Beyond the Cusp

June 10, 2019

Will Anyone Wake-up to Iran?

 

We are not speaking of their bellicose threats to close the Straits of Hormuz or blowing the American fleet out of the Persian Gulf or any of their various threats targeting Israel and the Jews in general. We are not referencing their actions against the Kurds and Sunni of Iraq or their war in Syria or the arming of Hezballah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Nor is it the threats they use targeting Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. What we are alluding to is their nuclear program and their preparing to ramp up their production of enriched uranium. There are probably numerous reasons for their preparations beyond simply readying for the eight to ten years to elapse before they are to be permitted to manufacture all the nuclear weapons both in numbers and varieties under the specification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). As to exactly when the Iranians are to be free to pursue nuclear weapons under the JCPOA is a difficult date to perceive as it appears that each nation and organization which partook of the talks ended up with their own copy and no two copies were even near identical. The strictest of the disparate copies belonged to President Obama who proudly claimed a great victory. The next strictest copy appears to have gone to the European representatives with theirs all being largely the same. Then the Russian and Chinese got copies which very few have ever bothered to peek inside to see what they received and Iran has its own copy which they hold close to their chest preventing anyone from seeing that copy. Needless to say, each copy apparently was tailored to satisfy the recipients, which makes for some serious questions when it comes to what Iran believes the treaty stated and what everyone else thinks. The wording and different interpretations of the JCPOA have left the world without any real idea as to what was actually agreed upon or whether everybody was permitted to leave the table believing whatever they desired most. Europe got to trade openly with Iran, Russia and China were going to do whatever they desired anyways and the United States was given a copy which permitted the President to declare a great victory. Even with the copy that President Obama touted was no great achievement as its major restrictions on Iran preventing their becoming a nuclear power had a time limit of anywhere from eight to twelve years depending on your source, as we recall hearing these unequal numbers of years before Iran was cut loose from all restrictions.

 

So, this is where we stand. According to channel 13 News in Israel, “Israeli intelligence has identified a huge acceleration in Iran’s preparations for the resumption of uranium enrichment.” Assuming that the Iranian copy of the treaty had the mere eight years limiting their production of nuclear weapons, it very likely would have permitted preparations to begin somewhat sooner. Further, Iran, specifically the Supreme Leader and others who actually have power and rule Iran never really accepted the deal as having anywhere near as strict a regimen as was implied by President Obama plus they believe that perhaps they no longer need to abide by all of the deal as the United States officially voided their participation. This latest revelation by Israeli intelligence was likely announced in part to provide President Trump with information which he may or may not have received from the CIA and other American intelligence sources. We can fully expect that the Europeans could not care less what Iran does in regards to nuclear weapons as long as they are making money and trading freely. That has been their apparent interest in Iran which they doubled down upon by establishing means by which their trade with Iran could continue while getting around the sanctions placed on Iranian companies, banks and oil sales. Russia and China will continue with their own approaches and dealings with Iran also with little if any regard to the American sanctions. By all actions taken into consideration, the nations which appear to be most concerned over the Iranian nuclear program are the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Egypt. Interestingly, this list also very closely resembles the nations which have been most threatened by Iran, which likely explains their concerns.

 

Now to go a little further and investigate possibilities. What is often ignored was the original agreement made between Iran with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the EU 3). When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected as the Iranian President in August of 2005, he referred to the negotiators as treasonous and negated Iranian participation in this treaty. This led to all kinds of diplomatic attempts and other means of forcing Iran to meet their obligations all to no avail. Sanctions did not force any result until after Ahmadinejad had left office and only then was Iran willing to restart negotiations which included the P5+1 and Iran. This eventually led to the JCPOA. What we find to be an oversight is even if Iran had not developed nuclear weapons before their agreement with the EU 3, in the years when Ahmadinejad was President Iran very likely was going with great haste and high expectations to manufacture as many nuclear weapons as their equipment would permit. Even if they had not manufactured a single nuclear weapon before Ahmadinejad, they definitely had the time to enrich sufficient uranium, import the special metals, capacitors and timing flash circuits to produce any variety of nuclear weapon they desired. But allow us to simplify everything and simply point to the diagram below taken off of the web. The design is far from a top-secret plan kept hidden away in some remote government vault as are the designs of more powerful atomic fission bombs. Even though designs are also found for thermonuclear devices, these are far more difficult to produce and do take a great deal of time and manufacturing. The gun type bomb was so sure in the design that the United States never tested one before its usage on Japan. The main difficulty in such a device is the enriched uranium, which was merely seventy percent Uranium 235, and the machining of the plug and target, both made of uranium, such that their fit would produce a rapid enough chain reaction to create the desired explosion. Apparently, the scientists on the Manhattan Project were very sure of their designs and the quality of their machinists. So, those who wish to claim that Iran would have difficulty in even designing a nuclear device are fooling themselves and those who believe them.

