Uncensored Israel News, Jewish news, National Israeli news

iranian nuclear program

Netanyahu accuses Iran of Jewish attitude

Bibi publicly laments the intensification of nuclear enrichment in Iran. He accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons despite world opposition.

Now, that’s exactly what Israel did with her own nuclear program. And the real reason we want the Iranian program stopped is not because of the world community, which we do not care about, but because it would launch a nuclear arms race among the Muslim states, including some that are American clients.

Iran swallows oil sanctions

Straits of HormuzDespite apocalyptic predictions that Iran would close the Straits of Hormuz and attack US bases in response to the EU oil embargo, nothing has happened. The oil flows as usual, the EU and Japan have refused more than a million bpd delivery, and Iran has suffered a major blow to its tough image.

The embargo is not catastrophic for Iran, though it’s certainly biting. But the Iranian nuclear program is long past the most expensive stages, and the ayatollahs certainly understand that their best chance at having the embargo lifted is to develop nuclear capability quickly.

US trusts Russia on Iran?

Obama and PutinNATO Intelligence reports that US evaluations of Iran’s nuclear program may differ from those of other nations because of information shared with the US by Russia. Now Israel can feel safe—Russia is reporting to the US on secret Iranian nuclear programs. No wonder Russia has become so vocal lately about preemptive strikes on Iran. They have Obama’s ear.

The US is trying to determine the extent of the new ties between Russia and Iran. They are checking air travel manifests and shipping documentation. Their efforts are hindered by Russian naval shipping to Tartus (transshipment for Iran through Syria).

While Russia was fairly mute a few months ago, they have become very bellicose now. Russia was using its relative silence as a bargaining tool for a better deal in the new Eastern alliance group. Putin is expected early next week to come out officially against US sanctions on Iran. Russia may even present it in the UN as illegal economic war by one country on another

With the current anti-Americanism in the Muslim world and fear of a war started by Israel, there is concern that such a motion may pass. This in turn would give many countries an excuse to ignore US sanctions, which would be illegal in the eyes of the UN.

We cannot bomb Saudi Arabia

Nuclear technology in Saudi ArabiaThe signing of the nuclear cooperation pact between China and Saudi Arabia was a watershed event. It was one thing when the Saudis purchased several nuclear weapons from Pakistan, but another thing entirely when they decided to learn to master the entire nuclear cycle themselves.

The Saudi monarchy is as doomed as any monarchy. Saudi moderates are as doomed in the short term as any moderates in Arab countries. Saudi nuclear scientists will fall under the rule of Muslim radicals.

After a decade of Iran’s military nuclear program, Israeli still finds it politically problematic to bomb Iran, perhaps the most radical country on earth. Much less we would be able to attack the nuclear infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, the backbone of the world’s oil supply. Our chances are specifically minimized by Saudi Arabia’s claim that it needs nuclear weapons to protect its oil sources, and thus the world’s oil supply.

Iran will have to act quickly to realize its nuclear advantage. Suffering years of isolation in pursuit of nuclear weapons, only to see its new-found power balanced by Saudi nuclear capability, would be an unimaginable loss to the ayatollahs. The Saudi nuclear program could well trigger an Iranian nuclear strike. It remains to be seen where the strike will land.

Iranian economic problems wrongly attributed to sanctions

General elections are close in Iran, and the country’s economy is in shambles. This situation, however, is not related to the sanctions.

Iran now pumps out as much oil as it can, and foreign companies still compete fiercely for oil and gas development projects there. Skyrocketing oil prices in the wake of the Arab Spring events easily offset whatever small effect the sanctions had on Iran.

Iran’s economic troubles are similar to those of other Muslim countries, from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. A burgeoning population, an influx of rural residents into the towns, an inability to compete internationally in the technological economy, socialist policies with heavy subsidies, gross corruption and mismanagement, unsupportable military expenses—these and other factors combined to devastate the Iranian economy, with or without US input.

Moreover, Iran’s population attributes the country’s economic troubles to the secular government rather than to the supreme ruler. That weakens Ahmadinejad, who is a moderate compared to Grand Ayatollah Khamenei.

And no amount of economic trouble would prompt Ayatollah Khamenei to relinquish his nuclear program, because Shiite military dominance is for him a religious issue.

The attack on Iran scheduled for April?

