Category Archives: Middle East Nuclear

Nuclear Iran: Israeli-Western Narrative and the Khamenei Narrative……..

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“Such a compromise would fall well short of the maximalist demands of Iranian hardliners, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who continue to believe that Iran should have a nuclear-weapons option, if not the bomb itself. It would also provoke outrage among sceptical members of America’s Congress and Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who insist that Iran’s record of cheating means it should have no enrichment programme at all. But that is the nature of compromises; neither side will get all it seeks……………”

The Economist narrative seems to have been taken straight from the mouth of Benyamin Netanyahu. Yet how do they presume to know the mind of Khamenei? To know what Khamenei thinks? They seem to quote him without actually quoting him: a neat journalistic trick (we bloggers also use it). Let us see what Khamenei has said publicly on Twitter (and let’s assume that he means it):
@khamenei_ir:
“Iran considers the use of WMDs as an unforgivable sin. Nuclear energy for all and nukes for none”
“We consider the use of WMDs as Haraam; we believe that it is everyone’s duty to secure humanity against this great evil.”  4/17/2010
“Islamic Republic of Iran considers the use of nuclear, chemical and similar weapons as a great and unforgivable sin.” 8/30/12
“Iranian nation is a victim of the use of CWs. That is why Iran is ready to counter WMDs by all its means. ” 

All sides in this argument dissemble (lie) about the nuclear issue. We know for certain that Mr. Netanyahu dissembles (okay, lies) regularly, almost everybody knows that. For twenty years he has been predicting an Iranian breakthrough to “the bomb” within ‘six months or a year’. He has slowed down now, for he used to do his predictions almost every two weeks. The West also dissembles in its claim that its focus is solely on the Iranian nuclear program. We know that is not true: there are regional strategic factors involved that have pushed the economic blockade, especially for the U.S. administrations. And not just the Israeli position or the pressures for war from some Arab princes and potentates (check Wikileaks cables).

As for Iranian officials, some of them would like to have “the bomb” and to have an excuse to clamp down even more on dissent and to block potential Western cultural influences. Toward that target they would be happy to scuttle the talks. As would many politicians in the United States and most if not all of the political and media elites in Israel.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Israeli Lobby in the Washington Knesset Works to Derail Nuclear Talks……


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“In a letter obtained by Foreign Policy, Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, demand that any deal allow international inspectors to probe Iranian facilities for “at least 20 years.” It also says the inspections “must be intrusive,” with the International Atomic Energy Agency gaining “access to any and all facilities, persons or documentation” necessary to determine Iran’s compliance with the deal……… The letter, which is addressed to the president, went out to members of the Senate Banking Committee, Foreign Relations Committee, and Armed Services Committee on Friday, July 11. It has the support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, an AIPAC official confirmed……………”

Nothing new here, just something worth revisiting briefly. We all know that an unregistered all powerful omnipotent lobby for a foreign government now shapes Obama Administration and U.S. Congressional foreign policy about anything that has to do with Iran, Lebanon, and Palestinian-Israeli issues. AIPAC has a virtual veto over U.S. policy on these issues: its tools are truly bi-partisan.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

What Prince Bandar Would Say about the Geneva Nuclear Deal………

      


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This is what Saudi Prince Bandar wants the West to think of the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran.

P.S.: he was apparently incognito (no, not that one: in disguise) when he wrote this piece for Foreign Policy. Or so I think. He even threatens that his family, the Al Saud, will go nuclear if a deal is finalized, meaning he will be  a nuclear bomb from somewhere (Pakistan, North Korea,  UmmAl-Quwain, Jordan, WTF……..). But that is also exactly what the Al Saud and their vast media mouthpieces had threatened to do if there was NO deal in Geneva.

On the other hand, that is also what Ben Netanyahu has been saying for two decades, that he will go nuclear, even more nuclear than he has been for some four decades. Could he be the writer in disguise?

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


They are Back at the White House! Ben Netanyahu’s UN Nuclear Cartoons………

      


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“Thursday, Nov. 14, Israel sent the White House in Washington a confidential document outlining blow by blow how and when Iran will attain a nuclear weapon if the Obama-Kerry strategy for dealing with the issue goes through. The document was addressed to the National Security Council headed by Susan Rice, debkafile reports. Communications between the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem and the State Department have almost petered out since exchanges between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry sharpened in tone. Our Washington sources report that Rice and the NSC have taken a critical stand against the State Department’s policies – not just on the Iranian nuclear question……… It confines itself to a dry account, step by step, of how the Iranian nuclear bomb program will continue to unfold if the administration’s secret proposition is accepted…………….”