 

Little Boy Gun Type Atomic Bomb

 

The next thing is to believe that Iran was incapable of producing sufficient fissile material to produce such a device. The problem here is they would only require enrichment to a lower extent than for the more complex devices, especially a hydrogen bomb. Iran has had the capability of enrichment to seventy percent or thereabouts since they first developed or bought centrifuges, granted they had to be advanced centrifuges, and began enriching uranium as fuel for their nuclear reactors. Well, that was their reason given for such a need despite being supplied with fissile material by Russia. It is even possible that Iran refined some of the Russian provided fuel as their secrecy has made any verification next to impossible. Further, what do people think Iran was doing during the eight years while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was President of Iran and obsessed with obtaining nuclear weapons, in his case the biggest and most destructive kind possible, but at least some made to the specifications above if he could not have something superior. For any who doubt our reasoning and validity of information, below is a picture of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting an enrichment plant with fairly advanced centrifuges easily capable of enriching uranium to the level required for production of a simple nuclear device. These centrifuges were spinning as fast and to as full a capacity as was possible for the entirety of the eight years he was in office and for how long after is anybody’s guess. Apparently, the Iranians are preparing to wind-up their more advanced centrifuges for full production in the not too distant future, which can mean only one thing, they are preparing to produce additional weapons.

 

 

We hear a few gasps asking why we would claim they are going to make additional weapons; don’t you mean start making weapons. Ahmadinejad, during his eight years as president, had an opportunity to produce very likely dozens if not far more bombs of the gun type and possibly a number of fusion bombs, thermonuclear devices. The reason for the hesitation on declaring his ability to produce many such weapons is due to the difficulty in obtaining or producing the required isotopes of hydrogen and other elements required for such a device. The next question would be about their having sufficient uranium, specifically as yellowcake, Iran has three uranium mines at Saghand, Yazd and Gachin (see map below), and has scientists capable of producing the necessary yellowcake from the ore. Further, there are other nations who gladly trade yellowcake for raw uranium ore as it is just another means of doing business the old barter style method. Many of Iran’s nuclear scientists were educated and worked in the United States and across Europe receiving a top rate education which they have employed upon returning to Iran. Iran is not as backwards a nation as many have been led to believe and has a very educated population. Iranian literacy rates are over eighty-percent of the population being literate. Their higher education has two tracks, one Quranic and the other emphasizes sciences. Their education system is more than up to the task of producing the engineers and scientists required by Iran for any purpose they might desire. So, believing that Iran has not manufactured nuclear devices is pure folly and quite dangerous.

 

Iranian Nuclear Sites and Uranium Mines

Iranian Nuclear Sites and Uranium Mines

 

Additionally, some of the Iranian leadership, specifically military leadership, have made references to Israel being a two-bomb nation and their ability to take out the entirety of the United States aircraft carrier fleets in the Persian Gulf with a single bomb. Both of these threats imply some form of nuclear device or extremely advanced EMP devices. The references to Israel have included referencing using nuclear weapons, a threat they would never make without the ability to follow through with their threat. Further, the world has witnessed their progress with ballistic missiles plus their having launched satellites into low Earth orbits. Many of these launches have utilized a north to south orbit taking them over the poles. This is of interest as this orbit has also been practiced by North Korea and is a known Soviet and Chinese orbit of interest as it can be utilized to approach the United States from their southern approach which is presumed to be a weakness in the United States anti-missile defenses. Iran has known ballistic missiles which can reach as far as at least four-thousand kilometers and very likely they are in possession of ICBMs capable of striking anywhere on the planet according to the Brookings Institution (see images below). What becomes quite obvious from a glance at their missiles is that much of the world, if not all of the world, is easily within their range. Now add that for many of their missiles with ranges up to two thousand kilometers (and potentially four thousand kilometers) they have systems by which they can be carried and fired from freighter container ships from anywhere in the world, and these ships make near perfect disguises making tracking them somewhat of a challenge.

