The Phantom Menace: Fantasies, falsehoods, and fear-mongering about Iran’s nuclear program

Israel/Palestine
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“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.”

- George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Facts rarely get in the way of American and Israeli fear-mongering and jingoism, especially when it comes to anti-Iran propaganda. For nearly thirty years now, U.S. and Zionist politicians and analysts, along with some of their European allies, have warned that Iranian nuclear weapons capability is just around the corner and that such a possibility would not only be catastrophic for Israel with its 400 nuclear warheads and state-of-the-art killing power supplied by U.S. taxpayers, but that it would also endanger regional dictatorships, Europe, and even the United States.

If these warnings are to be believed, Iran is only a few years away from unveiling a nuclear bomb…and has been for the past three decades. Fittingly, let’s begin in 1984.

An April 24, 1984 article entitled “‘Ayatollah’ Bomb in Production for Iran in United Press International referenced a Jane’s Intelligence Defense Weekly report warning that Iran was moving “very quickly” towards a nuclear weapon and could have one as early as 1986.

Two months later, on June 27, 1984, in an article entitled “Senator says Iran, Iraq seek N-Bomb,” Minority Whip of the U.S. Senate Alan Cranston was quoted as claiming Iran was a mere seven years away from being able to build its own nuclear weapon. In April 1987, the Washington Post published an article with the title “Atomic Ayatollahs: Just What the Mideast Needs – an Iranian Bomb,” in which reporter David Segal wrote of the imminent threat of such a weapon.

The next year, in 1988, Iraq issued warnings that Tehran was at the nuclear threshold.

By late 1991, Congressional reports and CIA assessments maintained a “high degree of certainty that the government of Iran has acquired all or virtually all of the components required for the construction of two to three nuclear weapons.” In January 1992, Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset that “within three to five years, we can assume that Iran will become autonomous in its ability to develop and produce a nuclear bomb.”

Furthermore, a February 1992 report by the U.S. House of Representatives suggested that Iran would have two or three operational nuclear weapons by April 1992.

In March 1992, The Arms Control Reporter reported that Iran already had four nuclear weapons, which it had obtained from Russia. That same year, the CIA predicted an Iranian nuclear weapon by 2000, then later changed their estimate to 2003.

A May 1992 report in The European claims that “Iran has obtained at least two nuclear warheads out of a batch officially listed as ‘missing from the newly independent republic of Kazakhstan.’”

Speaking on French television in October 1992, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres warned the international community that Iran would be armed with a nuclear bomb by 1999. The following month, the New York Times reported that Israel was confident Iran would “become a nuclear power in a few years unless stopped.”

The same year, Robert Gates, then-director of the CIA, addressed the imminent threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. “Is it a problem today?” he asked at the time, “probably not. But three, four, five years from now it could be a serious problem.”

On January 23, 1993, Gad Yaacobi, Israeli envoy to the UN, was quoted in the Boston Globe, claiming that Iran was devoting $800 million per year to the development of nuclear weapons. Then, on February 24, 1993, CIA director James Woolsey said that although Iran was “still eight to ten years away from being able to produce its own nuclear weapon” the United States was concerned that, with foreign assistance, it could become a nuclear power earlier.

That same year, international press went wild with speculation over Iranian nuclear weapons. In the Spring of 1993, U.S. News & World Report, the New York Times, the conservative French weekly Paris Match, and Foreign Report all claimed Iran had struck a deal with North Korea to develop nuclear weapons capability, while U.S. intelligence analysts alleged an Iranian nuclear alliance with Ukraine. Months later, the AFP reported Switzerland was supplying Iran with nuclear weapons technology, while the Intelligence Newsletter claimed that the French firm CKD was delivering nuclear materials to Iran and U.S. News and World Report accused Soviet scientists working in Kazakhstan of selling weapons-grade uranium to Iran. By the end of 1993, Theresa Hitchens and Brendan McNally of Defense News and National Defense University analyst W. Seth Carus had reaffirmed CIA director Woolsey’s prediction “that Iran could have nuclear weapons within eight to ten years.”

In January 1995, John Holum, director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, testified before Congress that “Iran could have the bomb by 2003,” while Defense Secretary William Perry unveiled a grimmer analysis, stating that “Iran may be less than five years from building an atomic bomb, although how soon…depends how they go about getting it.” Perry suggested that Iran could potentially buy or steal a nuclear bomb from one of the former Soviet states in “a week, a month, five years.”

The New York Times reported that “Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than previously thought, and could be less than five years away from having an atomic bomb, several senior American and Israeli officials say,” a claim repeated by Greg Gerardi in The Nonproliferation Review (Vol. 2, 1995).

Benjamin Netanyahu, in his 1995 book “Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network,” wrote,”The best estimates at this time place Iran between three and five years away from possessing the prerequisites required for the independent production of nuclear weapons.”

At the same time, a senior Israeli official declared, “If Iran is not interrupted in this program by some foreign power, it will have the device in more or less five years.” After a meeting in Jerusalem between Defense Secretary Perry and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, they announced that Iran would have a nuclear bomb in seven to 15 years.

On February 15, 1996, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Ehud Barak told members of the UN Security Council that Iran would be producing nuclear weapons by 2004.

On April 29, 1996, Israel’s then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres claimed in an interview with ABC that “the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option” and would “reach nuclear weapons” in four years. By 1997 the Israelis confidently predicted an active Iranian nuclear bomb by 2005.

In March 1997, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency director John Holum again attested to a House panel that Iran would develop a nuclear weapon sometime between 2005 and 2007.

The following month, according to a report in Hamburg’s Welt am Sonntag, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) believed Iran had an active nuclear weapons development program and would be able to produce nuclear weapons by 2002, “although that timeframe could be accelerated if Iran acquires weapons-grade fissile material on the black market.” Eight days later, in early May 1997, a Los Angeles Times article quoted a senior Israeli intelligence official as stating that Iran would be able to make a nuclear bomb by “the middle of the next decade.”

On June 26, 1997, the U.S. military commander in the Persian Gulf, General Binford Peay, stated that, were Iran to acquire access to fissile material, it would obtain nuclear weapons “sometime at the turn of the century, the near-end of the turn of the century.”

In September 1997, Jane’s Intelligence Defense Review reported that former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher declared, “we know that since the mid-1980s, Iran has had an organized structure dedicated to acquiring and developing nuclear weapons,” as then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the Iranian nuclear technology program “may be the most dangerous development in the 21st century.”

Writing in the Jerusalem Post on April 9, 1998, Steve Rodan claimed “Documents obtained by the Jerusalem Post show Iran has four nuclear bombs.” The next day, U.S. State Department spokesperson James Rubin addressed this allegation, stating, “There was no evidence to substantiate such claims.”

