specific technology they’ve built up. Mothballed facilities can be reactivated quickly, and the safeguards are not sufficient.
As you note, very few countries go to the expense of setting up entirely in-house programs, and there’s no real economic reason to do so. And it’s completely untrue that reactors designed for nuclear weapons are remotely the same (or “advanced”) as civilian reactors.
RMBK reactors, the type which caused the Chernobyl disaster are a great example of for-military-designed reactors. Crude, unreliable…with easy access to their nuclear components for weapons usage. Plutonium-generating reactors in general lack efficiency compared to other designs (Heck, they can’t even get the usually technically simpler plutonium-burning reactors to be economical!).
In fact, many of the most promising developments in nuclear reactors are not at all useful for making nuclear bombs go bang - thorium cycle, pebble-bed reactors, molten salt reactors etc.
There’s no credible, neutral, organization (that I know of, I might be wrong) that has stated Iran was pursuing producing the bomb. Please provide a link to the contrary. I’m happy to change what I think on this in the light of proof. There were some iffy issues with dodging certain inspections, and that’s why I think a deal like this is better than the previous status quo.
But the United States Intelligence Committee (hardly neutral, and hardly on Iran’s side) was adamant in that Iran was not pursuing to produce the bomb. For the last 12 years at least… But they were pursuing the ability to make the bomb if they wanted to. Whether this is the same, it’s almost a philosophical issue…
But, if you say we have to forbid theoretical research (even if it’s on weaponization), which is what Iran was doing, I can’t support that. Not even with regimes like Iran.
Also, none of Iran’s reactors were exclusive for military use. They were dual use at best, and they were the most economic models they had (their technology is still obviously years behind).
The theoretical research is not the issue, Juan - the theory of nuclear weapons is available to anyone with a decent subscription to academic databases. It’s the research done to complete the exact knowledge of how to detonate the weapons. (Of which there are not exact details in the public domain, only theories which should work)
You won’t take any source I provide, it’s clear, so I’ll leave it as that not everyone is convinced, and the entire point is that Iran’s reactors are dual-use, which is more complex than single-use. Neither do you need high-yield uranium for civilian usage - and indeed, again, there’s no need for economic reasons to do it on their own, if they’d backed down earlier they could have bought like anyone else.
The reality is that under the nuclear non-proliferation treaties which Iran has signed, they have certain responsibilities which they have not lived up to. They haven’t taken the step of withdrawing (or not signing, as Israel did not), and accepting that this meant they can’t import nuclear materials.
(There was a workable deal for everyone back in 2005, but the British didn’t want it - sigh. There’s plenty of conspiracy deals blaming the Israelis for that, but it amounts to being down to British internal politics and posturing)
Iran wants to be 1-2 years away, they don’t want to build the bomb unless they have to, and they don’t want to be more than that. Build the bomb and others build the bomb, become too far away and it’s easy for others to jack you up.
As for a full war scenario, I suspect the US could gain support of some of the population if they replaced the mullahs with Iranian democracy, gerrymandered to the big cities and got out fast- enough to claim some sort of victory. That’s a risky scenario, and one I wouldn’t try unless forced though.
Oh, I agree with you in all this. I just don’t think even detonation research has to be controlled. Fissible material production can be monitored and controlled, and I just think that’s where the focus ought to be.
The difference is that Iran is a functional state, and has been even through the replacement of the Shah with the current rulers. Who could be replaced with a democracy which had the backing of the middle classes of Iran - which means one not seen as a puppet state of America.
Unfortunately, given how badly America has screwed up the peace in other nations…
Juan - That sort of very specialist, single-use research? I can’t really agree, it’s one of the few pieces of knowledge which in itself is actively dangerous. There’s really not many people or nations who have it, and they’re not sharing for very good reasons.
The problem is that tracking of fissile materials is not perfect, and as Iran shows even under sanctions countries can build up their own infrastructure. Heck, as Pakistan and India show. Then there’s the nations who, sadly, are considering proliferation because of Russia…the only way to “control” that entirely is only for nations without their own uranium stocks, and by denying them it entirely - meaning no civilian nuclear capacities.
In this case, Iran either has sufficient of its own reserves, or is buying uranium - there’s not clarity on that point, unfortunately. (from Pakistan is a possibility)
The US isn’t exactly the greatest nation to pick for regime change in Iran of all places.
They’re still a little upset about that whole Shah thing.
This seems to be the Israel thread.
The Israeli government considers it extremely likely that US President Donald Trump will declare in the next few days that he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that he is instructing his officials to prepare to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, an Israeli TV report claimed Wednesday.
“In Jerusalem, there is a very high expectation” that Trump will declare that he “formally recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and instructing his team to actively prepare to move the embassy,” the Hadashot news report claimed. It said this declaration was expected within days, and possibly as soon as Sunday.
This must be linked to Tillerson getting fired. But who’s behind it? Has Kushner given up on his dreams of making peace in the Middle East? Have Tom Barrack and his crew given up on making money in Saudi Arabia?
EDIT: Just saw today’s big news. Now this makes more sense. Everyone has given up on everything.
And make libruls real mad, amirite?