Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True

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    U.S., Israel: Juniper Cobra Update
    November 3, 2009 | 2003 GMT
    U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Higgins near Haifa, Israel on Oct. 29
    Atef Safadi-Pool/Getty Images
    U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Higgins near Haifa, Israel, on Oct. 29
    Summary

    Operation Juniper Cobra, the joint ballistic missile defense (BMD) exercise between Israel and the United States, is scheduled to conclude on Nov 5. This joint military exercise is more than a routine because of its scale and scope. Over the past two weeks, Operation Juniper Cobra has laid the groundwork to integrate U.S. and Israeli BMD systems to deal with the threat posed by Iran. However, as ongoing negotiations continue to falter between Tehran and the West, Operation Juniper Cobra has sent a strong message to the Iranians of the U.S. security commitment to Israel and the region.
    Analysis

    Extensive U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) exercises known as Juniper Cobra are under way in Israel, and are scheduled to last through Nov. 5. Though this is a regular exercise, the 2009 iteration is of unprecedented scale and scope, attempting to integrate the latest U.S. and Israeli BMD systems. The exercise is clearly intended to test joint capabilities and ensure mutually supportive interoperability in defending Israel from ballistic attack. But the scale and timing of the exercises remain important.

    For the past three months, tensions between Iran and the West have been ratcheting up over Tehran's nuclear program. While Iran has been busy stretching out the ongoing nuclear negotiations, the Israelis -- seeing themselves as the most likely target of any potential Iranian nuclear weapon -- have been pushing the United States to take an ever-firmer hand in constraining the Iranian nuclear progress. STRATFOR sees Juniper Cobra as an element of that pressure, not simply to highlight for the Iranians that the Israelis have military options (and cover from the United States), but that the Americans are deeply committed to the region and are refining the military capability to provide that cover.

    While most media reports have emphasized the routine nature of exercises, recently, the Israelis have been direct about the possibility of this being less an exercise and more of a deployment. On Oct. 23, Israeli Air Defense Corps commander Brig. Gen. Doron Gavish said: "In time of need, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will protect our country. However, if decided, our defenses will be enhanced by the United States' capabilities." Furthermore, no IDF representative has shied away from mentioning that scenarios involving Iran form a substantial portion of the exercise.

    The United States' tight-lipped denials of anything out of the ordinary have recently shifted; Com. Carl Meuser of the guided missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG-76) said Nov. 2: "We're here for some very specific reasons, some specific threats that the Israelis are interested in, that we're interested in. And that's as far as I want to go down that road."

    However, even going back to the opening days of Juniper Cobra, it has been clear that the Americans have more on their mind than simply working out technical kinks. U.S. Army Col. Anthony English, a deputy commander of Juniper Cobra, made it clear Oct. 27 that the exercise was not simply about Israel: "We are trying to integrate that (Aegis) capability here with the X-band radar and the THAAD weapon system, along with the Patriot system, into some sort of European missile defense system. We are going to learn a lot of lessons here that directly apply to what they want to do in EUCOM (U.S. European Command)." He added, "This is the most complete air- and missile-defense exercise that we have done."

    Put simply, no country has dealt more actively with a broader range of ballistic threats than Israel. Two things are happening. First, the United States has set up the groundwork and has run tests to ensure that it can quickly and effectively reinforce Israeli BMD in a crisis. Second, the United States generally has learned a great deal about deploying its own BMD technologies in a comprehensive way. The result of Juniper Cobra is that even if all U.S. BMD forces withdraw quickly after the conclusion of the exercises, they can return faster and be active sooner. Additionally, U.S. forces have gained valuable experience that will help ensure that they deploy more effectively in the future, even if the destination is not Israel.

    This exercise is by no means routine, and has quickly risen to much higher levels of significance; on Nov. 2, the commander of the U.S. Army European Command, Adm. James G. Stavridis, arrived in Israel for a three-day visit. Stavridis would not visit only to ensure that the software bugs had been worked out. Judging from Iran's behavior in the nuclear negotiations thus far, Tehran may not realize the gravity of these exercises just yet, but official leaks coming from Israel and the United States on the deeper purpose of these exercises are designed to drive that message home.
    .....

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    The recently-revealed Iranian nuclear facility in the Shi'ite holy city of Qom has "no possible civilian use," Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said Tuesday, directly contradicting statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in September.
    This satellite image shows a...

    This satellite image shows a suspected nuclear facility under construction inside a mountain northeast of Qom, Iran.
    Photo: AP
    SLIDESHOW: Israel & Region | World

    Speaking at a briefing of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Yadlin said that the Qom facility was designed for the enrichment of uranium, and at full capacity can hold 3,000 advanced centrifuges.

    Ahmadinejad had claimed that the facility was built solely for peaceful purposes.

    Yadlin said that the Israeli intelligence assessment is that Iran was interested in a "horizontal expansion" of its nuclear production capacity, so that when Teheran decides to advance to nuclear weapons capability, it will be able to do so in the shortest possible period of time.
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    He reiterated comments he made during a similar briefing six months ago, during which he had said that "Iran is intentionally advancing its nuclear development in such a way so as not to cross any nuclear red lines by enriching low-grade uranium that is not sufficient for weapons development, but that can quickly be adapted to weapons-grade uranium in such a short period of time that the process can't be sabotaged."

    Yadlin emphasized that Iran was "competent in enrichment technology" and has not thus far been moved by the international response to its nuclear program.

    Yadlin noted that although the international deadline for talks with Iran was set for the end of 2009, sanctions against Iran had more chance of success than in the past because of the current economic and political conditions in the country.

    "Iran isn't North Korea," he said.

    On the other hand, said Yadlin, China and Russia had still not signed on to supporting any international sanctions against Teheran.

    Yadlin said that one important goal for Israel was to prevent the entry of any of the 3,000 centrifuges from being installed at the Qom site.

    Arab countries, according to Yadlin, are afraid of Iran's nuclear development, and are speeding up their own civilian nuclear projects.
    .....
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    Do you remeber the action taken against protestors early this summer, no so understanding government as you suggestion. Human rights is an after thought in that country.
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    An afterthought in what country?
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    Last night israel seized a ship carrying hundreds of tons of iranian arms to hamas, in what was apparently a joint US/Israeli operation. This shipment was 10 times the size of the 2002 ship that got caught, the Karin A.

    One more instance of iran meddling in the regions affairs; they supplied the insurgency in iraq with disasterous effect, and they do the same with Hizbullah and hamas.

    Peaceful, my ass.
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    By the way,Army Guy,the reason I mentioned Saudi Arabia is because of the funding by Saudi Sheikhs of the over 20,000 wahhabi madrassas found in Afganistan where people like Mullah Omar were "educated" in wahhabism,which is the official state religion of Saudi Arabia.

    A World bank study in 2001 estimated that Saudi funded madrassas were teaching as many as 2 million of Pakistan's students an Islamic based curriculum. It is estimated that more than 80,000 of these young madrassa students became Taliban recruits. So I ask again,why not invade Saudi Arabia,where the extremists funding originates?

    This special explains it even better:

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2009/generation.islam/
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    Quote Originally Posted by poison View Post
    Last night israel seized a ship carrying hundreds of tons of iranian arms to hamas, in what was apparently a joint US/Israeli operation. This shipment was 10 times the size of the 2002 ship that got caught, the Karin A.

    One more instance of iran meddling in the regions affairs; they supplied the insurgency in iraq with disasterous effect, and they do the same with Hizbullah and hamas.

    Peaceful, my ass.
    Sounds extremely fishy,you mean in the midst of all the scrutiny of the nuclear program,just so happens that Israel captures a ship with weapons from,of all places,Iran! LOL! Pretty timely huh? Kind of like the Weapons of Mass Destraction in Iraq.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/05/wo..._r=1&ref=world

    "The Israeli Navy captured an Antiguan ship today near the island of Cyprus, which officials are touting as the largest capture of arms ever by the Israeli military.