The attack on Iran scheduled for April?The March 2 elections in Iran will provide the best political opportunity for an attack. The elections will be rigged as usual, and the oppressed political group will appeal for international help. The US might quickly recognize a new government made up of opposition members, as it did in Libya and will probably do in Syria, and send military ‘aid’ at their request. The politicians thus supported will repay that support by allowing NATO to dismantle the Iranian nuclear program. Officially, the West will reciprocate by lifting the EU ban on Iranian oil imports; such a ban is useless against the ayatollahs in the short term, but can be expected to work as a PR measure for Iranian opposition leaders.

Such a scenario is the only plausible way to deal with the Qom underground facility and the unknown locations of Iran’s nuclear stockpiles. It would also be a significant boost to Obama’s foreign policy credentials before the upcoming elections: carrying out regime change in Iran would vindicate the policy he tested in Libya. The problem with this scenario is that foreign policy achievements mean little to US voters, who are mostly concerned with domestic problems, while foreign policy failures might cost a president dearly; therefore, Obama is hesitant to strike.

And so joint Israeli-American maneuvers are scheduled for April. The exercises would provide an air defense shield for Israel in the event of a strike.

Iran readies itself to break free from Russian rods

Bushehr power plantIran has successfully tested its first uranium rod. This will eventually allow the ayatollahs to replace the Russian rods in the Bushehr reactor, which Iran currently has to ship back to Russia after they are depleted.

Iran is already working on extracting plutonium from depleted rods, which would enable it to make a plutonium bomb, a cheaper alternative to uranium weapons.

We have predicted many times that the Iranian nuclear program will switch to extracting plutonium from Bushehr.

Iran plays with plutonium extraction?

Bushehr nuclear plantThe news came from two sources, which demonstrates an unlikely correlation: Debka and Russia’s RIA Novosti both expressed worry over Iranian efforts to extract plutonium from spent uranium rods. Incidentally, we’ve been saying for years that this is the most dangerous aspect of Iran’s nuclear program because the ayatollahs can run any number of peaceful Bushehr-type reactors, only to re-purpose them at a moment’s to harvest massive amounts of plutonium.

Plutonium harvesting is Iran’s last step before weaponization, because reprocessing spent rods would alienate the Russians. Indeed, Novosti presented the story as Russian concern, rather than a typical report on the unfounded worries of Westerners. Russia built the Bushehr only on the condition that Iran send the spent rods back to them, and Iran’s refusal to play along is a great affront.

Iran misreads North Korean precedent

Iran misreads North Korean precedentThe Iranian regime must be thinking now of North Korea, whose rogue nuclear program went unpunished and indeed benefited it by causing the money laundering sanctions to be lifted. Their reasoning is not exactly correct.

North Korea stopped major money laundering operations years ago, and the US lost nothing by lifting the sanctions. Indeed, cleansing the banking system of Nauru made the sanctions redundant.

Also, North Korea frequently suffers major humanitarian crises which the US cannot ignore, much less aggravate by sanctions.

North Korea has a history of cross-border attacks on a major US ally, South Korea. Striking the communist regime would cause those tensions to flare up. Iran, on the other hand, has launched no wars of aggression in its modern history.

North Korea is insular, while Iran has strong imperial ambitions. The North’s nuclearization sparked a regional arms race, as both Japan and South Korea are certain of their ability to develop nuclear weapons within two to three years and enjoy American protection in the meantime. Iranian nuclearization would throw Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey into a nuclear race, and Oman would follow.

The Western attitude toward a nuclear Iran would most likely resemble its attitude toward Pakistan: years of strong sanctions followed by suspicion and very cold relations. And Iran, which depends on exports for survival and on foreign relations to project its power by naval forces and proxies, can hardly afford such sanctions.

Explosions in Iran: excellent, but counterproductive

Explosion at military base in IranExplosions at Amir al Momenin military base in Iran took life of the godfather of their missile program. Yes, it was a great operation tactically, but what about its strategic implications?

Barak openly praised the operation, thus breaking a major taboo. There was doubt among the Iranians about which country was behind the explosion, and Barak’s words led the blame and retaliation to Israel’s doorstep.

Targeting individuals is a poor strategy at this stage. Assassinations won’t stop the Iranian nuclear program, but they create the illusion that an all-out attack would be superfluous.

Why attack Iran now?

Why attack Iran now?Given the recent spate of reports on Obama’s approval for the attack on Iran, it s a good time to ask what such an operation could accomplish?

The Bushehr reactor is up and running. No one is going to destroy an operational reactor loaded with 80 tons of HEU. And an attack on other nuclear sites would give Iran an excuse to reprocess  spent rods into plutonium instead of returning them to Russia.

