Tag Archives: Qom

Letter to President Barack Obama on Imposing Sanctions against Islamic Republic Central Bank and oil exports

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC. 20500

Re: Imposing Sanctions against Islamic Republic Central Bank and oil exports

Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned, are a diverse but united group of pro-democracy Americans and Iranian-Americans expressing our astonishment and anger in the strongest terms regarding your continued misguided policies toward Iran and your administration’s opposition and refusal to placing of meaningful sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

We are appalled to hear yet again your administration continues to appease the Islamic Republic, a regime designated by the United States State Department as a “state sponsor of terrorism” and has now surpassed China on the issue of human rights violations. The Iranian mullahs routinely use torture, whipping, rape, stoning, hangings and mass executions have been well documented by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations.

The recent amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act authored by Senators Robert Menendez and Mark Kirk had an unprecedented support as demonstrated by the unanimous approval (100-0) in the Senate requiring sanctions on financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran. Next to oil, that finances the IRI’s terrorist activities, the Central Bank is the financial nerve center of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the entity directly responsible for regime’s proliferation procurement efforts.

Secretary Clinton rightfully stated on the Voice of America that the Iranian regime is a “dictatorship” and warned that the regime is moving towards a “military dictatorship.” For over three decades, various governments have used dialogue and diplomacy with the regime hoping to bring it to the negotiations table, to no avail. Starting with the administration of President Jimmy Carter, who did everything possible to assure the new regime of America’s friendship and the more that countries have tried to engage the regime’s leaders, the more emboldened and abusive they have become.

Mr. President there is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. The United States should not accept an Iran with nuclear weapons. Regime’s nuclear ambitions frighten Iranians and threaten the national security of the United States and its allies. The Central Bank of Iran is complicit in Iran’s nuclear venture by financing the Iranian efforts to acquire the knowledge, material and facilities to enrich uranium and to ultimately develop weapons of mass destruction.

Since the revolution, the regime’s first priority has consistently remained the survival of the regime and not the well being of the Iranian people. The criminal regime’s ideological goal is to be able to export its theocratic form of government, its version of Shi’a Islam. To ensure regime survival, mullahs have also extended support to governments and dissident groups that oppose U.S. interests. Diplomacy, economic leverage, soft power, and active sponsorship of terrorist and paramilitary groups are tools this regime uses to drive its aggressive foreign policy. In particular, it uses terrorism to pressure or intimidate other countries. The most notable example of this strategy includes Iran’s support for Lebanese Hezbollah as well as its influence over proxy groups in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iran seeks to increase its stature by countering U.S. influence and expanding ties with regional actors while advocating Islamic solidarity. The regime is attempting to achieve political, economic and security influence in Iraq and Afghanistan while undermining U.S. efforts by supporting various political groups and furnishing lethal aid to Iraqi Shi’a militants and Afghan insurgents. In an attempt to increase influence in the Levant, the regime provides weapons, training and financing to Hezbollah, its strategic partner.

The Iranian-American community is perplexed about the duplicitous message you and Secretary Clinton are trying to convey. We were certainly hoping that after your first New Year’s message when you offered your hand and received a clenched fist and, did not respond to demonstrators chants of “Obama, Obama, are you with them or with us?” and you remained inexcusably silent, while Iranians were beaten and gunned down by Basij, Hezbollah and Hamas thugs. After all this, one would think that your administration would consider a shift in its ill-conceived policy toward Iran.

Mr. President, the Iranian community urges you to keep the following points in mind when dealing with the rapist regime:

• Many rulers have conquered Iran throughout our history. They might have managed to destroy our cities, and burn our books but have failed to destroy our identity, culture and love of life. Conqueror after conqueror has eventually succumbed to our rich culture, customs, traditions and intellect. Mullahs have tried to destroy our Persian identity and have failed miserably. Brave Iranian youth are now launching a cultural war against their oppressive theocratic rulers.

• Iranians have first-hand witnessed the atrocities committed by the theocratic rulers under the Islamic law. Your strategy by not confronting the mullahs and your continued readiness to pursue dialogue and diplomacy with a regime that has American blood on its hands is an insult to Iranian-Americans and the families of our brave U.S. military men and women who have lost their lives defending the values we cherish so dearly.