If we are to believe this Israeli media story, Ben Netanyahu’s Looney Tunes nuclear cartoons that traced Iran’s nuclear path at the UN General Assembly last year are back in circulation. They are now at the White House, in the hands of Susan Rice, allegedly known as more strongly pro-Israel than others. She is apparently a true believer in their veracity, possibly adding her own embellishments, possibly in colorful crayons. Possibly shoving the carrot into Bugs Bunny’s hand. No doubt the reception of this Looney Tunes document in Washington is much warmer than the hilarity of world-wide reaction last year after their UN debut.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Tale of Two Programs: White House Waffles as Knesset Sets to Derail any Iran Deal……

      


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“As soon as the Obama administration reaches an anticipated deal with Iran over its nuclear program, it will face a new challenge that threatens to strangle the accord in its crib: the inevitable attempts on Capitol Hill to impose new economic sanctions on Tehran. Expectations are high in Washington that John Kerry, the secretary of state, will announce a limited, short-term deal with Iran, following his unexpected arrival in Geneva on Friday to participate in negotiations. Yet the White House was quick to say that it is resolved to “protecting the broader architecture of the sanctions program,” as deputy press secretary Josh Earnest put it on Friday………….”

So the White House is “resolved to protecting the broader architecture of the sanctions program,” That was probably said to placate both houses of the Knesset in Washington. So what will any deal be about then?
I have an idea, a solution of two parts: (1) the White House will seek to protect the broader architecture of the sanctions program, and (2) the Iranians will seek to protect the broader architecture of their nuclear program
.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




Twenty Five Years Later: Natanyahu, the Ayatollahs, Elderly in Syria, and Nuclear Obamacare…….

      


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Imagine how things will possibly be about 25 years from now:


  • Benyamin Netanyahu will still be either prime minister of Israel or running to become prime minister of Israel.
  • Netanyahu will still be announcing every two weeks that the Iranians are still only six months from developing a nuclear bomb. He has been claiming the same for the past twenty years. An extremely long six months indeed.

  • The U.S. Congress (both houses, both parties) will still be voting on and passing new resolutions and bills tightening the economic blockade on Iran, asserting Israel’s “right” to attack Iran at will, insisting that the United States support any such military attack. All will pass irresponsibly unanimously, of course.

  • Mr. Obama, or whoever is in power at the time, will keep insisting that “all options are on the table” and will remain so. No mention of red lines anymore.

  • Iranian politicians will continue to predict the demise of the “Zionist Entity”. The more moderate ones will continue to predict the demise of “Israel”. Crossing your fingers is frowned upon by the mullahs, might be considered some sort of “flipping gesture”.

  • Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 will be continuing, with frequent Geritol breaks.

  • The Iranians will keep announcing more centrifuges operating as they keep negotiating with P5+1, all in good faith by both sides, by all sides.
  • The GCC Gulf potentates will still be funneling weapons and money and occasional Salafi volunteers to the Aging Free Syrian Salafi Army along the Turkish border, in its quest to depose Bashar Al-Assad. Bashar will still be ruling Damascus from his wheelchair, with the help of his army of nurses and his IVs.
  • Saad Hariri will still be trying to become prime minister of Lebanon, insisting he can run things from Paris and Riyadh.
  • Republicans will still be promising to cancel Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act) as soon as they control all three houses in Washington.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




Obama Goes Nuclear in Israel: Pushes Iran Threshold Beyond 1995 and 2001 and 2007 and 2013 and……………

         


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President Barack Obama says it would currently “take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon.” In a Thursday interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV ahead of his upcoming visit to the country, Obama says he doesn’t want to “cut it too close” and therefore all options remain on the table in countering the Iranian nuclear program. The issue has been one of the most fraught between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel has repeatedly threatened to act militarily should Iran appear to be on the verge of obtaining a bomb, while the U.S. has pushed for more time to allow diplomacy and economic sanctions to run their course. In the interview, aired Thursday, Obama says he still favors diplomacy over force…………

  • Of course he favors diplomacy over force, because there will be no use of force. There can’t be a unilateral Western use of force, mainly because it will become a long war of attrition and it can achieve nothing beyond more destruction in the Middle East. Now that the 2012 elections are over, the price of the Israeli bride can be reduced, she is not as desirable as she was last years. But she may become desirable again in future cycles, in 2014 and in 2016. 
  • All this “all options are on the table” talk is pure political nonsense. Mr. Obama speaks like he is on the campaign trail, which he is of course since he is heading to Israel. The United States will not go to war just to keep Iran from having the “capacity” to develop a nuclear bomb. Mainly because nobody knows how to destroy the capacity or ability to develop a bomb. Mainly because a military attack will fail and just make the mullahs go nuclear: decide to militarize. The Iranians have been saying loudly, including issuing a fatwa, that a nuclear bomb is haram, meaning not kosher (in Likud-ese language). 
  • Anyone who knows anything about nuclear physics probably knows that the Iranians cannot keep it a secret (even I know it, and I have forgotten most of my physics beyond how to enrich Uranium to more U-235 isotope content).
  • So, Mr. Netanyahu keeps talking about the nuclear danger of Iran, although he doesn’t claim that Iran will have the bomb by 1995 anymore, nor by 2001 anymore, nor by 2007 anymore, nor by 2014 anymore, nor by…………..
  • No more nuclear “slam dunk” is possible. People are smarter than that now, although most of the Western media seems to be as dumb as in 2003.
  • The Saudi princes still claim not so secretly that they suspect Iran plans to develop the bomb soon. How do they know that? They read Israeli media, well mainly the Jerusalem Post, or maybe their Mufti told them so.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




Iran Seeking 50-60% Enriched Uranium? Netanyahu Loses Hair…….