    Israel officials claim that the ship was loaded down with weapons sent by the Iranian government to Hezbollah to use against Israeli civilians, though the only evidence they presented to back up this claim was that some of the shipping containers found on board had “Iranian Shipping Lines Group” written in English on them. http://wire.antiwar.com/2009/11/04/i...arms-shipment/

    The Israelis also claim to have proof the ship left Iran and was heading to Syria, though they did not release this proof publicly.

    Israeli diplomats have been ordered to use the capture of the ship to rally international support against the Iranian government. Israeli embassies across the world have been ordered to issue press releases accusing Iran of turning the Mediterranean Sea into a terrorist base.

    The Iranian government denied the allegations and insisted the ship was heading to Iran, not from Iran, and that it was carrying Syrian goods on board.
    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/ne...pted-by-Israel



    The UN has insisted it has no evidence of ongoing arms smuggling to Hezbollah.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1126061.html
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    You find this surprising? If there was some massive subterfuge going on, why didn't the US just plant nuke material in iraq after the invasion? Or simply lie? But somehow you think someone set up a ship with tons of russian and iranian made arms, and planted it in the mediterranean?

    If you kept up on things, you'd know that this isn't the first time ships have been caught smuggling. The scrutiny over the nuclear issue is exactly how they got caught: US satellites tracked it leaving iran, all the way up into the mediterranean.

    Iran is heavily involved in arming hizbullah; hizbullah is pretty much owned by iran, funded and provided for; russia is the other major supplier to hizbullah. This has been the case since well before I served in the idf, and I saw it first hand while serving in lebanon. Iran has been arming hamas in gaza with longer range missiles, smuggling in experts, and the last gaza op was run under iranian tutelage. Iran utilizes all means to smuggle these goods. including native bedoin in the sinai and even pirates, by sea. A score of Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen died in the 2006 lebanon war. Why? They were directing hizbullah, who attacked israel under iranian auspices.

    If you were paying attention, there was a little publicized story in the news a couple months ago, a ship that got hijacked by somali pirates en route between russia and iran. The russian military went WAY out of its way to 'resolve' this issue, and it was very clear that there weren't just dates on board. The crew got sick, and several died under strange circumstances.

    You may not believe iran can do any wrong, but I've seen it with my own eyes.


    As for the UN, they didn't see the slaughter or hear the screams, even as they sat 500 yards away on their hotel rooftop in rwanda and other places in africa. What the **** makes you think they 'see' hizbullah accepting arms shipments? How about this? I myself have seen UN personall shield hizbullah terrorists, in full weaponized military garb, heading to and from operations, inside lebanon. This is against their own rules and those by which they operate in lebanon. I've been heading out on operations in lebanon with my squad, in the middle of the night, and had UN troops do everything in their power to alert hizbullah as to where were were, indluding firing flares, using spotlights, following us, etc. I've seen UN checkpoints allow armed hizbullah through, a violation of their rules. I've seen them turn many a blind eye to hizbullah terror activities, and sometimes even aid them.

    Hizbullah was able to pony up 30,000 missiles, hardened underground bunkers, their own separate communications system before the 2006 war, all under direction from iran, all under the eye of the UN, literally. There were hizbullah bunkers and missile silos within hundreds of feet of UN bases. And you're trying to tell me that iran doesn't supply hizbullah, the ship is bs? Because you read it somewhere?

    I spent months fighting hizbullah, I spent months inside lebanon. We killed 6 hizbullah terrorists trying to sneak across the border into israel, in 3 separate instances within 2 months. Israel used sophisticated equipment to scan the border, but the wadi's were out of sight, so hizbullah would creep, unseen, through the wadis to get into israel, where they would kill israeli civilians. The idf has informants in hizbullah, as well as other intelligence; they would tell us when a terror squad was supposedly trying to come through. We would set an ambush in the wadi they were expected to pass through. We would sit, camo'd up, in a bush, for 3-7 days, eat and drink what we brought, **** in bags, piss in bottles, and carry it all out so as not to leave a trace. Myy company had 2-3 ambushes running at any given time, for months straight. Hizbullah wouild attack our base, shell us, so the whole thing was underground. They would poison the local water, so we had to truck it in; I showered 7 times in 3 months, once. They attack our convoys, ied the roads. One of my jobs was to walk in front of the convoy, every time it went in or out, 3 times a week. I would walk on the left side, my buddy on the right, and we were to look ahead for signs of ied's or ambushes. Essentially my job was to trigger an ied before the convoy got there, sacrifice myself. I did this for monthe. There was an intersection where they would ied it every time we passed; one time there were 29 high grade ied's within a miles or so.

    We killed 2 guys headed toward the road I swept every convoy. In their backpacks they had ied material, drug paraphanelia (they get high before attacking, like the mumbai terrorists), and a nice handicam. Later that day a patrol found additional gear which completed their ied setup, and a camera tripod. They were going to set up ied's on 'my' road, blow me up, and videotape it to broadcast on HizzieTV.

    Wtf do you know about hizbullah and iranian arms?
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    How did Israel do it? Israel must have some intelligence that led to the operation, but the Jerusalem Post emphasizes due diligence:

    After several days of the Israeli military monitoring the ship, IDF Navy Seals boarded it in the middle of the night. Suspicions were raised after the Seals uncovered certificates within containers that documented Iran as the point of origin for some containers, with Syria as the intended destination.

    Upon receiving permission from relevant authorities, including the political establishment, the seals commandeered the ship and brought it to Israel. When the vessel was already en route to Israeli shores, Israel apprised the government of Antigua and the company that owns the ship of the situation, said the officials.

    After leaving the Bandar-Abbas port in Iran, the cargo was shipped through the Suez Canal, unloaded at the Mediterranean port of Damietta in Egypt and then loaded onto the ship that was captured by the navy. The intended destination was the port of Latakia in Syria, with the contents of the shipment to be sent to Hizbullah, they said.

    The ship's crew was unaware of the weapons on board, as the armaments were disguised as humanitarian aid and hidden behind sacks of polyethylene.

    According to the Israeli military, containers aboard the ship were owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines Group and each container contained sacks filled with 25 kilos of silicon made by the Natural Petrol Company in Iran. Upon opening the containers used for smuggling the weapons, only the sacks were visible, but behind the sacks lay weapons. The Jerusalem Post article on the seizure includes the video below showing the concealment of the weapons.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli...=1257417379353
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    Quote Originally Posted by poison View Post
    You find this surprising? If there was some massive subterfuge going on, why didn't the US just plant nuke material in iraq after the invasion? Or simply lie? But somehow you think someone set up a ship with tons of russian and iranian made arms, and planted it in the mediterranean?
    You are putting words into my mouth,I said it smells fishy,especially given the timing and the US is engaging a full court press on Iran right now so what are you talking about?

    By the way:

    Also See: CIA Analysis Finds Iran Not Developing Nuclear Weapons:* A classified draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House, a top US investigative reporter has reported. http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/111906Z.shtml

    If you kept up on things, you'd know that this isn't the first time ships have been caught smuggling. The scrutiny over the nuclear issue is exactly how they got caught: US satellites tracked it leaving iran, all the way up into the mediterranean.

    Iran is heavily involved in arming hizbullah; hizbullah is pretty much owned by iran, funded and provided for; russia is the other major supplier to hizbullah. This has been the case since well before I served in the idf, and I saw it first hand while serving in lebanon. Iran has been arming hamas in gaza with longer range missiles, smuggling in experts, and the last gaza op was run under iranian tutelage. Iran utilizes all means to smuggle these goods. including native bedoin in the sinai and even pirates, by sea. A score of Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen died in the 2006 lebanon war. Why? They were directing hizbullah, who attacked israel under iranian auspices.
    http://www.truthout.org/011409D

    To Iran, Hamas is no Hezbollah

    While there certainly is an underlying *****ry between Israel and Iran that has come to fuel many other otherwise unrelated conflicts in the region, not every war Israel fights is related to Iran. In this specific case, the parallels to the 2006 Lebanon war are inaccurate. Iran's ties to Hamas are incomparable to the much deeper relationship Iran enjoys with Hezbollah. Iran's close relationship with Hezbollah is rooted in the Iranian view that Shiite minorities in Arab countries are Iran's most likely allies and agents of pro-Iranian sentiment; consequently, backing Hezbollah is viewed to be in Iran's core national interest. In contrast, Iran's relationship with Hamas is a marriage of convenience at best.

