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News Russia and Iran

  1. Sep 10, 2009 #1
    I'd like to hear comments/theories as to why Russia backs Iran so strongly, to the point of supplying Iran with nuclear technology. Russia gives every indication of being comfortable with an Iran armed with nuclear missiles despite the proximity of Iran to Russia. Parts of Russia (including Moscow) will likely be in range of Iranian missiles before western Europe or North America are. How can the Russians be so sure that the ruling clerics won't target them for their treatment of Muslim minorities such as in Chechnya, or for Russia's prior support of Serbia against Bosnian Muslims?

    In any case, a nuclear exchange, involving a nuclear armed Israel, so close to Russia's borders can hardly be in Russia's interest. I know Putin's Russia still has much of a cold war mentality, but this seems somewhat like "cutting off your nose to spite your face". Why are we so worried about a nuclear Iran when they don't seem to be? What gives?
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  3. Sep 10, 2009 #2
  4. Sep 10, 2009 #3
    Fact: There isn't a shred of evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. What passes for "evidence" in the Western World are speculations of the same sort that led to everyone believing that Saddam had produced such huge stockpiles of WMD that it would only be a matter of time that some of that would be handed over to terrorists.

    What would make Iran more of a threat is if we were to act even more on our paranoia and impose more sanctions or even start a war. Compare e.g. the situation after WWI when sanctions were imposed on Germany. We wanted to make sure that Germany would never bcome a military threat anymore. Where did that lead to? It fueled nationalism in Germany, hatred of foreign powers and in the end when Germany decided to violate the imposed sanctions regime, we were unable to act.

    Similarly, the real Iranian threat is not the fata morgana we have about a nuclear Iran. Rather, it is the following. If we persue our ridiculous idea that Iran, a sovereign coutry, cannot enrich its own uranium for use in its own nuclear powerplants (the whole process being monitored by IAEA inspectors), just because Iran could hypothetically leave the NPT, kick out the IAEA inspectors, make highly enriched uranium and then assemble a bomb then because there is no way that we can implement this without starting a war, we'll be dragged into a war.

    Iran will never agree to stop their nuclear program just because the West and Israel don't like that. Especially the Israel factor in here makes this impossible. Iran sees Israel as an occupying power that imposes restrictions on the Palestinians in the West Bank for the security of its illegal settlements. That's bad enough, so there is no way Iran would agree to restrictions on its rights.

    If we keep interpreting Iranian refusal to stop their enrichment program as evidence that Iran is persuing nuclear weapons, then sooner or later we or Israel will launch an attack and then Iran will, as promised, launch (conventional) missiles:

    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jHu-qXce9oBU3TnywR1HYt5LiEZw [Broken]

    aimed at US army bases in Iraq and Kuwayt. Presumably the US will respond military but then you get a big war and the original issue (Iran's nuclear program) will be long forgotten. A bit similar to how the US found itself bogged down in Iraq after 2003 and WMD was the last thing on themind of the US military.

    To see that the hypothetical Iranian nuclear weapons are really a fata morgana that we're seeing in the Iranian desert, consider for argument's sake that Iran would decide to produce nuclear weapons. Then they would have to make hightly enriched uranium then either the IAEA inspectors would see that happening, or Iran would have first kicked out the inspectors.

    So, we would have plenty of warning before Iran decided to produce highly enriched uranium. Then the bomb that Iran would make, would not be a practical weapon at all. It would simply be device that can explode, like North Korea has. Iran would have to test if it really works. Before Iran could place it on a missile, Iran would have to miniaturize it and then test the new designs. This is something that North Korea hasn't yet been able to do so far.

    Then the missiles have to be developed too. The bomb has to survive re-entry in the atmposhere. It has to explode at the right time. We have seen that North Korea hasn't got reliable enough missile technology. Iran's too is quite far removed from meeting the mininimal techical requirements to have an ICBM that can carry a nuke.

