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Old 12-23-2011   #21
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Default A collapse I missed, did you too?

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The most striking indicator is the collapse of the Iranian rial's value against the US dollar: from around 7,000 rial to the dollar in October 2011 to 15,150 at the end of trading on 20 December 2011.
Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/wo...loom.html?_r=1

Hat tip to Paul Rogers for drawing attention to this:http://www.opendemocracy.net/paul-ro...-shifting-risk

Given that Iran continues to import much of its petrol, which I assume is paid in US$, this collapse could be rather painful quickly.
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Old 01-10-2012   #22
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A serious split is developing within Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, with one faction favoring the overthrow of the dictatorial regime. This presents a window of opportunity for the West to support regime change before the Islamic Republic successfully tests nuclear weapons. Once the regime has those nuclear bombs, that opening will be much narrower.
Iran has tried hard to show strength in the face of sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to quit its suspected nuclear-bomb and missile development programs. Iranian leaders are now flexing their military muscles in the strategic waterway, the Strait of Hormuz, threatening to shut it down and choking off a major part of the world's oil supply.
The regime has long tried to scare the West from taking any action against it, by threatening the world's security and stability. However, behind its mask of strength and unity, big cracks are beginning to show.
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/011...y_on_iran.php3
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Old 01-10-2012   #23
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VIENNA — Diplomats on Monday confirmed a report that Iran has begun uranium enrichment at a secret underground bunker and said the news is particularly worrying because the site is being used to make material that can be upgraded more quickly for use in a nuclear weapon than the nation's main enriched stockpile.

The diplomats said that centrifuges at the Fordo site near Iran's holy city of Qom are churning out uranium enriched to 20 percent. That level is higher than the 3.5 percent being made at Iran's main enrichment plant and can be turned into fissile warhead material faster and with less work.
http://news.yahoo.com/iran-nuke-bunk...XN0Aw--;_ylv=3
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Old 01-10-2012   #24
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Default New plant is open to inspection

Yes the new, underground nuclear processing plant is open, but somewhere today I read it is under IAEA safeguards - which is an important point IMHO.
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Old 01-11-2012   #25
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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Two assailants on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to the car of an Iranian university professor working at a key nuclear facility, killing him and his driver Wednesday, reports said. The slayings suggest a widening covert effort to set back Iran's atomic program.
http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_16026/cont...tguid=S7Ph6TYi
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Old 01-11-2012   #26
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Default gaming a strike on Iran

The Times (London) had a piece this week on yet another pol-mil crisis game of a possible Israeli or US strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, this time by the INSS at Tel Aviv University. At this point there are far more wargames of attacking Iran then there are actual Iranian nukes.

I've added it to the constantly-updated list of Iran nuclear simulations at Wargaming Connection.
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Old 01-17-2012   #27
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EARLY in Tehran's grey wintry morning last Wednesday, Mustafa Ahmadi Roshan, a young scientist in Iran's controversial nuclear program, got dressed at his home in the northern suburbs. The events of this last hour of his life could have come out of a spy film.

Small groups of Israeli agents were watching key points in the Iranian capital. Their target was Roshan. They would be dead themselves if they were caught.

For Israel it was a classic assassination mission. "What is seen in espionage films as a simple operation is a result of hard work, many months of intelligence gathering and a well trained team," said a source who released details, impossible to verify*, to The Sunday Times.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...-1226244885385

* So, essentially fiction?
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Old 01-17-2012   #28
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Default I wouldn’t say that,

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Originally Posted by AdamG View Post
* So, essentially fiction?
I would say that it’s not even wrong.
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Old 01-17-2012   #29
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U.S. plans for sanctions on Iran are escalating what some analysts call a covert war between the two countries. Patrick Clawson, director of the Washington Institute's Iran Security Initiative, and Columbia University's Gary Sick discuss how the Obama administration should deal with Iran.
http://www.npr.org/2012/01/17/145349...-war-with-iran
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Old 01-18-2012   #30
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As tensions ratchet up in the Persian Gulf, the Kremlin is signaling that it will use all its diplomatic influence to oppose war and, according to a leading Moscow newspaper, has ordered the military to prepare for any possible spillover from a conflict between Iran and the US into the sensitive post-Soviet Caucasus region.
http://news.yahoo.com/why-russia-pla...GVzdAM-;_ylv=3

Quote:
JERUSALEM — Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Israel said on Wednesday that any decision on attacking Iran because of its nuclear program was “very far off,” seeking to lower the tone of increasingly nervous discourse as powers maneuver in advance of European moves to intensify sanctions against Tehran.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/19/wo...imes&seid=auto
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Old 01-19-2012   #31
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So am I the only one who thinks that sanctions not directed solely at Iran's nuclear program only strengthen the current Iranian government, especially in light of the recent "green movement" in that country?
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Old 01-19-2012   #32
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Default Sink Sanctions.