On October 21, 1998, General Anthony Zinni, head of U.S. Central Command, said Iran could have deliverable nuclear weapons by 2003. “If I were a betting man,” he said, “I would say they are on track within five years, they would have the capability.”

The next year, on November 21, 1999, a senior Israeli military official was quoted by AP reporter Ron Kampeas (who was later hired as Washington bureau chief for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency) saying, “Unless the United States pressures Russia to end its military assistance to Iran, the Islamic republic will possess a nuclear capability within five years.”

On December 9, 1999, General Zinni reiterated his assessment that Iran “will have nuclear capability in a few years.”

In a January 2000 New York Times article co-authored by Judith Miller, it was reported that the CIA suggested to the Clinton administration “that Iran might now be able to make a nuclear weapon,” even though this assessment was “apparently not based on evidence that Iran’s indigenous efforts to build a bomb have achieved a breakthrough,” but rather that “the United States cannot track with great certainty increased efforts by Iran to acquire nuclear materials and technology on the international black market.”

On March 9, 2000, the BBC stated that German intelligence once again believed Iran to be “working to develop missiles and nuclear weapons.”

The Telegraph reported on September 27, 2000 that the CIA believes Iran’s nuclear weapons capability to be progressing rapidly and suggests Iran will develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching London or New York within the next decade. CIA Deputy Director Norman Schindler is quoted as saying, “Iran is attempting to develop the capability to produce both plutonium and highly enriched uranium, and it is actively pursuing the acquisition of fissile material and the expertise and technology necessary to form the material into nuclear weapons.”

By the summer of 2001, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was warning that Iran could have nuclear weapons by 2005 and that, sometime in the next decade, the Iranian nuclear program would reach a “point of no return,” from which time “it would be impossible to stop it from attaining a bomb.” By the end of the year, despite an inquiry into the questionable validity of Israeli intelligence regarding the Iranian nuclear program, Mossad head Efraim Halevy repeated the claim that Iran is developing nuclear and other non-conventional weapons.

In early 2002, the CIA again issued a report alleging that Iran “remains one of the most active countries seeking to acquire (weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional weapons) technology from abroad…In doing so, Tehran is attempting to develop a domestic capability to produce various types of weapons — chemical, biological, nuclear — and their delivery systems.” Soon thereafter, CIA Director George Tenet testified before a Senate hearing that Iran may be able to “produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of this decade…Obtaining material from outside could cut years from this estimate.”

During his “Axis-of-Evil” State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, George W. Bush declared that Iran was “aggressively” pursuing weapons of mass destruction.

On July 29, 2002, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Marshall Billingslea testified to the Senate that “Iran is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons.” Three days later, after a meeting with Russian officials on August 1, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham stated that Iran was “aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons as well as [other] weapons of mass destruction.” By the end of the year, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was reiterating U.S. concerns about, what he termed, Iran’s “across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile capabilities.”

In an interview with CNBC on February 2003, U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said that Iran is seeking technological assistance from North Korea and China to enhance its weapons of mass destruction programs. In April 2003, John Wolf, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, accused Iran of having an “alarming, clandestine program.”

That same month, the Los Angeles Times stated that “there is evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction,” in a polling question regarding American attitudes toward Iran. The question followed, “Do you think the U.S. should or should not take military action against Iran if they continue to develop these weapons?” Fifty percent of respondents thought the U.S. should attack Iran.

The Telegraph reported on June 1, 2003 that “Senior Pentagon officials are proposing widespread covert operations against the government in Iran, hoping that dissident groups will mount a coup before the regime acquires a nuclear weapon.” The report contained a quote from a U.S. “government official with close links to the White House” as saying “There are some who see the overthrow of the regime as the only way to deal with the danger of Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. But there’s not going to be another war. The idea is to destabilize from inside. No one’s talking about invading anywhere.”

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken in late June 2003 asked Americans, “How likely do you think it is that Iran is developing weapons of mass destruction?” 46% of those surveyed said “very likely,” while another 38% said “somewhat likely.” Only 2% replied “not at all likely.”

An August 5, 2003 report in the Jerusalem Post stated that “Iran will have the materials needed to make a nuclear bomb by 2004 and will have an operative nuclear weapons program by 2005, a high-ranking military officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.”

On October 21, 2003, Major General Aharon Ze’evi, Israel’s Director of Military Intelligence, declared in Ha’aretz that “by the summer of 2004, Iran will have reached the point of no return in its attempts to develop nuclear weapons.” A few weeks later, the CIA released a semi-annual unclassified report to Congress which stated Iran had “vigorously” pursued production of weapons of mass destruction and that the “United States remains convinced that Tehran has been pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.”

By mid-November 2003, Mossad intelligence service chief Meir Dagan testified for the first time before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and said that Iran was close to the “point of no return” in developing nuclear arms.

In early 2004, Ken Brill, U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA, reiterated the American position that Iran’s nuclear efforts are “clearly geared to the development of nuclear weapons.” One year later, on January 24, 2005, Mossad chief Meir Dagan again claimed that Iran’s nuclear program was almost at the “point of no return,” adding “the route to building a bomb is a short one” and that Iran could possess a nuclear weapon in less than three years. On January 28, the Guardian quoted Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stating the same thing. He warned that Iran would reach “the point of no return” within the next twelve months in its covert attempt to secure a nuclear weapons capability. A week later, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on CNN that Iran was “on a path of seeking a nuclear weapon,” but admitted that Iran was “years away” from building a nuclear bomb.

By August 2005, a “high-ranking IDF officer” told the Jerusalem Post that Israel has revised its earlier estimate that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 2008, now putting the estimate closer to 2012. The same day, a major U.S. intelligence review projected that Iran was approximately ten years away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, doubling its previous estimate.

Two weeks later, however, Israeli military chief General Aharon Zeevi contradicted both the new Israeli and U.S. estimates. “Barring an unexpected delay,” he said, “Iran is going to become nuclear capable in 2008 and not in 10 years.”

In November 2005, Mohammad Mohaddessin, chair of the so-called National Council of Resistance of Iran (otherwise known as the Islamist/Marxist terrorist cult Mojahadeen-e Khalq, or MEK, which is currently designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. government) addressed a European Parliament conference and proclaimed that the “Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is determined to pursue and complete Tehran’s nuclear weapons program full blast…[and] would have the bomb in two or three years time.”

On January 18, 2006, Donald Rumsfeld told Fox News that Iran was “acquiring nuclear weapons.”

