Will Iran build a nuclear device or won't she?
The truthful answer is: No one knows. This is likely true of President Obama
and Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The signals from the Islamic
republic are conflicting and change weekly, or even daily at times. This,
however, does not preclude an examination of the issue.
Perhaps, a more accurate question is: Does Iran
have the capability to build a nuclear device? Still another crucial question
remains, a question that is vital to every person living on the planet. What are
Israel's contingency plans? To put it more plainly, will Israel attack
A little known factor in all of this,
particularly in the West due to lack of media coverage, is that on August 9,
2005, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a
fatwa that the production,
stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that Iran
shall never acquire these weapons. The text of the fatwa has not been released
although it was referenced in an official statement at a meeting of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. I am one of but a handful
of American writers who has mentioned this in past articles. Apparently,
notwithstanding religious factors, the Supreme Leader is well aware that the
construction and possible completion of a nuclear weapon will make Iran a
target, a bull's-eye for the Israeli Air Force, possibly even the American Air
Force. However, the latter is extremely unlikely under current
On Feb. 18, the IAEA reported concerns over Iran's intentions. Warren Strobel of McClatchy
Newspapers reports, "The United Nations' nuclear watchdog said Thursday that
there are signs Iran is trying to develop a nuclear warhead that would fit atop
a missile, its bluntest assertion to date questioning Tehran's claims to have an
exclusively peaceful nuclear program."
Strobel continues, "In a report on Iran's
nuclear activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it has collected
'broadly consistent and credible information' about Iran's suspected military
nuclear research. 'Altogether, this raises concerns about the possible existence
in Iran of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of
a nuclear payload for a missile,' it said."
Then comes a revealing statement.
"The information in question comes from European, U.S. and Israeli intelligence
agencies ..." These are not exactly disinterested parties, nor are they unbiased
on the issue, particularly Israel. Actually, the IAEA's report contained nothing
new, only concern. Put a different way, the IAEA doesn't know
Why is one reminded of another time and place?
During the latter half of 2002 and the early part of 2003, the President of the
United States, his National Security Advisor, the Vice-President, the Secretary
of State, the Secretary of Defense, the CIA Director, members of Congress, and
others, including the press, were hammering home to the American public that
another nation in the Middle East had Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was a
blitzkrieg campaign and it was successful. When the U.S. and Bush's coalition
aggressively attacked Iraq, the majority of American public opinion was soundly
behind the aggression. No WMD's were ever found. The war started by the Bush
administration will soon experience its seventh anniversary. The war still has
no end game. The public has since learned that the term, pre-emptive war, so
favored by Bush and his advisors, is not only an oxymoron but a very tragic
event. America, heretofore a glimmering example of democracy and freedom, became
a pariah. Hopefully, our current and future leaders will never allow this to
I bring all this up because if Israel
attacks Iran, the U.S. will be drawn in. Due to the close relationship between
the U.S. and Israel, if Israel attacks Iran, it will be assumed by Iran
and nearly every nation on Earth, including our traditional allies, that the
U.S. gave at least tacit approval to the attack. In other words, some may
assume the U.S., forgetting or ignoring the lessons of wars past and present,
launched an aggressive action upon another country by proxy. It is within the
realm of possibility they may be right if such an attack
The issue of Israeli intentions will be covered
in a moment, but first the question -- does Iran have the capability to build a
nuclear weapon? Once again, the answer to this question is mixed. Israeli
intelligence is convinced that Iran is doing so. Iranian leaders, including
Ahmadinejad, say they are not. They say their development of uranium is for
peaceful purposes only. Despite all the conflicting reports, perhaps, some
answers are out there.
Recently, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran,
unable to get fuel rods from the West for its U.S.-built reactor, which makes
medical isotopes, had begun to enrich its own uranium to 20%. White House press
secretary Robert Gibbs had a rather interesting reply to that bold statement.
"He [Ahmadinejad] says many things, and many of them turn
out to be untrue. We do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the
degree to which they now say they are enriching."
Noting that the
official U.S. position is that Iran is building a nuclear bomb, resulting in
U.N. sanctions and urging more stringent sanctions, Gibbs' comment begs a
question. If Iran is incapable of enriching uranium to 20% commercial use, how
can it possibly enrich uranium to 90%, or weapons grade?
More to the point, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) supports Gibbs'
viewpoint. According to a report recently issued by David
Albright and Christina Walrond of the ISIS, "Iran's problems in its centrifuge
programme are greater than expected. ... Iran is unlikely to deploy enough gas
centrifuges to make enriched uranium for commercial nuclear power reactors
(Iran's stated nuclear goal) for a long time, if ever, particularly if (U.N.)
sanctions remain in force."
So,the White House press secretary and the ISIS
seem to agree. Iran's enrichment capabilities are not nearly as daunting as many
are led to believe. Was Gibbs speaking on his own, giving his private opinions?
That's not the way it works. White House press secretaries are told what to
present to the press and their personal opinions are immaterial and unknown to
the press and the public.
The ISIS' report
continues in a rather interesting way. ISIS insists,
however, that "Iran may still be able to build a bomb. Yet, to do that, Iran
would have to divert nearly all of its low-enriched uranium at Natanz, now under
U.N. watch, to a new cascade of centrifuges, enrich that to 90 percent, then
explode a nuclear device. Should Iran do that, however, it would have burned up
all its bomb-grade uranium, and would lack enough low-enriched uranium for a second
test. And Tehran would be facing a stunned and shaken Israel with hundreds of
nukes and an America with thousands, without a single nuke of its own." There is
little reason to elaborate on that
All this notwithstanding, the last I heard Israel is convinced that Iran is building a nuclear device to be
mounted on one of her missiles capable of reaching every major city in Israel.
The Jewish Republic is justified in its fear. Israel, the most powerful nation
in the Middle East, is about the size of New Jersey, the U.S.'s fifth smallest
state. The distance between Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast, one of the most
vital of Israel's cities, and Jerusalem on the West Bank is 63 kilometers,
roughly 39 miles.
Tel Aviv is the main financial center of Israel. Its
destruction via an Iranian nuclear device would dismantle Israeli society and
economy. Picture a nuclear bomb descending upon New York, making 9/11 peanuts by
comparison, and one can visualize the fears that Israelis have. On the other
hand, due to the diminutive nature of Israel, she is quite vulnerable. The vast
majority of her citizens live in her ten largest cities. In retaliation for
Israel's attack on nuclear sites, Iran may unleash her conventional missiles and
ground attack aircraft on Israeli cities. Israel would be a target-rich
environment, and cities can be devastated by conventional means; ask the elders
of Berlin and Tokyo.
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I am the author of two novels, "The Bode Testament" and "Impeachment." I am also a columnist who keeps a wary eye on other columnists and the failures of the MSM (mainstream media).
I was born in Minnesota, and, to this day, I love the Vikings (more...