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Report Claims Iran Has Data To Build a Nuclear Bomb 630

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-tell-cheney dept.
reporter writes "According to a startling report just covered by the New York Times, 'senior staff members of the United Nations nuclear agency have concluded in a confidential analysis that Iran has acquired sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable atom bomb.' In 2007, American intelligence erroneously concluded that Tehran in 2003 stopped further research into designing a nuclear bomb. This conclusion was contradicted by German, French, and Israeli intelligence. Recently, London also concluded that the American assessment is incorrect. So, here we are. The Iranians have the knowledge to build a nuclear bomb and have been working relentlessly to perfect its design. Tehran is apparently able to create the components (e.g. enriched uranium) that can be assembled into such a weapon. Meanwhile, Jerusalem is communicating with the Kremlin about a list of Russian scientists it believes are assisting Iran's efforts to develop the bomb."
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Report Claims Iran Has Data To Build a Nuclear Bomb

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  • More proof (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordKaT (619540) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:10AM (#29634259) Homepage Journal

    More proof that the overt cold war ended, but the covert battle continues.

    • by laejoh (648921) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @10:59AM (#29634955)
      More proof that Captain Kirk is better than Picard! This wouldn't have happened on his watch!
    • Poor summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Magic5Ball (188725) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @01:24PM (#29636219)

      Some obvious things:
      a) This story is not about "having data to build a nuclear bomb". Any accredited university engineering program has "the data to build a nuclear bomb", but it would be unwieldy to tactically deploy. The minor news is that Iran is close to the capability to produce a atomic bomb which is sufficiently compact to be mountable on a missile with decent range to threaten neighbors.
      b) The major news should be that Iran is receiving assistance with deployment systems which can be used with a much wider array of conventional, chemical, biological and other categories of payloads which are much easier to deploy (politically and militarily). I would be very glad if this were a continuation of the Cold War as we knew it, since that would mean that enough of the MAD thinking is in place by both sides that sufficiently tight controls are in place to prevent the nuclear option from ever being deliberately deployed.
      c) Remember that the first atomic bomb makers were working in and with what would be third-world technologies and systems were we to encounter them today. Why would it be remarkable to report that a country which does not follow our economic, social or value systems is capable of producing something now which was first demonstrated 60 years ago?
      d) This has been a pretty poor "covert battle" since the belligerents manage to sneak it into international headlines on an almost weekly basis without any combat engagements. Perhaps the important message is that the proxy wars which pre-dated the Cold War, and which lasted through it, remain an important feature of the real world which cannot be simplified into alarmist and misleading headlines?
      e) If we're worried about unauthorised use of nuclear material, the logical measures are to prevent everyone from having nuclear material (not possible due to the low barriers to entry), or to assist anyone who wants to work with nuclear material to do so in a secure way. There are vastly many more ways to proliferate nuclear materials from the hundreds of globally distributed nuclear stockpiles and waste bins of the former Cold War combatants than from a couple of tightly guarded and highly monitored bunkers on a mountain. The nuclear haves pretending that the nuclear have nots' nuclear ambitions represent a primary terrorist threat demonstrates a remarkably strong faith in current nuclear proliferation control systems (lost sources kill more people every year than all dirty bombs and terrorist-related nuclear incidents have in history), as well as an unassailable arrogance about LDCs.

  • by wombatmobile (623057) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:12AM (#29634273)
    Should we really be so shocked? Haven't nuclear weapons been present in the middle east for over 3 decades now, in Israel [fas.org]?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:29AM (#29634353)

      Should we really be so shocked? Haven't nuclear weapons been present in the middle east for over 3 decades now, in Israel [fas.org]?

      Yes, but Israel deserves a much higher level of trust than Iran. Even in the 1973 war, when Israel was facing defeat - and a defeat would have meant, literally, annihilation - Israel did not use its nukes (and it almost certainly had them by then).

