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Iran's Nuclear Ambitions 1032

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the something-to-think-about dept.
selven wrote in with something a bit offtopic for Slashdot, but I figured it's worth a discussion today. He writes "Following Iran's revelation regarding its secret nuclear enrichment plant, western leaders are banding together against it, saying that it violates Articles 2 and 3 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and suggesting serious sanctions against the country if it refuses to back down on its uranium enrichment program. Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only and that it's not fair for the US to be criticizing them in this way while having thousands of nuclear warheads."
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Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

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  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:08AM (#29565927) Homepage
    sanction them all, let the UN sort 'em out.
    • by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:15AM (#29566049) Journal

      Gee,

      Look the other way, for Israel.

      Look the other way, for India.

      Maybe proliferation is not the real issue, and they will find the excuse to demolish Persia - by hook or by crook.

      • by thebheffect (1409105) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:54AM (#29566703)

        I saw 300 and I have to say the atrocities the Persian's commit on a daily basis are unholy and deserve our Christian justice.

      • by jagapen (11417) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:23PM (#29567201)

        (Score:-1, Not Politically Correct)

    • by Burnhard (1031106) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:17AM (#29566075)
      I'm a bit confused about the concept of "fairness" in this context. Do we allow anyone who wants to have nuclear weapons the option to acquire them because there's some natural "fairness" law? Only a cretin would say so. The way it works is if you're a threat to us, or a region containing friends of ours, then we don't want you to have them (Iran, Syria). If you're an ally, we'd rather you didn't have them but there's not much we can do to stop you acquiring them (India, Pakistan). If you're already strong and powerful, we assure your destruction if you fire them at us (Russia, China).
      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:25AM (#29566225) Homepage
        And if you're Israel, apparently we pretend that we don't know that you're packing.
        • by TheUnFounded (731123) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:15PM (#29567063)
          Say what you will, but Israel is not a country I'd mess with.

          Consider their history....there have been countless efforts to wipe them off the face of the planet, from back in Biblical times to the Nazi regime. Yet not only are they still around, but they've managed to get their country re-established, in the same location, after not existing for hundreds of years.

          That's one country I want to keep on our side, packing or not...
          • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:40PM (#29567507) Journal
            The Nazis did not try to destroy Israel, because Israel didn't exist until after the second world war. This fact rather indicates that at least one of the attempts to 'wipe them off the face of the planet' since biblical times worked...
          • by jaypifer (64463) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:59PM (#29567837)
            By that reasoning, you must tremble at the thought of messing with Greece. Better keep them on our side at all costs!
      • by InsaneProcessor (869563) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:41AM (#29566493)
        If you prove to the world that you are an idiot and want to eliminate other countries, you don't get nukes. Iran has proven this. Israel just wants to exist as it is and has proven this. A portion of the Muslim world is just too radical!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You've got a pretty disingenuous way of explaining it there...

        The *point* of nuclear weaponry *is* MAD. If we consider you a threat, and you don't have them--then you're by definition pretty much powerless to stop us. We do have the largest, best equipped and funded military in the world.

        Telling Iran we don't want them to have nuclear weaponry is pretty much proof positive of our intent to attack them if we don't get our way at some point. Otherwise--it presumably doesn't matter, since there is such abso

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The way it works is if you're a threat to us, or a region containing friends of ours, then we don't want you to have them (Iran, Syria).

        Who's "us"*, and why should Iran or Syria give a damn what we think? Try not to forget here that Iran is at the end of the day a sovereign nation of over 70 million people, and owes the west little and less. Saying that the Iranians are somehow not entitled to nuclear weapons by default, or have to be "allowed" to develop them, is as baseless as applying the concept of "fai

      • by Hatta (162192) * on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:23PM (#29567207) Journal

        As long as the US has nuclear weapons, Iran will have a legitimate reason to develop its own nuclear weapons. That is, to protect against American aggression.

        The best way to avoid war with Iran is to disarm, pull our forces out of the region, and open trade with them. We need to help develop their middle class, show that we are not a threat, and give them a business interest in becoming more moderate.

      • by chrb (1083577) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:47PM (#29567621)

        If you're an ally, we'd rather you didn't have them but there's not much we can do to stop you acquiring them (India, Pakistan).