• Attempts to negotiate and isolate have not deterred the regime. While you are trying to force mullahs to the negotiations table, they are supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan against NATO forces. Your empty threat, doubletalk and appeasement policies embolden the regime to commit even more atrocities. If you continue the half-measure policies of the past thirty three years, the regime will continue to kill more Americans and commit more human rights violations. That is a legacy you respectfully do not need to leave behind.

• About 75% of the IRI’s revenues come from oil, a blessing and curse for Iranians. With an effective oil embargo the regime will be weakened and unable to meet its financial obligations, causing mass desertions, giving the Iranian oppositions groups the ability to rise up against the regime. We strongly believe that Iran’s Persian Gulf neighbors are so outraged by the recent terror plot against the Saudi diplomat and alarmed at the danger posed by a nuclear armed Islamic Republic that they are willing to increase their oil production to make up for any likely shortage.

Ultimately, in the final analysis, the strengthening of Iran sanctions for the purpose of compelling the regime leaders to abandon their pursuit of nuclear weapons is a futile effort. In a recently released survey by Zogby, Iranian-Americans want the regime to change. Only 6% of Iranian-Americans believe that an Islamic Republic works well in Iran. Iranians are asking for a change in U.S. policy towards Iran. They have witnessed this regime in action for 33 years. They have reached the conclusion that this regime cannot be reformed. They are demanding a regime change. They want a free, democratic and secular form of government. The real and long-term solution lies in meaningful support for the pro-democracy and pro-West Iranians inside and outside of Iran.

We are concerned about the degree of infiltration of Islamic extremists and regime lobbyists in the United States. During the Rafsanjani presidency, it was decided to create an Iranian lobby in Washington to distract the United States from the regime’s human rights violations, worldwide insurgencies and their nuclear weapons’ program. Consequently, the regime spends millions annually to shape the US policy and to prevent the Iranian opposition from forming a united front. The Iranian community is well aware that the IRI lobby is hard at work disguising the regime’s crimes. Their influence was clearly evident after your refusal to honor the will of over 300 million Americans expressed through their respective Senators.

We respectfully ask that no person from the United States government be permitted to contact any person that is an agent, or official of, is affiliated with, or serving as a representative of or lobbies for the government of Iran. We urge for the inclusion of secular and pro-democracy opposition groups in your decision-making if the United States is to have effective and robust policy on Iran. There are many independent experts and opposition leaders who can provide a more honest and accurate assessment of the current situation and opposition forces inside and outside Iran.

We take issue with regime apologist’s dishonest claim that sanctions punish the “ordinary” Iranians. It is our belief that the majority of Iranians have been subjected to the most inhumane conditions by the oppressive regime and a temporary hardship is a sacrifice they are willing to make to rid themselves of the rapist regime. With persistent inflation and unemployment above 25%, millions of Iranians living below the poverty line, deprivation of basic human rights, suppressions of free speech, arbitrary arrests, torture and rapes, the ordinary Iranians have been punished under the Islamic Republic’s dictatorship for over three decades. Efforts for removal of sanctions are spearheaded by the IRGC and Iranian-American businessmen and the big oil to ensure their lucrative financial contracts on the backs of ordinary Iranians.

The IRI regime is in crisis. There is no better time. The imposition of an oil embargo and sanctioning of the IRI’s Central Bank now will empower the opposition groups inside and outside Iran to unite and rise up against this criminal regime. It is well past time that you align yourself with the people who have suffered brutally at the hands of dictators and tyrants. It is time to give honor, dignity, moral imperatives and ethical values precedence over lucrative financial contracts proposed by lobbyists and wealthy Iranians that often occur, wrongly, at the expense of ordinary citizens’ lives.