      Iran, on the other hand - a country which has a president that denies the Holocaust while inviting the world's most well known Holocaust-deniers and general racists to visit for conferences, a country which rigs elections in such an obvious way that even its own citizens are aware of it, a nation whose people are taken away and never seen again should they say anything to challenge the president or "Supreme Leader" - cannot be trusted to not use its nuclear weapons.

      • by wombatmobile (623057) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:37AM (#29634399)
        Yes, but Israel deserves a much higher level of trust than Iran. Even in the 1973 war, when Israel was facing defeat - and a defeat would have meant, literally, annihilation - Israel did not use its nukes (and it almost certainly had them by then).

        So by that logic, a nuclear power that uses its weapons cannot be trusted, right? Who gets to choose which countries can be trusted? Have you spoken with anyone from Nagasaki about this question?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Daemonax (1204296)
          As for which countries can be trusted. Ones with secular governments that keep religion out of government policy and decisions.

          The EU, America, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and others I think can be trusted.

          Of course the previous American government was pretty worrying. Hopefully American citizens have learnt their lesson, and hopefully the republican party will fix themselves. They've been catering to the loons, and that's dangerous for everyone.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Kokuyo (549451)

            I'd agree with Australia and New Zealand... but are you fricking out of your mind about the others?!

            America has proven to be untrustworthy repeatedly. So has Israel, war mongering bastards that they are. Being surrounded by EU countries, let me tell you that I trust them as far as I can bloody throw the lot of them.

            If it's a matter of trust, frankly I trust no single country to have nukes. I want OPPOSING forces to have nukes in order to generate a stalemate. That's the only security there is.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Daemonax (1204296)
              If the other side believes that when they die, they'll go to paradise, then I don't think you would get a stalemate. It is probable that the current leaders in Middle Eastern countries do want to hold on to their wealth in the real world and wouldn't go so far as assuring their own annihilation... But until the governments stop making religion a serious part of their policies, I'd rather not trust them with anything like a nuke.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by jagapen (11417)

                So, you allege that that the leadership of Iran consists of a bunch of suicidal fanatics? Pray tell, what exactly have they done to suggest this, rather than the conclusion that they are a bunch of power-hungry fanatics who want to hold on to their privileged positions at the top of government.

                I see way more evidence for the latter conclusion.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by uassholes (1179143)
              You have the right to dislike the US, whatever your reasons, but the things that you are saying are stupid.
          • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @10:30AM (#29634731)

            As for which countries can be trusted. Ones with secular governments that keep religion out of government policy and decisions. The EU, America, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and others I think can be trusted. Of course the previous American government was pretty worrying. Hopefully American citizens have learnt their lesson, and hopefully the republican party will fix themselves. They've been catering to the loons, and that's dangerous for everyone.

            America has a colorful and long history of overturning small nations because their dictator or democratically elected government has displeased us. If I were a small nation that disagreed with America's ideology (which does include stuff like assassinations and coups in order to help spread business interests), I don't think I'd trust America. Israel frequently claims to be halting settlement of Palestinian-majority areas followed by revelations that they're funding and encouraging that settlement. I wouldn't trust them either. In military matters I do feel that I could trust the EU, NZ, and Australia.

          • by lepidosteus (1102443) <lepidosteus@g3.14mail.com minus pi> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @10:35AM (#29634757)
            Yeah, the USA would never use religion as a motivation to go to war

            George Bush: 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq' [guardian.co.uk] (another source [independent.co.uk])

            George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, ...

            Palin: Iraq is a task 'from God.' [thinkprogress.org]

            Sarah Palin (R-AK) addressed the graduating class of commission students at the Wasilla Assembly of God church. During that address, Palin portrayed the Iraq was as a quest decreed by God, and said that U.S. soldiers were carrying out "God's plan"

            I'm sure we could find the same kind of thing for every country you listed, these were just the ones I could remember from the top of my head

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Daemonax (1204296)
              I don't think you'd find one here in NZ. At least not within the last 25 or so years. I've never known of a religious government getting power here. There was a fundie church that ran for government a couple of years ago, everyone thought they were insane and made fun of them. I think they got less than 1% of the vote. Australia, I don't know. I would say it's likely the same.