    In spite of its ardent pro-Palestinian rhetoric, Iran's relationship with Palestinian groups -- including Hamas -- has often been strained. Tensions with Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organization were mostly rooted in Arafat's insistence on defining the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a secular Arab nationalist cause -- leaving non-Arab Iran with no opening to play a leadership role in the Muslim world's cause célèbre. Differences with Hamas, however, derived from a mix of politics and ideology. Hamas' intellectual roots go back to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni fundamentalist movement. Furthermore, during the Iraq-Iran war, both the PLO and Hamas expressed support for Saddam Hussein.

    Throughout the 1980s, Iran was better at offering rhetoric than practical support to the Palestinian cause, due to Iran's immediate security concerns. This changed in the mid-1990s, when Iran feared that the Oslo peace process was partially aimed at securing Iran's prolonged isolation and political exclusion. But even after the outbreak of the second Intifada, the Iranians took the lead in making grandiose speeches about Iranian backing of the Palestinian cause, but seldom tried to live up to the standards set in its statements. As I describe in Treacherous Alliance - The Secret dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States (Yale University Press), European diplomats in contact with representatives of Islamic Jihad and Hamas visiting Iran after fighting between Israelis and Palestinians had broken out reported back that both groups were utterly disappointed with their Iranian hosts whom they accused of making empty promises -- Tehran neither provided them with money nor weapons. A joke in the streets of Tehran reflected Iran's pretense: "Why aren't there any stones left to stone the adulteress? Per the order of the Supreme Leader, all the stones have been shipped to Palestine as Iran's contribution to the Intifada."

    Again, history seems to be repeating itself. After daily demonstrations in Tehran in favor of the Palestinians, including a six-day sit-in at Tehran airport by hard-line students demanding government support for sending volunteers to fight in Gaza, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei contained the protesters by thanking them - while pointing out that Iran was not in a position to go beyond rhetorical support since "our hands are tied in this arena." Other Iranian officials have reinforced that message. General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, declared that Hamas does not need military support to defend itself. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's brother indicated to the demonstrators at Tehran airport that Iran's support for the Palestinians would be limited to "spiritual support for the victimized people of Gaza."


    Why Israel's Offensive in Gaza Should Worry Obama

    Tehran's complex, if not conflicted, response to the assault on Gaza can best be understood in the context of its broader strategic aims. By rejecting any material Iranian support or involvement in the Gaza battles, Iran's strategic imperatives trumped its ideological concerns and pretenses once more. Khamenei's statement regarding Iran's hands being tied resembles Ayatollah Khomeini's refusal to support the Lebanese Shiites by directly entering into war with Israel in 1984 through his edict that the road to Jerusalem goes through Karbala. That is, until Iran has defeated Saddam Hussein, it will not be sucked into a conflict with Israel, regardless of Tehran's ideological opposition to the Jewish state.

    Contrary to the neo-conservative narrative that the fighting benefits Iran, Tehran seems to view the Israeli assault on Gaza as highly problematic for several reasons. First, there are suspicions in Tehran that Israel's offensive is a trap with the aim of drawing both Hezbollah and Iran into the fighting. With only weeks left till President Elect Obama takes office, any direct conflagration between Iran and Israel would significantly reduce Obama's ability to deliver on his campaign promise of opening talks with Tehran without preconditions.

    Second, increased tensions and polarization in the Middle East undermines Obama's ability to pursue a new policy towards this region, including a shift in America's 30-year old policy of isolating Iran. In fact, polarization along the imagined Gaza fault lines - and a misleading equation of Hamas with Tehran - traps the incoming Obama administration in an involuntary continuation of the Bush policies that contributed to the increased instability in the Middle East in the first place. From the vantage point of Israeli hardliners, this may be a welcomed outcome since it will make compromise with Tehran more difficult and pressure on Israel less likely. Hence, Tehran seems poised not to help reduce Obama's maneuverability.

    Third, the conflict is creating unwelcome tensions between Iran and key Arab states. Arab dictatorships fearing that the rise of Iran would weaken America's position in the Middle East and that the survival of Hamas would embolden Islamic nationalist opposition groups throughout the region - both of which would undermine these Arab governments' undemocratic rule - initially sided with Israel by remaining silent or explicitly putting the blame on Hamas. But as the casualties rose and the images of slaughter spread on Arab satellite TVs, the anger of the Arab streets reached the Arab palaces and courts. A similar pattern was seen in 2006 when many Arab governments initially welcomed Israel's air assault on Hezbollah in Lebano\n. There, the change of heart had less to do with the images of Lebanese casualties and more to do with Hezbollah's surprising resilience and fighting power.

    Though it is true that increased tensions enables Iran to score propaganda victories on the Arab streets, since many Arab states have either remained silent or secretly collaborated with Israel to defeat Hamas, this does carry a great risk for Tehran. If the fighting in Gaza goes on for too long, the spillover effects will be felt in increased Arab-Iranian tensions at a time when Tehran is more interested in soothing ties with the Arabs in order to minimize Arab disruption to any potential US-Iran opening.

    The neo-conservative narrative and its imagined fault lines may temporarily add fuel to the US-Israeli alliance, but it will neither bring stability nor order to the region. Rather, it will push the Middle East further into endless conflict and restrict America's next president to a mindset and a policy framework that risks making the promise of change a dream unfulfilled."

    ---------

    Trita Parsi is the author of "Treacherous Alliance - The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US," a silver medal recipient of the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Book Award. Andreas Persbo is a senior researcher at the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre.
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    If I were Iran or any other nation I would develop nuclear and all other types of weapons too.
    From what the U.S. has done to other countries I would want my own big guns to fend them off. Especially warheads and all that jazz.
    Not that I dislike my home nation, but lets fix our internal problem's before solving anyone else's.

    If I am being unfaihtful to my wife, how can I chastise the next man for doing the same.
    "I don't want anything. I don't want anybody. That's the worst part. When the want goes, that's bad."
    (Doug Stanhope as Eddie on Louie)
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyverX View Post
    Not that I dislike my home nation, but lets fix our internal problem's before solving anyone else's.

    If I am being unfaihtful to my wife, how can I chastise the next man for doing the same.
    Good point!
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    Quote Originally Posted by lutherblsstt View Post
    LOL! I can tell you are a well read Iran critic! Has your well read ass read this?

    "IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei had just reported for the umpteenth consecutive time that he "continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran."

    Furthermore, ElBaradei reported that he could find no "evidence" that Iran has ever manufactured or otherwise acquired a nuclear weapon. Nor does he believe the Iranians are attempting to do so."

    "here is what Nobel-Laureate Steven Chu told the IAEA General Conference last week after delivering Nobel-Laureate Barack Obama’s message:

    "Countries that violate their international obligations must face serious consequences both here and at the UN Security Council. Failure to impose meaningful consequences puts at risk everything we have achieved."

    As everyone at the Conference except Chu knew well, it is the United States that has repeatedly violated its obligations, under the NPT, the IAEA Statute and the UN Charter: not Iran."
    is that why iran has recently admitted they are making nuclear material for weapons:
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    This weekend’s newspapers were filled with stories about how the United States is providing ballistic missile defense (BMD) to four countries on the Arabian Peninsula. The New York Times carried a front-page story on the United States providing anti-missile defenses to Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman, as well as stationing BMD-capable, Aegis-equipped warships in the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, the front page of The Washington Post carried a story saying that “the Obama administration is quietly working with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies to speed up arms sales and rapidly upgrade defenses for oil terminals and other key infrastructure in a bid to thwart future attacks by Iran, according to former and current U.S. and Middle Eastern government officials.”

    Obviously, the work is no longer “quiet.” In fact, Washington has been publicly engaged in upgrading defensive systems in the area for some time. Central Command head Gen. David Petraeus recently said the four countries named by the Times were receiving BMD-capable Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) batteries, and at the end of October the United States carried out its largest-ever military exercises with Israel, known as Juniper Cobra.