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey conducted in late January 2006 asked, “Based on what you have heard or read, do you think that the government of Iran is or is not attempting to develop its own nuclear weapons?” 88% of those polled said Iran is.

82% of respondents to a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll taken around the same time believed “Iran wants to use the uranium for military purposes, such as to build a nuclear weapons program.” 68% thought “Iran currently has a nuclear weapons program,” an increase of 8% from the previous year.

CBS News reported on April 26, 2007 that “a new intelligence report says Iran has overcome technical difficulties in enriching uranium and could have enough bomb-grade material for a single nuclear weapon in less than three years.”

In late May 2007, IAEA head Mohammad El Baradei stated that, even if Iran wanted to build a nuclear weapon (despite all evidence to the contrary), it would not be able to “before the end of this decade or some time in the middle of the next decade. In other words three to eight years from now.” On July 11, 2007, Ha’aretz reported that “Iran will cross the ‘technological threshold’ enabling it to independently manufacture nuclear weapons within six months to a year and attain nuclear capability as early as mid-2009, according to Israel’s Military Intelligence.” The report also noted that “U.S. intelligence predicts that Iran will attain nuclear capability within three to six years.”

A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics opinion poll taken in late September 2007 found that 80% of Americans believed Iran’s nuclear program was for “military purposes.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres issued an official statement on October 18, 2007 that claimed “everyone knows [Iran's] true intentions, and many intelligence agencies throughout the world have proof that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of war and death.”

Less than two months later, the New York Times released “Key Judgments From a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s Nuclear Activity,” a consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. The analysis, entitled “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,” concluded with “high confidence” that the Iranian government had “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003, “had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007,” and admitted that “we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.” The NIE also found that “Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon” and that “Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.” Also included in the report was the assessment that, if Iran actually had a nuclear weapons program, “the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough HEU [highly enriched uranium] for a weapon is late 2009, but that this is very unlikely,” continuing, “Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame,” and adding that “All agencies recognize the possibility that this capability may not be attained until after 2015.”

A report released on February 7, 2008 by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) asserted that Iran had tested a new, and more efficient, centrifuge design to enrich uranium. If 1,200 new centrifuges were operational, the report suggested , Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb in one year.

Less than a week later, Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert told reporters, “We are certain that the Iranians are engaged in a serious…clandestine operation to build up a non-conventional capacity.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in a speech at West Point that Spring, claimed that Iran “is hellbent on acquiring nuclear weapons.”

On June 28, 2008, Shabtai Shavit, a former Mossad deputy director and influential adviser to the Israeli Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Sunday Telegraph that “worst-case scenario,” Iran may have a nuclear weapon in “somewhere around a year.”

In November 2008, David Sanger and William Broad of The New York Times reported that “Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts.” The article quoted nuclar physicist Richard L. Garwin, who helped invent the hydrogen bomb, as saying “They clearly have enough material for a bomb.” Siegfried S. Hecker of Stanford University and a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory said in the report that the growing size of the Iranian stockpile “underscored that they are marching down the path to developing the nuclear weapons option,” while Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program of the Natural Resources Defense Council declared, “They have a weapon’s worth.” Peter D. Zimmerman, a physicist and former United States government arms scientist, cautioned that Iran was “very close” to nuclear weapons capability. “If it isn’t tomorrow, it’s soon,” he said, indicating the threshold could be reached in a matter of months.

David Blair, writing in The Telegraph on January 27, 2009, reported that the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) “has said Iran is months away from crossing a vital threshold which could put it on course to build a weapon,” continuing that “Mark Fitzpatrick, the senior fellow for non-proliferation at the IISS, said: ‘This year, it’s very likely that Iran will have produced enough low-enriched uranium which, if further enriched, could constitute enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon, if that is the route Iran so desires.’”

On February 12, 2009, CIA Director-to-be Leon Panetta, told a Capitol Hill hearing, “From all the information I’ve seen, I think there is no question that [Iran is] seeking [nuclear weapons] capability.” Later that month, Benjamin Netanyahu, then a candidate for Israeli Prime Minister, told a Congressional delegation led by Maryland Senator Ben Cardin that “he did not know for certain how close Iran was to developing a nuclear weapons capability, but that ‘our experts’ say Iran was probably only one or two years away and that was why they wanted open ended negotiations.” Soon after that, Israel’s top intelligence official Amos Yadlin said Iran had “crossed the technological threshold” and was now capable of making a weapon.

In contrast to these allegations, National Intelligence director Dennis Blair told a Senate hearing in early March 2009 that Iran had only low-enriched uranium, which would need further processing to be used for weapons, and continued to explain that Iran had “not yet made that decision” to convert it. “We assess now that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium,” Blair said.

Speaking in private with U.S. Congressmembers in late Spring 2009, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak “estimated a window between 6 and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable.” In mid-June 2009, Mossad chief Meir Dagan said, “the Iranians will have by 2014 a bomb ready to be used, which would represent a concrete threat for Israel.”

On July 8, 2009, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warned that the “window is closing” for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Mullen claimed that Iran was only one to three years away from successfully building a nuclear weapon and “is very focused on developing this capability.” A week later, Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency declared Iran was capable of producing and testing an atomic bomb within six months.

The following month, on August 3, The Times (UK) reported that Iran had “perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead” and “could feasibly make a bomb within a year” if given the order by head of state Ali Khamenei.

Meanwhile, a Newsweek report from September 16, 2009, indicated that the National Intelligence Estimate stood by its 2007 assessment and that “U.S. intelligence agencies have informed policymakers at the White House and other agencies that the status of Iranian work on development and production of a nuclear bomb has not changed.” Nevertheless, both ABC News/Washington Post and CNN/Opinion Research Corporation polls taken in mid-October 2009 found that, “Based on what [they]‘ve heard or read,” between 87% and 88% of respondents believed Iran to be developing nuclear weapons.

In November 2009, during a private meeting between U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Alexander Vershbow, and a number of senior Israeli defense officials in Israel, the head of Israel’s Defense Ministry Intelligence Analysis Production, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, “argued that it would take Iran one year to obtain a nuclear weapon and two and a half years to build an arsenal of three weapons.”

The Times (UK) reported on January 10, 2010 that retired Israeli brigadier-general and former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission Uzi Eilam “believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons,” despite the dire warnings from Major-General Amos Yadlin, head of Israeli military intelligence, who had recently told the Knesset defense committee that Iran would most likely be able to build a single nuclear device within the year.