              Europe, countries like Germany, Norway, France (which is aggressively secular, which I like), Switzerland, Sweden, Holland and ot
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Obviously fighting a war for "God" wasn't the reason why the US went into Iraq. Saddam Hussein was opposing the US, was fueling ME tensions, was threatening Israel, was threatening the US with its oil supply, was annoying to Israel and the Saudis (et al) and many other reasons. The Americans were also force fed BS by Talabani and Co. that Saddam Hussein was developing WMDs and that the Iraqis would rise up and co-overthrow Hussein with the US. The US had also had experience of Eastern Europe, Japan, Germany

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by SerpentMage (13390)

            I live in the Western world with democracy, and sorry, but none of the governments can be trusted. Right after the 9/11 all of the governments were all to eager to institute laws that many would deem against freedom.

            Here is another example. The "Western" governments created a black and grey list of countries with tax issues. These countries fixed things up and are on the white list. NOW the g20 says, "well we can't have that we need tougher regulation. We need to get those low tax places back on the black l

          • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @02:24PM (#29636785) Homepage Journal

            Most of these "secular" nations have religious populations, and religious traditions within government operations. Isreal was a country founded as a homeland for a religion. America's founding document, the Declaration of Independence, thanks God. Many preambles of constitutions in these western nations do the same thing. God is on American money, our courthouses, and many other places. Religious populations (and governments supporting those religious traditions) does not equal a threat to others. Even Saudi Arabia, the most deeply-Muslim state in the middle east, doesn't go around invading it's neighbors.

            Religion-hostile atheist governments, however... the U.S.S.R., the People's Republic of China, North Korea... have had a history of aggression against neighbors and rivals.

            It seems that the magic formula for good, stable government is a certain kind of mix; governments that respect and protect, and even to a certain extent, promote faith, without strictly governing by religious rules. Religion suffuses the laws and cultures of these states... our laws are, after all, heavily influenced by religious sources... the ten commandments, etc. But we don't strictly govern by them. The best, most free, most stable,most prosperous states in history have all been ones with religious-friendly governments, yet ones that limited the government's power. After WWII, many of the recovering European states were governed by or included strong "Christian Democratic" parties. When Europe was grounded in endless wars prior to the twentieth century, it was far more about non-democratic governments jockeying for wealth and power than about religion.

            You want stability? Switzerland has been around (and remained free and productive, save for one invasion by France) since 1291. Their Constitutions... including the last revisions in 1997... have always started off with "In the name of Almighty God!"

            The notion of "take religion away and everything is fine" says more about your prejudices than about reality.

        • by nurb432 (527695)

          Only the good guys can be trusted. ( yes, this is sarcasm.. before anyone flames me )

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sponge Bath (413667)

            Only the good guys can be trusted.

            Mal: Mercy is the mark of a great man.
            [Mal stabs guy]
            Mal: Guess I'm just a good man.
            [stabs him again]
            Mal: Well, I'm all right.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by couchslug (175151)

          "Have you spoken with anyone from Nagasaki about this question? "

          They asked for what they got, and don't forget it.

          The Japs butchered their way through Asia and the Pacific in spectacular fashion, negating any opinion of the survivors of the just punishment their nation and people so richly deserved.

          There was no "trust" issue in the Total War of WWII. The Japanese were trying to enslave Asia. They got spanked for the trouble. Afterward, the Allied occupation of Imperial Japan was so benevolent that it shape

      • by zmooc (33175)

        And now... just for fun ... make a list of middle eastern countries that started a war recently and go see where the countries you mention are in the list.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bcmm (768152)

        Yes, but Israel deserves a much higher level of trust than Iran. Even in the 1973 war, when Israel was facing defeat - and a defeat would have meant, literally, annihilation - Israel did not use its nukes (and it almost certainly had them by then).