        What? Pakistan was an ally when it acquired nukes? You may not remember this, but the press was pushing the same stories when Pakistan was busy acquiring the bomb as they do now with Iran. There was massive international condemnation. The same voices were banging on about the "dangers of an Islamic nuke". There were the same stories about Dr. AQ Khan and an underground nuclear black market smuggling network putting the world at risk of nuclear war. The same stories about the dangers of terrorists acquiring those nuclear weapons and using them on Israel or other Western friendly countries. The same voices calling for preemptive military strikes to stop all this happening.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)

      Funny how our past sins come back to bite us in the ass.

      Operation Ajax.

    • by debrain (29228) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:49AM (#29566623) Journal

      Ironically, the best way to destabilize a ponderous, oppressive government such as Iran's is to ensure the growth of a strong middle class in the target country with an educated and politically active youth. Sanctions tend to do the opposite by denying (or reducing) a country's access to trade, economic growth, pharmaceuticals and health benefits, knowledge and innovation. It stigmatizes countries' populations against the world, which often entrenches hard-line governments with staunch supporters. Sanctions also reduce positive effect of the global community's political feedback: if a country is already a pariah, their leaders have little incentive to conform to accepted norms (e.g. human rights).

      That's not to say that sanctions are never appropriate. It's just an observation on their effect.

      • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:18PM (#29567109) Homepage Journal
        The US is too busy destroying the middle class in their own country to worry about supporting the growth of it in another. All this warmongering is just an excuse to start up more intervention in the Middle East. What's surprising is even /. is joining in with the MSM to try to whip up support for more military action. The irony being that all this is occurring under a president that won a significant number of votes by appealing to people that wanted a less interventionist government.
    • by EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:35PM (#29568395) Journal
      Then you don't go building a uranium processing plant into a mountain.

      There are only two reasons you want to build a uranium processing plant in a mountain:

      A. It's bomb proof, in which case why are you worried about it getting bombed if it's purely for peaceful processes?
      B. You're Dr. Evil.

      I think we can safely say it's likely A, although I wouldn't rule out B with Ahmadinejad.
  • Can't blame them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by u4ya (1248548) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:09AM (#29565935) Homepage
    If I saw both my neighbors being invaded, I would rush to get the nukes as fast as I could, too.
    • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:14AM (#29566019)
      Especially when Pakistan, India, and North Korea just got told "naughty boy" then it was business as usual.
    • by NoYob (1630681) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:17AM (#29566077)
      If you're being invaded and use nukes, wouldn't that mean you're nuking your own country? And if the invader's country is across the World, without an intercontinental delivery system, your only option is to threaten said invader's allies that may be near you. Then the allies only alternative is to protect itself and do a first strike on the nuclear plants.

      If Iran proceeds with this, they are basically demanding Israel attack them, possibly with their own nuclear weapons.

      Iran is playing a very dangerous game. Let's hope the Obama Administration is much more skillful than the previous administration.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by svendsen (1029716)
      Completely agree with you. If I put on the "I rule Iran" hat and saw one neighbor after another getting invaded I'd be trying to build a defense to deter any future attacks. Now when the attacker has technology and means beyond what I can defend against then the next logical step is getting nukes. Else the only other option is do whatever the attacker tells me no matter what and pray I don;t get invaded.
      • Re:Can't blame them (Score:4, Informative)

        by Reziac (43301) * on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:14PM (#29568043) Homepage Journal

        There's a PhD on a mailing list that I get, who spent most of his career in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. One day we got to talking about the Aswan dam (he was there when that project was initiated) and he said that it had nothing to do with Egypt needing the dam; in fact it was quite thoroughly pointed out to TPTB that halting the seasonal floods would RUIN Egypt's delta ecology and fishing/ag delta economy (which it has). But TPTB were determined to have it no matter what, because having a BIG DAM would show the world that Egypt was Just As Modern As Everyone Else. It was essentially a psychological need to keep up with the Joneses, even if it killed them.

        I suspect a great deal of the middle-eastern/SW-Asia attitude about nukes is more of the same -- it's a cultural thing where you can't let the other guy show you up by owning something you don't, even if having it will ruin you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KronosReaver (932860)
      Right, because when someone invades your country you want to be able to nuke them on your own soil? Oh wait, I know.... It's because the best way to keep from being attacked is to do the biggest thing you can to provoke, and in some peoples minds justify an attack right?
    • by Tryle (1159503) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:22AM (#29566165)

      The problem isn't just Iran becoming nuclear armed. There are several other countries (Venezuela comes to mind) that are watching Iran push the international community around and may feel they can do the same exact thing and go down the road of nuclear arming.

