Iran will build a bomb no matter what

December 2, 2021 • 9:15 am

If you think that Iran, under its present theocracy, is willing to halt the production of nuclear warheads and missiles, then you are deluded. In fact, even Tom Friedman in the NYT is deluded in his column asserting that “Trump’s Iran policy has become a disaster for the U.S. and Israel.”  Why? Because, according to Friedman:

Up until Trump walked out of the Iran deal negotiated by President Barack Obama — even though international inspectors said Iran was still adhering to it — Iran’s breakout time to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon was one year, and Iran had agreed to maintain that buffer for 15 years. Now it’s a matter of weeks. It would still take Iran a year and half or two years to manufacture a deliverable warhead, U.S. officials believe. But that is cold comfort.

Yes, of course Iran has promised to slow down its production of nuclear material for warheads, but has it really done that? What about those UN inspections?

They are a joke. The agreement forged by Obama stipulates that inspectors are forbidden to inspect military sites. Well, where do you think production of Iran’s warheads and missiles is taking place? And when you read about how the inspections are conducted: very lax, with required advance warning (this should not be given) and soil samples provided by Iran, you wonder how the inspectors can be duped so easily.

And don’t forget that according to the so called “sunset clause” in Obama’s deal, after 2035 Iran would have been absolutely free to develop whatever bomb it wants. 2035 is not as far away as we imagine. But of course Iran has no intention of waiting even that long.

The aims of Iran have been declared explicitly. Here’s one from the spokesperson for Iran’s armed forces (click on screenshot):

A quote:
The spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces, Brig.-Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, on Saturday urged the total elimination of the Jewish state during an interview with an Iranian regime-controlled media outlet.
“We will not back off from the annihilation of Israel, even one millimeter. We want to destroy Zionism in the world,” Shekarchi told the Iranian Students News Agency.
Shekarchi’s genocidal antisemitic remarks come just days before the nuclear talks are set to restart in Vienna Monday on curbing the Islamic Republic of Iran’s illicit nuclear program. The United States and other world powers are seeking to provide Tehran with economic sanctions relief in exchange for temporary restrictions on its atomic program. Israel and other countries believe Iran’s regime seeks to build a nuclear weapons device.

The Iranian general also blasted Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates for normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel, terming the diplomacy “intolerable” for Iran’s clerical regime. “Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and other countries considered as Muslims, for us they part of the Zionist regime and this is very important,” said Shekarchi.

But wait! There’s more:

Anybody with a lick of sense knows that the theocracy and its mullahs have an overweening aim: to destroy “Zionism,” by which they mean Israel.  And if you think that Iran will agree to stop cold in its production of fissile material, warheads, and missiles, I would question your credulity. Perhaps Trump had speeded up that process a bit when he withdrew from the nuclear agreement, but I think the withdrawal might have been justified. It reduced the contributions of the mullahs to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas, and the economic pressure made the Iranian public even more dissatisifed with the mullahs. That’s why Iran is so desperate to get back to the negotiating table and get the sanctions lifted, as well as trying to exact a patronizing promise from the U.S. and EU that they will never again impose sanctions. Read about the demonstrations against the government of Iran, in which soldiers just shoot the demonstrators.


And insofar as Biden and the EU renegotiate a deal with Iran in which it promises to slow down (but not stop) production of nuclear weapons, they are also dupes. Everyone knows that the production of those weapons is inevitable. At best we can buy some time, but not very much.

So what can be done? Israel can be destroyed by one or two nuclear missiles fired from Iran, and there will be no warning and little possibility of retaliating against such a large country.

Israel has two choices, neither of them palatable. It can bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, but that is very likely to start a war—a war that nobody wants, including Israel itself, the U.S. and the EU. Or Israel can do nothing, or do smaller acts of sabotage like assassinating Iranian nuclear experts, which it has done. That will have little effect, and eventually Iran will aim its missiles at Israel.