        In that war, Israel threatened to use nuclear weapons as a last resort, causing the US to send aid to make sure the war didn't reach that point.

        Iran, on the other hand - a country which has a president that denies the Holocaust while inviting the world's most well

      • by krou (1027572) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @10:38AM (#29634779)

        Israel deserves more trust than Iran? Are you serious?

        Iran has not, in recent military history, conducted a single war of aggression against its neighbours, even Israel. Israel, on the other hand, have conducted wars of aggression against its neighbours.

        Iran's real leaders (i.e. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei) support a doctrine of "no first strike". Israel, on the other hand, have no such doctrine, and history demonstrates they have adopted a first strike policy.

        Iran has been co-operating with the IAEA - not flawlessly, and there are problems, but they have been co-operating. Israel has never co-operated with them, never admitted to having nuclear weapons, and has never admitted inspectors. It's also not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

        Iran does not deny the holocaust took place. That's just pure propaganda bullshit. That idiot Ahmadinejad denied it took place. I'm sure there are some others who agree with him, but there are plenty who accept the holocaust took place. The former president Mohammad Khatami is one of them, and he has spoken openly against Ahmadinejad's views. So what if Holocaust deniers were invited there? The Institute for Historical Review is well known for holocaust denial, and it's based in the United States! Holocaust deniers are alive and well in many countries around the world. I don't particularly care for shutting them up because I tend to believe in freedom of speech.

        • by gtall (79522) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @10:50AM (#29634887)

          Oh, and Hezbollah starting the last war with Israel doesn't count as Iran starting the war because they Hezbollah isn't Iran's lapdog? Grow up.

          • by krou (1027572) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @11:04AM (#29634993)

            It's far from clear that Hezbollah started the war (and even less to suggest that it was done because of Iran's insistence), unless you discount repeated, almost daily, incursions [csmonitor.com] by the Israeli military into Lebanese territory, repeated violations of Lebanese airspace, and Israel's occupation of the Shebba farms.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by mpe (36238)
              It's far from clear that Hezbollah started the war (and even less to suggest that it was done because of Iran's insistence),

              It's a rather less than credible conspiracy theory that a Lebanese militia is under the control of the Iranian government. Sure they'll take money and weapons from Iran. No doubt they wouldn't say no to the same from Russia, China, Japan, France, the US, etc, etc.

              unless you discount repeated, almost daily, incursions by the Israeli military into Lebanese territory, repeated violati
        • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @03:04PM (#29637181) Homepage Journal

          "Israel deserves more trust than Iran? Are you serious?"

          I don't know about him, but I am, absolutely.

          "Iran has not, in recent military history, conducted a single war of aggression against its neighbours

          No, they've been smart enough to let terrorist proxy groups like Hezbollah do it for them, groups funded, trained, and equipped by Iran. And taking over an embassy is considered an act of war. And I was in the area when they unilaterally tried to cut off traffic in the Persian Gulf [wikipedia.org], and one of their mines almost sank the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts. No, no aggression against other states there.

          For all of its history, most of Israel's neighbors have denied its right to exist, and sworn to push them into the sea. They've attacked them literally since the day the Jewish state was founded. After several failed invasions, Jordan and Egypt now have peace treaties with Israel that recognize her right to exist. There's been no wars with those countries since then. Syria, however, tired of losing to Israel in conventional warfare, conquered Lebanon and made it a vassal state... which it has stayed, from one degree to another ever since... and continues to launch attacks on Israel from that territory, using its terrorist proxies to do the dirty work. Want to keep Israel out of Lebanon? Keep Syria out of Lebanon.

          Israel, on the other hand, have no such doctrine, and history demonstrates they have adopted a first strike policy.