The United States must have an enduring commitment to encourage democracy and human rights throughout the world and cannot ignore the fact that the current regime in Iran is a major threat to the world’s economic stability and world peace. You must encourage and support every group that truly advocates freedom and the rule of law and oppose any regime that denies such progress. At this time, Iran is dominated by a vicious dictator who has proven his lack of concern for Iranians on countless occasions. There should be no question that the United States must have every ethical, moral and strategic reason to encourage Iranian democratic movements. The Iranian opposition groups hope to establish a co-operative relationship with the American people and seek their strategic and non-military support in establishing a secular and democratic government in Iran.

Mr. President, over 2,500 years ago, Iran was ruled by a great king called Cyrus the Great, he is best remembered for the first declaration of human rights and unprecedented tolerance and a magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated. The Hellenes, whom he conquered, regarded him as ‘Law-giver’ and the Jews as ‘the anointed of the Lord.’ Current regime’s conduct on the world stage, especially at the UN is a source of shame to us proud, civilized and educated Iranians.

Mr. President, many presidents have led this nation through times of national crisis and celebration, economic ups and downs, through horrendous wars and times of peace. Their politics, personalities and leadership skills have shaped the United Sates as the great country it is today. Each man who has held the office of President of the United States–from George Washington to George W. Bush—has left behind a unique legacy. Be the change you promised during your presidential campaign! Show astute leadership by making Iran the centerpiece of your honorable political and personal legacy. Change the course of 33 years of the blatant human rights violations, destitution, crimes, torture, rapes and hangings inflicted on the Iranian people. Make history. Leave behind a free and democratic Iran, the island of stability in the Middle East, as your legacy. Be the change you promised, the change we all believed in and voted for!

 

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TIME TO ATTACK IRAN

Why a Strike Is the Least Bad Option

Anti-American mural in the Iranian capital Tehran.
Tehran Propaganda

In early October, U.S. officials accused Iranian operatives of planning to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States on American soil. Iran denied the charges, but the episode has already managed to increase tensions between Washington and Tehran. Although the Obama administration has not publicly threatened to retaliate with military force, the allegations have underscored the real and growing risk that the two sides could go to war sometime soon — particularly over Iran’s advancing nuclear program.

For several years now, starting long before this episode, American pundits and policymakers have been debating whether the United States should attack Iran and attempt to eliminate its nuclear facilities. Proponents of a strike have argued that the only thing worse than military action against Iran would be an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. Critics, meanwhile, have warned that such a raid would likely fail and, even if it succeeded, would spark a full-fledged war and a global economic crisis. They have urged the United States to rely on nonmilitary options, such as diplomacy, sanctions, and covert operations, to prevent Iran from acquiring a bomb. Fearing the costs of a bombing campaign, most critics maintain that if these other tactics fail to impede Tehran’s progress, the United States should simply learn to live with a nuclear Iran.

But skeptics of military action fail to appreciate the true danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond. And their grim forecasts assume that the cure would be worse than the disease — that is, that the consequences of a U.S. assault on Iran would be as bad as or worse than those of Iran achieving its nuclear ambitions. But that is a faulty assumption. The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States.

DANGERS OF DETERRENCE

Years of international pressure have failed to halt Iran’s attempt to build a nuclear program. The Stuxnet computer worm, which attacked control systems in Iranian nuclear facilities, temporarily disrupted Tehran’s enrichment effort, but a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency this past May revealed that the targeted plants have fully recovered from the assault. And the latest IAEA findings on Iran, released in November, provided the most compelling evidence yet that the Islamic Republic has weathered sanctions and sabotage, allegedly testing nuclear triggering devices and redesigning its missiles to carry nuclear payloads. The Institute for Science and International Security, a nonprofit research institution, estimates that Iran could now produce its first nuclear weapon within six months of deciding to do so. Tehran’s plans to move sensitive nuclear operations into more secure facilities over the course of the coming year could reduce the window for effective military action even further. If Iran expels IAEA inspectors, begins enriching its stockpiles of uranium to weapons-grade levels of 90 percent, or installs advanced centrifuges at its uranium-enrichment facility in Qom, the United States must strike immediately or forfeit its last opportunity to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear club.

