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How Close Is Iran, Really, To Nuclear Weapons 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-boom dept.
Lasrick writes "A Reuters blog post by Yousaf Butt explains the science, or lack thereof, behind recent claims that Iran is closer to building the bomb. Butt has been writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, most recently blasting the unsourced AP 'Iranian graph' that claimed to show nuclear testing activity as well as the Washington Post story about Iran's alleged order of 100,000 magnets for their centrifuges."
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How Close Is Iran, Really, To Nuclear Weapons

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  • by maweki (999634) on Monday February 25, 2013 @11:41AM (#43003359) Homepage
    Last year in an IAEA report they said that iran doesn't refine its uranium to weapon's grade but to a metallic form that can be used in reactors but can not be refined further. Now Aljazeera writes: The IAEA's report showed "no evidence of diversion of material and nuclear activities towards military purposes,"
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/02/2013221224353882956.html [aljazeera.com]

    It seems that the IAEA has in all their reports strong indications that the nuclear program is peaceful. So IAEA officials have been denied access to military installations which are not covered by the Nuclear non proliferation treaty. And even then, Iran has allowed inspections at a later date even though the IAEA has no right to do so (it wouldn't have in any other nation as well).
    I have the distinct feeling that western media is very biased. But it was with Iraq's WMDs (or lack thereof) as well.
  • by khallow (566160) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:09PM (#43003709)

    Last year in an IAEA report they said that iran doesn't refine its uranium to weapon's grade but to a metallic form that can be used in reactors but can not be refined further.

    No such form exists. You can always react it with fluorine, do the centrifuge thing, and thereby increase the concentration of uranium 235. And since it is a higher grade than what Iran started with, it requires less energy to close the gap to weapon grade.

    It seems that the IAEA has in all their reports strong indications that the nuclear program is peaceful.

    No it doesn't. The statement you quote "no evidence of diversion of material and nuclear activities towards military purposes," just means that Iran currently isn't diverting that material to military purposes. That will come later when they have enough material and otherwise working fission bombs to use that material.

    You don't admit you have nukes until you set one off openly. That's how several of the other nuclear powers did it.

  • Re:Al Jazeera *was* (Score:5, Informative)

    by maweki (999634) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:23PM (#43003891) Homepage
    "who's funding them"
    Qatar. And their feud with Assad possibly dictates the Syria coverage. But there's no other money in the game. It's one family funding the operation from their oil-wealth. Not a plethora of commercial interests like Fox "News"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:49PM (#43004229)

    In theory you react it with fluorine and get UF6 but that is not easy with typical fuel plates. First, they are uranium oxide, not pure uranium rods. The purity of the UF6 gas also must be very good for processing in a centrifuge chain (otherwise they jam).

    It is true you can go back and enrich further, but it is a serious hassle.

  • by goldstein (705041) on Monday February 25, 2013 @01:53PM (#43005047)
    It is really a stretch to describe Iran as a country "awash in oil". Production peaked decades ago ( http://crudeoilpeak.info/irans-2nd-and-last-oil-peak [crudeoilpeak.info] ) and there is the obvious point that reducing internal oil consumption will help extend the life of existing oil fields and/or maximize exports. It might be noted that Saudi Arabia has plans to build 16 power reactors ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_program_of_Saudi_Arabia [wikipedia.org] ).
  • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Monday February 25, 2013 @02:28PM (#43005529) Homepage

    They didn't use them because THEY DIDN'T HAVE THEM.

    Oh please. Chemical weapons, especially mustard gas are trivial to synthesize. Iran is a modern technical nation. Even now they are building their own guided missile systems. They are also, apparently enriching their own uranium, which is not easy to do. If they chose to, they could have easily made chemical weapons.

  • Re:How Close? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Niedi (1335165) on Monday February 25, 2013 @02:39PM (#43005669)
    As interesting as ever:
    Adam Curtis - The Power of Nightmares
    It gives an interesting view of how this whole situation with evil states and global terrorist networks spiralled out of control.
    If you have three hours of time that is... But it's definitely fascinating imho.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGo1DqmfHjY [youtube.com]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0kNNqZk3mg [youtube.com]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qATc5jRbVOA [youtube.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:15PM (#43006259)

    Don't know about the entire West but US is doing a great job of making itself look bad. Not only do they own an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons, they're also the only nation to have used nuclear weapons on another nation. Yet they're demanding that another country not build their own weapons. This is the height of American HYPOCRISY.

  • Re:Al Jazeera *was* (Score:4, Informative)

    by rocket rancher (447670) <themovingfinger@gmail.com> on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:23PM (#43006407)

    "who's funding them" Qatar. And their feud with Assad possibly dictates the Syria coverage. But there's no other money in the game. It's one family funding the operation from their oil-wealth. Not a plethora of commercial interests like Fox "News"

    lol. The royal family of Saud owns one sixth of fox news, and their wealth is 100 percent oil derived. Care to revise your assertion about Fox News?

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