          Considering that in every major war, Israel was invaded by surrounding states, you honestly think this is bad? Are you going to seriously make the argument that taking out Saddam Hussein's nuclear facilities (which were going to produce weapons-grade material) wasn't a smart thing to do?

          Iran has been co-operating with the IAEA - not flawlessly, and there are problems, but they have been co-operating.

          Yeah, they've been cooperating so closely that they built a second uranium enrichment facility [bloomberg.com] that stayed secret until now.

          Iran does not deny the holocaust took place

          Wow

    • by bcmm (768152) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:36AM (#29634391)

      Should we really be so shocked? Haven't nuclear weapons been present in the middle east for over 3 decades now, in Israel?

      True, but not really relevant. Israel had significant help from France, an existing nuclear power, and apartheid South Africa, which was presumably closer to nuclear weapons at that point (the apartheid government destroyed its warheads shortly before it left power, and subsequent governments have shown no interest in rebuilding them). It seems improbable that the West is currently helping Iran.

      Of course, while it doesn't have a bearing on how easy it is to build them, Israeli nuclear weapons do cause other countries in the area to want nuclear weapons, and provide then with an excuse.

    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @01:51PM (#29636487) Homepage Journal

      Should we really be so shocked? Haven't nuclear weapons been present in the middle east for over 3 decades now, in Israel [fas.org]?

      Israel hasn't pledged to push it's neighbors "into the sea". As soon as Israel was created (by the United Nations, backed by American Democratic politicians), Arab neighbor states began attacking immediately, and have regularly attempted invasions since then. Iran's top politician has made a promise to "smash the Jewish" state numerous times, promising to, in fact, wipe them off the map.

      The fact is that Israel has used their supply of nukes as a deterrent... indeed, no other state has attacked since they've had them. Surrounding hostile states have relied on funding and equipping terrorists to do their dirty work for them instead. But no one will send an army against Israel anymore.

      Iran, on the other hand, has openly made statements to the effect that any new military technologies they develop... nukes included... will be used to eliminate Israel. They've threatened in effect that their nukes will have offensive purposes. These weapons will be in the hands of a leadership that believes they can bring about the end of days... and thus the coming of the 12th Imam... by launching a cataclysmic attack on Israel, and perhaps on her allies.

      It matters who has these weapons, and who doesn't.

  • Internet access (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:12AM (#29634277) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't that just proof that they have Internet access?

    • by AndGodSed (968378)

      Good point, but flawed.

      Building a nuke from say... wikipedia entries is kinda like writing the Linux kernal from scratch by reading man pages

      • Re:Internet access (Score:5, Informative)

        by type40 (310531) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:35AM (#29634387)

        Right, because nukes are so impossibly hard to build that a layman, say a truck driver, couldn't possibly figure out how gen 1 atomic bombs were constructed.

        http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/12/15/081215fa_fact_samuels

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by NoYob (1630681)

      Doesn't that just proof that they have Internet access?

      No. It proves they don't If they did have internet access, you know their geeks would be surfing porn and playing WoW instead of building bombs.

      Geeze.

  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:14AM (#29634283) Homepage

    Wiki nukes - The nuke building resource that anyone can edit.

    Kim_Jong_il (Reverted edits by Ali Khamenei (talk) to last version by Sadr-e-Mumlikat)

  • US Intelligence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndGodSed (968378) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:17AM (#29634295) Homepage Journal

    How reliable is US intelligence today? I mean, they were wrong (or lied) about Iraq, and now they are seemingly wrong about Iran.

    I cannot make up my mind which is worse, them being wrong or them lieing...

    Lies, thats worse...

    But them being (apparently) wrong on this makes me wonder how often they are wrong with intel regarding the The War On Terror (TM)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Vinegar Joe (998110)

      Do you seriously believe intelligence work is the same as what you see in Mission Impossible?

      • by AndGodSed (968378)

        How did you get from my post that I think intelligence work is like what I see in Mission Impossible?

        I have not even SEEN mission impossible.