Some of Iran’s HEU has been removed from its last known locations. It is highly unlikely that we would destroy all the stocks. Iran has also begun to move its nuclear-related equipment to bunkers.

Bombing the centrifuges is feasible, but what’s the point? Iran would easily be able to set up new centrifuges within two years. And after the first attack proves futile in the long run, assembling a coalition for a second raid would be problematic.
Destroying dual-use factories would serve no purpose, either. Flush with oil profits, Iran would soon rebuild them with more up-to-date technology.

Nor would the bombing of Iran stop the nuclear programs of North Korea and Pakistan. Both countries’ nuclear stockpiles are of unknown size and stored in unknown locations. Iran could easily procure its bomb from them, especially from the Pakistani military. That’s assuming that the four nuclear warheads missing from Ukraine are not already in Iran.

Any sensible plan for dealing with Iranian nukes would involve inciting armed rebellions by the Kurds, Jundallah, Azeris, and Afghan border tribes. But instead, the US helps Turkey to suppress the Kurds.

As for the operation itself, it should be relatively easy. The capabilities of Iran’s air defenses are grossly inflated; Iranian operators are notoriously inept at using reasonably capable Russian SAMs, and even those Israel can both jam electronically and saturate with multiple missile attacks. Besides, the CIA wouldn’t miss a chance to bribe Iranian generals in the same way the agency dealt with Saddam and Gadhafi.

One nice corollary of attacking Iran is that Israel would have to preemptively destroy the arsenals of Hamas and Hezbollah, and at least warn Syria. Assad won’t provoke NATO retaliation by attacking Israel to avenge Iran. He also remembers that Iran did not avenge the destruction of Assad’s nuclear program four years ago.

IAEA report, in fact, condemns the White House

The long-awaited IAEA report details some old, but curious elements of the Iranian nuclear program. Years ago, Iran was already working on a neutron initiator that can only be used in nuclear explosions. Iran’s warhead prototype tests, which date back eleven years, must surely have yielded positive results since then.

Yet a Bush era NIE claims that Iran abandoned its military nuclear program. As we can see now, that intelligence estimate is technically correct: Iran had mostly completed its work on weaponization by 2007, and turned to quasi-peaceful uranium enrichment instead. The NIE achieved its effect by a slight substitution: ‘abandoned’ instead of ‘completed.’

And knowing full well the dimensions of the Iranian military program, the White House played it down for a decade. Today we doubt that they would slap Iran with a ban on its oil and gas exports.

US-Iran: Stupid trick backfires

Saudi Arabia ambassador Adel Al JubeirAfter a year of bickering, the White House went public with information about Iran’s alleged involvement in the planned assassination of the Saudi ambassador. Judging by the Saudis’ mute reaction, the accusation is pretty dubious. It is indeed strange that Iran’s very capable foreign intelligence would use a nutty failed businessman to mediate with a drug dealers’ fake hit man instead of sending one from Iran. The incident smacks of FBI provocation, abetted perhaps by real criminal intent on the part of the businessman, who may even have discussed some sort of plot with Iranian Al Qods members.

Be that as it may, Obama has clearly released this information at this time to pressure Iran… into what? Obviously, Iran wouldn’t abandon its nuclear program or regional ambitions over such a revelation even if it were true. Iran will now certainly retaliate against the US by stepping up its efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A glimpse at US proliferation policy

According to Dick Cheney’s memoirs, he was the only White House official to approve of an Israeli strike on the Syrian nuclear reactor, while Rice insisted on giving diplomacy more time. The reactor, mind you, was a few weeks from going hot.

We can expect the same from this US administration on the Iranian nuclear program: procrastination to the end.

Dick Cheney

Something fishy about Dagan affair

Media around the world are trying to blame ex-Mossad chief Dagan for the West’s misjudging of the Iranian nuclear program. In particular, his estimate that Iran would not be able to obtain nuclear weapons until well after 2014 is cited as the reason for America’s procrastination in dealing with the situation.

But no one in his right mind could believe that nonsense. Obviously, Iran would not need five years to straighten out the operation of the centrifuges and assemble a warhead prototype, since its nuclear and missile programs are assisted by Pakistani and North Korean engineers with exact know-how, and quite probably by Russian experts and the sale of Chinese parts.

Meir Dagan

13 July 2011 Posted in Iran

Iranian missiles are not the problem

Iranian missileSince the outspoken British FM went public with the information that Iran has tested four nuclear-capable missiles, pressure has been mounting in the UNSC for another resolution condemning Iran’s military program. Indeed, the missile tests blatantly violate the sanctions the UNSC has imposed on Iran—though, of course, no one expected Iran itself to abide by those sanctions.

