# News Iranian Nuclear Weapons

1. Mar 31, 2012

### Jobrag

During the WWII the Manhatten Project developed nuclear weapons from scratch in about four years. With much of the basic research freely available and with far more advanced technology, why is it taking Iran (and for that matter Iraq under Saddam Hussien) so long to produce their own Nukes?

2. Mar 31, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

It also takes money....and also, if they are doing it they have a bigger secrecy problem than we did.

3. Mar 31, 2012

### tiny-tim

the manhatten project developed an a-bomb (uranium, fission, bomb)

iran is trying to go straight to an h-bomb (hydrogen, fusion, bomb)

4. Mar 31, 2012

### Office_Shredder

Staff Emeritus
I don't think that's right tiny-tim, seeing how all the hullabulloo is about iran enriching uranium

5. Mar 31, 2012

### cepheid

Staff Emeritus
I think you still need uranium fission for a fusion bomb. One process is used as a catalyst for the other, to give you extra bang. I can't remember which way around it is. Intuitively, it makes sense to me that you'd need a tremendous input of energy in the first place to get runaway fusion. So maybe the fission is the trigger.

6. Mar 31, 2012

### PAllen

Yes, fission is the trigger for an H-bomb. Either one needs diversion of enriched uranium. I had always assumed the suspicion was Iran working on a fission bomb, but I never checked this out. It never occurred to me that they might try jump directly to an H-bomb, so I never looked into what direction the suspicions were pointing (A-bomb or H-bomb).

7. Mar 31, 2012

### Greg Bernhardt

8. Mar 31, 2012

### SHISHKABOB

most european countries do not have/want nuclear weapons because they are part of NATO, and being part of NATO means you have thousands of American nukes, and then French and British nukes. Then there are the many poor countries of the world that do not have the capability of making nuclear weapons.

Then there are countries like Japan, I'm sure it's obvious why they would be averse to arming themselves with nukes, but they are also allies of the USA, who has plenty of nukes to spare.

countries like China, India, N. Korea, etc. are countries that want nukes because it makes them look tough. Who would attack them if they had nukes? It'd be crazy.

It's the same reason why Iran wants nuclear weapons, I believe. They want to appear tough, so that they can exert more influence in the area.

9. Mar 31, 2012

### cepheid

Staff Emeritus
Yes of course, the main reason for wanting a nuclear arsenal is as a deterrent against attack, and the assurance of security that is perceived to come along with it (although that's debatable). I don't think any world leader in his or her right mind would want an nuclear arsenal so that he or she could use it against enemies.

Then again, I could be wrong and naive. Furthermore, there is some question as to whether certain world leaders are really in their right minds. The recently deceased dictator of North Korea comes to mind.

10. Mar 31, 2012

### Hobin

I doubt he would've been so stupid to use a nuclear weapon. He appeared to me to be a person who enjoyed living, and I thought him sensible enough to see that using a nuke would only lead to his own destruction.

Unfortunately, one cannot count on all present and future leaders to have a sense of self-preservation.

11. Mar 31, 2012

### Pengwuino

I attended a lecture earlier today at the APS April conference and one of the speakers gave a short talk on his experience with North Korea. Apparently he was some sort of go-between with North Korea and various administrations since the 70s. He's an actual physicist I believe, not a diplomat.

At the end of his talk, he told us that he feels as if a nation like North Korea with a handful of nuclear weapons is of very little threat in regards to them actually using it. However, he believes that once a nation starts gathering many dozens of nuclear weapons, being able to use them starts becoming more of an option.

12. Mar 31, 2012

Staff Emeritus
US GDP in 1942: $2T (today's dollars) Iran GDP:$331B

13. Mar 31, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

Manhattan project cost: \$26b (today).

14. Mar 31, 2012

### SHISHKABOB

I think that's just a touch more than we spend on foreign aid each year...?

15. Mar 31, 2012

### skeptic2

I think a dangerous scenario would be when two nuclear powers engage in a non-nuclear war. Would not the loser in such a war seriously consider using their nuclear weapons before surrendering? Given that once a country becomes nuclear it stays nuclear, and that the number of nuclear countries will continue to rise, isn't this scenario inevitable?

16. Mar 31, 2012

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Here's a case to consider: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kargil_War

17. Apr 1, 2012

### skeptic2

The reference, despite the title, refers to it as a conflict, skirmish or operation vijay. The sovereignty of neither nation was threatened.

When the sovereignty of a nation is being threatened, would they hesitate to use nuclear weapons or would the mere possession nuclear weapons be enough of a deterrent to prevent a war? If so, how will serious international disputes be settled between nuclear powers?

18. Apr 1, 2012

### Office_Shredder

Staff Emeritus
You can't think of a single serious international dispute that was settled between nuclear powers?

There is a vast gulf between international dispute and war of annihilation

19. Apr 1, 2012

### skeptic2

The fact that an international dispute was settled without nuclear weapons begs the issue. The issue is that as more and more nations develop nuclear weapons, won't the temptation to use nuclear weapons also increase? What would you do if you were head of a country that was being bombed into total destruction? Would you launch your nuclear weapons before surrendering?

Will MAD continue to be a deterrent when half the world's countries have nuclear weapons?

20. Apr 1, 2012

### Hobin

No, because the more nations have nukes, the more likely it is that one nation using them will result in MAD (or even TAD, where T = total).

The solution is simple. Let's not bomb other countries. Especially not the ones that have nukes. Instead, we could try that underrated little thing called 'diplomacy' and 'tact'.