 

Iranian Rocket Types and Varieties of Ranges

Iranian Rocket Types and Varieties of Ranges

 

So Iran has the necessary missiles and technologies for striking anywhere on Earth and has had more than sufficient time, energy, abilities and desires to build quite a few nuclear devices which minimally would produce twenty to fifty kilotons, that is from slightly more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan near the end of World War II to as much as three times as powerful. This is excluding their having produced thermonuclear devices whose yields start at fifty kilotons to as high as fifty-megatons of TNT, the most powerful such weapon tested, though it is thought that yields could reach one-hundred megatons with a simple modification. We would suspect that Iran would probably have thermonuclear devices, relatively few in number, reaching yields of ten to twenty megatons at best and that they would have no more than one dozen such weapons. All this which deals with the Iranian nuclear stockpiles has been conjecture on our part as we do not possess any ability for intelligence gathering and have made much of our conjectures based on algorithms and the use of extrapolation combined with our own derived set of expectations of Iranian abilities and other evidence we have observed laced throughout the news of the last few decades. We hope that we have overestimated the abilities of the Iranian scientists but fear we may have been too conservative in our estimates.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 19, 2013

Who is New Iranian President Hassan Rowhani?

The news is full of stories proclaiming that new Iranian President Hassan Rowhani is a real moderate and that with him replacing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad there is opportunity for renewed relations and a solution to the Iranian nuclear program difficulties. Oh if only that were so. Even a cursory review of the pre-election schemes and actions taken to prepare the ballot which was finally placed before the people will disavow any rational person from such thoughts. Initially there were literally hundreds of candidates who wished their names to be on the ballot so, as in any nation, there was a primary of sorts. These names are listed and sent to the Assembly of Experts which is made up of leading Imams and Ayatollahs where the list is selectively narrowed to a list of names these Clerics approve. There are those who believe that in all honesty the Assembly of Experts never even bothers to view the list and simply puts together a list of the names of whoever they think should hold the office of President. The possibility of a true liberal who believes in separation between the religious hierarchy and those who run the political functions of the State have absolutely no chance making past this review. The list formulated in the Assembly of Experts is passed along to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who then prepares the final list of five to eight candidates who make up the actual ballot. So, in the end only those whom the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei feels would best support his views and desires before the people and the world are allowed to even be on the ballot thus removing any possibility of a true moderate becoming President of Iran.

 

But what is known about now Iranian President Hassan Rowhani. We know he is sixty-four years old and his first statement announced a “new opportunity” for the West to treat the Islamic Republic with respect and to recognize its rights. Treat the Islamic Republic with respect and to recognize its rights was also a favorite grouping of words used by the preceding Iranian President and he used them to mean for the world to prostrate themselves before their betters and permit Iran to do whatever they pleased and be happy about it. I suspect it still means the same thing. We know that Rowhani was the country’s former nuclear negotiator under the former President Mohammad Khatami and also served as top security official under former moderate President, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. There were no cracks in the Iranian insistence to the right to develop nuclear projects as they desired during his time in either position. To his credit, Rowhani recently accused his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of needlessly incurring crippling economic sanctions though such was very likely simple campaign rhetoric. In his first speech as Iran’s new President, Hassan Rowhani showed his true colors when he launched into a diatribe almost immediately against Israel, blaming the Jewish state for Iran’s economic problems. He defiantly pointed out, “The Iranian nation has done nothing to deserve these sanctions. Our activities are in line with international norms. If the sanctions help anyone, it is Israel. They are directed only at us. The Western nations do not have sanctions against anyone else.” He concluded his tirade claiming it was all part of the Israeli plan to “ruin” Iran.