    More interesting than the stories themselves was the Obama administration’s decision to launch a major public relations campaign this weekend regarding these moves. And the most intriguing question out of all this is why the administration decided to call everyone’s attention to these defensive measures while not mentioning any offensive options.
    The Iranian Nuclear Question

    U.S. President Barack Obama spent little time on foreign policy in his Jan. 27 State of the Union message, though he did make a short, sharp reference to Iran. He promised a strong response to Tehran if it continued its present course; though this could have been pro forma, it seemed quite pointed. Early in his administration, Obama had said he would give the Iranians until the end of 2009 to change their policy on nuclear weapons development. But the end of 2009 came, and the Iranians continued their policy.

    All along, Obama has focused on diplomacy on the Iran question. To be more precise, he has focused on bringing together a coalition prepared to impose “crippling sanctions” on the Iranians. The most crippling sanction would be stopping Iran’s gasoline imports, as Tehran imports about 35 percent of its gasoline. Such sanctions are now unlikely, as China has made clear that it is not prepared to participate — and that before the most recent round of U.S. weapon sales to Taiwan. Similarly, while the Russians have indicated that their participation in sanctions is not completely out of the question, they also have made clear that time for sanctions is not near. We suspect that the Russian time frame for sanctions will keep getting pushed back.

    Therefore, the diplomatic option appears to have dissolved. The Israelis have said they regard February as the decisive month for sanctions, which they have indicated is based on an agreement with the United States. While previous deadlines of various sorts regarding Iran have come and gone, there is really no room after February. If no progress is made on sanctions and no action follows, then the decision has been made by default that a nuclear-armed Iran is acceptable.

    The Americans and the Israelis have somewhat different views of this based on different geopolitical realities. The Americans have seen a number of apparently extreme and dangerous countries develop nuclear weapons. The most important example was Maoist China. Mao Zedong had argued that a nuclear war was not particularly dangerous to China, as it could lose several hundred million people and still win the war. But once China developed nuclear weapons, the wild talk subsided and China behaved quite cautiously. From this experience, the United States developed a two-stage strategy.

    First, the United States believed that while the spread of nuclear weapons is a danger, countries tend to be circumspect after acquiring nuclear weapons. Therefore, overreaction by United States to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by other countries is unnecessary and unwise.

    Second, since the United States is a big country with widely dispersed population and a massive nuclear arsenal, a reckless country that launched some weapons at the United States would do minimal harm to the United States while the other country would face annihilation. And the United States has emphasized BMD to further mitigate — if not eliminate — the threat of such a limited strike to the United States.

    Israel’s geography forces it to see things differently. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth while simultaneously working to attain nuclear weapons. While the Americans take comfort in the view that the acquisition of nuclear weapons has a sobering effect on a new nuclear power, the Israelis don’t think the Chinese case necessarily can be generalized. Moreover, the United States is outside the range of the Iranians’ current ballistic missile arsenal while Israel is not. And a nuclear strike would have a particularly devastating effect on Israel. Unlike the United States, Israel is small country with a highly concentrated population. A strike with just one or two weapons could destroy Israel.

    Therefore, Israel has a very different threshold for risk as far as Iran is concerned. For Israel, a nuclear strike from Iran is improbable, but would be catastrophic if it happened. For the United States, the risk of an Iranian strike is far more remote, and would be painful but not catastrophic if it happened. The two countries thus approach the situation very differently.

    How close the Iranians are to having a deliverable nuclear weapon is, of course, a significant consideration in all this. Iran has not yet achieved a testable nuclear device. Logic tells us they are quite far from a deliverable nuclear weapon. But the ability to trust logic varies as the risk grows. The United States (and this is true for both the Bush and Obama administrations) has been much more willing to play for time than Israel can afford to be. For Israel, all intelligence must be read in the context of worst-case scenarios.
    Diverging Interests and Grand Strategy

    It is also important to remember that Israel is much less dependent on the United States than it was in 1973. Though U.S. aid to Israel continues, it is now a much smaller percentage of Israeli gross domestic product. Moreover, the threat of sudden conventional attack by Israel’s immediate neighbors has disappeared. Egypt is at peace with Israel, and in any case, its military is too weak to mount an attack. Jordan is effectively an Israeli ally. Only Syria is hostile, but it presents no conventional military threat. Israel previously has relied on guarantees that the United States would rush aid to Israel in the event of war. But it has been a generation since this has been a major consideration for Israel. In the minds of many, the Israeli-U.S. relationship is stuck in the past. Israel is not critical to American interests the way it was during the Cold War. And Israel does not need the United States the way it did during the Cold War. While there is intelligence cooperation in the struggle against jihadists, even here American and Israeli interests diverge.

    And this means that the United States no longer has Israeli national security as an overriding consideration — and that the United States cannot compel Israel to pursue policies Israel regards as dangerous.

    Given all of this, the Obama administration’s decision to launch a public relations campaign on defensive measures just before February makes perfect sense. If Iran develops a nuclear capability, a defensive capability might shift Iran’s calculus of the risks and rewards of the military option.

    Assume, for example, that the Iranians decided to launch a nuclear missile at Israel or Iran’s Arab neighbors with which its relations are not the best. Iran only would have a handful of missiles, and perhaps just one. Launching that one missile only to have it shot down would represent the worst-case scenario for Iran. Tehran would have lost a valuable military asset, it would not have achieved its goal and it would have invited a devastating counterstrike. Anything the United States can do to increase the likelihood of an Iranian failure therefore decreases the likelihood that Iran would strike until they have more delivery systems and more fissile material for manufacturing more weapons.

    The U.S. announcement of the defensive measures therefore has three audiences: Iran, Israel and the American public. Israel and Iran obviously know all about American efforts, meaning the key audience is the American public. The administration is trying to deflect American concerns about Iran generated both by reality and Israel by showing that effective steps are being taken.

    There are two key weapon systems being deployed, the PAC-3 and the Aegis/Standard Missile-3 (SM-3). The original Patriot, primarily an anti-aircraft system, had a poor record — especially as a BMD system — during the first Gulf War. But that was almost 20 years ago. The new system is regarded as much more effective as a terminal-phase BMD system, such as the medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) developed by Iran, and performed much more impressively in this role during the opening of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. In addition, Juniper Cobra served to further integrate a series of American and Israeli BMD interceptors and sensors, building a more redundant and layered system. This operation also included the SM-3, which is deployed aboard specially-modified Aegis-equipped guided missile cruisers and destroyers. The SM-3 is one…”of the most successful BMD technologies currently in the field and successfully brought down a wayward U.S. spy satellite in 2008.

    Nevertheless, a series of Iranian Shahab-3s is a different threat than a few Iraqi Scuds, and the PAC-3 and SM-3 have yet to be proven in combat against such MRBMs — something the Israelis are no doubt aware of. War planners must calculate the incalculable; that is what makes good generals pessimists.

    The Obama administration does not want to mount an offensive action against Iran. Such an operation would not be single strike like the 1981 Osirak attack in Iraq. Iran has multiple nuclear sites buried deep and surrounded by air defenses. And assessing the effectiveness of airstrikes would be a nightmare. Many days of combat at a minimum probably would be required, and like the effectiveness of defensive weapons systems, the quality of intelligence about which locations to hit cannot be known until after the battle.

    A defensive posture therefore makes perfect sense for the United States. Washington can simply defend its allies, letting them absorb the risk and then the first strike before the United States counterstrikes rather than rely on its intelligence and offensive forces in a pre-emptive strike. This defensive posture on Iran fits American grand strategy, which is always to shift such risk to partners in exchange for technology and long-term guarantees.