      I don't trust the countries that DO have nukes to not blow up the planet, let alone the countries that harbor terrorists and put out threats of using them to wipe out another race. Iran must be dealt with.

  • "Peaceful Use" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:10AM (#29565949)

    I'm not an expert, but the news reports seem to indicate that this new facility (at a military base) doesn't have the capacity to produce a useful quantity of enriched fuel for a power plant, but could potentially produce enough for 1-2 bombs per year.

    Combine that with the fact that Iran flares enough natural gas daily to more than meet its internal energy generation requirements, pardon me for being a bit skeptical about their motives.

    • Re:"Peaceful Use" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:20AM (#29566125)

      You know,
      Quadaffi took a different approach and has come out way, way ahead for it. He saw GWB invade Iraq and thought "that nutjob is serious!" Now the libyans have cancelled chemical and nuclear weapons research, stopped funding most terrorists, and are being let into the world community in spite of nutjob's rantings and ravings. Seems that worked pretty well. Iran would be a fucking rich, powerful nation if they gave up on their strategy of funding terrorists everywhere and instead took what the whole rest of the world views as a legitimate approach to becoming a regional and world power.

      • Re:"Peaceful Use" (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:41AM (#29566477) Homepage
        Different strokes. Quadaffi is playing his games in the middle of fucking nowhere. Libya is not in the middle of a global strategic hot spot. If we let Libya have nukes, then the only card he could have usefully played is to try to sell it to other folks, ala North Korea. That's one strategy, sure, but not one that holds a big interest in Iran.

        They want to be a big, perhaps THE big, regional player. Capitulating to the Evil Americans is not the way to do it. Of course, time will tell if going head to head with the rest of the world is the right way, but it's worked so far. We'll see what happens when the Israelis get all bent out of shape and have one of their little air raid practices or if Russia decides to play nice with Obama for some reason or another.
    • Re:"Peaceful Use" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:21AM (#29566151)

      Combine that with the fact that Iran flares enough natural gas daily to more than meet its internal energy generation requirements, pardon me for being a bit skeptical about their motives.

      Alternatively, Iran can produce nuclear energy for baseload energy while exporting their hydrocarbons for exports which might make more money. Or they can save their hydrocarbons for future use as oil/gas prices increases in the future. Or they can start now to prepare for the carbon-tax future.

      Given the US long history for self-serving military intelligence, pardon me for being a bit skeptical about their motives. Face it, US hates Iran because Iran won't kowtow to the US government.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by megamerican (1073936)

      I'm not an expert, but the news reports seem to indicate that this new facility (at a military base) doesn't have the capacity to produce a useful quantity of enriched fuel for a power plant, but could potentially produce enough for 1-2 bombs per year.

      Combine that with the fact that Iran flares enough natural gas daily to more than meet its internal energy generation requirements, pardon me for being a bit skeptical about their motives.

      Iran has plentiful natural resources but does not have the capacity to refine it and must import gas. Any type of war and they could easily be cut off of that gas.

      This facility hasn't been a secret to intelligence agenices for years. They are making this a big deal now only to justify tough sanctions and possible action against Iran.

      Sanctions are essentially an act of war. Clinton's sanctions on Iraq during the 1990's killed over 500,000 children, and many elderly. Albright went on 60 minutes and said that

      • Re:"Peaceful Use" (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tablizer (95088) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:32AM (#29566349) Homepage Journal

        Clinton's sanctions on Iraq during the 1990's killed over 500,000 children, and many elderly.

        That's only because Saddam re-routed the resources to his favored buds. Plenty of resources went into the country, it's just that they were not being distributed evenly. Saddam used the sanctions as an excuse to rid groups he didn't like.
                     

        • Re:"Peaceful Use" (Score:4, Informative)

          by photon317 (208409) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:36PM (#29567439)

          Actually, high ranking UN officials were playing key roles in that "redistribution". Google it. Clinton goes for sanctions through the UN, and the UN guys help Saddam profit from the oil for food program in order to get kickbacks. Bottom line: don't ever trust bureaucracy to do the right thing, and the UN is the biggest bureaucracy on the planet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MarkWatson (189759)

        If I had mod points, I would mod you up.

        G. W. Bush's actions with "axis of evil" rhetoric and threats forced the moderates in Iran to keep their heads down and empowered the radicals. I now suspect that this may have been done purposely.

        Sanctions really are a soft act of war and should be viewed thus. Does Congress have to approve sanctions? If not, they should have this power, not the president.