The only viable solution I can see is the overthrow of the Iranian theocracy and institution of a secular government in there. We cannot do that, of course: it is up to the Iranian people. But those people are getting increasingly fed up with the theocracy and the economic degeneration of the country. And many are sick of the constant intrusion of fundamentalist Islam into their lives. You may have read about anti-regime demonstrations all over Iran, especially in Isfahan. Read Masih Alinejad’s Twitter feed for daily documentation. Persistent sanctions, with U.S. support of the demonstrators and denunciation of Iran’s human-rights violations (something the Iranians also want to negotiate away), will hearten them.

Alternatively, we can just let Iran develop its armed missiles and accept it into the community of the Nuclear Abled along with the U.S., UK, Russia, and China (with North Korea on the way). But Iran is not like North Korea, and I have no confidence that they won’t use their missiles. Israel is not the EU or the US, and has limited power to defend itself against a nuclear attack.

We can’t get rid of the mullahs, but the only way forward is to keep up with the sanctions to leverage a change of regime.  In this sense I have to say that Trump’s actions made more sense than Obama’s and now Biden’s (Need I say that I despise Trump and am elated that he’s gone? But I cannot claim that every single thing his administration did was injurious. The revision of Title IX under DeVos was another example.)

54 thoughts on “Iran will build a bomb no matter what

  1. Israel isn’t going to accept this. They will find facilities and destroy them, they will assassinate those working on the programs and use any means to stop this because this is an existential threat to them. No matter what, this is all bad but inevitable.

  2. we can just let Iran develop its armed missiles and accept it into the community of the Nuclear Abled along with the U.S., UK, Russia, and China (with North Korea on the way).

    You forgot France, Pakistan, India, and Israel.

    The latter being a key thing I think we should all consider in the equation. Certainly the Iranian leadership considers it – i.e. the fact that a nuke dropped on Tel Aviv could very quickly be followed by a nuke dropped on the Supreme Leader, wherever he happens to be hiding.

    That, of course, is an exchange all sane people should hope never happens. Israel being nuclear armed probably also means that a sober, calculating Iranian leadership spouting off a lot of anti-semitic rhetoric while thinking about their own skins is likely militarily preferrable to an unstable power vacuum where some temporary replacement leader knows he’s not likely to survive the next month due to assassins or political enemies, so screw it why not launch.

    My personal opinion, which is my own, is that the current Iranian leadership will use nukes the same way Russia, China, and NK uses nukes – to force the West to back off on local or domestic issues (at least, that’s the way I think they perceive it). No Europe, you’re not going to station troops and rockets in Ukraine, because we have nukes. No, you’re not going to start a hot war over Crimea, because we have nukes. No, you’re not going to do anything substantive about Hong Kong or Taiwan or our control of the local sea area, because we have nukes. And in this case, no, you’re not going to do anything about our violent crackdowns on women, yazidis, gays, Sunnis, or any other Iranian minorities we feel like killing…because now we have nukes.

    1. Just one, at the most two nuclear bombs on Israel more or less guarantee that Israel will not be able to retaliate. Have a look at the map to see how small Israel is.
      Iranian mullahs are everything but not sober and calculating. Read their speeches about the need to hasten coming of the Hidden Imam (in farsi, but they are translated into English). To die for the faith as a martyr is not an empty slogan in Iran (even for the leaders) but an aspiration.
      There is a probability that Iran will “only” use its nuclear weapon to keep Israel in check while arming forces all around it (Hezbollah, Hamas, PIJ) which could then overwhelm Israel with conventional forces (yes, Iron Dome can be overwhelmed and Israeli army as well).

      1. Just one, at the most two nuclear bombs on Israel more or less guarantee that Israel will not be able to retaliate. Have a look at the map to see how small Israel is.

        I think you’ve got a common misperception of nuclear weapons. They are the biggest bombs we’ve ever invented, yes, but they still “only” have a blast radius of 1-10 miles. Horrific, but 3-300 square miles nuked per bomb is nothing compared to Israel’s 8,550 square miles of land. An individual nuke is a city-destroyer, not a nation-destroyer.