    The Arabian states can live with this, albeit nervously, since they are not the likely targets. But Israel finds its assigned role in U.S. grand strategy far more difficult to stomach. In the unlikely event that Iran actually does develop a weapon and does strike, Israel is the likely target. If the defensive measures do not convince Iran to abandon its program and if the Patriots allow a missile to leak through, Israel has a national catastrophe. It faces an unlikely event with unacceptable consequences.
    Israel’s Options

    It has options, although a long-range conventional airstrike against Iran is really not one of them. Carrying out a multiday or even multiweek air campaign with Israel’s available force is too likely to be insufficient and too likely to fail. Israel’s most effective option for taking out Iran’s nuclear activities is itself nuclear. Israel could strike Iran from submarines if it genuinely intended to stop Iran’s program.

    The problem with this is that much of the Iranian nuclear program is sited near large cities, including Tehran. Depending on the nuclear weapons used and their precision, any Israeli strikes could thus turn into city-killers. Israel is not able to live in a region where nuclear weapons are used in counterpopulation strikes (regardless of the actual intent behind launching). Mounting such a strike could unravel the careful balance of power Israel has created and threaten relationships it needs. And while Israel may not be as dependent on the United States as it once was, it does not want the United States completely distancing itself from Israel, as Washington doubtless would after an Israeli nuclear strike.

    The Israelis want Iran’s nuclear program destroyed, but they do not want to be the ones to try to do it. Only the United States has the force needed to carry out the strike conventionally. But like the Bush administration, the Obama administration is not confident in its ability to remove the Iranian program surgically. Washington is concerned that any air campaign would have an indeterminate outcome and would require extremely difficult ground operations to determine the strikes’ success or failure. Perhaps even more complicated is the U.S. ability to manage the consequences, such as a potential attempt by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz and Iranian meddling in already extremely delicate situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Iran does not threaten the United States, the United States therefore is in no hurry to initiate combat. And so the United States has launched a public relations campaign about defensive measures, hoping to affect Iranian calculations while remaining content to let the game play itself out.

    Israel’s option is to respond to the United States of its intent to go nuclear, something Washington does not want in a region where U.S. troops are fighting in countries on either side of Iran. Israel might calculate that its announcement would force the United States to pre-empt an Israeli nuclear strike with conventional strikes. But the American response to Israel cannot be predicted. It is therefore dangerous for a small regional power to try to corner a global power.

    With the adoption of a defensive posture, we have now seen the U.S. response to the February deadline. This response closes off no U.S. options — the United States can always shift its strategy when intelligence indicates — it increases the Arabian Peninsula’s dependence on the United States, and it possibly causes Iran to recalculate its position. Israel, meanwhile, finds itself in a box, because the United States calculates that Israel will not chance a conventional strike and fears a nuclear strike on Iran as much as the United States does.

    In the end, Obama has followed the Bush strategy on Iran — make vague threats, try to build a coalition, hold Israel off with vague promises, protect the Arabian Peninsula, and wait — to the letter. But along with this announcement, we would expect to begin to see a series of articles on the offensive deployment of U.S. forces, as good defensive posture requires a strong offensive option.

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    Abbreviated version anyone?

    Christian/zionist/jews/catholic western evil country wants to stop a peace filled loving muslim country that desires to only exist in hamrony on this world. Anyone that disgrees with the original poster is uneducated, lacks knowledge, their @ss is not well read, or cannot understand what they really saw when working/living/dying in the area that is the topic of this thread.



    Short version?
    America evil. Others are evil devils target and soon to become a victim.



    Shorter version?
    I google. Copy and paste. I have to be correct. No real life basis for my post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mildot View Post
    Abbreviated version anyone?

    Christian/zionist/jews/catholic western evil country wants to stop a peace filled loving muslim country that desires to only exist in hamrony on this world. Anyone that disgrees with the original poster is uneducated, lacks knowledge, their @ss is not well read, or cannot understand what they really saw when working/living/dying in the area that is the topic of this thread.



    Short version?
    America evil. Others are evil devils target and soon to become a victim.



    Shorter version?
    I google. Copy and paste. I have to be correct. No real life basis for my post.
    Oversimplify and distort then attack your own parody of the original points,very original and brilliant.
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    Here's a very interesting article from Der Speigel. A discerning reader will find all sorts of tidbits that pertain directly to this thread.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...658663,00.html

    We should rename the thread: "Things You Thought You Knew About Iran, but Really Didn't"
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    This analysis rings truer (to me) than most.....shots over the bows of Iran and Dubai, as well as other players (not to mention the pure justice of it)

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010
    Mahmoud al-Mabhouh: To Kill a Terrorist - Exclusive

    The assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has touched off a great deal of outrage by the same media organizations and countries that typically ignore the murders committed by Islamic terrorists. Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was a Muslim Brotherhood member and a co-founder of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the "armed wing" of Hamas. Essentially Mahmoud was a co-founder of the terrorist sub-group responsible for more than half of the murders of Israelis that have taken place over the last decade alone.

    If you're wondering what that long string of syllables, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, means. It's in memory of Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, a Muslim religious leader who founded the "Black Hand" terrorist group, the first modern day Muslim terrorist group in Israel, which murdered Jewish farmers and tried to launch an uprising in order to create an Arab-Islamic in place of Israel. The good Sheikh worked together with the Mufti of Jerusalem, who went on to help Hitler to carry out the Holocaust. Qassam never had the chance to do the same, as he was killed in 1935 while hiding in a cave after the murder of a Jewish police officer.

    The only difference between Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and his inspiration Sheikh Al-Qassam, is that the latter met his end in a cave and the former in a hotel room. Both men were committed and fanatical Islamic terrorists who plotted to drown the region in blood in the name of their Jihad. Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's presence in Dubai was no casual vacation trip. Mabnouh had become a key figure in the weapons smuggling network between Hamas and its Iranian backers. Meanwhile Dubai has become an vital link in the chain of international terrorist operations. Its global import-export connections combined with the support of UAE leader Sheikh Zayed for Hamas, and Dubai's proximity to Iran make it a mecca for terrorist smuggling operations.

    If you want to do business with Iran, the best way is to use a proxy in Dubai. This makes Dubai a perfect center for Iranian links to terrorists around the world. Dubai is a legitimate business destination that will raise the fewest suspicions of just about any Middle Eastern destination. The UAE rulers are very friendly to Iran and to such groups as Hamas. Last month Sheikh Zayed met with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who had also been the target of an Israeli assassination attempt. Dubai serves as one way for Iran to move money and goods over to Hamas through front organizations that are actually Iranian run, through banks that do business with Iran while pretending to do business only in Dubai, and through ports controlled by Dubai Ports World, which is itself a subsidiary of the government.

    Mahmoud al-Mabhouh who had received linguistics training in Syria, possessed an engineering background and had spent much of his adult life living in different Arab countries and forming radical contacts there was the perfect man to oversee a regional weapons smuggling network. And Dubai was the perfect place for him to do business. That confluence in turn made Dubai the perfect place for al-Mabhouh's assassination, not simply because he was there, but because it was meant to send a message. The very visible nature of the operation demonstrated that Dubai was not a safe zone for terrorists, despite its distance from Israel and a terrorist friendly government.

    The publicity accompanying the assassination was a feature not a bug. Sheikh Mohammed is being sent a message that at a critical time when Dubai needs foreign investment, he has to choose between backing terrorists and stabilizing his economy. The killing of al-Mabhouh creates the very association between Dubai and Islamic terrorism that it would like to avoid. Dubai would like to be thought of as representing fun in the sun and a growing business environment, even as the UAE funds Islamic extremism. The assassination shines light on the Islamic dark side of Dubai and it will create nervousness among visiting business executives. A British newspaper article wonders if the German executives of firms who produce parts for Iran's nuclear reactors will also be subject to assassination. Of course they won't be, but having them worry about it may keep them out of the Iran business and out of Dubai.

    This isn't just about Hamas, though al-Mabhouh's presence on Israel's Most Wanted list and his murder of Israelis would have certainly provided enough incentive on its own. As does his place in the smuggling network that moves weapons from Iran to Israel, where they are used to murder Israeli citizens and bomb Israeli villages. It's about Dubai and the UAE. While Egypt and Saudi Arabia, despite their own hostility toward Israel, have gotten into the Anti-Iran camp, the UAE and Dubai in particular is Iran's connection to the rest of the world. Dubai has built up its position in international business in no small part because it is a convenient access point for companies looking to do illegally business with Iran. If Israel can't get Dubai out of the Iran business by pointing out the danger it faces from Iran's growing power, a danger that the Saudis and Egyptians have already recognized, then it can force Dubai to choose between being a mecca for international trade, or being Iran's stooge. And the al-Mabhouh demonstrates the dangers of being a front for Ahmadinejad.

