Iranian Nuclear Weapons

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  • #31
russ_watters
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"Chances are" is a good enough reason for me!
 
  • #32
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Who gave the US government, NATO or any other organization the right to decide which countries are allowed to have nuclear weapons, and which ones aren't?

Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace speech in 1953 and later the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) offered to make the technology for nuclear power plants available to non-nuclear nations provided they sign the NPT, or in other words not to use the technology for military purposes. They also had to agree to certain safeguards. Iran was a signatory to the NPT.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_proliferation
Parties to the NPT agree to accept technical safeguard measures applied by the IAEA. These require that operators of nuclear facilities maintain and declare detailed accounting records of all movements and transactions involving nuclear material. Over 550 facilities and several hundred other locations are subject to regular inspection, and their records and the nuclear material being audited. Inspections by the IAEA are complemented by other measures such as surveillance cameras and instrumentation.

The inspections act as an alert system providing a warning of the possible diversion of nuclear material from peaceful activities. The system relies on;

* Material Accountancy – tracking all inward and outward transfers and the flow of materials in any nuclear facility. This includes sampling and analysis of nuclear material, on-site inspections, and review and verification of operating records.
* Physical Security – restricting access to nuclear materials at the site.
* Containment and Surveillance – use of seals, automatic cameras and other instruments to detect unreported movement or tampering with nuclear materials, as well as spot checks on-site.
 
  • #33
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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'.

I'm all for diplomacy and tact but at least in our present political climate, neither of those seem to attract voters as much as a war. Look at what has happened to Obama while attempting to use sanctions against Iran instead of a military strike. Not only do voters think he is weak, his popularity is also suffering because of the resultant higher gas prices. Voters seem to prefer a president with a certain arrogance to one with a careful, reasoned approach. That does not bode well for diplomacy and tact.
 
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  • #34
Ryan_m_b
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Just to step back a second, where is the actual evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapon? IIRC they're a signatory to the NPT and have been working with the IAEA*. Also for those advocating a military intervention of Iran do you realise how difficult that would be for even the United States? It's bigger in population and area than Iraq and Afghanistan combined, not to mention being more industrious and organised.

Considering the previous interference in Iran's internal affairs by the US and the UK (instigating action to remove the democratically elected government of Iran and install a dictator because our oil interests were threatened) I would hope that we would be ashamed enough to grow up instead of still thinking that the world is a beat to be policed. At least we could acknowledge that hostility towards the west is partly our fault in the first place.

I'm not saying that the Iranian government isn't horrible and it wouldn't be desirable for another revolution but I'm always saddened to see people in the west beat their chests and call for arms against a country for little or no justifiable reason.

*EDIT: I have just read the most recent IAEA report which highlights concerns over the level of cooperation with Iran. Whilst the Iranian government is cooperating there are still areas where they haven't been forthcoming hence the report concludes that it cannot guarantee that all activities are peaceful. Whilst this is obviously undesirable it is no confirmation of military developments. This whole situation seems to me far to confrontational, positive diplomacy (a carrot to complement the sanction stick) should be encouraged long before military intervention is tabled. A little off-topic but this seems to be an example of a weakness in democracy; an issue becomes highly topical even if there is scant credible information and opinion about it yet politicians can't afford to be seen as weak on it so they jump to be the one to sound toughest.
 
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  • #35
russ_watters
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Just to step back a second, where is the actual evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapon? IIRC they're a signatory to the NPT and have been working with the IAEA*. [snip] I have just read the most recent IAEA report which highlights concerns over the level of cooperation with Iran. Whilst the Iranian government is cooperating there are still areas where they haven't been forthcoming hence the report concludes that it cannot guarantee that all activities are peaceful. Whilst this is obviously undesirable it is no confirmation of military developments.
While all of that is accurate, you're reading the burden of proof backwards. International observation is a requirement of the NPT. Not getting it is (IMO and in the opinion of much of the international community) a violation worthy of being challenged. This is a serious issue and Iran needs to take it seriously.
Also for those advocating a military intervention of Iran do you realise how difficult that would be for even the United States? It's bigger in population and area than Iraq and Afghanistan combined, not to mention being more industrious and organised.
I'm not advocating military action, but you're misconstruing what would be involved. I've never seen anyone suggest anything more than airstrikes of the type Israel did to Iraq in 1980.
Considering the previous interference in Iran's internal affairs by the US and the UK (instigating action to remove the democratically elected government of Iran and install a dictator because our oil interests were threatened) I would hope that we would be ashamed enough to grow up instead of still thinking that the world is a beat to be policed.
1. The world is our beat to be policed. It is that way because the rest of the West has chosen to de-militarize to the point where the only nation capable of large-scale use of military force is the US. So when there's a problem that needs to be resolved with significant military force, only the US can do it. And for me, it is our Moral Imperative.