    So, this whole fear of a nuclear armed Iran simply does not make any sense.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Sep 10, 2009 #4


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    This is blatant misinformation. Find another forum if you simply to want to pursue your personal agenda.
  6. Sep 10, 2009 #5
    This is not misinformation at all. It is a fact that there isn't a shred of evience for the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. It is also a fact that the US, Israel and other Western powers have politicized intelligence and conduct foreign policy based on propaganda.
  7. Sep 10, 2009 #6
    Proximity? Well, yes. Iran is very close to Russia in the Caspian region. That's just my point. Why would Russia want to provide a potential enemy with a technology that could lead to nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them? Why take that chance? What do the Russians hope to gain? Diplomatically, it creates problems between Russia and the Arab states since there is no love lost between Shiite Iran and the mostly Sunni Arabs.

    Re Turkey, the US removed its nukes from Turkey in 1962 as part of the agreement ending the Cuban missile crisis.

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  8. Sep 11, 2009 #7


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    And one has verified this how? It's a bit like making a claim about something in the unobservable universe. That is one's opinion.

    Given that nuclear weapons programs are among the most secret activities of a nation seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and the evidence is very sensitive, those who know the evidence do not say.

    Every government does the political posturing.
  9. Sep 11, 2009 #8
    El Baradei has said so. What the US has achieved is getting Iran referred to the UNSC on the basis of vague suggestions that Iran may have a nuclear wepons program. But later, (in 2007, I think) the NIE admitted that according to all the intelligence the US has Iran stopped their nuclear weapons program in 2003 (that's before Ahmadinejad even was in power, and of course the claim that "Iran stopped a program" at a date before which you had any intelligence is a very suspect claim if you don't have evidence that it exists at all ).

    Now, had the US told this when Iran was discussed at the IAEA board of governors meeting in 2005 when Iran was referred, there would have no way that Iran would have been referred (note that the referral happend at a foreign ministers meeting, it was clearly a political decision).

    The obvious strategic goal for the US was to simply get Iran referred to the UNSC, evidence or no evidence. Once the UNSC passes sanctions and demands that Iran suspend enriching uranium, the IAEA is obliged to check if Iran is complying with this demand.

    THe fact that tensions exists between El Baradei and the West is obvious. When El Baradei suggested that Iran could be allowed to have a lmited enerichment capability, Dr. Rice told him to mind his own business (i.e. to check if Iran is complying with UNSC demands). Also recently, Israel and France have complained that the IAEA reoprt on Iran did not include what they call "evidence". El Baradei dismissed that:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h2-mELlX8VzEQiKF0kU_2jbTmFwg [Broken]

    So, France is angry that evidence, that they already admit that is very vague, is not admitted. Then, given that they don't know for sure even at this stage, there is no basis for the demands they make that Iran suspend their enrichment program. El Baradei saying that the threat is "hyped", shows that the process is working the wrong way.

    If the IAEA referrs a country to the UNSC, then it should be the IAEA that sees such a huge threat that it asks the UNSC to intervene. Clearly, what has happened in case of Iran is that the West has hijacked this process for referral and is doing things the IAEA does not agree with.

    So, basically, the West and Israel believe in some conspiracy theory about Iran (like Iran wants to produce nukes to wipe Israel off the map). And then, they are unlikely to accept evidence if that evidence casts doubt on their theories.

    Then that also answers the OP, because in case of indoctrination by some conspiracy theory, it is unlikely that the whole world will believe in that theory. Particularly not those countries that have closer relations with Iran, like Russia.
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  10. Sep 11, 2009 #9


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    Count Iblis, I believe El Baradei is referring to enrichment of U-235 (to WG levels), which is one possible step in nuclear weapons program.

    However, finding no evidence doesn't mean that a program does not exist.

    Unless one is intimately familiar, which means one has to have access to some very restricted knowledge, one is not in a position to make a substantiated (valid) claim that one did. In other words, don't be making claims for which one cannot verify.