In an interview with the U.S. military’s Voice of America on January 12, 2010, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, said there was no evidence that Iran has made a final decision to build nuclear weapons and confirmed that the key NIE finding that Iran has not yet committed itself to nuclear weapons was still valid. “The bottom line assessments of the NIE still hold true,” he said. “We have not seen indication that the government has made the decision to move ahead with the program.”

Barack Obama, in his first State of the Union speech on January 27, 2010 claimed that Iran was “violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Speaking in Doha, Qatar on February 14, 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed, what she called, “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Although Clinton said that the United States was attempting to “influence the Iranian decision regarding whether or not to pursue a nuclear weapon,” she added that “the evidence is accumulating that that’s exactly what they are trying to do, which is deeply concerning, because it doesn’t directly threaten the United States, but it directly threatens a lot of our friends, allies, and partners here in this region and beyond.”

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, taken at the same time as Clinton’s Doha visit, revealed that 71% of Americans believed Iran already had nuclear weapons. Of those remaining respondents who didn’t think Iran already possessed a nuclear bomb, over 72% thought it either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that “Iran will have nuclear weapons in the next few years.”

At an April 14, 2010 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lieutenant General Burgess, stated that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within a year and in three years build one that could be deployed, despite having judged that Iran didn’t even have an active nuclear weapons program a mere four months earlier.

Perennial warmongers David Sanger and William Broad of the New York Times reported on May 31, 2010 that “Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that experts say would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons.”

On June 11, 2010, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that “Most people believe that the Iranians could not really have any nuclear weapons for at least another year or two. I would say the intelligence estimates range from one to three years.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on June 24, 2010, introduced by Democratic Congressman Jim Costa of California, that “condemn[ed] the Government of Iran’s continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and unconventional weapons and ballistic missile capabilities.”

CIA Director Leon Panetta said on June 27, 2010, Iran would need two years to prepare two tested and operational nuclear weapons. “We think they have enough low-enriched uranium for two weapons,” Panetta told Jake Tapper of ABC News, continuing to explain that Iran would require one year to enrich the material to weapon-grade levels and “another year to develop the kind of weapon delivery system in order to make that viable.”

On July 22, 2010, nearly a third of House Republicans signed onto a resolution which stated that “Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons” and “express[ed] support for the State of Israel’s right to defend Israeli sovereignty, to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, and to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time to protect against such an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel.”

On August 19, 2010, the New York Times quoted Gary Samore, President Obama’s top adviser on nuclear issues, as saying that the U.S. believes Iran has “roughly a year dash time” before it could convert nuclear material into a working weapon.

Following the release of the latest IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Telegraph declared that Iran was “on [the] brink of [a] nuclear weapon,” had “passed a crucial nuclear threshold,” and “could now go on to arm an atomic missile with relative ease.”

In his attention-grabbing September 2009 cover story for The Atlantic, entitled “The Point of No Return,” Israeli establishment mouthpiece Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that, according to Israeli intelligence estimates, “Iran is, at most, one to three years away from having a breakout nuclear capability (often understood to be the capacity to assemble more than one missile-ready nuclear device within about three months of deciding to do so).”

Joint Chiefs chairman Mullen, speaking in Bahrain on December 18, 2010, said, “From my perspective I see Iran continuing on this path to develop nuclear weapons, and I believe that that development and achieving that goal would be very destabilizing to the region.”

A week ago, on December 22, 2010, the great prognosticator Sarah Palin wrote in USA Today that “Iran continues to defy the international community in its drive to acquire nuclear weapons.”

Two days ago, December 29, 2010, Reuters quoted Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon as claiming Iran would soon have a nuclear weapon. “I don’t know if it will happen in 2011 or in 2012, but we are talking in terms of the next three years,” he said, adding that in terms of Iran’s nuclear time-line, “we cannot talk about a ‘point of no return.’ Iran does not currently have the ability to make a nuclear bomb on its own.”

And Just hours after this article was originally posted on December 29, United Press International published the findings of a new public opinion poll conducted by Angus-Reid. The poll found that 70% of respondents believe “the Government of Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Only 11 per cent of Americans do not believe that Iran is pursuing a nuclear program, while one-in-five (19%) are not sure.”

Despite all of these hysterical warnings, no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program has ever been revealed. The IAEA has repeatedly found, through intensive, round-the-clock monitoring and inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities – including numerous surprise visits to Iranian enrichment plants – that all of Iran’s centrifuges operate under IAEA safeguards and “continue to be operated as declared.”

As far back as 1991, then-Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Hans Blix, made it clear that there was “no cause for concern” regarding Iran’s attempts to acquire nuclear technology. Twelve years later, in an IAEA report from November 2003, the agency affirmed that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons programme.” Furthermore, after extensive inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, the IAEA again concluded in its November 2004 report that “all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”

During a press conference in Washington D.C. on October 27, 2007, IAEA Director-General El Baradei confirmed, “I have not received any information that there is a concrete active nuclear weapons program going on right now.” He continued, “Have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weapons program? No.”

By May 2008, the IAEA still reported that it had found “no indication” that Iran has or ever did have a nuclear weapons program and affirmed that “The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material [to weaponization] in Iran.” On February 22, 2009, IAEA spokesperson Melissa Fleming even issued a statement clarifying the IAEA’s position regarding the flurry of deliberately misleading articles in the US and European press claiming that Iran had enriched enough uranium “to build a nuclear bomb.” The statement, among other things, declared that “No nuclear material could have been removed from the [Nantanz] facility without the Agency’s knowledge since the facility is subject to video surveillance and the nuclear material has been kept under seal.”

This assessment was reaffirmed in September 2009, in response to various media reports over the past few years claiming that Iran’s intent to build a nuclear bomb can be proven by information provided from a mysterious stolen laptop and a dubious, undated – and forgedtwo-page document. The IAEA stated, “With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.”

In his Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, delivered on February 2, 2010, National Intelligence director Dennis Blair stated, “We continue to assess [that] Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that bring it closer to being able to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

In a Spring 2010 Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Related to Weapons of Mass Destruction, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis Peter Lavoy affirmed that “we do not know whether Iran will eventually decide to produce nuclear weapons.”

Speaking with Charlie Rose in November 2010, Blair once again reiterated that “Iran hasn’t made up its mind” whether or not to pursue nuclear weaponry. On November 28, 2010, a diplomatic cable made available by Wikileaks revealed that, in December 2009, senior Israeli Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad told Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher that “he was not sure Tehran had decided it wants a nuclear weapon.”

Back in October 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted former IAEA weapons inspector David Albright as saying, with regard to new reports about a possible Iranian nuclear weapons program revealed by the MEK, “We should be very suspicious about what our leaders or the exile groups say about Iran’s nuclear capacity.”