2. If not ever having done something objectionable is the criteria for being allowed to engage in international discourse, there'd be no such thing as diplomacy. It is beyond absurd to say that the US should butt-out because of things that happened 30 years ago. Plenty has happened in the 30 years since that makes it right for us to butt-in, but more to the point, the here and now should not be subservient to the past.
At least we could acknowledge that hostility towards the west is partly our fault in the first place.
Sure.

Now what? Does the fact that we've done things they don't like make it ok to nuke us? You're arguing against your point, Ryan!
This whole situation seems to me far to confrontational, positive diplomacy (a carrot to complement the sanction stick) should be encouraged long before military intervention is tabled.
The carrot was already offered and is always on the table: it is the benefits of being in compliance with the NPT.
 
  • #36
Ryan_m_b
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1. The world is our beat to be policed. It is that way because the rest of the West has chosen to de-militarize to the point where the only nation capable of large-scale use of military force is the US. So when there's a problem that needs to be resolved with significant military force, only the US can do it. And for me, it is our Moral Imperative.
Actually the US does not police the world, it uses its military to advance it's foreign policy (where appropriate) like any other military power in history.
2. If not ever having done something objectionable is the criteria for being allowed to engage in international discourse, there'd be no such thing as diplomacy. It is beyond absurd to say that the US should butt-out because of things that happened 30 years ago. Plenty has happened in the 30 years since that makes it right for us to butt-in, but more to the point, the here and now should not be subservient to the past. Sure.
My point is that perhaps we should learn from interfering with other countries for our own interest (i.e. take it into account) and perhaps acknowledge that hostility against us is partially deserved. This doesn't mean that we should accept it obviously but if you are already unpopular perhaps you should focus on winning people over rather than taking action that will make you more unpopular with a significant region of the world.
Now what? Does the fact that we've done things they don't like make it ok to nuke us?
Obviously not, see my point above. Also where do you get the idea that the US is going to suffer a nuclear attack?
 
  • #37
I'm all for diplomacy and tact but at least in our present political climate, neither of those seem to attract voters as much as a war. Look at what has happened to Obama while attempting to use sanctions against Iran instead of a military strike. .

how do you know it doesnt work? as no one has used diplomacy or tact.
using sanctions instead of military strike(what your saying is war because thats what a military strike is) is not tact or diplomacy so why use it as an example of them?
sanctions are NOT diplomacy or tact
 
  • #38
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how do you know it doesnt work? as no one has used diplomacy or tact.
using sanctions instead of military strike(what your saying is war because thats what a military strike is) is not tact or diplomacy so why use it as an example of them?
sanctions are NOT diplomacy or tact

I never said it doesn't work. An example of where it worked very well was the Cuban missile crisis. In diplomacy, one uses the available options. Just as you may not consider sanctions against Iran pure diplomacy, I don't think you consider the use of them the same as war either.
 
  • #39
mheslep
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I assumed U enrichment to 20% was prima facie evidence of a weapon attempt, with 5-7% all that is typically needed for commercial power reactor.
 
  • #40
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I assumed U enrichment to 20% was prima facie evidence of a weapon attempt, with 5-7% all that is typically needed for commercial power reactor.

(Did I just see you post this in the handhelds-over-500-year thread, or is my laptop going weird?)

Weapons-grade uranium is most often more along the lines of 85+% U-235, although 20% is technically sufficient for a crude bomb.
 
  • #42
mheslep
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Weapons-grade uranium is most often more along the lines of 85+% U-235, although 20% is technically sufficient for a crude bomb.
True, the point being anything greater than 5-7% is indicative of a weapons program in progress.
 
  • #43
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True, the point being anything greater than 5-7% is indicative of a weapons program in progress.

Not necessarily. Research reactors usually contain 12% to 20% U-235, and fast neutron reactors also require more than 20% U-235 to work properly.
 
  • #44
mheslep
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Not necessarily. Research reactors usually contain 12% to 20% U-235, and fast neutron reactors also require more than 20% U-235 to work properly.
Sure, none of which justifies Iran's large enrichment program. The burden is still on NPT signatory Iran to justify the step beyond LEU.
 