Some states in the region are doubting U.S. resolve to stop the program and are shifting their allegiances to Tehran. Others have begun to discuss launching their own nuclear initiatives to counter a possible Iranian bomb. For those nations and the United States itself, the threat will only continue to grow as Tehran moves closer to its goal. A nuclear-armed Iran would immediately limit U.S. freedom of action in the Middle East. With atomic power behind it, Iran could threaten any U.S. political or military initiative in the Middle East with nuclear war, forcing Washington to think twice before acting in the region. Iran’s regional rivals, such as Saudi Arabia, would likely decide to acquire their own nuclear arsenals, sparking an arms race. To constrain its geopolitical rivals, Iran could choose to spur proliferation by transferring nuclear technology to its allies — other countries and terrorist groups alike. Having the bomb would give Iran greater cover for conventional aggression and coercive diplomacy, and the battles between its terrorist proxies and Israel, for example, could escalate. And Iran and Israel lack nearly all the safeguards that helped the United States and the Soviet Union avoid a nuclear exchange during the Cold War — secure second-strike capabilities, clear lines of communication, long flight times for ballistic missiles from one country to the other, and experience managing nuclear arsenals. To be sure, a nuclear-armed Iran would not intentionally launch a suicidal nuclear war. But the volatile nuclear balance between Iran and Israel could easily spiral out of control as a crisis unfolds, resulting in a nuclear exchange between the two countries that could draw the United States in, as well.

These security threats would require Washington to contain Tehran. Yet deterrence would come at a heavy price. To keep the Iranian threat at bay, the United States would need to deploy naval and ground units and potentially nuclear weapons across the Middle East, keeping a large force in the area for decades to come. Alongside those troops, the United States would have to permanently deploy significant intelligence assets to monitor any attempts by Iran to transfer its nuclear technology. And it would also need to devote perhaps billions of dollars to improving its allies’ capability to defend themselves. This might include helping Israel construct submarine-launched ballistic missiles and hardened ballistic missile silos to ensure that it can maintain a secure second-strike capability. Most of all, to make containment credible, the United States would need to extend its nuclear umbrella to its partners in the region, pledging to defend them with military force should Iran launch an attack.

In other words, to contain a nuclear Iran, the United States would need to make a substantial investment of political and military capital to the Middle East in the midst of an economic crisis and at a time when it is attempting to shift its forces out of the region. Deterrence would come with enormous economic and geopolitical costs and would have to remain in place as long as Iran remained hostile to U.S. interests, which could mean decades or longer. Given the instability of the region, this effort might still fail, resulting in a war far more costly and destructive than the one that critics of a preemptive strike on Iran now hope to avoid.

A FEASIBLE TARGET

A nuclear Iran would impose a huge burden on the United States. But that does not necessarily mean that Washington should resort to military means. In deciding whether it should, the first question to answer is if an attack on Iran’s nuclear program could even work. Doubters point out that the United States might not know the location of Iran’s key facilities. Given Tehran’s previous attempts to hide the construction of such stations, most notably the uranium-enrichment facilities in Natanz and Qom, it is possible that the regime already possesses nuclear assets that a bombing campaign might miss, which would leave Iran’s program damaged but alive.

This scenario is possible, but not likely; indeed, such fears are probably overblown. U.S. intelligence agencies, the IAEA, and opposition groups within Iran have provided timely warning of Tehran’s nuclear activities in the past — exposing, for example, Iran’s secret construction at Natanz and Qom before those facilities ever became operational. Thus, although Tehran might again attempt to build clandestine facilities, Washington has a very good chance of catching it before they go online. And given the amount of time it takes to construct and activate a nuclear facility, the scarcity of Iran’s resources, and its failure to hide the facilities in Natanz and Qom successfully, it is unlikely that Tehran has any significant operational nuclear facilities still unknown to Western intelligence agencies.

Even if the United States managed to identify all of Iran’s nuclear plants, however, actually destroying them could prove enormously difficult. Critics of a U.S. assault argue that Iran’s nuclear facilities are dispersed across the country, buried deep underground and hardened against attack, and ringed with air defenses, making a raid complex and dangerous. In addition, they claim that Iran has purposefully placed its nuclear facilities near civilian populations, which would almost certainly come under fire in a U.S. raid, potentially leading to hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths.