    On the political side - 1) Iran has made threats against Israel, and has supported groups like Hizbollah and Hamas, which have attacked Israel, 2) Iran has expressed aspirations to have a nuclear program, and nuclear technology is dual use (energy or weapons), and 3) Iran has not been completely transparent. Therein lies the problem.

    Meanwhile the US and Israel have restrained themselves, at least in the case of Iran.

    Furthermore, since WWII, the US and other nuclear states have not used nuclear weapons against other nations, so there is a precedent for restraint in this regard.
  11. Sep 11, 2009 #10


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    It's complicated and very political.

    Note the Shanghai Cooperation Organization!
    Iran is a neighbor of these states, and there is mutual interest in stability, which is sometimes in conflict with national interests of advantage and superiority. But then again, those interests may vary according to the personalities (leaders and their egos) involved.

    The concern about Iran involves their adversarial relationship with Israel, as well as their influence/relationship with Iraq and Afghanistan.

    It's all about personalities and geopolitics.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  12. Sep 11, 2009 #11
    Iran doesn't even recognize Israel. Statements like Israel being wiped off the map are usually taken out of this context and given a meaning that is not intended.

    And Israel has attacked Lebanon in the early 1980s, so there is conflict going on. It is not like a peaceful Israel being a victim of one sided aggression supported by Iran.

    Iran, being a sovereign country has the right to even build nuclear weapons. Iran, however, has signed the NPT treaty, so it has voluntarily agreed not to do that. Under this treaty, they certainly have the right to persue industrial scale enrichment activities while under IAEA monitoring.

    The Western claim that Iran has somehow forfeited this right because of violations (which had to do with acquiring nuclear materials poutside of the NPT framework after unsuccessful attempts to legally acquire nhuclear technology as a result of US sanctions against companies that deal with Iran on nuclear matters), is nonsensical, because Iran could always (legally) leave the NPT.

    The real problem is that after the end of the Cold War, the West has been in a very powerful position, effectively being the judge, jury, prosecutor, police, and party of the conflict that is policed, at the same time. Then, even with the best of intentions, this has to go wrong.
  13. Sep 11, 2009 #12
    http://beta.thehindu.com/news/international/article18921.ece" [Broken]

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  14. Sep 12, 2009 #13
    Putin's statements only highlight his apparent lack of concern about the proliferation of nuclear powers near Russia's borders. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan was not welcome in the West and clearly raised the stakes for the outbreak of nuclear war. Now Russia has five nuclear armed states near its southern borders in a region where the potential for war is probably higher then it was in Europe before 1989. (North Korea, China, India, Pakistan and Israel). Perhaps Putin thinks 'what's one more?' This is insanity. Does he think Russia can control the situation? Does he believe Russia will not be directly affected by the outbreak of war anywhere from the Korean peninsula to India/Pakistan to the Middle East?
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  15. Sep 12, 2009 #14
    There are already two major wars going on in this region. And they were started not by Iran, by the way.
  16. Sep 12, 2009 #15
    It is a safe bet. Iran, despite its statements about Muslim brotherhood and leading the Muslim world against 'aggression by the West, puts its national aspirations first. It has precious few allies in the region, and as a military power and a nation with veto powers in the Security Council, Russia is the perfect companion.
    No, Russia does not want war in its neighbourhood. What it does is offer a counterbalance to the West's aggressive posture in those regions. It hopes that by gently caressing those nations, it can neutralize their aggressive behaviour and gain a foothold in the region.

    It does, but Iran has a history of supporting terrorist activities and politically, is on shaky ground. There are people in Iran who are much more radical than Ayatollah Khamenei or Ahmadinejad and the fear is if they take control, they could hand a terrorist a nuclear weapon to use. The current ruling elite in Iran have shown themselves to be power hungry and racist murderers who have the blood of many Iranians as well as foreigners on their hands. They have a well documented history of supporting terrorist and insurgency operations aimed at destabilizing regimes in its neighbourhood. So forgive me if I mistrust them and their signing of the NPT. It could simply intensify its support of terrorism overseas once it acquires a nuclear weapon knowing fully well that no country would dream of attacking it.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  17. Sep 12, 2009 #16


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    Your claim and El Baradei's are not identical. You said:
    El Baradei said:
    You used the word "shred" as an emphasizer, El Baradei used "concrete" as a qualifier. The difference is key: El Baradei is saying there is evidence of a nuclear weapons program, it just isn't good enough to be clear and incontrovertible. In other words, the evidence that exists is circumstantial.