  • #45
epenguin
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The politics of this can probably be discussed on other sites with more er sophistication :biggrin: than here. But on such other sites people make scientific inferences at will according to the political conclusion they want. Which we should have the advantage of not being able to do.

My understanding is that discussing whether they are making a nuclear weapon or not or want to is not the main point. That the critical point is whether they acquire the ability to do so at will which depends on the possession or ability to make the necessary amounts of enriched uranium and plutonium, since this is the difficult step and the one that can be checked by the safeguard procedures, inspections etc. of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Other research for making a weapon is not so easily checked. That their obstructive behaviour in denying inspections etc. is evading the NPT while not actually officially quitting it.

I have seen it repeatedly asserted that there is no plausible non-military explanation for a heavy water plant. I don't actually know why this is - is that what you need for making plutonium? I would like clarification of this (# 3-5 seem the most relevant posts so far) and any other relevant scientific indications of what they are up to. Then the political deductions I'll make myself thank you.:biggrin:
 
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  • #46
epenguin
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Who gave the US government, NATO or any other organization the right to decide which countries are allowed to have nuclear weapons, and which ones aren't?

50+ nations (unfortunately not every country) decided when, seeing that everyone having a nuclear weapon would lead inevitably to the greatest disaster the world has known, they signed the Non Proliferation Treaty. People were very worried in the fifties and sixties and later and were very aware of the effects of nuclear weapons. But the considerable though not complete success of this treaty (which I know has problems and needs updating) has allowed spread of ignorance and complacency, a dangerous lightheartedness about the problem which I am afraid your post expresses.
 
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  • #47
DevonG
I wondered why more countries didn't have them
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_with_nuclear_weapons

I suppose many don't want the great responsibility.

Think about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cuba's decision to simply host nuclear weapons didn't enhance its security - it actually vastly undermined it.

For smaller nations, at least during the Cold War, the calculations behind the decision to go nuclear were substantially different for small and medium powers than they were for major powers and superpowers. This was especially true after the superpowers developed first strike capabilities.
 
  • #48
Bobbywhy
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While all of that is accurate, you're reading the burden of proof backwards. International observation is a requirement of the NPT. Not getting it is (IMO and in the opinion of much of the international community) a violation worthy of being challenged. This is a serious issue and Iran needs to take it seriously. I'm not advocating military action, but you're misconstruing what would be involved. I've never seen anyone suggest anything more than airstrikes of the type Israel did to Iraq in 1980. 1. The world is our beat to be policed. It is that way because the rest of the West has chosen to de-militarize to the point where the only nation capable of large-scale use of military force is the US. So when there's a problem that needs to be resolved with significant military force, only the US can do it. And for me, it is our Moral Imperative.

Since you say the world is our beat to be policed, does the below article describe how the US Foreign Policy manifests "Our Moral Imperative"?

“We came, we saw, we destroyed, we forgot | Foreign Policy Journal
The Anti-Empire Report, by William Blum July 29, 2011

An updated summary of the charming record of US foreign policy. Since the end of the Second World War, the United States of America has …

• Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of which were
democratically-elected.[1]
• Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.[2]
• Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.[3]
• Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.[4]
• Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.[5]

In total: Since 1945, the United States has carried out one or more of the above
actions, on one or more occasions, in the following 69 countries (more than
one-third of the countries of the world):

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Australia
Bolivia
Bosnia
Brazil
British Guiana (now Guyana)
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Chad
Chile
China
Colombia
Congo (also as Zaire)
Costa Rica
Cuba
Dominican Republic
East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Fiji
France
Germany (plus East Germany)
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Honduras
India
Indonesia
Iran

Iraq
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kuwait
Laos
Lebanon
Libya
Mongolia
Morocco
Nepal
Nicaragua
North Korea
Pakistan
Palestine
Panama
Peru
Philippines
Portugal
Russia
Seychelles
Slovakia
Somalia
South Africa
Soviet Union
Sudan
Suriname
Syria
Thailand
Uruguay
Venezuela
Vietnam (plus North Vietnam)
Yemen (plus South Yemen)
Yugoslavia

Notes:
1. http://killinghope.org/essays6/othrow.htm
2. http://killinghope.org/bblum6/suppress.html
3. See chapter 18 of Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower – add
Palestine, 2006 to the list
4. http://killinghope.org/superogue/bomb.htm
5. http://killinghope.org/bblum6/assass.htm" [Broken]