   


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                       Neck of the woods
“Iran needs 50-60% enriched uranium to power commercial ships: MP TEHRAN, July 20 (MNA) — MP Abolqassem Jarareh has said that Iran needs highly enriched uranium in order to fuel the ships that it plans to equip with nuclear propulsion systems. “This fuel should certainly be (purified to a level) higher than 25 percent, something about 50 to 60 percent,” Jarareh, who is a member of the Majlis Industries and Mines Committee, said in an interview with the Persian service of the Fars News Agency published on Friday. The Majlis Industries and Mines Committee recently approved a plan which calls for Iranian oceangoing tankers and other commercial ships to be powered by nuclear fuel in order to eliminate their need to be refueled while on long voyages. The parliament must endorse the plan before it can be implemented………..”


This chap seems to be upping the ante, but only at first glance. There is some method to his ‘seeming’ madness. The West, as ordered by the Likud government in Israel, prefers no enrichment beyond 3% (concentration of uranium-235), while the Iranians are near 20%. Now this MP, out of the blue, has introduced 50-60% as another possible demand. That is much closer to weapons-grade uranium. But that is probably his own opinion, or possibly some bargaining chip as he sees it, or a political statement. But it underlies a more legitimate issue: nuclear-powered ships do need higher grade enriched uranium, a legitimate need, and that should present the West with yet another dilemma. A couple more of such proposals and Bibi Netanyahu will go completely bald, unless he gets to have his war that he wants the West to wage.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Forget Iran: World’s New Real Nuclear Menace, a Willie Nelson Song…….

    


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“Broken her heart
And I know I done wrong
But I pray
That someday she’ll forgive me
And remember
When I’ve sang
My last hillbilly song………..”
Willie (Hugh) Nelson


“For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the specter of nuclear armageddon looms over the world, as the Pentagon announced yesterday that a group of hillbillies in central Tennessee has constructed a fully operational 50-megaton nuclear device. With this potential for destruction in the hands of people who have throughout history acted out violently for no better reason than family tradition, scientists in Helsinki, Finland, have moved the doomsday clock back up to one minute before midnight. Pentagon officials were tipped off to the backwoods people’s potential to invoke mass destruction last week when an I.R.S. agent returned from the Smoky Mountains claiming that a group of hillbillies had threatened to “nuke him up real good.” The bomb’s existence and operational status were later confirmed by a team of scientists who, after finding the weapon in a hay thresher, were run out of hillbilly territory by a family armed with a shotgun and three dogs named “Duke.”……….”

Mr. Netanyahu was pissed. He said this is a phony report planted by anti-Semites in the IRS with the goal of distracting from the most serious nuclear threat the world has faced since Hiroshima and Nagasaki was barbecued for the sake of peace.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Appointment in Baghdad: Percentages of U-235, Netanyahu the Most Predictable………..

    

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The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, has said that Tehran does not intend to stop producing uranium enriched to a purity level of 20 percent. Jalili, who is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, made the remarks during a press conference in Istanbul on Saturday after two rounds of talks between representatives of Iran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany), which ended a 15-month hiatus in talks. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton represented the 5+1 group in the nuclear negotiations and Jalili headed the Iranian delegation………”

“MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi has said that the topic of lifting economic sanctions against Iran will be discussed during the next round of talks between Tehran and the major world powers, which is scheduled to be held in Baghdad on May 23. He also said that the issue of uranium enrichment is highly important to the Islamic Republic, adding that Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under the supervision of the International
Atomic Energy Agency…………”

Interesting take, or maybe spin, by Iranian officials, through a semi-official news agency. Enrichment of uranium to 20% (i.e. 20% weight fraction of U-235) is usually needed for medical isotopes, while enrichment to 5% is needed for power generation. Neither is sufficient for developing a nuclear weapons.
The Iranian official seems certain they will not give up on 20% enrichment needed for medical isotopes. They also seem certain there will be meeting in Baghdad next month. The two don’t seem compatible in view of previously-expressed official American opinion. Maybe the Iranians are also bluffing. We’ll have to wait the U.S. State Department comments this week, perhaps later today.
Both sides seemed subdued this weekend, except for Netanyahu who is probably the most predictable politicians in the world. Netanyahu mouthed off his usual mantra, biding his time as he awaits the inauguration of Mitt Godot Romney.
(FYI: I am not a nuclear physicist, not anymore, or maybe not yet)
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com