Albright continued, “There is a drumbeat of allegations, but there’s not a whole lot of solid information. It may be that Iran has not made the decision to build nuclear weapons. We have to be very careful not to overstate the intelligence.”

It appears that nothing much has changed in the past seven years, let alone the previous three decades.

Whereas the new year will surely bring more lies and deception about Iran and its nuclear energy program, more doublespeak and duplicity regarding the threat Iran poses to the United States, to Israel and to U.S.-backed Arab dictatorships, and more warmongering and demonization from Zionist think tanks, right-wing and progressive pundits alike, the 112th Congress and the Obama administration, the truth is not on their side.

“Facts are stubborn things,” John Adams said in 1770. “And whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Here’s hoping that, in 2011, the facts will begin to matter.

Happy New Year.

A version of this post originally appeared on Nima Shirazi’s blog Wide Asleep in America.

About Nima Shirazi

Nima Shirazi is co-editor of the Iran, Iraq and Turkey pages for the online magazine Muftah. His political analysis can be found on his blog, WideAsleepinAmerica.com, where this post first appeared. Follow him on Twitter @WideAsleepNima.

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91 Responses

  1. maggielorraine
    December 31, 2010, 4:47 am

    wow.

  2. Psychopathic god
    December 31, 2010, 5:42 am

    and the beat goes on

    this article from Financial Times was in an email blast from UANI — United Against Nuclear Iran, a 501 C created by Dennis Ross and Gary Samore, now run by Mark Wallace. Abbas Milani is the group’s “expat Iranian Charles Krauthammer,” relied upon to put an Iranian face on neocon warmongering.

    Dec 31 2010Financial Times: US Fears Iran could use new technology in coming months that would shorten the time needed to reach nuclear weapon status and reduce the scope for diplomacy.

    Washington is particularly concerned that Tehran might deploy a new generation of centrifuges to enrich uranium, a process that can yield nuclear fuel and weapons-grade material. Since such devices are three times faster than the centrifuges Iran relies on now, officials say they would reduce the ‘dash time’ needed to develop a nuclear weapon. ‘If they were to deploy large numbers of these second-generation machines then it could dramatically reduce dash time,’ said an administration official.

    The US would look at the next quarterly report of the UN nuclear watchdog to see if Iran was making progress with the new centrifuges, he said. The previous such report, in November, indicated Iran planned to deploy several hundred new centrifuges for ‘research and development’ at its once-secret nuclear site near Qom.

    David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security (Isis) in Washington said: ‘The next crisis will probably be over the question of deployment of these advanced centrifuges.’” link to bit.ly

    la de da de da
    la de da de di

  3. bob
    December 31, 2010, 5:55 am

    You are missing the important portion where the neocons and Israel were pushing Reagan (much to his later chagrin) to help Iran against Iraq. Then they turned in the early 1990′s.

    1987 ISRAEL REPORTEDLY PERSUADED U.S. TO RESUME IRAN ARMS SHIPMENTS
    ——
    1992 Israeli Warns of Iran
    1992 Israeli major urges strike against Iran
    1993 ISRAEL WORKS TO STOP IRAN’S NUCLEAR PLANS

    1995 Netanyahu: Iran is real nuclear threat

    “Within three to five years, we can assume that Iran will become autonomous in its ability to develop and produce a nuclear bomb, without having to import either the technology or the material,” Netanyahu said. “[The nuclear threat] must be uprooted by an international front headed by the US. It necessitates economic sanctions on Iran.”
    Again

    link to mondoweiss.net

    Neoconservatives loomed large in the covert dealings with Iran, which involved such fgures as Michael Ledeen, who served as an agent for National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane. Ledeen initially arranged the secret initiative by meeting with then-Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres in May 1985.16
    Robert Dreyfuss has noted, in his Devil’s Game: How the
    United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, that “[w]ithin the Reagan administration, a small clique of conservatives, and neoconservatives, were most intimately involved in the Iran-contra initiative, especially those U.S. officials and consultants who were closest to the Israeli military and intelligence establishment.”17
    As Trita Parsi puts it in Treacherous Alliance:

    The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States, “neoconservatives were masterminding a rapprochement with Khomeini’s government.”18
    Secretary of State George Shultz expressed concern about the Israeli-orientation of that policy. In a letter to McFarlane, he noted that Israel’s position on Iran “is not the same as ours” and that American intelligence collaboration with Israel regarding Iran “could seriously skew our own perception and analysis of the Iranian scene.”19
    The latter, as Dreyfuss points out, was the actual aim of the neoconservatives and CIA director William Casey, “who sought to reengage with Iran, in direct opposition to the official U.S. policy of supporting Iraq in its resistance to Iranian expansionism.”20
    The neocons and Israel were unsuccessful in altering American foreign policy away from Iraq and toward Iran. The exposé of the Iran/Contra affair certainly sounded the death knell to this diplomacy. Some neoconservatives, however, continued to seek this change. Michael Ledeen would write in a New York Times opinion piece on July 19, 1988, that it was essential for the United States to begin talking with Iran. He wrote that the “The United States, which should have been exploring improved relations with Iran before . . . should now seize the opportunity to do so.”21
    (When Israel later perceived Iran to be a crucial threat, Ledeen would become a leading proponent of the view that Iran was the center of world terror and that regime change was the only solution.)

  4. MRW
    December 31, 2010, 6:51 am

    Fabulous piece, a real sweep of history. Wonderfully sourced. I’ll keep a copy of this should the Powers That Be bomb Iran, and there is the usual shrieking that Israel had nothing to do with it, you anti-semite. Israel is mentioned 44 times. From the original site:

    UPDATE:

    Just hours after this article was posted, United Press International published the findings of a new public opinion poll conducted by Angus-Reid. The poll found that 70% of respondents believe “the Government of Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Only 11 per cent of Americans do not believe that Iran is pursuing a nuclear program, while one-in-five (19%) are not sure.”

    • Shingo
      January 1, 2011, 7:35 am

      The good news MRW, is that in spite of those numbers, most Americans oppose military action against Iran.

    • Potsherd2
      January 1, 2011, 9:55 pm

      The Big Lie wins again.

  5. ritzl
    December 31, 2010, 7:19 am

    That’s quite the litany. You have to wonder if everything else the intelligence community does is equally precise.

    If they are right, Iran has a weapon and has for some time. End of discussion.

    If they are wrong, Iran has not sought and is not seeking a weapon. End of discussion.

    I’m sure there’s a creative third option in there somewhere (e.g. the feigned passivity of “We repeat. You decide.”).