    In addition, the word "ongoing" is a curious one, don't you think? It is another hedge, meaning that he's not ruling out sporadic nuclear weapons research.

    El Baradei chose his words very carefully - you made a much broader blanket statement and it isn't correct.
    What you are describing isn't what has happened. The IAEA determined there were violations of the NPT. This is not a hypothetical - the IAEA and the west are responding to Iran's actual actions and statements.
    No, that is nonsensical. The NPT requires documentation of compliance because of the dual use nature of the technology. If Iran were to leave the NPT, they'd face severe international condemnation and sanctions and the assumption that they were going to produce weapons. If all Iran really wants is to make nuclear power plants, they should follow the rules of the NPT and do it. It seems to me that if they are not trying to build nukes, then what they are doing is just counterproductive posturing.

    It actually has a similarity to the Iraq thing, though not what you think: Saddam Hussein did have WMD at one time. That's obvious, since he used them. But he apparently got rid of them after the first Gulf war. But he wasn't happy with disarnmant, so he postured like he still had weapons. This is what Iran is doing. The threats and posturing from Iran can't be ignored. It may be nothing more than flexing their muscles against The Great Satan, we cannot afford the possibility that it is more than that.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  18. Sep 12, 2009 #17


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    Incidentally, El Baradei was not real impressed with Iran's latest "nuclear package":

    In addition:
  19. Sep 12, 2009 #18

    Handing a nuke to a terrorists is not so simple. Even if that is done, How would Hamas or Hezbollah even deploy a nuke against Israel? They are not suicidal towards their own people, despite having used suicide bombers, they are not like Al Qa'ida. So, I think these sort of fears are very similar to Dr. Rice's "mushroom cloud over New York" rhetoric, the moment you analyze it rationaly, you see that the hypothetical situation is untanable. So, it is a Fata Morgana in the Iranian desert.

    Another argument is that Iran can easily produce large amounts of chemical weapons which is easier to hand over to terrorists and to be used by them. But Hezbollah has no missiles with a chemical charge.

    Then, one also has to look at Iranian support for Hezbollah and Hamas and the behavior of Iranian regime toward their own people in the proper context. From the Iranian perspective, Israel is an aggressive military power who illegally occupy lands that do not belong to them, while the West was guilty of genocide against the Iranian nation by supporting Saddam in his war of aggression against Iran. Iranian losses were of a similar scale as the losses the West suffered in WWII.

    Then, when the West complains about Iran supporting Hezbollah making it a "rouge state", to Iran that complaint comes from a power that supported Saddam resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iranians. So, this makes a similar expression to Iran as some speech by Hitler during WWII would have made in which he would have complained about the West killing innocent civilians in Germany.

    Of course, all this doesn't excuse Iran from supporting terrorism and repressing its own people. But without the proper context, it is easy to see things that aren't there. Just like:

    A country detains many members of an ethnic group. The US did this to ethnic Japanese during WWII. Leave out the WWII context in this sentence and all of a sudden the US looks like a racist country.

    Similarly: The US used nuclear weapons against Japan. Of course, the US was fighting WWII, Leave out that last fact, and it again looks to be competely different.

    More recent example: The US intervened in Latin American countries, sometimes with violence, during the Cold War. Leave out the context of the Cold War, and it again looks like the US is a country as the West perceives Iran to be.