But who expected Iran to go without nuclear-capable ballistic missiles when North Korea exports them freely? Iran could easily get the missiles from Pakistan, or even from China, which has not abided by international non-proliferation treaties since the US stupidly sold F-16 fighters to Taiwan in the late 1990s. Indigenous or not, nuclear-capable missiles were an inevitability in the Iranian armory.

It is extremely unlikely that Iran would use ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads against Israel. It makes no sense for them to risk trying to get their few available warheads through Israeli air defenses,which are integrated with US early-warning stations. A terrorist weapon arriving in Haifa port in an inconspicuous container with no direct links to Iran is much more likely.

The West could have easily stopped the Iranian nuclear and missile programs simply by banning its oil exports. The oil-sanctions tactic was applied to Iraq with considerable results. Saudi Arabia has vowed to compensate for any oil shortages by increasing its own exports. The world’s refusal to slap Iran with oil sanctions is the clearest sign to the ayatollahs that they are welcome in the nuclear club.

Ahmadinejad joins Khamenei: no negotiations over nukes

Ahmadinejad joins Khamenei: no negotiations over nukesSecret talks over Iran’s nuclear program were sacked after a stream of reports by international watchdogs which publicly accused Iran of running its nuclear program at a much faster pace than previously believed.

Iran sent submarines to the Red Sea and Ahmadinejad delivered a militant speech promising “no brakes” on the Iranian nuclear program. Most importantly, Iran confirmed reports that it had removed IAEA seals from the Natanz storehouse of enriched uranium. The uranium will be transported to Qom, the underground plant that Iran claims does not exist, for further enrichment.

The Qom site can only be attacked with an exceptionally large commando raid or with tactical nuclear weapons. Lacking the guts to inflict major damage on Iran elsewhere to force the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear aspirations, Israel is unlikely to stop the bomb with a mission-impossible operation in Qom.

Saudis ready for nuclear standoff with Iran

Barack Obama and Saudi KingThe Debka has confirmed the Saudis’ procurement of nuclear-capable Chinese CSS-5 missiles. Earlier, the US welcomed the Saudis’ mammoth dual-use nuclear program and accepted the Saudis’ decision to render their nuclear bombs from Pakistan. The Saudis now own a certain number of nuclear devices in return for financing the Pakistani nuclear program.

Apparently, Saudis do not share the opinion, which we also hold, that Iran’s nuclear program is harmless in itself and Iran will only brandish its nukes rather than using them. When trigger-happy Muslims square off against each other in Iran and Saudi Arabia, a nuclear exchange would not be impossible. If the Iranians incite riots among Saudi shiites who sit atop the kingdom’s oil fields, the royal family would have little to lose by launching a nuclear exchange.

Unless Israel destroys the Iranian nuclear program, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will soon go nuclear. Another drawback of Iranian nuclearization would be Saudi Arabia’s annexation of Kuwait and the UAE similarly to Bahrain. That would leave no strategically important American presence in the Middle East.

Iran recovered

Iran recoveredNetanyahu confirmed that Iran has fully recovered from Stuxnet and accelerated its nuclear program. With his typical perversity, instead of bombing Iranian nuclear facilities, he founded a group inside the Likud in order to prepare the party for the next election. In the absence of real achievements, Netayahu has to concentrate on PR tricks.

Iran makes no secret of its nuclear successes. It openly processes yellowcake, installs new centrifuges, and demands that France deliver at least 10 tons of uranium to be enriched to 20%.

Meanwhile, Iran has recovered from economic sanctions now that Mideast instability has sent oil prices through the roof.

Ahmadinejad consolidates power

Iranian hardliners have emerged victorious, both internationally and domestically.

In less than one month they have heavily infiltrated Egypt—which was off-limits to them under Mubarak—and also Jordan, Lebanon, and Bahrain. They have established a naval base in Syria.

Those victories were crowned domestically when Ahmadinejad ousted his arch-rival Rafsanjani from the Assembly of Experts, a constitutional body that oversees the president. While Rafsanjani fully supported Iran’s nuclear program, he was more considerate of the West than Ahmadinejad.

A few years ago, Israel could have afforded to tolerate a nuclear Iran. But with today’s achievements and ambitions, a nuclearized Iran would be a mortal threat to the Jewish state. All of Iran’s achievements are attributable to Obama, who first allowed Iran to go nuclear, and then cleared its path to regional dominance by removing Mubarak.

12 March 2011 Posted in Iran