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    ask the bombardier..., 2007-08-17 15:53:32 | Main | you mean there's somebody in Iraq not already packing an assault rifle or four?..., 2007-08-19 10:11:08

    smoking a beard, growing a pipe:

    Barkley Rosser observes:

    the Bushites have reverted to their usual incoherence with the decision to impose sanctions on the entire Iranian Revolutionary Brigades, not just its al Quds wing that is supposedly doing most of the arms shipping. While neocon supporters trumpet this as leverage necessary in a "cold war with Iran" to get them to give up their nonexistent nuclear weapons program [emph. added]

    Barkley came around to this point of view around the time he heard about the fatwa against their development.

    The joke goes:

    PROSECUTION: Iran would have to be utterly insane not to develop nuclear weapons. They're surrounded on four sides - Israel, Russia, Pakistan, and the US Navy - by hostile nuclear powers. They'd be crazy not to develop nuclear weapons. One can only surmise that they are indeed developing nuclear weapons.

    DEFENSE: Amenjihad certainly is fucking batshit crazy!

    P: Indeed! I would only add that I believe him to be even crazier than the Amenjihad loving defense consul suggests!

    D: And Iran would have to be even more crazy than I suggest to not develop nuclear weapons!

    P: They totally want them! You totally love Amenjihad!

    D: We all agree Amenjihad is just that crazy! He'd never violate a fatwa and risk his 7 billion virgins by developing nuclear weapons. He's so crazy he'd risk his own nation's security just to obey some loony anti-nuke fatwa!

    P: Uh, wait... one second...

    D: Defense rests.

    Prior to that (c.f. comments section) Barkley shared the opine that "there is no need for them to make their current move [restarting uranium enrichment] unless they want to make [nuclear weapons]". Well there it was, the sole basis for the one reason why Americans might be willing to club Iran with a big stick back to the stone age. Probably the first time anybody justified the assumption to me that Iran was, indeed, building nukes. Makes ya think, hearing the actual argument.

    And so it is that that basically continues to be the only argument upon which the conventional wisdom presently rests, and so it sits, upon an easily toppled, nevertheless well balanced pole. Unnamed high placed anonymous US officials, of course, balance that pole, delicately. Iran has good reasons to produce nuclear electricity, not least of which is to stem the burning of their sole export commodity for it.

    I should add, in said comments there's the comment, "like poor little old Iran has no nuclear power. They already have one civilian nuclear reactor". They have research reactors, none of them capable of producing electricity for their grid and thus no actual nuclear power to speak of. All such research facilities are under observation by the IAEA, and there are continuing inspections of the power reactors that have been under construction for over 20 years.

    The IAEA was able to detect the presence of weapons grade material from soil samples around the Natanz site, which hosts centrifuges for uranium enrichment. They determined this was contamination from the Pakistani source of some of the centrifuges. The IAEA detected weapons grade material they then determined was from old fuel for Iran's research reactors (the weapons grade fuel the US and the Dutch had supplied for said research reactors). They have never detected any weapons grade material that was produced by Iran itself.

    Iran has enriched a small amount of uranium to levels (less than 4%) appropriate for a nuclear energy program, and it would be reasonable to hope, for those who pay for their own gas, that they enrich much more.

    The only reasonable assumption - until the IAEA is kicked out altogether by Iran and not the country planning to bomb them, or the IAEA discovers that Iran has been producing undeclared highly enriched materials, or there's actually some actual evidence to the contrary - is that Iran's nuclear weapons program is nonexistent.

    And that's why your government wants to bomb them and jack up your gas prices to the sky.

    They're just trying to help.

    update: this commenter asks a good question:

    Based on the changes in IRI constitution, in 1981, the supreme leader is the sole responsible and head of all armed forces as well as military planing and all defense organizations. The second in command for such issues is the "Supreme Council for National Security" that has not changed since 1988.

    So why is everyone is using this show monkey as an excuse for Iran's desire to look for Nuclear weapons?

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's relative powerlessness within the Iranian government isn't some big secret (done noted it once or twice) and is common knowledge among our panic minded national leaders, who complained loud and often of the Iranian president's lack of said power back when they were bemoaning the failures of President Khatami's reform movement.

    The implied argument seems to be that Ahmadinejad is responsible for a covert nuclear weapons program hidden from even the Iranian defense establishment, running it secretly out of his civilian power program in a massive conspiracy against the Supreme Leader. What a nut.

    Perhaps he's just a convenient bogeyman, as our government has been screaming about Iran being within months of building a nuclear weapon for over 15 years. If we're to take our own government seriously that means if Iran wanted a bomb, they'd have one by now, which brings us back to the theory that Ahmadinejad is pursuing said wack conspiracy against the Supreme Leader.

:: posted by buermann @ 2007-08-17 23:38:55 CST | link

      In these circumstances, I would be crazy not to have a nukular weapons program. A guy could get hurt!

      Topically, however, this cuts right through all the bullshit. Speculation on crazy/not crazy and what might flow from that flies away from the evidence very quickly.

    posted by Scruggs @ 2007-08-18 03:02:55 | link

      I have a degrading minuteman silo under my bed. It's totally awesome and probably a violation of human rights if others don't have one of their own. The dude down there is always fighting off homeless mole men and tells me all about it when I pour liquor down his air duct. That's a high authority to source if you're looking to invading Pelicudar.

    posted by buermann @ 2007-08-18 03:46:40 | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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