    One might go so far as to conclude from the fact that there continues to be a “discussion,” that this is being driven by a political agenda advanced by a small country in pursuit of regional hegemony. Not that that ever happens.

    It is truly remarkable, seeing it all listed in one place, how the exact same words are used, separated by decades.

  6. lobewyper
    December 31, 2010, 7:42 am

    Great piece! It beautifully illustrates why we need to be more mindful of the past instead of limiting our historical view to the past few years (or even, months) as many Americans are likely to do. Of course, we are encouraged in this neglect by most MSM American journalists, who are only too happy to spout the most current politically correct nonsense. The quote from Orwell, which was first published in 1949, seems almost frighteningly appropriate to the Iranian situation. (Makes me want to read more about him and how he was able to reach this level of insight.) In the meantime, Nina amply documents that we can have little confidence going forward in what our government and those of our allies say about Iran’s future capabilities and intentions…

    • Richard Parker
      December 31, 2010, 10:12 am

      Brilliant overview showing how many false alarms were couched in exactly the same terms over 25 years -by the same bunch of characters

      • Sumud
        January 2, 2011, 1:31 am

        lobewyper – I have Volumes III and IV of a four volume set of Orwell’s essays, letters and journalism which would be an excellent place to start if you were interested to learn more about him. The editions I have are printed in 1968 so with a bit of searching you could probably find yourself a full set. Failing that there are contemporary printings in paperback. The titles of the four volumes are listed here – and the wiki page is wrong, Davison had nothing to do with the four volume set I’m talking about:

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • lobewyper
        January 2, 2011, 7:59 am

        Sumud,

        Thanks for the references!

  7. marc b.
    December 31, 2010, 10:10 am

    fabulous, nima, and a real stick in the eye to those who are critical of the wikileaks revelations, claiming that exposure undermines the good work of diplomacy.

  8. CTuttle
    December 31, 2010, 7:14 pm

    Mahalo Nui Loa, Nima…! Outstanding job…! ;-)

  9. Shingo
    January 1, 2011, 7:17 am

    After predicting that Iran was 6 months away from a nuke since 1996, Israel has now pushed the estimate back to 3 years.

  10. Shingo
    January 1, 2011, 7:34 am

    As a former nuclear engineer who was involved in writing reports for the the IAEA, I am extremely imprssed with this piece. This is an absolutely brilliant sumamry.

    David sanger is a pathological liar.

    David Albright is a tool, who’s willing to hype the threat.

    • marc b.
      January 1, 2011, 9:53 am

      David sanger is a pathological liar.

      yes he is. was he writing for the Times while j.miller was working her magic?

    • MRW
      January 1, 2011, 4:57 pm

      Shingo,

      As a former nuclear engineer who was involved in writing reports for the the IAEA

      Thought that would slip by? ;-) Great to know!

  11. Samuel
    January 1, 2011, 9:31 am

    Sorry to be in the ultimate defensive mode here after such an impressive analysis of the last 25 years, but the article doesn’t explain two major points:

    1. If Iran genuinely does not have a nuclear weapons programme, why do all the major Western powers and China and Russia agree to sanctions against them? Are these countries so easily fooled by “false” or “inaccurate” intel?

    2. Maybe all the intel or estimates were/are accurate at the time, but as a result of counter operations, sanctions, etc. the estimate is actually delayed and therefore the forecasts are readjusted from time to time in accordance with the success or failure of the various overt and clandestine operations.

    The best any of us laymen can say is that we don’t really know where Iran’s nuclear capabilities stand, if at all.

    • marc b.
      January 1, 2011, 10:39 am

      i have a question for you, samuel: why do you bother posing such questions if you have already concluded that ‘us laymen’ are incapable of giving intelligent, informed responses?

      • Samuel
        January 1, 2011, 10:56 am

        It’s called rhetoric.
        But you could try anwsering the questions as best as possible, in an intelligent and informative manner, and you might even convince me or someone else.
        The problem is that this is a lose-lose siuation:
        If the Western (and Russia’s and China’s) intel is wrong, then the Western world is defenseless against its enemies, as it knows jack s–t about them or their plans.
        If the intel is right, then Iran’s denial and eluciveness smacks of future expected belligerence on its behalf, and the world is thus tumbling into war.
        Help!!!

      • Potsherd2
        January 1, 2011, 11:39 am

        Samuel – Iran has the right to defend itself. Iran has the right to develop defensive weapons. The fact that it may be developing defensive weapons does not “smack of future expected belligerence” or “tumbling into war.”

        If you really want to know the reason for USraeli sanctions against Iran, it is all about the refusal to allow an independent, powerful, oil-rich nation to exist in the mid-east.

        Throughout the 20th century, British and then US forces continually attempted to impose puppet governments on Iran, only to have them thrown off by popular revolt. The current sanctions are another attempt to overthrow an Iranian government. The US can not accept a free Iran, and the US puppet Israel can not accept any free empowered state in its vicinity.

      • marc b.
        January 1, 2011, 12:00 pm

        It’s called rhetoric.

        yes, a rhetorical device implying that ‘us laymen’ are helpless, hopelessly ignorant of the underlying facts. my points are 1. that you are asking the wrong questions, and 2. that the questions that you have asked incorporate erroneous assumptions about the motivation and objectivity of ‘major western powers’ regarding iran. any question regarding iran’s nuclear interests and capabilities should start with the assumptions 1. that ‘major western powers’ view iran’s influence in the region with suspicion and hostility (regardless of the sincerity of concerns over iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities), and 2. that ‘major western powers’ will ‘spin’ or manufacture intelligence to support the argument that iran is pursuing the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

    • Shingo
      January 1, 2011, 3:53 pm

      Samuel,

      Here are answers to those questions:

      1. China and Russia have agreed to the sanctions for pragmatic reasons. The US demonstrated with it’s Iraq attack, that it is prepared to do what it wants if the UN does not come on board. By agreeing to sanctions, China and Russia can at least maintain control of the hostilities and agree to the sanctions regime in principal, but then water then down when the details are disussed – which is what they have done.

      You should also bear in mind that China and Russia are driven by self interest, so it’s more than likely their vote was bought via backdoor deal.

      2. The clandestine operations are atatckng the civlian program, not a wepoans program, and are more aimed at destabilizing Iran that sabotaging a non existence wepoans program.

      The best any of us laymen can say is that we don’t really know where Iran’s nuclear capabilities stand, if at all.

      That’s what the war party are aiming to do, create sufficinet doubt and paranoia and confusion.