        Now it’s possible that (a) Israel has stored all their nukes in one place, and (b) Iran knows where that is, and (c) Israel enacts no defensive measures for it’s arsenal when Iran acquires nukes. In which case, Iran can hit their retaliatory strike capability. But each of those three things is extremely unlikely. If and when the Israeli military deems a nuclear strike to be a credible threat, it’s simple enough for them to do what the US and USSR did in the cold war, and always have a nuclear armed plane in the air so that there is simply no way their enemy prevent a retaliation.

          1. And get through the Bab al Mandeb (southern end of the Red Sea) or Straits of Gibraltar without the active connivance of parties on both shores?
            Without that, launching from somewhere in the Med (or Red Sea) does nothing to shorten their time-of-flight to Iran.

      2. Adding on to my other reply, I do agree with your last paragraph and in fact I think we can expand on it. We’ve already seen the current President+Leader combination attack oil transports in the area. I think you’re right in that we could expect this regime, armed with nukes, step up it’s conventional aggressiveness in the area. Not just against Israel, but on oil shipping and western influence in general. ‘You embargo our trade? Okay, we impound and blow holes in more ships. And you won’t militarily stop us because now we have nukes.’

        So I do think a nuclear-armed Iran is something we should oppose, and work to stop or delay as much as possible. I just don’t agree with the argument that they’re going to get a nuke and immediately drop it on Israel. Their leadership knows, like the leaders of Pakistan and NK knew before them, that going after their enemies with the nukes they’ve acquired opens the door for them being targeted themselves. And dictators are nothing if not self-interested.

      3. I think Hezbollah and Hamas will never defeat the IDF. IDF is so much stronger. In general, Israel is not that vulnerable as far as a conventional war is concerned. In case of a nuclear strike on Israel, it will most likely be intercepted by joined Israeli-American anti-missile systems. A real existential danger to the State of Israel comes from within – due to the social and cultural tensions in the country.

        1. I would wish to be able to believe you that Israel is strong enough to withstand a simultaneous assault of thousands of rockets and missiles from Hamas and Hezbollah and that there would still be free capacity to intercept precision guided missiles from Huthi, Iraqi militias and from Iran itself. Somehow though I doubt it.

        2. In case of a nuclear strike on Israel, it will most likely be intercepted by joined Israeli-American anti-missile systems.

          That, I wouldn’t be confident about. It’s probably going to depend a lot on engineering details that nobody can predict (except the Iranian engineers…and maybe the spies amongst them).

          Keep in mind that the Nagasaki bomb was intentionally detonated by the US something like 1,800 feet in the air, and still did horrible damage. Anti-missile systems applied to nukes must either kill the warhead so it doesn’t detonate, or get it waaaaay early. The close-in system the Israelis use to intercept Hamas rockets probably won’t work.

      4. > Just one, at the most two nuclear bombs on Israel more or less guarantee that Israel will not be able to retaliate

        I am pretty sure they could retaliate. Most of their purpose in having nuclear weapons is to promise a second strike, to guarantee that bombing Tel Aviv will cost the Iranians Tehran. Whether this plan involves submarines or bunkers in the desert or something else, I don’t know.

        That’s the same-day military calculus. But there’s a longer-term way that even un-launched missiles could destroy Israel. To have a future it needs its bright and capable people to see a future there. They all have options elsewhere. If too many of them decide it’s too risky for their kids to live under threat of nuclear annihilation, then they will leave, and an economy based on exporting oranges won’t support staying 10 years ahead on drones & cyber-war, etc, for long. That seems a much harder risk to counter.

        1. Whether this plan involves submarines or bunkers in the desert or something else, I don’t know.

          Nobody without a need know would. Heck, Israel doesn’t publicly acknowledge it even has The Bomb.

          1. Here’s info from the Nuclear Threat Initiative on their sub capabilities. On this subject, I only know what I can google, but the NTI second-hand reports would indicate a nuclear launch capability. I’m honestly more piqued by the factoid that Germany donated two of the first three subs to them. I’d never expect the Germans to offer a buy-one-get-two-free deal on anything lol.

    2. This is what should make sense. But I don’t understand the clear and unconditional threats uttered repeatedly by their leadership. Its like they are really asking to be decapitated.

