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Thread: Iran, Nukes, Diplomacy and other options (catch all thread 2007-2010)

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post

    cross-border crap the Qods Force of the IRGC has executed in Iraq against US and British troops?

    US forces in Iraq are seen by Tehran as a fundamental national security threat...
    Nah, I disagree, this is nonapplicable.

    What about US Forces in Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan? The Iranian's have not sent Iranian troops into these countries in order to kidnap and assassinate American soldiers while disguised as American soldiers in American vehicles, or to kill American combat troops with EFPs.

    The activities of the IRGC Qods force are those of SOLIC forces. Against the military might of the United States these actions are highly irrational. They appear to be begging for our retaliation.

    Then again the Iranian's have long demonstrated a tendency towards mass suicide in combat operations. Stupid is as stupid does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    Like Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    Laying aside the question of whether that action was justified or necessary, do you really think that any nation, including, God forbid, the U.S., could repeat that today and get away with it??


    Or what about the implied threat of their use - as caused Nikita K. to pull Soviet missiles out of Cuba (of course we pulled our short range missiles out of Turkey - but that was well after the Russian's had to back down and go home with theirs).
    That was a unique moment in time when the U.S. had a huge advantage over the Russians in terms of nuclear warheads and inter-continental ballistic missles. In fact, Russia had none of the latter. Khrushchev was bluffing and had his bluff called. That's no longer the case.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Let's not forget about arming Hezbollah with weapons that were used primarily for the purpose of targeting Israeli civilians.

    SFC W

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    So the rationality of their actions is determined not by the actions themselves but by our response to them?
    More importantly their ability to estimate and gauge our response before the action. A calculation of risk v. reward.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    This reminds me of a game my kids like to play sometimes called let's see what we can get away with. It's a dangerous game. You have to find the line with out crossing it. To make things more difficult, the line moves. Sooner or later somebody steps across it and ends up in the corner or their room.
    I do not think anyone would disagree that it is a dangerous game.


    Further, I see Iran's 2003 conciliatory outreach to us, after we had just walloped Saddam's Army, as more evidence of Iran's ability to think and act rationally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    Laying aside the question of whether that action (the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) was justified or necessary, do you really think that any nation, including, God forbid, the U.S., could repeat that today and get away with it??

    Jeff,

    "Getting away with" is not the end sum given the specific circumstances of a full scale war like we had with Japan in WWII. Nor is it today. There is no international law against a preemptive or retaliatory use of nuclear weapons in a conflict.

    For example. Keep an eye on Damascus should Syria ever hit Israel with the chemical weapon warheads it is known to have been fiddling with recently. The Syrian's have been informed in no uncertain terms that should they perch chemical warheads on their missiles Damascus will cease to exist.

    With respect to the U.S. - the stated policy of National Command Authority known as the ""Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" answers your question with crystal clarity.

    That warfare involving nuclear weapons will occur at some point in the future, by a state or non-state actor - is widely discussed as not a matter of if but when.


    That was a unique moment in time when the U.S. had a huge advantage over the Russians in terms of nuclear warheads and inter-continental ballistic missles. In fact, Russia had none of the latter. Khrushchev was bluffing and had his bluff called.
    Your statement is 100% incorrect. It was Soviet Russia that placed the worlds first ICBM on a launchpad. The R-7 (SS-6) went into operation in 1957.

    Jeff - you need to check your facts - the R7 was the ICBM platform which orbited Sputnik.

    However, with respect to the Cuban Missile Crisis is was the R-7A (SS-6 Mod 2) that was on the launch pads at Baikonur and Plesetsk in 1960 which provided Russia with a significant strategic nuclear deterrent.
    Last edited by Sean Osborne; 12-16-2007 at 01:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
    I see Iran's 2003 conciliatory outreach to us, after we had just walloped Saddam's Army, as more evidence of Iran's ability to think and act rationally.
    bourbon,

    What Iranian 2003 "conciliatory outreach' to the United States are you referring to?

    With respect to the NIE we're talking about - the US discovered in 2002 that Iran had covert nuclear weapons research ongoing at Natanz and Arak. An Iranian opposition group was responsible for pointing an accusatory finger at both the covert uranium enrichment facility at Natanz as well as the covert heavy water facility at Arak. At the time of this discovery both facilities were completely unknown to the pros in the U.S. intelligence community.