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/07/29/we-came-we-saw-we-destroyed-we-forgot/
 
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  • #49
tiny-tim
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• Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of which were
democratically-elected.[1]
• Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.[2]
• Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.[3]
• Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.[4]
• Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.[5]

In total: Since 1945, the United States has carried out one or more of the above
actions, on one or more occasions, in …
Palestine

uhh?

is the rest of your post as fanciful as this? :rofl:
 
  • #50
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Let's not let this topic get off track, people. I disagree with russ_watters myself about the USA having a moral imperative to police the world, but this topic is about Iranian nuclear weapons, not about any possible failings and shortcomings of the USA. Bobbywhy, if you want to discuss these instead, I suggest creating a new thread.
 
  • #51
russ_watters
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Bob, please explain how the opinion of a crackpot, selling a book has any relevance here. I know US history: what is your point?
 
  • #52
mheslep
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Since you say the world is our beat to be policed, does the below article describe how the US Foreign Policy manifests "Our Moral Imperative"?

“We came, we saw, we destroyed, we forgot | Foreign Policy Journal
The Anti-Empire Report, by William Blum July 29, 2011

An updated summary of the charming record of US foreign policy. Since the end of the Second World War, the United States of America has …

• Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments,...

France? Didn't that give you pause? I'm curious, why are you inclined to take those sources as historical? Here's another article elsewhere from the "owner, editor, and webmaster" (Hammond) of "Foreign Policy Journal": Architects & Engineers For 9/11 Truth
 
  • #53
WWGD
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Is everyone who disagrees with your version of events necessarily a crackpot? What is it _specifically_ about that site that you dislike so that has led you to reject it wholesale? I don't agree with everything there, but they do allow for debate and do offer evidence for their claims.
 
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  • #54
PAllen
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Is everyone who disagrees with your version of events necessarily a crackpot? What is it _specifically_ about that site that you dislike so that has led you to reject it wholesale? I don't agree with everything there, but they do allow for debate and do offer evidence for their claims.

Moreover, mhslep, you are quoting Reagan, whom so moderately said something to the effect that the most dangerous words one can hear are: I'm from

the government and I'm here to help--hardly a thoughtful statement-- from a lightweight thinker. Should we then, on these grounds alone of your quote,dismiss everything

you say?

Crackpot is a style of (not) thinking, sloppy evidence. In world affairs, one sign is subscribing to any and all 'theories' sharing a common target, irrespective of their mutual consistency.

Note, I have enormous disagreements with US policy, and share many 'sympathies' with this site, but agree with Russ Waters that it is a complete garbage site as to reliable information.

In any case, all this is a distraction from this thread. Some key points are that while nuclear nonproliferation treaty has many logical flaws, and hypocritical elements, no country has to sign it. Further, if one is interested in enriching uranium only for research reactors, why be duplicitous about it? I can't say I know for sure Iran's intent, but I would say their actions are fairly well optimized to arouse suspicion.
 
  • #55
WWGD
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Crackpot is a style of (not) thinking, sloppy evidence. In world affairs, one sign is subscribing to any and all 'theories' sharing a common target, irrespective of their mutual consistency.

Note, I have enormous disagreements with US policy, and share many 'sympathies' with this site, but agree with Russ Waters that it is a complete garbage site as to reliable information.

In any case, all this is a distraction from this thread. Some key points are that while nuclear nonproliferation treaty has many logical flaws, and hypocritical elements, no country has to sign it. Further, if one is interested in enriching uranium only for research reactors, why be duplicitous about it? I can't say I know for sure Iran's intent, but I would say their actions are fairly well optimized to arouse suspicion.

O.K, that sounds more reasonable; I will check the site again to see.
 
  • #56
Bobbywhy
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I committed a serious error by using the article by William Blum to make my point. I did so without checking on his veracity and or reliability. After a little research I discovered that he is largely an exaggerator, sensationalist, conspiracy theory promoter, and is probably motivated only by increasing his own book sales. I apologise, and promise to be more attentive to the credibility of sources in future.

Since the topic of this thread is the Iranian nuclear weapons and this discussion of American foreign policy is clearly off topic. I discovered plenty of credible sources of information to bolster my viewpoint, so I don’t need guys like Blum anyway. I refer those who are interested in continuing this civil dialog to a new thread I am working on now which will be titled “Is a Moral Imperative justification for the USA to police the world?”

Regards,
Bobbywhy
 

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