      1. It’s dangerous rhetoric. But we have Ted Cruz grandstanding right now about how he’s going to shut down the economy if Biden doesn’t get rid of the corporate vaccine requirement, and that’s not going to happen either – he’s saying it to gain popularity with the right. They have their Ted Cruzes too.

  3. We’ve all heard the morality tale about the hiker who met a talking rattlesnake. The snake asked to be taken to a lower elevation, as the snake felt cold. The man was finally pursuaded and nestled the snake in this jacket to keep it warm. Once the hiker arrived at a low elevation, the snake promptly bit the man and started to slither away. “Why did you bite me? You promised you wouldn’t!” The snake’s reply: “What did you expect? I’m a rattlesnake.”

    The Democrats should never have supported the nuclear deal while Obama was in office, and the deal should not be revived now. Never make deals with gangsters who have openly lied and broken the law for decades.

  4. You use arguments to put yourself (Israel) into a corner with no way out, no alternative to what? Action? War? I am not sure. So, is this Israel’s problem or is it America’s problem. I get confused.
    I cannot speak on what Israel should do. They will do what they will do. As for America – they were for diplomacy. That stopped when Trump arrived. He did exactly what Israel wanted — he killed diplomacy. So that is what happened. The only alternative left for America in this thing is MAD. It is the same thing we had with Russia and China and now N. Korea. So if Iran gets the bomb they must be given the word. You use the bomb on anyone and you are done. If there is another solution to this issue (diplomacy or MAD) I fail to see it.

    1. Sanctions are part of diplomacy. And if you think that Iran was never going to build a bomb, you’re wrong. It will get one. Do you really think Obama would have negotiated Iran out of building a bomb with his handouts? If so, then I have some land in central Florida to sell you. I believe Obama was bamboozled, with the Iranians repeatedly lying or deceiving him, the UN, and the world community.

      1. I never said any of those things but if it makes you feel good to say them…okay. i said, America has two things on this issue. One is diplomacy and the other is MAD. The diplomacy that Obama and several other countries were doing is now dead. That is what Trump did. If you have a solution then lets hear it.

        1. The solution is NOT to keep giving Iran money (allowing them to finance terrorism) while they keep building a bomb. I don’t offer solutions; I am telling you that negotiation didn’t work, and that sanctions are working.

          I guess you would rather pay off Iran and let them have the bomb, too.

          As I said sanctions are part of diplomacy.

          1. Yes! Sanctions are totally working
            The regime is on its knees but to think that they won’t adapt and find a solution is premature .
            The regime doesn’t care about the people they will abuse and harass us anyway . The life quality in iran is terrible and gets worse by the day . The only way out is the military option . Believe me !
            Regime will always find a way to weasel around and survive at the cost of people’s livelihoods and people are too afraid and too separated to take some action .

        2. “I never said any of those things…The diplomacy that Obama and several other countries were doing is now dead. That is what Trump did.”

          If you weren’t saying that Obama’s diplomacy was working, then why are you so outraged at its being “dead”? These statements do not match up. Either stick to your argument or don’t, but don’t try to prevaricate your way out of this. For someone who hates Trump so much, you should have a healthy hatred for such ways.

    2. “So, is this Israel’s problem or is it America’s problem.”

      How could a country ruled by fundamentalist Islamist jihadis, the chief sponsors of terrorism in the world, who have vowed to destroy not just Israel but the United States, who have mass-murdered American soldiers with a terrorist bomb and now are close to a nuclear weapon possibly be a problem for the United States? Is that the question?

      1. I wish you all would stop asking me questions and come up with solutions of your. own. I said what the United States had as options regarding Iran and their development of a nuclear bomb. The problem is both Israels and the U.S. There is no question about that.

        1. I am no fan of Trump. But, on the issue of Iran he was spot on, in my opinion. He would likely not left Israel to go it alone, as Biden has made pretty clear he will do. Trump would have worked in tandem with Israel to destroy Iran’s nuclear labs, and Iran would have been faced with war against both the US and Israel. They would back down. There, you have an option additional to your own.