    And that too is part of the bigger picture, because it isn't just about Iran as a country, but the ruling clique currently running Iran and fighting off the opposition in bloody street riots. The issue at the top is not Islam, as all the major factions among the Iranian elite have a similar understanding of Islam, but money and power. Most political alliances and conflicts in the Muslim Middle East boil down to family, whether it's rural tribal clans or urban political elites. Power is vested in prominent families. Those families use their positions to siphon off money by taking a cut off everything which they reinvest abroad. That includes money earmarked for terrorist operations as well.

    The Iranian elite currently fighting a bloody battle to stay in power has an easy conduit to funnel its investments into legitimate banks through Dubai, by way of the same network of businesses that they use to conduct their terrorist operations. These connections require key point men they trust to take care of their money. Because while it's easy enough to find terrorists loyal to the Jihad against the infidel, finding one you can trust not to rip off your family stash or cut a deal with your *****s is much trickier.

    Iran at the top is a snake's nest with a small tangle of families fighting for control over key industries. A family's fallback plan requires having access to their foreign investments, so they don't have to beg for spare change or become too dependent on their former backers. Iran's Supreme Ayatollah may have sent his family to Russia, but he isn't stupid enough to turn over his fortune to Putin's banks. Maintaining that rathole means finding someone you can trust, who isn't beholden to anyone else, to protect your finances. There's no way to know if Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was that man, but if he was, then the extensive resources that Israel committed to this operation become all too clear. The money will still be there, if the Mossad hasn't gotten to the bank accounts through whatever papers were in Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's briefcase, but Iran's ruling families will need to find a new man to protect their financial rear ends. And that may weaken them terribly, particularly if information about those accounts is quietly leaked to the Iranian opposition.

    In summary, a major Hamas terrorist leader and a key figure in the transfer of Iranian weapons to Hamas is dead. England and Dubai are outraged, but their outrage amounts to nothing. But the UK and Dubai have been playing footsie with terrorists for too long, whether it's freeing the Lockerbie bomber for an oil deal with Libya and then going on a shooting party with his son, or funding Hamas and providing a haven for a terrorist smuggling network. Using the identities of Brits in Israel makes it at once obvious who was behind the killing, while at the same time leaving enough plausible deniability to avoid any serious diplomatic repercussions. The sensational nature of the assassination has people talking, which was the objective all along. Not simply to kill al-Mabhouh, but to send a message by doing it.

    There are of course no final answers, and there may never be. The Emirates police are just a hired bunch of thugs whose job is to keep order for the ruling families. They are not a police force in the First World sense, their usual tactic is to grab the likeliest suspect who isn't too well connected, and beat a confession out of him or her. If it's a foreigner, so much the better, because foreigners are less likely to be connected in the tribal sense, than Emiratis. Hamas itself put out numerous contradictory statements about the death of al-Mabhouh. Their only point of agreement is that they will kill Israelis, which is a given on any day when dealing with Hamas.

    Israeli ministers meanwhile are giving the matter their best winking denial, which is not in and of itself proof of anything, because it's a standard response to just about any question about Israel's intelligence operations, and because it's likely that neither Landau or Lieberman would even be briefed about a Mossad operation before or afterward. A few years from now a retired Mossad chief may stick it as a footnote in his biography. Or maybe a week from now there will be a torrent of new answers. Most likely though the full truth will never be known. As is the case with much of the shadow war of counterterrorism against the infrastructure of terrorist groups.

    But there is a final footnote to the story. On February 16, 1989, Avi Sasportas was a 21 year old soldier hitchhiking, as soldiers commonly did back then, and sometimes still do despite many warnings to the contrary. He disappeared into a beige Subaru and was never seen alive again. Two months later his body was finally found under several feet of dirt. It bore the marks of the brutal torture he had undergone. In those two months his mother Rachel Sasportas spent every day waiting for news of her son.

    “I have no news for you,” the defense minister kept on telling her 21 years ago. “Your son’s body has not yet been found.” And she, Avi’s mother, listened to every word attentively, as if looking for a hidden treasure, and only said: “I know. I’m certain that the IDF and other security forces are making every effort to find Avi. I trust you.”

    She would also say something else: “If Avi is not alive, and I believe that he is not alive, do not trade living terrorists for his body.” She would say this, get up, and leave.

    Her noble figure, distancing from us down the long corridor of building number 22 at the Defense Ministry, has remained etched in the memory of many of us. Her whispering voice still resonates among many of us. Yet there would never be tears in her eyes, as if she ordered herself to refrain from crying.

    In the meantime Gaza Arabs made prank phone calls to a hotline searching for tips on his whereabouts.

    Avi Sasportas' funeral, combined with the recent rape and murder of 13 year old Oren Brahami, occasioned riots against Arab terrorism, as outraged Israelis demanded that their government do something. An attitude that has sadly faded to numbness long ago.

    In 2001 the sister of Ilan Sa'adon, the other soldier whose kidnapping and murder al-Mabhouh took part in, said; "I very much hope they find them and kill them, just as they did to my brother."

    Twenty-one years later, a long outstanding debt has finally been paid.
    http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/
    12345
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    Quote Originally Posted by beast4 View Post
    is that why iran has recently admitted they are making nuclear material for weapons:
    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dreyf...es_not_so_fast

    Time, once again, to review the bidding (and the state of hysteria) over Iran's nuclear program.

    Let's start with the piece in the New York Times on February 9 by William Broad http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/wo...st/10iran.html , a science reporter, who analyzed the import of Iran's high-profile announcement last week that it would start to refine its own low-enriched uranium (LEU) from the current 4 percent to 20 percent, for use in fuel rods for the Tehran medical reactor.

    Iran's announcement, widely seen as defiant, was their riposte to demands that Iran make good on its October 1, 2009, deal with the United States and other world powers in the P5 + 1 group to ship its LEU abroad. That plan would have had the uranium enriched and turned into fuel rods in Russia and France, then shipped back to Iran for use in the medical reactor.

    Broad raises alarms about the Iranian decision to go from 4 to 20 percent, calling it an "act of brinkmanship in a standoff with the West" and suggesting that, paradoxically, enriching uranium to 20 percent gets Iran "almost to the finish line" in producing material for a bomb.

    Even though highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a weapon would have to be something like 95 percent U-235, not 20 percent, Broad quotes technical experts who argue that getting to the 20 percent level takes 90 percent of the energy needed, making it a short step to bomb-grade material. He concludes by quoting David Albright of ISIS:

    "David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private organization in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation, said the diminishing effort needed to enrich at higher levels meant Iran would need fewer working centrifuges.

    "Mr. Albright said Iran would need only 500 to 1,000 centrifuges working for six months to enrich uranium from a level of 20 percent to that needed for a bomb, a tiny fraction of the number required to enrich to lower concentrations.

    "The number of centrifuges is small enough that international inspectors and intelligence agencies would have an "extremely hard" time trying to detect the spinning machines if Iran hid them in a clandestine site, Mr. Albright said."


    But how does that square with a blockbuster report in the Washington Post on February 11 suggesting that Iran's nuclear enrichment program is faltering, plagued by mistakes, and saddled with decrepit, 1970s-era technology?

    The Post piece, by Joby Warrick and Glenn Kessler, a draft ISIS report and other experts reporting that the number of Iran's 8,700 centrifuges actually spinning has dropped precipitously from only 5,000 last May to 3,900 in November. The article also cites Albright, thus:

    "At least through the end of 2009, the Natanz plant appears to have performed so poorly that sabotage cannot be ruled out as an explanation, according to a draft study by David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS)."