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Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
So am I the only one...
Nope, I agree with you.

Sanctions do not work unless very precisely targeted and very rigorously enforced -- neither of which often occurs...
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Old 01-19-2012   #33
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Sanctions do not work unless very precisely targeted and very rigorously enforced -- neither of which often occurs...
I wonder what sanctions as they are typically used are even meant to accomplish. My working assumption is that they are mostly meant 1) to register a government’s disapproval with another government and 2) to convince the domestic audience that due diligence is being done.

The program of divestments from South Africa during the apartheid era is commonly given as confirmation of the effectiveness of sanctions. But it’s not at all clear how much influence they had on the ultimate outcome of things even there.

Quote:
especially in light of the recent "green movement" in that country
Yeah, it amazes me how often U.S. policy makers either don’t know about or choose to ignore that dynamic. Although it appears they might actually get it in the context of the current Syrian situation (knock on wood).
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Old 01-19-2012   #34
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Nope, I agree with you.

Sanctions do not work unless very precisely targeted and very rigorously enforced -- neither of which often occurs...
They are also almost always strictly punitive. Sanctions are often portrayed in terms of inducement but I think in reality that's rarely the case - they are punitive. That's another reason they rarely work.
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Old 01-19-2012   #35
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Default A collapse I missed, did you too? Updated

Curiously the Iranian Rial exchange rate to the US Dollar has improved in the last three weeks and is now 11,279; three weeks ago it was 15,150.

I assumed the exchange rate was a barometer of international confidence in trading with Iran.
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Old 01-20-2012   #36
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Default Some 40 years ago...

It was three hundred and sixty (360) to the dollar. I wonder what could've gone wrong...

ADDED: That was the real rate -- the official rate was 75 : 1.00. Nobody used that except the Banks...

Last edited by Ken White; 01-20-2012 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 01-20-2012   #37
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Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
They are also almost always strictly punitive. Sanctions are often portrayed in terms of inducement but I think in reality that's rarely the case - they are punitive.
Not only that, the people who get punished aren't the people who are doing the things we want to punish. Ineffective on all counts... though often quite effective at getting to people to hate us instead of their own leaders.

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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Curiously the Iranian Rial exchange rate to the US Dollar has improved in the last three weeks and is now 11,279; three weeks ago it was 15,150.

I assumed the exchange rate was a barometer of international confidence in trading with Iran.
Also a barometer of Iranian confidence in their own currency, and by extension their own government: if Iranians are willing to pay over 10k Rial for one dollar, that says something about their perception of value. What's the unemployment rate? More important, what's the unemployment rate for males under 30?
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Old 01-20-2012   #38
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Default Attack or not?

Point/counterpoint at Foreign Affairs:

Quote:
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articl..._iran_3-011912

Time to Attack Iran: Why a Strike is the Least Bad Option
Quote:
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articl..._iran_2-011912

Not Time to Attack Iran: Why War Should Be a Last Resort
May need registration (free) to read full text.
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Old 01-21-2012   #39
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Default New plant is open to inspection: Part 2

A week ago I posted this:Yes the new, underground nuclear processing plant is open, but somewhere today I read it is under IAEA safeguards - which is an important point IMHO.

Now for Part 2. Today in the Daily Telegraph is a report headlined Great Salt Desert bunker could be trigger for an attack on Iran' and sub-titled:
Quote:
A bunker buried in a mountainside in the Great Salt Desert could become the crucial trigger for any decision to launch military strikes on Iran.
I noted this less bellicose passage:
Quote:
Last November, the IAEA reported that Fordow held 412 centrifuges, representing 14 per cent of its capacity.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...k-on-Iran.html

All this and without deep reading on such matters puzzles me. Iran develops and reveals an underground factory, which is inspected by the IAEA and under safeguards - which IIRC includes time lapse CCTV and more. Why would the Iranians allow such external oversight?
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Old 01-22-2012   #40
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
All this and without deep reading on such matters puzzles me. Iran develops and reveals an underground factory, which is inspected by the IAEA and under safeguards - which IIRC includes time lapse CCTV and more. Why would the Iranians allow such external oversight?
With the proviso that I am not very well–read about this particular topic, either, my understanding is that the Iranians didn’t so much reveal the existence of the Fordow facility as they admitted to its existence after being called out. Enriching uranium isn’t illegal in and of itself. I don’t know that IAEA observation and reportage regarding particulars of the Iranian centrifuges would render the facility more vulnerable in any substantive way. On the other hand, refusing to admit IAEA inspectors would surely open the door to increased sanctions as well as providing a possible justification for a strike on the facility.
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Last edited by ganulv; 01-22-2012 at 12:46 AM. Reason: added link
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