          1. Not sure your opinion is all together true – that the U.S. has left Israel to go it alone. Countries general do what is in their best interest. Not what is in the other guys interest. Do you remember when the leader of Israel came over here at the invitation of the republicans and gave a speech to our Congress. His speech was pretty much his opinion of the diplomacy our president was doing with Iran. Now, I don’t know what your take on that was but to me that was a pretty stupid thing to do. Jumping in bed with Trump, also a stupid thing to do but it’s not my call. I think Biden has a different idea.

            1. No. Netanyahu’s speech wasn’t stupid. It was an act of desperation. It was like the Czechs protesting Munich in 1938.

        2. No, you said Obama was doing the right thing, and that Trump was wrong to reverse it. This logically implies that what Obama was doing was a solution. People are asking you questions because you’re caught in a trap of your own making, but, as usual, refuse to ever back down. So now you’re just demanding everyone stop questioning your arguments and instead give their own solutions to highly complex global issues. Turns out “solutions” aren’t as simple as “Democrat President policy good, Trump policy bad.”

    3. Lol. That is bullshit. Obama was never under diplomacy. Those most are risk from Iran’s bomb (Israel and Saudi Arabia) repeatedly warned Obama. All he was trying to do was to push it off a few years. Then, according to the “deal” he pursued zo zealously, all controls on Iran’s nuclear program would be lifted. Bit by then, Obama would be out of office and it would be someone else’s problem.

    4. “As for America – they were for diplomacy. That stopped when Trump arrived. He did exactly what Israel wanted — he killed diplomacy.”

      I’m sorry, I’m normally not prone to insultingly gutting a statement (though you certainly are), but this is just so absurd that any sane person must laugh at it and think “this is Trump Derangement Syndrome in action.” You simply can’t accept that anything Trump did, even if it was only one or two things, was actually the right thing.

      Oh yes! Diplomacy! We were all for it, and it was working so very well! Giving Iran hundreds of millions of dollars so they can fund terrorist groups and Hamas and many others — not to mention their nuclear bomb program! And in exchange for them saying “we super duper promise not to build a bomb!” It’s just so laughable. Did you read the description of what the “inspections” involve? Well, of course they exclude military sites. Military sites are the one place you wouldn’t build a bomb! And of course they need to call Iran first and say, “hey, we’re going to come around and do an inspection soon. Just want to make sure you know so you can make absolutely sure that we have everything we need. You know, like the soil samples you provide.”

      It’s just so absurd. If Obama had taken the tack Trump did, and then Trump made the “Iran Nuclear Deal,” rather than the other way around, you’d be banging on about how stupid Trump was for trusting the Iranians.

      (I say all of this as someone who has never voted for any politician that wasn’t a Democrat, and who thinks Trump is probably the worst President in history, an enormous danger to our country, and tearing at the very fabric of our nation)

  5. Europe and the US can rely on being lied to by the clerics running Iran. They have no qualms about lying to the “infidel”.

    1. People should stop treating nations, or any large organisation, as if they were a person. It’s nonsense that leads to a lot of problems.

      Iran isn’t any more truthful or dishonest than any other country. What they issue depends entirely on their national interests. Most countries, if not all of them, won’t disclose military information, and spend good money on sending “false” signals. Whole branches of counter-intelligence exist for such purposes.

      That’s why national interests are a key. As a CBSNews article from 2015 said, short of an invasion, you can’t have everything. You must work with their interests. Alas, my comment citing the article from 2015 has vanished (deletion/moderation would be strange, maybe a bug).

      Of course, I condemn the proliferation of nuclear arms, and it’s particularily bad in the hands of fundamentalist clerics as in Iran. But I remain sceptical whether international inspections are really just a joke. They must work in tandem with other interests, other than having nukes. It was the best option before Trump rubbished it.

      1. Yes to interests being key.

        This is another reason the Iraq invasion was such a disaster. The lesson they took is, I think, roughly that the US would never have tried that if Saddam had had the bomb. It’s hard to argue that they’re wrong.

        (I think they take the same lesson from Ukraine, which gave up its share of the USSR’s nuclear forces in return for some scribbles on bits of paper.)

      2. I did not moderate or delete your comment. It went automatically to the traush, probably because it contained links. I have restored it.