    Moreover, the dual-use (geared for primarily military applications) Iranian HEU enrichment we did know about continued without interuption.

    I repeat, what "conciliatory outreach" in 2003 are you referring to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    Jeff,

    That warfare involving nuclear weapons will occur at some point in the future, by a state or non-state actor - is widely discussed as not a matter of if but when.
    Hopefully, smarter minds will prevail.

    However, with respect to the Cuban Missile Crisis is was the R-7A (SS-6 Mod 2) that was on the launch pads at Baikonur and Plesetsk in 1960 which provided Russia with a significant strategic nuclear deterrent.
    Granted, Sean, but there was no comparison between Soviet capabilities and U.S. capabilities in 1962. We vastly outnumbered the Soviets, which was why they were trying to base missiles in Cuba - to help them close that gap. Read Dale C Copeland's essay "Neorealism and the Myth of Bipolar Stability: Toward a New Dynamic Realist Theory of Major War", part of the collection of essays in "Realism: Restatements and Renewal"

    And my error of fact notwithstanding, my point remains that the circumstances around the nuclear showdown of the Cuban Missile Crisis no longer apply today. We are now at nuclear parity with the Russians, and the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction is ignored at our peril.

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    bourbon,

    What Iranian 2003 "conciliatory outreach' to the United States are you referring to?

    With respect to the NIE we're talking about - the US discovered in 2002 that Iran had covert nuclear weapons research ongoing at Natanz and Arak. An Iranian opposition group was responsible for pointing an accusatory finger at both the covert uranium enrichment facility at Natanz as well as the covert heavy water facility at Arak. At the time of this discovery both facilities were completely unknown to the pros in the U.S. intelligence community.

    Moreover, the dual-use (geared for primarily military applications) Iranian HEU enrichment we did know about continued without interuption.

    I repeat, what "conciliatory outreach" in 2003 are you referring to?
    See the thread: May 2003 Iranian Offer

    See also:
    Report: Cheney rejected Iran's offer of concessions in 2003, By Tom Regan.
    csmonitor.com, January 18, 2007

    What We Wanted to Tell You About Iran, By Flynt Leverett, New America Foundation with Hillary Mann. The New York Times, December 22, 2006

    I repeat See the thread: May 2003 Iranian Offer

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    Granted, Sean, but there was no comparison between Soviet capabilities and U.S. capabilities in 1962.
    This is irrelevant to what you posted above as fact:
    That was a unique moment in time when the U.S. had a huge advantage over the Russians in terms of nuclear warheads and inter-continental ballistic missles. In fact, Russia had none of the latter.
    We are now at nuclear parity with the Russians, and the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction is ignored at our peril.
    Parity or not is a debateable issue in its own right. However NOBODY is ignorant of MAD. Nobody and most certainly not the US.
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    Iran hasn't yet revealed an accurate report of it's capabilities to produce HEU. It has old, unreliable centerfuges.
    Jeff,

    These two sentences are mutually exclusive. Since Iran has not yet revealed detailed and verified as accurate data about its capability to produce HEU it cannot possibly be deduced as fact that Iran has old unreliable centrifuges.

    Additionally, the Intelligence Community knows that AQ Khan proliferated/sold Iran detailed plans to produce second generation (P2) centrifuges - those P2 plans remain completely unaccounted for.

    To the contrary of your statement above, Iran has minimally informed the IAEA that they were in the process testing P2 centrifuges and even has advanced designs in production for P3 centrifuges.

    Moreover, the covert Arak facility is reported to produce plutonium, not HEU.

    Bottom line is: we know what we know, and we don't know what we don't know.

    Prudence suggests that we assume worst case.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 12-17-2007 at 03:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
    See the thread: May 2003 Iranian Offer
    I see nothing here that proves the verified existence of a viable "offer" from Iran regarding its nuclear ambitions.

    I saw that the primary news source was uncertain of the source of the "offer." In fact, I saw something about a "proposal," but nothing specific about an "offer."

    The most current report on Iranian nuclear activity comes from Amir Taheri entitled "Appeasement Yesterday and Appeasement Today".