    • Psychopathic god
      January 3, 2011, 7:01 pm

      why do all the major Western powers and China and Russia agree to sanctions against them? Are these countries so easily fooled by “false” or “inaccurate” intel?

      is this a serious question?
      How many nations bought the “Iraq has WMD/ Iraq was involved in 9/11/Iraq harbors AlQaeda” propaganda?

      Western powers, China and Russia succumbed to arm-twisting, bribes, and promises of shares of the spoils. China and Russia crossed their fingers as their arms were being twisted; maybe they will, maybe they won’t comply with American arm-twisting.

      As to what is “the best any of us laymen can say” about Iran’s nuclear capabilities, it might help if those vaunted “major Western powers” dealt honestly, but they do not. That is a truth we can take to the bank. Just not any “major Western powers” bank — they’re dishonest, too.

      I KNOW that Iran IS building nuclear power generating facilities because I have seen them and seen the miles and miles of transmission infrastructure and development surrounding both the facility at Natanz and the smaller structure at Qom: Iran is rapidly urbanizing and needs to create new residential and commercial areas in a tremendously challenging climate and terrain. Twenty years ago and more, Iran started planting trees in the desert to cool vast areas; planted acres and acres of bushes and shrubs to keep the sand from blowing over the well-maintained roadways; “planted” wind farms, as far as the eye can see, to supplement the power to be generated by nuclear technology.

      That’s what THIS layman knows.

      Is Iran also creating the “Japan option” — the ability to weaponize a nuclear device? Not unlikely, and imo not unwise: Pakistan and India, both nuclear and constantly at each other’s throats, are Iran’s neighbors; US air bases surround Iran; it is said that Israel maintains submarines with nuclear-capable weaponry off Iran’s coast. If I lived in such a threatening neighborhood, and if my people had had the experience of having been gassed by “major Western powers” working through one of my neighbors, and if I had had the experience of calling upon the United Nations to enforce the rules that forbid gassing and been ignored by that peace-keeping body, you bet I’d seek to protect my people by creating at the very least “nuclear ambiguity.”

      • Shingo
        January 3, 2011, 8:22 pm

        Is Iran also creating the “Japan option” — the ability to weaponize a nuclear device? Not unlikely, and imo not unwise:

        Even this is a largely meaningless argument PG.

        Unless Iran actually produce a functioning nuclear bomb, then they won’t have the ability to do it. Enrichment (ie. to 90% + ) is only part of the puzzle. The detonation mechanism is a much tougher development, and there is no way to produce one without testing it.

        In other words, until Iran conduct a successful nuclear detonation, they won’t have the ability.

        The other meaningless phrase you will hear is “breakout capability”, which refers to the a sufficient stockpile of low enriched uranium to theoretically produce a nuke. It’s meaningless. The same could be said of any country that has uranium deposits in the ground.

  12. David Samel
    January 1, 2011, 10:13 am

    Great article. I have seen other analyses of the historical repetition of the nuclear Iran mantra, but none nearly as comprehensive as this. What a wonderful resource. I also think marc b’s comment about the value of the wikileaks exposure is especially important. People who plan wars that incinerate and dismember large numbers of human beings need to do a lot of planning in secrecy, and I can think of no higher calling than to pull their pants down.

    I will say, however, that I am ambivalent about placing all my eggs in this basket. I do think there is no reason to believe the warmongers who have been pushing the Iran nuke line for decades, but that does not mean that there is nothing to it. We really don’t know for sure, and it would not be a positive development if Iran acquired nukes. On the other hand, I see no reason to believe that it would be any worse a threat than Israel’s arsenal, or Pakistan’s and India’s, or that of the only country that has ever used such weapons. If Iran were openly developing nuclear weapons, that would not be a casus belli, any more than it would be in those other countries. Indeed, considering that it faces explicit threats of attack from two nuclear-armed powers, Iran’s alleged pursuit of nukes as a deterrent would be understandable, even if undesirable in the same way every other chapter in proliferation has been.

    • marc b.
      January 1, 2011, 10:55 am

      link to jpost.com

      LONDON — British diplomats feared Israel would use nuclear weapons in the event of another war with its Arab neigbours, secret files have shown.

      In 1980, British officials were concerned that Israel could be heading for a new conflict, despite signing a peace treaty with Egypt the year before, according to official papers released from the National Archives after being kept secret for 30 years.

      “The situation in the region is deteriorating and with it Israel’s dangerous mood of isolation and defiance will grow,” warned a cable from the British embassy in Tel Aviv, dated May 4.

      “If they (Israel) are to be destroyed they will go down fighting this time. They will be ready to use their atomic weapon. Because they cannot sustain a long war, they would have to use it early.”

      Israel has never confirmed or denied reports that it has produced nuclear warheads.

      The files also showed how prime minister Margaret Thatcher, elected to office the year before, found Middle East diplomacy exasperating.

      She confided in then French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing that she “had never had a more difficult man to deal with” than Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin.

      She had also tried to tell Begin that his policies towards Jewish settlement building on the West Bank were “unrealistic” and “absurd”.

      “His response was that Judea and Samaria had been Jewish in biblical times and that they should therefore be so today,” she told Giscard d’Estaing.

      Thatcher was also unimpressed by Foreign Office attempts to persuade her that the Palestine Liberation Organisation should not be seen as a “purely terrorist organisation”, but also as a political movement.

      “This analysis just doesn’t stand up. It is riddled with inconsistencies,” she scrawled on one briefing paper.

      • Samuel
        January 1, 2011, 11:38 am

        Well Thatcher got it right on both counts – first about Begin and then about the PLO.
        But the British diplomats missed out completely – 30 years on, and at least 3 wars later with its Arab neighbours (depending how you count), and still no nuclear bomb used by Israel (not even a threat).

        Interestingly enough it’s the elected representative who knows better than the so-called proffessional civil servants.

      • Potsherd2
        January 1, 2011, 12:20 pm

        “not even a threat”???

        You’re quite wrong there. Israel blackmailed the US into supplying it with more weapons during the 1973 war by threatening to use its nukes.

        Seymour Hersch details the history of Israeli nuclear threats in his book The Sampson Option.

      • Samuel
        January 2, 2011, 2:43 am

        The article concerning Thatcher and British diplomats is about papers from 1980, so the alleged nuclear threat in 1973 was before this.
        I stated that the British diplomats got it completely wrong, as there have been wars since, but no nuclear threat. I stand by my word that the diplomats were panicing or maybe even deliberately falsifying intel?

      • Shingo
        January 2, 2011, 3:47 pm

        But the British diplomats missed out completely – 30 years on, and at least 3 wars later with its Arab neighbours (depending how you count), and still no nuclear bomb used by Israel (not even a threat).