These obstacles, however, would not prevent the United States from disabling or demolishing Iran’s known nuclear facilities. A preventive operation would need to target the uranium-conversion plant at Isfahan, the heavy-water reactor at Arak, and various centrifuge-manufacturing sites near Natanz and Tehran, all of which are located aboveground and are highly vulnerable to air strikes. It would also have to hit the Natanz facility, which, although it is buried under reinforced concrete and ringed by air defenses, would not survive an attack from the U.S. military’s new bunker-busting bomb, the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, capable of penetrating up to 200 feet of reinforced concrete. The plant in Qom is built into the side of a mountain and thus represents a more challenging target. But the facility is not yet operational and still contains little nuclear equipment, so if the United States acted quickly, it would not need to destroy it.

Washington would also be able to limit civilian casualties in any campaign. Iran built its most critical nuclear plants, such as the one in Natanz, away from heavily populated areas. For those less important facilities that exist near civilian centers, such as the centrifuge-manufacturing sites, U.S. precision-guided missiles could pinpoint specific buildings while leaving their surroundings unscathed. The United States could reduce the collateral damage even further by striking at night or simply leaving those less important plants off its target list at little cost to the overall success of the mission. Although Iran would undoubtedly publicize any human suffering in the wake of a military action, the majority of the victims would be the military personnel, engineers, scientists, and technicians working at the facilities.

SETTING THE RIGHT REDLINES

The fact that the United States can likely set back or destroy Iran’s nuclear program does not necessarily mean that it should. Such an attack could have potentially devastating consequences — for international security, the global economy, and Iranian domestic politics — all of which need to be accounted for.

To begin with, critics note, U.S. military action could easily spark a full-blown war. Iran might retaliate against U.S. troops or allies, launching missiles at military installations or civilian populations in the Gulf or perhaps even Europe. It could activate its proxies abroad, stirring sectarian tensions in Iraq, disrupting the Arab Spring, and ordering terrorist attacks against Israel and the United States. This could draw Israel or other states into the fighting and compel the United States to escalate the conflict in response. Powerful allies of Iran, including China and Russia, may attempt to economically and diplomatically isolate the United States. In the midst of such spiraling violence, neither side may see a clear path out of the battle, resulting in a long-lasting, devastating war, whose impact may critically damage the United States’ standing in the Muslim world.

Those wary of a U.S. strike also point out that Iran could retaliate by attempting to close the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow access point to the Persian Gulf through which roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil supply travels. And even if Iran did not threaten the strait, speculators, fearing possible supply disruptions, would bid up the price of oil, possibly triggering a wider economic crisis at an already fragile moment.

None of these outcomes is predetermined, however; indeed, the United States could do much to mitigate them. Tehran would certainly feel like it needed to respond to a U.S. attack, in order to reestablish deterrence and save face domestically. But it would also likely seek to calibrate its actions to avoid starting a conflict that could lead to the destruction of its military or the regime itself. In all likelihood, the Iranian leadership would resort to its worst forms of retaliation, such as closing the Strait of Hormuz or launching missiles at southern Europe, only if it felt that its very existence was threatened. A targeted U.S. operation need not threaten Tehran in such a fundamental way.

To make sure it doesn’t and to reassure the Iranian regime, the United States could first make clear that it is interested only in destroying Iran’s nuclear program, not in overthrowing the government. It could then identify certain forms of retaliation to which it would respond with devastating military action, such as attempting to close the Strait of Hormuz, conducting massive and sustained attacks on Gulf states and U.S. troops or ships, or launching terrorist attacks in the United States itself. Washington would then need to clearly articulate these “redlines” to Tehran during and after the attack to ensure that the message was not lost in battle. And it would need to accept the fact that it would have to absorb Iranian responses that fell short of these redlines without escalating the conflict. This might include accepting token missile strikes against U.S. bases and ships in the region — several salvos over the course of a few days that soon taper off — or the harassment of commercial and U.S. naval vessels. To avoid the kind of casualties that could compel the White House to escalate the struggle, the United States would need to evacuate nonessential personnel from U.S. bases within range of Iranian missiles and ensure that its troops were safely in bunkers before Iran launched its response. Washington might also need to allow for stepped-up support to Iran’s proxies in Afghanistan and Iraq and missile and terrorist attacks against Israel. In doing so, it could induce Iran to follow the path of Iraq and Syria, both of which refrained from starting a war after Israel struck their nuclear reactors in 1981 and 2007, respectively.

