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All This Iran Foolishness

April 12, 2006

I been wanting to post something about Iran, and after days of reading, and several starts and stops in writing I’ve decided to simply make a few observations.

  1. Our concern isn’t that Iran is producing nuclear weapons. The rhetoric centers around Iranian plans to enrich uranium; which— the story goes —they might one day employ in the production of nuclear weapons. But…
  2. Iran is a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty; under which, they have the right to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; and, it follows, to enrich uranium. Plus…
  3. “No state is known to have successfully constructed a nuclear weapon in secret while subjected to NPT inspection.” [Wikipedia: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] Besides…
  4. Even if Iran decides to develop nuclear weapons, it will be years before they actually have them.

The recent agitation and provocation of Iran by US isn’t about weapons.

I don’t particularly want to think about the possibility that our leader(s) have some sort of delusional “messianic” desire to shine the light of democracy on the Mid East; or an even more delusional belief that they can successfully do so through mallet handed agression and porridge headed incompetence. Even if this is the case, how can one argue against it?

I am left only to deduct that this is a strategic move in the world-wide competition to control energy resources. And, even as such, is a irresponsibly monumentally short sighted approach to the problem. Violence, coercion, exploitation: all will inevitably come back to us with awful consequences.

What Sifu Tweety said is right:

[B]y keeping nukes on the table they can reframe the discussion as “should we nuke Iran,” as opposed to “should we launch a massive bombing campaign in Iran”. It’s nuclear brinksmanship, but purely domestic, and purely political. Even if that’s not the case, of course, it very much behooves those of us who aren’t certifiable warmongering fascist &c. &c., who want to stop this, to focus on the reprecussions of an Iranian campaign generally, rather than specifically a nuclear blast[.]

Nell Lancaster says it well, too:

There is no crisis. This is not about weapons.
War is not the answer.

We need to stop another unnecessary ill-advised act of aggression, let alone a ill-advised aggressive nuclear strike on an essentially unarmed foe.

[Click ‘more’ for an unfinished post and some unformatted links to stuff I’ve read/skimmed over…]

I was browsing around the internets looking for information on the Iran nuclear threat, and noticed this caption under a January, 2005 photo of Dick Cheney on the Washington Post website:

Vice President Cheney says he fears a “diplomatic mess” in the Middle East if Iran does not agree to comply with the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

The way that caption is worded suggests to Your Montag that Iran is not in compliance with the treaty, and that this is of concern to the VP.

But, Iran is a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty, so they have— by definition —agreed to comply with the treaty.

Furthermore, the article that photo and caption was attached to related what Cheney said in different terms:

If current negotiations [to convince Iran to halt its nuclear program] fail, Cheney said, the United States would ask the U.N. Security Council to impose international sanctions on Iran to force compliance with the nonproliferation treaty. “You look around the world at potential trouble spots; Iran is right at the top of the list,” he said. The administration has offered no concrete evidence to support its assertion regarding Iran. [Washington Post: Cheney Warns of Iran As a Nuclear Threat]

So that— while a little unclear —seems to say that the administration asserts Iran is not in compliance with the treaty, which is different than saying Iran is, in fact, not in compliance with the treaty. To the Post’s credit, they noted the lack of evidence testifying to the administration’s claim. Thing is, that was the second to last paragraph in the article, while the photo caption appeared near the top of the page.

Also, in my travels, I found a March, 2003 Time article that said:

Iran announced last week that it intends to activate a uranium conversion facility near Isfahan (under IAEA safeguards), a step that produces the uranium hexafluoride gas used in the enrichment process. Sources tell Time the IAEA has concluded that Iran actually introduced uranium hexafluoride gas into some centrifuges at an undisclosed location to test their [enrichment] ability to work. That would be a blatant violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory. [Time: Iran’s Nuclear Threat]

First, what’s up with the word “blatant” being in there?
Second, enriching uranium isn’t a violation of the nonproliferation treaty!

…the treaty gives every state the inalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and as the commercially popular light water reactor nuclear power station designs use enriched uranium fuel, it follows that states must be allowed to enrich uranium or purchase it on an international market. [Wikipedia: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]

Of course, any time a country decides to undertake a nuclear enrichment program it is a flip of the nuclear coin and born is the possibility that that country might one day use the capability to make nuclear weapons.

Billmon: Whiskey Bar: Mutually Assured Dementia

  1. April 13, 2006 4:10 AM

    Yes, Iran is a signatory to the NPT so we say ‘Fuck ’em!’ India is NOT a signatory and so we say, ‘Go ahead! Make more!’ It’s totally ludicrous and backasswards and is about nothing but ‘controlling’ the world’s resources. Yup. We just wanna tell everybody what to do, that’s all. And since we’ve got the biggest guns, we’re gonna make sure that you don’t get any big guns. And the idiocy escalates…

  2. April 13, 2006 5:05 PM

    With Ahmadinejad talking shit almost every day, it is unlikely Americans will see Iran as anything but an insolent country that needs to be bombed back to the Stone Age. This is not going to end well.

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