        I voted for both G.W. Bush and Obama, and I am very disappointed by both of them. They both seem to beholden to t

  • Oh noes! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by magsol (1406749) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:11AM (#29565951) Homepage Journal
    America to Iran:

    "If you do not begin considering the possibility of maybe one day relatively soon pondering the beginning of the dismantlement of your nuclear program - NOW - you might possibly maybe perhaps one day face SEVERE SANCTIONS ZOMG.

    I mean, if that's ok with you."
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi.smokingcube@be> on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:13AM (#29565999) Homepage

    - I'm sorry, but the UN must be firm with you. Let me in, or else.
    - Or else what
    - Or else we will be very angry with you... and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:14AM (#29566017)
    The Inheritance, by David Sanger. A terrific book, I read it from cover to cover in three sittings. It's basically what Obama was sat down and told about the world and global nuclear proliferation and what his options are. It details some fascinating history, esp. around Khan in Pakistan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Qadeer_Khan) that will be making you shake your fist and say "Khaaaaaaaaaannn!". (He gave the Iranians much of what they needed to build a nuclear program).

    http://www.amazon.com/Inheritance-World-Confronts-Challenges-American/dp/0307407926 [amazon.com]

    Posturing aside, giving the talking heads and think tankers something to chirp about on CNN - the real threat isn't Iran. Pakistan is the threat. Iran has uranium and reactors. They don't have a warhead. Pakistan has LOTS of warheads, and they MAY or MAY NOT meet your definition of "secure". They could very easily go missing, as the programs in place to account in such matters sort of don't work in Pakistan.

    Again - the book lays all this out in exacting detail. I recommend the book to everyone.
  • Coincidence? (Score:5, Informative)

    by lobiusmoop (305328) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:18AM (#29566097) Homepage

    All this anti-Iran propaganda seems to be coming out at the same time Iran is switching from Dollars to Euros for its oil transactions. Strangely enough, Iraq previously tried this too, just before the 2003 invasion.

    • Re:Coincidence? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:58AM (#29566789)

      Iran made the switch years ago and now the majority of its oil transactions aren't in dollars.

      http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article1263954.ece

      The world didn't end and the dollar didn't collapse. A few talentless and greedy bankers did a lot more damage.

  • Iran and EMP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andius Rex (117513) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:20AM (#29566129)

    Go read William Forstchen's book "One Second After" about an EMP attack on the United States, and then ponder on whether you want a country like Iran to have warheads and missiles.

  • by Rumagent (86695) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:21AM (#29566141)

    So they want nukes? Who can blame them? Given the "western leader"'s previous behavior in the region, they would be fools not to get a strong deterrent.

  • by Reservoir Penguin (611789) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:24AM (#29566191)
    Why should some rich Western countries who already have nuclear weapons get together and decide who can enage in nuclear technology them or who can't. I'm proud that my own country despite major political pressure from the West block has completed the contract for building the peaceful Busher nuclear power station and is continuing to engage in peaceful nuclear cooperation with Iran. Iran has never attacked a foreign country, Iran is not ruled by mad suicidal clerics, Iran is a great country of 70 million people with a unique culture, a unuque brand of eastern democracy sometimes not compatible with the West. Yes we need less weapons, we need denuclearization but you current rulers are too in bed with the military-industrial complex, they are powerless, we need more grassroot movements, more conferences and commitees for all peace loving ordinary people from the West and East to come together and learn from each other. CIA has killed Samantha Smith but they will never kill the peace loving spirits of our peoples!
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:35AM (#29566389) Homepage

    Because they made the Big Iraqi Gamble and are taking Euros rather than dollars for their oil [wikipedia.org].

    This is an unforgivable affront. Based on the US's debts and balance of trade, the dollar should be junk currency. Its only remaining value is in purchasing oil, and the US cannot allow resource rich countries to wean themselves off of it.

    Make no mistake, the US must and will find a casus belli against Iran. The only question (for Iran) is whether they can become a nuclear power before that happens.

    • by photon317 (208409) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:43PM (#29567553)

      Much like in the (somewhat) open stock markets of the world, immediate value is not the only backing for a currency or stock. The largest thing "backing" the value of US currency (and the reason it doesn't collapse like simple analysis would indicate) is the value of American innovation and industry. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. The world puts a lot of value on our future ability to continue being a dominant power in the world through innovation and bleeding-edge industry.

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