Even if Tehran did cross Washington’s redlines, the United States could still manage the confrontation. At the outset of any such violation, it could target the Iranian weapons that it finds most threatening to prevent Tehran from deploying them. To de-escalate the situation quickly and prevent a wider regional war, the United States could also secure the agreement of its allies to avoid responding to an Iranian attack. This would keep other armies, particularly the Israel Defense Forces, out of the fray. Israel should prove willing to accept such an arrangement in exchange for a U.S. promise to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat. Indeed, it struck a similar agreement with the United States during the Gulf War, when it refrained from responding to the launching of Scud missiles by Saddam Hussein.

Finally, the U.S. government could blunt the economic consequences of a strike. For example, it could offset any disruption of oil supplies by opening its Strategic Petroleum Reserve and quietly encouraging some Gulf states to increase their production in the run-up to the attack. Given that many oil-producing nations in the region, especially Saudi Arabia, have urged the United States to attack Iran, they would likely cooperate.

Washington could also reduce the political fallout of military action by building global support for it in advance. Many countries may still criticize the United States for using force, but some — the Arab states in particular — would privately thank Washington for eliminating the Iranian threat. By building such a consensus in the lead-up to an attack and taking the outlined steps to mitigate it once it began, the United States could avoid an international crisis and limit the scope of the conflict.

ANY TIME IS GOOD TIME

Critics have another objection: even if the United States managed to eliminate Iran’s nuclear facilities and mitigate the consequences, the effects might not last long. Sure enough, there is no guarantee that an assault would deter Iran from attempting to rebuild its plants; it may even harden Iran’s resolve to acquire nuclear technology as a means of retaliating or protecting itself in the future. The United States might not have the wherewithal or the political capital to launch another raid, forcing it to rely on the same ineffective tools that it now uses to restrain Iran’s nuclear drive. If that happens, U.S. action will have only delayed the inevitable.

Yet according to the IAEA, Iran already appears fully committed to developing a nuclear weapons program and needs no further motivation from the United States. And it will not be able to simply resume its progress after its entire nuclear infrastructure is reduced to rubble. Indeed, such a devastating offensive could well force Iran to quit the nuclear game altogether, as Iraq did after its nuclear program was destroyed in the Gulf War and as Syria did after the 2007 Israeli strike. And even if Iran did try to reconstitute its nuclear program, it would be forced to contend with continued international pressure, greater difficulty in securing necessary nuclear materials on the international market, and the lurking possibility of subsequent attacks. Military action could, therefore, delay Iran’s nuclear program by anywhere from a few years to a decade, and perhaps even indefinitely.

Skeptics might still counter that at best a strike would only buy time. But time is a valuable commodity. Countries often hope to delay worst-case scenarios as far into the future as possible in the hope that this might eliminate the threat altogether. Those countries whose nuclear facilities have been attacked — most recently Iraq and Syria — have proved unwilling or unable to restart their programs. Thus, what appears to be only a temporary setback to Iran could eventually become a game changer.

Yet another argument against military action against Iran is that it would embolden the hard-liners within Iran’s government, helping them rally the population around the regime and eliminate any remaining reformists. This critique ignores the fact that the hard-liners are already firmly in control. The ruling regime has become so extreme that it has sidelined even those leaders once considered to be right-wingers, such as former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, for their perceived softness. And Rafsanjani or the former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi would likely continue the nuclear program if he assumed power. An attack might actually create more openings for dissidents in the long term (after temporarily uniting Iran behind Ayatollah Ali Khamenei), giving them grounds for criticizing a government that invited disaster. Even if a strike would strengthen Iran’s hard-liners, the United States must not prioritize the outcomes of Iran’s domestic political tussles over its vital national security interest in preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