    Excerpt:

    In other words, even if we accept the NIEís claim that the programme was stopped in 2003, something that we have no reason to do, there is no evidence that it has not been resumed.

    There is, in fact, quite a bit of evidence to the contrary.

    As already noted, the uranium enrichment project has been resumed and continues at much faster pace.

    ēAccording to official estimates in Tehran, allocations for the nuclear programme have risen by almost 40 per cent.

    ēThe International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that all of Iranís known nuclear sites remain in full operation.

    ēThe IAEA also reports that it has no access to a number of other industrial sites in Iran that may well be linked to the nuclear programme. In other words, we know what we donít know but donít know what we donít know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    This is irrelevant to what you posted above as fact:
    How is it irrelevant? That instead of zero ICBMs they had minimal amount? Both go to demonstrate my original point of how the Cuban Missile Crisis is not an example of a nation using the threat of nuclear weapons TODAY is realistic or probable because today we have parity. 40 years ago - no parity.


    Parity or not is a debateable issue in its own right.
    It is? I'd love to read a reference that you have that claims nuclear parity existed between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1962.


    However NOBODY is ignorant of MAD. Nobody and most certainly not the US.
    Good. Then let's hope that cooler heads prevail and nobody launches "preemptively" or for any other reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    The most current report on Iranian nuclear activity comes from Amir Taheri entitled "Appeasement Yesterday and Appeasement Today".

    Excerpt:
    Oh, come on. You might as well be quoting Karl Rove. Show me the IAEA report that verifies the current state of Iranian nuclear production. Verified facts, please.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 12-17-2007 at 03:13 AM.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Can you show any that verify the first paragraph

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    Oh, come on. You might as well be quoting Karl Rove. Show me the IAEA report that verifies the current state of Iranian nuclear production. Verified facts, please.
    of the NIE? How can anyone in the US show verified facts on the Iranian nuclear program?

    Speculation is speculation, regardless of who prints it, seems to me. Been my observation that most who print speculation and try to couch it as fact have a bias that will come out in their statements and that all too frequently, there's an agenda at work -- and that agenda may not be what seems apparent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    Jeff,

    These two sentences are mutually exclusive. Since Iran has not yet revealed detailed and verified as accurate data about its capability to produce HEU it cannot possibly be deduced as fact that Iran has old unreliable centrifuges.

    We know Iran has P1 centerfuges that they acquired from Pakistan, and we know that P1 centerfuges break down frequently. What we don't know is how much HEU is being produced, however based on what we DO know about the P1's, and about their number, 3000, its unlikely that they're doing much with them.

    Additionally, the Intelligence Community knows that AQ Khan proliferated/sold Iran detailed plans to produce second generation (P2) centrifuges - those P2 plans remain completely unaccounted for.

    To the contrary of your statement above, Iran has minimally informed the IAEA that they were in the process testing P2 centrifuges and even has advanced designs in production for P3 centrifuges.
    Iran claims a lot of things, and hyperbole is not in short supply in Tehran. Plans for a P2 is far removed from a functioning cascade. Very far removed.


    Moreover, the covert Arak facility is reported to produce plutonium, not HEU.]
    Iran's plutonium production has already been verified by the IAEA as peaceful. It's a closed issue.


    Bottom line is: we know what we know, and we don't know what we don't know. Prudence suggests that we assume worst case.
    No, that would be paranoia, not prudence. Prudence says wait for the facts to come in before launching an attack on WMDs that don't exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    of the NIE? How can anyone in the US show verified facts on the Iranian nuclear program?

    Speculation is speculation, regardless of who prints it, seems to me. Been my observation that most who print speculation and try to couch it as fact have a bias that will come out in their statements and that all too frequently, there's an agenda at work -- and that agenda may not be what seems apparent.
    I concur. Moreover it seems that at least some to the left of center deem the NIE to be chiseled-in-granite verifiable intelligence fact instead of the multi-faceted compiled intelligence estimate and assessment that it really is. All estimates and assessments are subject to additional review with the application of new data and a subsequent re-estimation and re-assessment as the net result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    of the NIE? How can anyone in the US show verified facts on the Iranian nuclear program?
    No, Ken, not of the NIE. From the IAEA. I objected to Sean's use of evidence which turned out to be an editorial by Amir Taheri. I'm simply saying to wait until the IAEA finishes it's work and issues a report rather than state editorial positions as if they're facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    I concur. Moreover it seems that at least some to the left of center deem the NIE to be chiseled-in-granite verifiable intelligence fact instead of the multi-faceted compiled intelligence estimate and assessment that it really is. All estimates and assessments are subject to additional review with the application of new data and a subsequent re-estimation and re-assessment as the net result.
    Lots of people use the NIE to support their own agenda, Sean, not just the "left of center", or are you actually saying that members of the political Right are exempt from that error?
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 12-17-2007 at 03:12 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    based on what we DO know about the P1's, and about their number, 3000...
    Really? How do you know all 3000 are of the first generation P1 types? Got proof?