 

Across the world it appears that all the players are lining up salivating at the chance to prostrate themselves before the new great hope in Iran. The United States said it was prepared to engage Iran directly. The White House said such engagement would seek a, according to reports, “diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.” Along similar lines, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was committed to working with Rowhani towards finding a “swift diplomatic solution” over concerns about the Iranian controversial nuclear program. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated he hoped Iran will now play a “constructive role” in regional and international affairs. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France is eager and “ready to work” with Rowhani, on issues including the country’s nuclear program and its involvement in the Syrian conflict. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed the election of Rowhani as a vote which may provide for “a constructive foreign policy.” He added, “We hope that the country’s new administration collaborates in this sense in order to reach solutions on international and regional questions.” The British statement urged Rowhani to set “a different course” for the future of the Iranian Islamic Republic. Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said Italy hoped that Iran and Italy would find a “relationship of renewed comprehension and constructive dialogue.” And lastly, the Syrian National Coalition representing the rebels in the Syrian Civil War hoped that Rowhani will review Iranian support for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. This is almost reminiscent of the press and world’s stated praises for newly elected United States President Barack Obama upon his first winning the election in November of 2008. Let’s hope that everybody takes the eventual letdown when this person fails to live up to the hype better than they did when President Obama proved to be merely a fallible human-being. On a more sane reaction, Israel issued a blunt reaction to Iran’s new president Saturday saying, “Iran’s nuclear program has so far been determined by Khamenei, and not by Iran’s president. After the election, Iran will continue to be judged by its acts, in the nuclear field as well as that of terrorism.” During a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, Netanyahu was quoted yesterday saying, “Iran should not be allowed to gain time by holding drawn out talks” with the nations of the international community thus gaining precious time to complete their nuclear intentions. “Today, it is indispensable to keep the pressure. We should not surrender to illusions.” Israel was simply pointing out through the cacophonic din that, in reality, nothing has changed once again. There really is no great new hope on the Iranian horizons or especially in the office of the President.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 4, 2012

Abbas Speaks Again with Forked Tongue

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave an interview to Israeli Channel 2 television in which he suggested the he would be willing to give up the “right of return” and that he believes that the Palestinian State would only contain the lands liberated by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. Israeli President Peres was very quick to laud with great compliment the statements made by Abbas and stated that the statements were a positive sign and revealed that Israel indeed has a man of peace with whom they may reach a negotiated and lasting agreement. I can only forgive President Peres as he has invested much of his life in the folly of Oslo and is still to this day the dreamy eyed optimist who grabs onto any morsel to prove that his part in instigating Oslo was not in vain. Unfortunately for over a thousand Israelis all that Oslo brought was the Second Intifada and death and we dare not forget the thousands more who have suffered permanent serious injuries and that almost no Jew in Israel has not been touched by the violence spawned by Oslo and Yasser Arafat and his close second in command, Mahmoud Abbas. It was less than a day later when Nabil Abu Rudeineh published a clarification refuting everything stated or implied by Abbas. Every concession implied by Abbas now stands refuted and withdrawn excused as a simple misstatement or misunderstanding.

 

This ploy by Mahmoud Abbas is the same one used by Yasser Arafat and by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian negotiators in the matter of their nuclear program. This method is to offer forth an olive branch then refute that the offer was made and put it up to a misunderstanding, a miscommunication and was not what they had actually stated. They then will claim that the other side is making false claims and that such lies make any agreement or negotiation impossible. This is done with complete faith that as reasoning people who value life above almost everything else their adversaries will offer up concessions if only the talks are resumed and pledge this time to be more lenient to the Palestinian or Iranian claims. Then the talks are scheduled and often called off due to Islamic holiday or other difficulties or the Palestinians schedule an election which never materializes but delays negotiations. The aim is to wear down the opposite side and slowly gain concessions even if they are but an inch at a time, knowing that the inches will eventually mount and yield miles of advantages. These tactics work as the West and Israel both suffer from the same malady, they honestly wish for peace and will do almost anything to avoid conflict and especially avoid war. As long as there is no penalty for such deceptions and as long as the Western and Israeli leadership are willing to grasp at even the suggestion that a solution is possible and is just around the next corner if only they talk and offer that little bit more, then the feints and false offers will continue and the negotiations will go nowhere and the willingness of the West and Israel to continue to be taken in is used as propaganda at home to cast them as fools who are too ignorant and dimwitted to catch on to the sophisticated maneuvers being played upon them. The sadness is that eventually the lies and the ploys will be refuted and refused and on that day there will be a reckoning for all the time and efforts wasted over their deceit. It will be said in the history that the West and their allies were slow to anger and had unimaginable patience but once that patience was worn out, then they answered with definitive force and truth. Such will be a terrible reckoning but it is inevitable as is the fact that the lies and deceit will continue to mount and no true peace will ever be found.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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