STRIKE NOW OR SUFFER LATER

Attacking Iran is hardly an attractive prospect. But the United States can anticipate and reduce many of the feared consequences of such an attack. If it does so successfully, it can remove the incentive for other nations in the region to start their own atomic programs and, more broadly, strengthen global nonproliferation by demonstrating that it will use military force to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. It can also head off a possible Israeli operation against Iran, which, given Israel’s limited capability to mitigate a potential battle and inflict lasting damage, would likely result in far more devastating consequences and carry a far lower probability of success than a U.S. attack. Finally, a carefully managed U.S. attack would prove less risky than the prospect of containing a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic — a costly, decades-long proposition that would likely still result in grave national security threats. Indeed, attempting to manage a nuclear-armed Iran is not only a terrible option but the worst.

With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down and the United States facing economic hardship at home, Americans have little appetite for further strife. Yet Iran’s rapid nuclear development will ultimately force the United States to choose between a conventional conflict and a possible nuclear war. Faced with that decision, the United States should conduct a surgical strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, absorb an inevitable round of retaliation, and then seek to quickly de-escalate the crisis. Addressing the threat now will spare the United States from confronting a far more dangerous situation in the future.
By Matthew Kroenig, FOREIGN AFFAIRS

A Nuclear Primer for Ron Paul

WE177 Nuclear Weapon
A Iranian future?

Ron Paul’s quest for isolationism is at best a pipe dream for a utopia that doesn’t exist. In Thursday’s GOP debate he said:

“There is no evidence that they have [a nuclear weapon]. And it would make more sense — if we lived through the Cold War, which we did, with 30,000 missiles pointed at us, we ought to really sit back and think and not jump the gun and believe that we are going to be attacked,” Rep. Paul

While he is right, there is NO evidence that they currently have a nuclear weapon they do have 4,922kg of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) enriched to 3.5%, and at least 80kg of (20%) U-235. As of November 2011, Iran most likely has acquired enough U-235 to fuel its 5th bomb. With over 8000 centrifuges operating at capacity at Natanz alone, less than 400 will be needed to make the push from reactor grade to weapons grade. With current estimates at Iran’s present rate of production they will produce the 120kg of UF6 by June, 2012. Only 12 months are theoretically needed to accomplish this with only 328 centrifuges. This timetable is drastically reduced if and when Iran was to make a sprint to the finish line; doubled (656) would bring it down to 7 months, quadrupled (1312) would bring it down to under 4 months while if they used 3000, were down to 6 weeks. And I remind you this is just Natanz. This does not include Fordow at Qom were we know they are within weeks of producing more UF6 right now.

Previous reports by the Director General have identified outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program and actions required of Iran to resolve these.33 Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency has regularly received new information.

The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:

  • Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials bymilitary related individuals and entities
  • Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network
  • Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of Components

Iran is a leader all right, in human rights abuses, including stoning, decapitations, and hanging from cranes (a national favorite it seems). Iran is the number 1 sponsor of terror in the world fermenting acts of violence around the globe. They supply weapons and money to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon, amongst god knows how many splinter groups. This is a country that gave plastic keys to heaven to hundreds of thousands of youth in order to march to the front where they threw themselves in front of tanks and into mine field to clear the way for the troops.

And for anyone who denies the sincerity of these genocidal monsters let me leave you with a happy quote from Ruhollah Khomeini

“We have often proclaimed this truth in our domestic and foreign policy, namely that we have set as our goal the world-wide spread of the influence of Islam and the suppression of the rule of the world conquerors … We wish to cause the corrupt roots of Zionism, capitalism and Communism to wither throughout the world. We wish, as does God almighty, to destroy the systems which are based on these three foundations, and to promote the Islamic order of the Prophet … in the world of arrogance. We shall export our revolution to the whole world. Until the cry ‘There is no God but God’ resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle. Establishing the Islamic state world-wide belong to the great goals of the revolution. Islamic Revolution … is being exported … [so that] with the dispensations of the Supreme Lord, the banner of Islam is likely to be hoisted throughout the globe in the not-too-distant future.”

No problem here, right Ron?

Jeff Treesh is @IranAware