    Even more importantly, what the IAEA has consistently demanded of Iran is that it certifiably halt ALL ENRICHMENT PROCESSES. Period. Iran has flat out refused to do so.

    ElBaradei as quoted by the Financial Times on 19 February 2007:

    ...I would report that Iran has not complied with the demand of the international community to suspend [enrichment processes].
    Iran's plutonium production has already been verified by the IAEA as peaceful. It's a closed issue.
    The IAEA provided Iran with a Q&A for them to fill out. The IAEA then accepted Iran's written response carte blanche. There was no inspection whatsoever to verify the veracity of Iranian answers to the IAEA Q&A.


    No, that would be paranoia, not prudence.
    That would be in accordance with you own personal opinion; an opinion I obvious do not share.

    Prudence says wait for the facts to come in before launching an attack on WMDs that don't exist.
    The prudence decision is in the hands of the U.S. National Military Command Authority. Period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    Really? How do you know all 3000 are of the first generation P1 types? Got proof?
    Yes.It's from your old friend Khan.

    The prudence decision is in the hands of the U.S. National Military Command Authority. Period.
    Which is under the control of a civilian Commander-in-Chief, who is elected by the people of the U.S. So my argument is that "we the people" would be well-served to also exercise prudence. Perhaps then so many of us won't be fooled by the fear-mongers that are now occupying and/or campaigning for political office.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    I objected to Sean's use of ... an editorial by Amir Taheri.
    There's absolutely nothing wrong with Amir Taheri's analysis of Iran, the IAEA or the NIE.

    From the above link:

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can also spin the new NIE in favour of its own exercise in diplomatic chiaroscuro. It (the IAEA) has demonstrated that Iran has had a hidden and illegal nuclear programme at some point but refuses to commit itself on whether or not this is still the case.
    Bingo. Dead-on correct based upon all available OSINT.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    Yes. It's from Khan.
    This is not from Khan and it says nothing about whether or not Iran has used the Khan proliferated P2 designs to build Iranian centrifuges.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 12-17-2007 at 03:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    This is not from Khan and it says nothing about whether or not Iran has used the Khan proliferated P2 designs to build Iranian centrifuges.
    It's an excellent analysis of the info gleaned from Khan's network, which is how the P1s came to be in Iran's possession.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Osborne View Post
    There's absolutely nothing wrong with Amir Taheri's analysis of Iran, the IAEA or the NIE.

    From the above link:

    Bingo. Dead-on correct based upon all available OSINT.

    Well, that's your preference and your entitled to use whatever evidence you think supports your point of view.

    I prefer original sources for my evidence whenever possible, and short of that, an assessment by an official body, think tank, academic institution, or research organization that's considered reputable and balanced. I put journalists with a clear case of bias (use of emotionally charged words like "appeasement" in the title of an editorial is a good hint) in the round file, but that's just me.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 12-17-2007 at 03:11 AM.

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    Default just like those centrifuges....

    I think the thread has started to spin in circles, and break down frequently.

    I think we can all agree:

    1) That current evidence seems to suggest that Iran has suspended its weaponization programme, for now at least.

    2) It does have an active enrichment programme, of uncertain size. This could be civilian, it could be part of a drive to build a weapon, or it could be part of an effort to attain weapons capacity (without actually moving to a weapon).

    3) The military option, regardless of its drawbacks or merits, is off the table for now.

    Given this, perhaps we can focus on:

    1) What ought to be the goal? No Iranian enrichment capacity? Limited under safeguards? With what quid pro quos?

    2) Ought current diplomatic efforts be revised in some way?

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