    Sabotage, of course, presumably means that long-rumored effort by the United States and its allies to undermine Iran's program covertly, by sending it defective materials and software infested with bugs and glitches. "It is well known that the United States and European intelligence agencies seek to place defective or bugged equipment into Iran's smuggling networks," says the ISIS report. In any case, Iran's program is breaking down and its uranium output is dropping -- meaning, it appears, that President Ahmadinejad's intention to enrich uranium from 4 to 20 percent may be a lot harder than it looks.

    The Obama administration, even as it pushed for targeted sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), seems to want to avoid raising too many alarm bells. The Post today quotes Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, saying that Iran's boasts are "based on politics, not on physics," adding: "We do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the degree to which they now say they are enriching."
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    Quote Originally Posted by poison View Post
    12345
    The Annual Threat Assessment overview was released by the office of the Director of National Intelligence on February 2nd. A forty-seven page unclassified version includes a page and a half on Iran’s proliferation threat. It raises legitimate concerns about Iran’s doubling of its number of operating centrifuges (while conceding that as many as half might not be working) and regarding what it describes as the secret nuclear facility near Qom. Apart from that, it supports the conclusions of the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program and had not made the political decision to start it up again. http://www.isisnucleariran.org/assets/pdf/2010_NIE.pdf

    One would think it would be good news that the Iranian nuclear program has not really advanced since 2007, but something strange is happening. The Obama Administration has intensified pressure on Iran with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denouncing what she sees as the Iranian government’s increased militarization.

    The mainstream media, meanwhile, has not reported the conclusions of the Annual Threat Assessment while there has been instead considerable commentary about how Iran is moving closer to having a nuclear weapon together with calls for harsh sanctions. The Washington Times and Newsweek are also reporting that the US intelligence community will soon finish a second NIE on Iran that will revise the conclusions of the December 2007 document.

    If their information is correct, the forthcoming NIE will emphasize that Iran is moving towards the point where it will have all the technical requirements in place to put together a nuclear weapon if the country’s political leadership decides to proceed. This is a spin that is somewhat different than the Annual Threat Assessment, which is presumably written by the same analysts using the same information.

    Admittedly, as the political go-ahead might never be given, all the intelligence really suggests is that Iran could soon join a large number of other countries that have the technical capability to make a nuclear weapon.

    Of those countries there are some – mostly in Europe — that clearly have no interest in nuclear weapons development while others could move rapidly into a weapon program if their circumstances seem to demand it. Iran is far from unique. Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia all have the technological resources to develop nuclear weapons on an expedited basis if they found themselves threatened.

    So the Annual Threat Assessment and the possibly forthcoming NIE would really only confirm the 2007 NIE’s judgment that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, does not appear to have an in-place weapons program, and is still several years away from having a nuclear device even if the political decision is made to proceed. If there is a new NIE it will not really change anything, but there is clearly a political agenda playing out that is driving the process. One might even suggest that the timing is somewhat reminiscent of the infamous 2002 “slam dunk” Iraq NIE that falsely made the case for war by hyping phony evidence of weapons of mass destruction. In this case, the conclusions are not as important as the report’s appearance at a crucial time when negotiations between Tehran and the West have broken down and Washington is pushing hard to pressure Iran.

    The surfacing of a new assessment that is already being spun to heighten the threat will inevitably increase concerns about a possible Iranian weapons program and provide ammunition to those who are seeking a more assertive US policy.

    By its very existence, the new NIE will also provide a measure of credibility for the Obama administration, which has relentlessly been making the case that Iran is intent on acquiring a nuclear weapon, a conclusion that is not supported by the available intelligence.

    That the drive to punish Iran has been supported in Congress and the media is perhaps no coincidence, suggesting that the effort is being coordinated by those who want war.

    At the end of January, by an overwhelming voice vote, the US Senate joined the House of Representatives in passing a resolution demanding sanctions on Iran’s energy imports.

    A joint resolution that will go to President Obama is currently being crafted and is expected soon. The resolution could well give Obama the political cover he needs to advocate even more draconian measures against Iran and its rulers. From the Iranian viewpoint, it is pretty much a declaration of war.

    Why is Iran the target of so much rage even though it has not threatened the United States or any vital American interest?

    Influence over Congress and the media from Israel and its friends is surely a large part of the answer. How else can one explain the different treatment afforded Iran and North Korea given Pyongyang’s open development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles?

    Unlike North Korea, Iran continues to be a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its nuclear sites are inspected by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

    Iran is a developing country with a small economy and tiny defense budget and it has not invaded a neighbor since the eighteenth century.

    It does not even have the resources to refine its own oil for home consumption and must import the gasoline it uses. If the proposed Congressional sanctions are fully implemented the country’s economy will grind to a halt, but the damage does not stop there. Iran deals with many European and Asian companies in its energy industry, all of which would be sanctioned by the US if they do not break off relations. They might not like that and might well take commensurate steps against the United States. Ultimately, the United States Navy might have to enforce the sanctions. What would happen when a Chinese or Russian ship is stopped on the high seas? Did the US Congress really think about what it was doing and what the consequences of sanctions might be?

    And the irony is that the United States has a problem with Iran that has largely been manufactured in Washington and in Tel Aviv.

    Even though Tehran does not actually threaten the US, Washington has been supporting terrorists and separatists who have killed hundreds of people inside Iran. Israel, which has its own secret nuclear arsenal, claims to be threatened if Iran develops even the ability to concentrate its uranium referred to as “mastering the enrichment cycle,” a point of view that has also been adopted by Washington.

    The White House has made repeated threats that the military option for dealing with Tehran is “on the table” while Israel has been even more explicit in its threats to attack. Meanwhile, the US mainstream media is united in its desire to come to grips with the Mullahs.

    It is no wonder that Iran feels threatened, because it is. To be sure, Iran is no role model for good governance but a desire to deal with the country fairly and realistically is not an endorsement of the regime in power. Iran is engaged diplomatically and through surrogates in the entire Persian Gulf region and central Asia, supporting its friends and seeking to undermine its enemies. But that does not make it different than any of its neighbors and the United States, all of which play the same game.

    The bottom line is that the US has been interfering in Iran since 1978 and even before if one goes back to the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadeq by the CIA in 1953. The interference has accomplished nothing and has only created a poisonous relationship that Barack Obama has done little to improve. Indeed, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s harsh rhetoric suggests that when it comes to Iran the Democrats are more hardline than George W. Bush.

    Imagine for a moment what might happen if Washington were to adopt a serious foreign policy based on the US national interest. That would mean strict non-interventionism in troubled regions like the Middle East where the US has everything to lose and little to gain.

    It would be the real change promised by Obama if Washington were to admit that it is not threatened by Tehran and were to declare that it will not interfere in Iran’s politics. It could further announce that it no longer has a military option on the table, and that it will not permit Israeli overflight of Iraq to attack Iran. Iran’s leaders just might decide that they don’t really need their own “option on the table” which has been the threat that they might seek to develop a nuclear weapon.

    And an Iran that feels more secure might well be willing to take some risks itself to defuse tension with its neighbors and Washington. In 2003 Iran offered to negotiate all outstanding differences with the United States, an offer that was turned down by the Bush White House.

    So the big question about Iran is not whether or not it has the knowledge and resources to build an atom bomb. It does or will soon. The real issue is whether the United States is actually threatened by that knowledge and what should be done in terms of positive policies to discourage an expanded nuclear program. The United States should first of all recognize that, as the world’s only superpower, it controls the playing field.

    It is up to Washington to take the first steps to defuse the crisis that is building by offering Tehran the security guarantees that might undercut the influence of those in its government who seek a nuclear weapon deterrent. Punishing Iran is no solution.

    It will not work, closes the door to diplomacy, and will only make the worst case scenario that much more likely. Opening the door to a rapprochement by eliminating the threatening language coming out of Washington and creating incentives for cooperation is a far better course of action.
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    Luther, finally some decent posts by you.
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    Amen. You actually made some good points champ!
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    wow this discussion is still going? any ways i left off on terror groups in Iran. I think there is one group listed as an Actual terror group that we are supporting.
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    The truth is, my Iranian friend is ashamed of being Iranian. just my 2cents
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    Quote Originally Posted by nopeace View Post
    wow this discussion is still going? any ways i left off on terror groups in Iran. I think there is one group listed as an Actual terror group that we are supporting.
    Now that you freaking bumped it, yes, its still going.