        Did you see what I said about the agreed-upon limits to nuclear inspections. No military areas can be inspected! I don’t know about you, but to me it sounds like a joke. That, along with plenty of advance notice that you’ll be inspected. It’s like telling someone a week in advance that they’re going to be drug tested.

        1. “It’s like telling someone a week in advance that they’re going to be drug tested.”

          It’s like telling someone a year before, putting them through rehab during that year, and giving them very clear instructions on how to beat any kind of drug test available.

  6. You write:

    [inspections] are a joke. The agreement forged by Obama stipulates that inspectors are forbidden to inspect military sites. Well, where do you think production of Iran’s warheads and missiles is taking place? And when you read about how the inspections are conducted: very lax, with required advance warning (this should not be given) and soil samples provided by Iran, you wonder how the inspectors can be duped so easily.

    However, according to a news from 2015:

    The agreement allows for a “long-term IAEA presence in Iran” to monitor materials and nuclear development that wouldn’t be used in weapons. Inspectors will have continuous monitoring capabilities at known nuclear facilities like Fordow fuel enrichment plant and the Natanz enrichment facility. For other areas in the country, including military sites where there is suspected nuclear activity, IAEA inspectors will have to request access. […]

    It remains to be seen whether, as the president said, inspectors will really have access “where necessary, when necessary.” Still, while the statement – in light of the compromises made – may seem optimistic, sanctions relief for Iran will ultimately depend on whether the IAEA inspectors are satisfied that they have the access they need. — CBSNews, July 2015

  7. The dictatorial theocracy that is Iran’s leadership is a shame. I know a number of Iranians (the Vancouver area has a large Persian community) and they are all wonderful people thriving in a secular democracy. I suppose there is some selection bias, given that most of them left Iran because of the Islamic Revolution, so may not be representative of the population at large.

    Bloody religion poisons everything.

    1. Not a bias at all . Take it from me an iranian living in iran ; modt of people here are absolutely sick of the totalitarian theocracy and want to get rid of it but can’t
      It’s very complicated with dozens of moving parts that are’nt in our hands . The biggest problem is that most people don’t have any problem with the form of government .as long as the regime sees to their financial demands they’re fine .

  8. Israel is in peril. The Iranian bomb must be stopped. Yes, an overthrow and change of government is the best way. But Israel cannot be patient. An Iranian bomb at Israel’s doorstep is like a person sitting at your front door with a machine gun. Both are existential threats that neither a homeowner nor Israel can ignore.

  9. While I wish no one had nuclear bombs, it seems unreasonable for the US to ask their enemies not to make bombs while we keep upgrading and enlarging our own arsenal, and while we keep invading and destroying nations that get in the way of our interests. What alternative do those other nations have? We have left them none. Look what we did to our once-ally Iraq, right next to Iran.

  10. The Iranians are ridiculously ideologically driven, but I doubt even they would be so foolish as to provoke WWIII? I agree that Israel has limited options following its successful missions like the Stuxnet malware one; it has likely already bought as much time as it realistically can.

    Iran (and on other issues, Russia and China) needs to be in no doubt of the resolve of the West in dealing with such serious threats. Unfortunately, after the occupation of the Crimean peninsula with pretty much zero consequences, and ditto the Chinese crackdown in Hong Kong, etc., I have a nasty feeling that in the event that the West does finally take a hardline stance it will come as a belated surprise to the aggressors. Poland 1939 all over again? I genuinely hope not, but it looks all too likely right now. Still, a prolonged nuclear winter will sort out climate change for those who survive. (Sorry to be so bleak.)

  11. Other than “the only viable solution I can see is the overthrow of the Iranian theocracy and institution of a secular government in there” – with no pratctial way to achieve it – I haven’t heard a good argument as to why the agreement should not be re-instated – i.e., why it’s not better than nothing.

    1. Because it does nothing to stop the bomb — the “inspections” aren’t real inspections, but mere theater — while giving Iran hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s basically an enormous cash handout for Iran to do with as they like (fund terrorism, their own nuclear program, other normal stuff they spend money on) for the gran prize of a photo op and a piece of paper saying, “I made this policy! Now it’s part of my legacy!”