        I did read "See No Evil" written by Robert Baer though. Good read.

    • Re:US Intelligence (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rich0 (548339) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:44AM (#29634435) Homepage

      I think that people have some kind of idea that intelligence is supposed to be perfect. It never is. At best it can give you general information about what somebody is up to, and it can also give you misinformation if the aversary is clever enough to feed it to you carefully.

      Intelligence is a good way to supplement policy, or military strategy. It can't replace other factors, such as strong negotiating power or a strong military. It must still be used with caution.

      IMHO, the world is playing a very dangerous game with Iran. It seems like people are under the impression that it is fine to just wait to the last minute to commit to a particular course of action. If people are waiting for some unambiguous piece of intelligence before they decide to take action on Iran, I suspect that they're going to be still waiting when the first test detonation goes off.

      On the other hand, I can understand US reluctance to take action. Everybody seems to love to poke at the US for taking unilateral action (granted, Iraq certainly didn't help here). However, Iran isn't just a US problem. The US would be better off trying to become less dependant on oil from the middle east, and let the Europeans deal with Iran (they're the only ones in range of their missiles right now). Then the US press can sit back and take pot shots at European leaders when they make mistakes... :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      How reliable? Hard to say. There have been no further attacks since 9/11. The same people who cry about the poor iraqies are the ones who cried about the poor kurds when they were gassed and right now people who protest Iraq are demanding the worlds intercedes in Darfur and ask why the world allowed rwanda to happen.

      Remember, that everyone who reports on these issues has an agenda and that includes the intelligence agencies.

      And one of their agenda's is that it is NOT in their intrests to tell everyone wha

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gtall (79522)

      It wasn't U.S. Intelligence agencies that lied about Iraq, it was the administration which cherry picked the information. Anyhow, let's for the moment assume that Bush hadn't taken out Saddam and now Iran is caught building the bomb. The oil price spike in the last several years would have given Saddam plenty of money for arms. Our 'allies', the Euro-weenies were busy attempting to sell Saddam anything he liked at the time sanctions where breaking down in 2001. Saddam would be busy building his own nukes.

      Le

  • by Anonymous Coward
    that the Iranians are trying so hard to get access to discoveries primarily made by American Jews?
  • Perfectly Legal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xquark (649804) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:20AM (#29634321) Homepage

    As a member of the NPT Iran is well within its rights to posses the outlined technologies. The article clearly omits the fact that such capabilities can also lead to better yeilds from civilian/peaceful uses of nuclear technology.

    I believe the adage of "it takes one to know one" can be attributed to people claiming Iran intends to use such technologies for aggressive non-peaceful purposes.

    • by t00le (136364)

      Iran has a very long history of keeping their word on International matters. Let's not also forget their glowing history with their prisoners (civilians) and that whole pesky voting fraud thing.

      Whether they like it, somethings about to give based on the assorted leaks from the Intelligence communities. If the UN doesn't do something quickly, those pesky Jews that Iran hates so much may help "slow" their nuclear goals.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dropadrop (1057046)
        Can you please list the countries Iran has attacked? Talking about history and all...
    • yes because they are in such dire need of a new energy resource...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rich0 (548339)

      As a member of the NPT Iran is well within its rights to posses the outlined technologies. The article clearly omits the fact that such capabilities can also lead to better yeilds from civilian/peaceful uses of nuclear technology.

      Clearly this is a weakness in the NPT. No question that it isn't clear that Iran has violated this treaty.

      I believe the adage of "it takes one to know one" can be attributed to people claiming Iran intends to use such technologies for aggressive non-peaceful purposes.

      Yup. Perhaps

      • Re:Perfectly Legal (Score:4, Insightful)

        by selven (1556643) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @10:22AM (#29634665)

        Yup. Perhaps it would be more fair if the Iranians were allowed to develop nuclear weapons. I for one am not interested in fairness on the battlefield, however. It is in the interest of every first world nation to put a rapid stop to Iranian nuclear enrichment efforts.