    We may support the Jundullah, but then again we may not. At least we're not openly trading billions with iran, like germany.
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    Quote Originally Posted by omni View Post
    The truth is, my Iranian friend is ashamed of being Iranian. just my 2cents
    Ridiculous,why is he ashamed?
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    Ridiculous, sure, but plenty of americans feel the same way.
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    Summary of thread thoughts:

    As I've noted before, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Iran wanted a nuclear weapons capability. If anything, it would be irrational for them not to want one. What else would a rational Iranian leader conclude as they look at the U.S. military's having destructively invaded and continuing to occupy two of its neighboring, non-nuclear countries (i.e., being surrounded by an invading American army on both its Eastern and Western borders)? Add to that the fact that barely a day goes by ( http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/8...d-against-iran )without Western media outlets and various Western elites ( http://voices.washingtonpost.com/pos...issile_cr.html )threatening them with a bombing attack by the U.S. or the Israel (which itself has a huge stockpile of nuclear weapons ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7420573.stm )and categorically refuses any inspections or other monitoring( http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/iae...ar-inspections )

    If our goal were to create a world where Iran was incentivized to obtain nuclear weapons, we couldn't do a better job than we're doing now.



    But regardless of one's views on that question, or on the question of what the U.S. should do (if anything) about Iranian proliferation, the first order of business ought to be ensuring that the reporting on which we base our views is accurate. A CNN poll from February (http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/im...2/19/rel4e.pdf) found that 59% of Americans favor military action against Iran if negotiations over their nuclear program fail (see questions 31-32) -- and that's without the White House even advocating such a step. As the invasion of Iraq demonstrated, the kind of fear-mongering, reckless, and outright false "reporting" we're seeing already -- and have been seeing for awhile --
    ( http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/gl...09/10/07/iran) over Iran's nuclear program poses a far greater danger to the U.S. than anything Iran could do.

    A quick side note: there's news today (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2...section=justin) that a missing Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared from Saudi Arabia months ago is indeed in CIA hands. That means that Iranian claims of American involvement in his disappearance were correct and official U.S. denials at the time were outright lies. Hmmmm. I take this as proof the U.S. government is more than capable of lying about matters Iranian, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly to tell me how Iran is always the liar and the U.S. always the truth-teller, because we're the good guys or something.
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    i dont think u will find anyone saying who tells the truth and who lies, this is all politics there is no black and white and there are no clear truth and lies or right and wrong.

    Everything in the world has a bias, none of the links u posted up where straight facts supported with parenthetical refernces, dates, times, locations and necessities to back up and support all the claims made.

    But really when it comes down to it, whos side do you want to be on? Personally i like where i live, i know the politics arent perfect far from it (in fact they will always be far from it cause government as idealistic as you wish it to be will always have corruption and motivationg factors to do things). But i will say in the event there is a "threat" on my country reguardless of how accurate the information supporting it (i mean i would like the majority of the information to be at least somewhat accurate) I will support my country in defending itself.

    Maybe i am just too lazy or dont devote enough time to follow politics as closely as others, im not going to say i know everything going on (and even if i did claim tht you could simply claim that the information i was using to base my opinions on are biased in the first place).

    Regaurdless of whats posted here or reported abstractly across the globe, i will support my country and in most cases i believe (at least the military branches) are looking out for the countries well being.

    And i think it would be pretty dumb to think anyone who feels threatened by terrorist groups or arab countries (regaurdless of their ability to get within or to US borders) would go out of their way to potentially put their family friends and country at risk of an attack based on face value of a country that we are not on good terms with to begin with.

    Are u making good points? Yes some of ur posts are very good and at times eye openning, however i cant tell you that it really changes my opinion at all since the safety of country and myself could potentially be at stake.

    I also dont think ur preaching anything anyone in the US hasnt heard already, we know our govt have problems, we know we dont hear the whole story, we know we are given biased information, but then again what country doesnt? this world isnt perfect and it never will be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lutherblsstt View Post
    Summary of thread thoughts:

    As I've noted before, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Iran wanted a nuclear weapons capability. If anything, it would be irrational for them not to want one. What else would a rational Iranian leader conclude as they look at the U.S. military's having destructively invaded and continuing to occupy two of its neighboring, non-nuclear countries (i.e., being surrounded by an invading American army on both its Eastern and Western borders)? Add to that the fact that barely a day goes by ( Sen. Bayh: Force should be on the table in stopping Iran from getting nukes - TheHill.com )without Western media outlets and various Western elites ( PostPartisan - With Iran, 'The Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion' )threatening them with a bombing attack by the U.S. or the Israel (which itself has a huge stockpile of nuclear weapons ( BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel 'has 150 nuclear weapons' )and categorically refuses any inspections or other monitoring( IAEA tells Israel to allow nuclear inspections | Radio Netherlands Worldwide )

    If our goal were to create a world where Iran was incentivized to obtain nuclear weapons, we couldn't do a better job than we're doing now.
    Bull****. Why isn't Jordan trying to develop a nuke? They're squeezed between the US in Iraq, and Israel? See, the problem with your line of reasoning is that you imply the US just up and invaded Afghanistan and Iraq for no reason. With Afghanistan, that is clearly not the case, they provoked the attack; with Iraq, obviously the invasion was bull****. HOWEVER, Saddam and the US had a longstanding beef, and as dumb as it was, it wasn't out of nowhere.

    If Iran was busy minding its own business, being the cradle of civilization or whatever else they're good at, and cranking out natural gas by the boatload, and not supporting terror around the globe (argentina, israel, lebanon, syria, etc), no one would think twice about Iran, just as they don't think about invading Jordan. But Iran is not minding its business; it meddles in other countries affairs, the region, it tries to develop nukes, it supplies the insurgency in Iraq to the tune of thousands of dead Americans, and it verbally threatens the US and Israel.

    And I know it's just SO HARD to fathom that all Muslims don't hate the US as much as you, but half Iran is pro-US, and can't stand their ****ing retard Islamist leadership.



    But regardless of one's views on that question, or on the question of what the U.S. should do (if anything) about Iranian proliferation, the first order of business ought to be ensuring that the reporting on which we base our views is accurate. A CNN poll from February (http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/im...2/19/rel4e.pdf) found that 59% of Americans favor military action against Iran if negotiations over their nuclear program fail (see questions 31-32) -- and that's without the White House even advocating such a step. As the invasion of Iraq demonstrated, the kind of fear-mongering, reckless, and outright false "reporting" we're seeing already -- and have been seeing for awhile --
    ( - Salon.com over Iran's nuclear program poses a far greater danger to the U.S. than anything Iran could do.
    Free speech, bro. Are you saying Fox and CNN should be sensored? I agree they're full of ****; that's why I don't get my facts there.

    A quick side note: there's news today (Missing Iran nuclear scientist 'working for CIA' - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)) that a missing Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared from Saudi Arabia months ago is indeed in CIA hands. That means that Iranian claims of American involvement in his disappearance were correct and official U.S. denials at the time were outright lies. Hmmmm. I take this as proof the U.S. government is more than capable of lying about matters Iranian, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly to tell me how Iran is always the liar and the U.S. always the truth-teller, because we're the good guys or something.
    You're a moron. You SO want to put the US in Bad Guy shoes, that you'll grasp at anything to do so. Did you even consider that the guy defected of his own free will, and its the US job to 1) protect valuable intel, 2) protect the source, and 3) it's really none of your/the general public's goddamn business?

    What do you think the CIA does? "Ladeeda, knock knock, i'm here to spy on you. Yes, your guy defected, here's what he told us, is that everything, or is there more"? Trust me, you naive schmuck, BOTH sides are lying about the scientist. Jesus. Stay in Japan, Tim, since you hate the US so much, we won't miss you.
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