    And just like in case of Iran, giving these proper contexts does not necessary mean that all of these actions by the US were ok. All it means that the argument that given what the country in question did, we must be dealing with an inherently "evil country", does not follow.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  20. Sep 12, 2009 #19
    About the evidence for an Iranian nuclear weapons program, I think the IAEA wants to be in a position that they can be sure, beyond any reasonable doubt, that it doesn't exist. Currently, they are not in that position, because Iran does not cooporate 100%. This then does not mean that there is circumstantial evidence for a weapons program.

    The (known) violations of the NPT by Iran dating from before 2003 have all been investigated later and it all has been explaoined. It had nothing to do with a weapons program. E.g. Iran wanted to legally acquire nuclear fuel using the usual procedures. Due to US pressure, Iran was unable to do so (the US imposes sanctions on companies that deal with Iran on nuclear matters, even if those dealings are within the proper IAEA rules).

    What then happened was that Iran managed to acquire the fuel from a Chinese company and did not notify the IAEA (to prevent the US from findoing out). That's a violation of the NPT, however, later investigations have shown that this had nothing to do with any weapons program. Nevertheless this is the only substantial violation of the NPT by Iran.

    Iran not notifying the IAEA about Natanz was not really a violation of the NPT because, according to the rules, you only need to notify the IAEA some months before te faclity is operational.

    So, I would say that without the proper context, it is easy to interpret every incident as evidence for a weapons program. Also, the fact that Iran currently does not cooperate 100%. Why would they cooporate with the IAEA if the IAEA now must check if Iran has suspended their enrichment program as demanded by the UNSC and if the military option is still on the table?
  21. Sep 12, 2009 #20
    It is "circumstantial", meaning the evidence isn't necessarily indicative of a nuclear weapons program, but rather that is only one possible explanation. So, El Baradei's comment acknowledges that there is at least some shred of evidence that Iran might have a nuclear weapons program. However, as for any shred of evidence that Iran does have a nuclear weapons program, El Baradei's comment suggests nothing of the sort.

    Or rather he simply isn't denying the Iran's past nuclear weapons research, as the evidence of Iran's past nuclear weapons program is rather indisputable.
  22. Sep 12, 2009 #21


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    Truck driven into downtown Tel Aviv? I don't know why they'd restrain themselves because of some native Arabs in Tel Aviv, they've not showed that restraint when targeting public places (buses, restaurants) that certainly contained both Arabs and Jews.
  23. Sep 12, 2009 #22


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    Back to the topic: Russia's foreign minister Lavrov says no to more UN sanctions against Iran.



    I didn't know that the IAEA still had cameras where it counts. Regardless, that's not the original point of the sanctions, which was a response to violations of the NPT. Russia's tossing the NPT out the window with this, or redefining it to mean 'do whatever you want up until the point where we think a weapon is imminent'
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  24. Sep 12, 2009 #23


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    This is all very 007. Two days ago Israel Prime Minister made a covert trip to Russia, apparently a plea to stop the Russians from selling Iran air defense missiles, something that would throw a major kink into any Israeli plans to attack nuclear sites in Iran.

  25. Sep 12, 2009 #24
    No, Iran is under sanctions because of "fears" that it was producing nukes (more likely, the US knew that Iran was not producing nukes, but it could make the case that it did, thereby getting sanctions imposed on Iran and isolating Iran even more).

    The violations of the NPT were not relevant, except that it was part of the US argument that Iran was headed toward producing nukes. But that argument has long since been debunked.

    South Korea and Brazil were also in violation of the NPT on some points. South Korea had even produced highly enriched uranium and misled the IAEA about that.
  26. Sep 12, 2009 #25
    I think that Israel is afraid that Iran could sell the S-300 system to Hezbollah. If Iran were to deploy the S-300 in Iran itself, Israel could deal with that. It would complicate an attack, but a single S-300 system that itself is defended by a single shorter range SAM system cannot last a long time when it comes under sustained attack from an enemy that knows exactly how it is deployed.

    Iran would be much better off giving Hezbollah the S-300 SAM system. Hezbollah would then be able to shoot down civilian aircraft deep inside Israel as a response to any Israeli aggression against Iran.
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