        It's in the interest of every nation to deny every other nation the right to weapons. That doesn't make it right.

  • It's perfectly possible to design a basic nuclear weapon with freely-available information today. Any country large enough to have competent physicists and engineers could do it.

    Obtaining raw materials is the problem.

    There was a project in the US, the name of which I forget (could someone furnish us with a link?), in which a group of scientists with no background in nuclear weapon design and no access to classified information were asked to design a nuclear weapon. They then had experts with access to nuc
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by michael_cain (66650)

      could someone furnish us with a link?

      The Nth Country Experiment [wikipedia.org] in the mid-1960s was three people, one of whom left fairly early, all physics post-docs but none with weapons experience. None were given access to classified information. The conclusions were redacted when the original report was declassified, but most experts seem to believe that the group produced a workable design for an implosion-type device.

  • Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mario_grgic (515333) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:28AM (#29634351)

    Almost anyone could make an A-bomb if they had sufficient amount of weapons grade uranium 235, or plutonium. The real challenge is extracting the uranium 235 isotope from uranium ore.

    Even Wikipedia has enough detail on both purification and bomb building to give you a good head start. I don't think the challenge is the lack of theoretical knowledge or the process, but technology to do so. Those centrifuges are not easy to make (they spin up to 90,000 RPM) and something as a fingerprint on one of them will make it shatter when it's spinning that fast.

    But these days, almost any country that really wants to (and does not care about political or economic repercussions) could develop nuclear technology.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by radtea (464814)

      hose centrifuges are not easy to make (they spin up to 90,000 RPM) and something as a fingerprint on one of them will make it shatter when it's spinning that fast.

      Gas centrifuge technology, which has been available since the '80's, gets around most of this problem. It was predicted at the time that it would be hugely proliferating because it would make uranium enrichment relatively cheap and easy. Iran's programme is just proof of this.

      As other posters here have pointed out, making a uranium bomb is incre

  • by aGuyNamedJoe (317081) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:41AM (#29634427)

    One thing about being part of the "Axis of Evil" is that it tends to make one feel insecure. Sometimes other countries threaten to invade and/or talk about bombing back to the stone age... and then one notices that they don't talk that way about countries with nukes...

    just sayin..

  • If you RTFA you'll see that it's highly qualified to the effect that "we really don't have good intelligence."

    I remember watching Colin Powell at the UN showing aerial slides that I couldn't figure out that he said were mobile chemical weapons plants.

    I remember thinking to myself, "Well I think this WMD business is bullshit, but if the whole Bush Administration is going to put themselves on the line over it, then maybe there's something to it. If they're lying, Bush will lose the next election."

    Anyone who u

  • by maillemaker (924053) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @10:02AM (#29634535)

    The Genie is out of the bottle.

    Further, it is the height of arrogance that we sit on an arsenal of thousands of nuclear weapons and sit on high and tell the rest of the world, "No, you cannot have nuclear weapons."

    I thought "Do as I say, not as I do" was stupid when I was a child, and I still do as an adult.

    If I were in charge of a nation and any nation with nuclear weapons tried to tell me I could not have them I would tell them to come back when they have no nuclear weapons themselves.

    But, given the nature of American diplomacy today, where we will invade anyone without the bomb in the name of "democracy and freedom", if I were in charge of a nation without the bomb I would make it my nation's highest priority to obtain it so that I would not be the next nation who has American "democracy and freedom" brought to me on the tip of a sword.

  • dimona anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jt418-93 (450715) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @10:03AM (#29634553)

    as soon as dimona is opened up for inspection, the isralis can whine all they want, until they sign off on the ntp and all ow inspections, they need the seiously stfu.

  • Jerusalem?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CaptJay (126575) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @11:54AM (#29635479) Homepage

    What's that bit about Jerusalem? Maybe Israel changed its capital to a city that is a point of discord with Palestine, without anyone but the poster noticing :)

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