      Scrapping the deal isn’t “doing nothing,” it’s simply removing hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the hands of Iran. In fact, in that way, it’s doing something: punihsing Iran economically, destabilizing its totalitarian and horribly repressive regime leaders, and keeping them from pouring even more money into terrorism and their nuclear program.

      There is no benefit going the other way in the “deal.” There’s no trade in the “deal.” The inspections are theater, so the “deal” is just giving Iran a bunch of money for playing pretend, and playing pretend for the purpose of allowing certain politicians to pretend themselves that they’re doing something important about a critical issue.

  12. Iran will build a bomb no matter what

    Well, of course they will. The only real question, to me, is if they already have one – whether smuggled from Pakistan, or just plain sold by the Chinese for the furtherance of their diplomatic aims.
    Or, for that matter, a Paikistan-a-like bomb manufactured by the Chinese – for a measure of plausible deniability.
    Qui bono? Well, Pakistan has an obvious desire to massacre other monotheists (seems to be a characteristic of monotheists – they can’t bear competition). How would the Chinese benefit, if they’re involved? Just creating mayhem and worsening the level of trust of the rest of the world in the West, as they try to excuse Israel’s genocidal response.

  13. I remain optimistic.

    There is a long road between enriching enough uranium to make a critical-mass explosive chain reaction and building a bomb that Iran can deliver to a target. Yes you can recreate a 1945 Hiroshima bomb easily enough with the barrel from a left-over tank gun and enough gunpowder to smush one lump of hot uranium into another. Wrap the thing in lead so it doesn’t kill everyone who stands near it and it will tip the scales at 10,000 pounds. Little Boy needed a specially modified B-29 with space in the bomb bay for a nuclear physicist to set the fuses and safety interlocks during the flight to Hiroshima. And that was the end of the road for uranium gun-bomb development. They aren’t scalable up or down because of the mass and geometric constraints on criticality.

    Problem for Iran is that they don’t own any aircraft or missiles that can carry a load more than a fifth of that to Tel Aviv, one way. Modern plutonium-based warheads are small and light but there’s no evidence that Iran is trying to acquire plutonium or make it in their research reactor. If they ever pass the 20% enrichment point, Israel will make a worst-case analysis of motive and opportunity. They will strike preemptively before Iran figures out a way to make a bomb they can shoot back with. Sounds like the worst possible world for Iran — making the fuel for a weapon they can’t use but makes them a target.

    Don’t know what game they are playing with their uncooperative research program, then. But rushing to a Bomb doesn’t seem to be it, propaganda notwithstanding.

  14. If you think that Iran, under its present theocracy, is willing to halt the production of nuclear warheads and missiles, then you are deluded.

    If you think merely claiming it is deluded maket it fact, then you are deluded.

    We had a perfectly agreeable agreement between participants until US withdraw suspecting that the inspections didn’t work.

    As a result of the above, the “breakout time”—the time in which it would be possible for Iran to make enough material for a single nuclear weapon—will increase from two to three months to one year, according to U.S. officials and U.S. intelligence.[52][72][102][d] An August 2015 report published by a group of experts at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concurs in these estimates, writing that under the JCPOA, “over the next decade would be extended to roughly a year, from the current estimated breakout time of 2 to 3 months”.[70] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also accepts these estimates.[104][105] By contrast, Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, disputed the one-year assessment, arguing that under the agreement, Iran’s breakout time “would be only about three months, not much longer than it is today”.[106]

    The longer breakout time would be in place for at least ten years; after that point, the breakout time would gradually decrease.[52][102] By the 15th year, U.S. officials say the breakout time would return to the pre-JCPOA status quo of a few months.[52][102] The Belfer Center report states: “Some contributors to this report believe that breakout time by year 15 could be comparable to what it is today—a few months—while others believe it could be reduced to a few weeks.”[70]

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    1. That said, while the world no longer thinks there is much difference between Biden and Trump “America alone”, on this point I’m glad that reasonable politics prevail to make the world better instead of unfounded suspicious of this or that.

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