        That doesn’t contradict the cable Samuel. Israel has since become militarily much more powerful, so such threats are no longer necessary.

        In any case, Beluscponi seesm to think Israel might go nuclear against Iran.

    • sherbrsi
      January 2, 2011, 6:06 am

      Indeed, considering that it faces explicit threats of attack from two nuclear-armed powers, Iran’s alleged pursuit of nukes as a deterrent would be understandable, even if undesirable in the same way every other chapter in proliferation has been.

      Read up on MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction).

      At this point, Iran has no other option but to pursue nuclear capability/weaponry to deter invasion and occupation from foreign states and entities. The very violence that Iraq is embroiled in and the joint US/Israeli exercise in disarming Iran of any defensive capability is proof enough that Iran should be acquiring nuclear weapons if it currently isn’t.

      The power posed by nuclear weapons is unique in that it works not by its actual use, but its very existence and threat of use, as has been shown by Israel blackmailing US into doing its own work. In a region that is policed by two imperial powers, there is no better defense than to at-least possess such mechanisms.

  13. Richard Witty
    January 1, 2011, 10:15 am

    “Albright continued, “There is a drumbeat of allegations, but there’s not a whole lot of solid information. It may be that Iran has not made the decision to build nuclear weapons. We have to be very careful not to overstate the intelligence.””

    This is accurate from what I read, that its unknown.

    The quandry for those that observe Iran throwing its weight around in the world, seeking political and military influence in Iraq and elsewhere, and with the overtly stated aim of removing Israel from the map, is that of erring on the side of leniency.

    It is innaccurate to state that Iran has consistently and fully complied with AIEA inspection regimens, as there were extended periods when Iran did not allow inspections.

    Like Israel broadcasts its unwillingness to make peace, to expand by not even temporarily ceasing settlement expansion, Iran broadcasts its unwillingness to make peace by funding, arming, training proxy armies intending to harass its ideological enemy by its own initiation.

    Iran could lie low relative to Israel/Palestine, and insist only on Israel abiding by 67 borders, rather than seeking its elimination in contradiction of international law.

    US relations to Iran require more than skepticism, unfortunately. How much more is a relevant discussion.

    • Shingo
      January 1, 2011, 3:14 pm

      This is accurate from what I read, that its unknown.

      Just shut up Witty. For any other country but Iran, the absence fo any evidence of wrongdoing would be sufficient to grant that country recognitino fo it’s compliance and leave them alone. This talking point, “Iran has not made the decision to build nuclear weapons” is just a cynical ploy to maintain the presumotion of guilt on Iran.

      It’s simply the latest incarnation of Rumsfelds Orwellian “absence of evidence is not edidnce of absence” argument.

      The quandry for those that observe Iran throwing its weight around in the world, seeking political and military influence in Iraq and elsewhere, and with the overtly stated aim of removing Israel from the map, is that of erring on the side of leniency.

      No, it’s simply a cynical effort to alientante and isolate Iran, becasue Iran won’t take orders from Washington. Iran is not throwing its weight around in the world, it’s simply getting on with the business of traade and economic development, and racists in the West (like yourself) find it hard to accept that a Muslim state is able to do this without oor permission.

      It is innaccurate to state that Iran has consistently and fully complied with AIEA inspection regimens, as there were extended periods when Iran did not allow inspections

      .

      It is accurate to say you have no idea what you are talking about and that your lies are wearing thin. The last time you made such a vague sserino, I challenged you tpo produce evidence to back it up and you pointed to a Youtube video of Al Baradei stating that Iran is in full compliance.

      Secondly, Iran has has not denied any inspections in the last 10 years, so you’re also lying in that regard.

      Like Israel broadcasts its unwillingness to make peace, to expand by not even temporarily ceasing settlement expansion, Iran broadcasts its unwillingness to make peace by funding, arming, training proxy armies intending to harass its ideological enemy by its own initiation.

      Apart fro th fct that this is pure Hasbara, it has nothing to do with whether Iran is making nukes or in violation of the NPT.

      Iran could lie low relative to Israel/Palestine, and insist only on Israel abiding by 67 borders, rather than seeking its elimination in contradiction of international law.

      That’s what this is really about isn’t it WItty? Iran doesn’t know it’s place and is daring to meddle in the Middle East and that frustrates Imperialists like yourself no end.

      Islamic countries should know their place, be seen but not heard.

      Why did you even bother to post? You contriobuted nothing to the discussion, but just had to santiate the urge to see your name appear on this thread didn’t you Witty?

      • yonira
        January 1, 2011, 3:40 pm

        Secondly, Iran has has not denied any inspections in the last 10 years, so you’re also lying in that regard.

        Shingo, do you have sources on this, because I have few which indicate you are either an outright liar or very, very uninformed. Before you make these claims try a couple simple Google search. It will save a crows.

        link to chinadaily.com.cn

        link to freerepublic.com

        link to gulfnews.com

        link to guardian.co.uk

      • MRW
        January 1, 2011, 7:44 pm

        Yonira,

        You wrote: “Shingo, do you have sources on this, because I have few which indicate you are either an outright liar or very, very uninformed.”

        You did note somewhere on this thread that Shingo (January 1, 2011 at 7:34 am) admitted he was a former nuclear engineer who wrote some of these reports for the IAEA that you call him an outright liar for referencing , even without citing links.

      • Shingo
        January 1, 2011, 8:26 pm

         Shingo,  do you have sources on this,  because I have few which indicate you are either an outright liar or very,  very uninformed

        Yonira,

        Do you even bother to read your own sources or do you get a perverse kick out of making a fool of yourself?

        link to chinadaily.com.cn

        2  inspectors , out of a team of dozens  denied entry. Iran has a right to do so.  Inspections continued unhampered.

        link to freerepublic.com

        Under the NPT Iran are not  obliged to submit to tougher inspections of its facilities. These tougher measures are purely voluntary.

        link to gulfnews.com

        Again, try reading your own links.

        “Iran has barred 38 members of a UN inspection team from entering the country but has admitted others, a senior official says.”

        in other words, inspections were not impeded. Iran is allowed to block entry of inspectors it suspects are intelligence operatives or who are leaking false information to the media.

        link to guardian.co.uk
         
        The article is pure BS and conflates multiple unrelated stories to confuse the reader. 

        One need only read the cable to realize that Booth is spinning and ramping up hysteria, and that the headline is pure lies.

        1. There is a claim about the existence of secret blueprints, but no evidence is given that such blueprints exist. There is no mention of blueprints in the cable.

        2. The Qon facility is not a reactor, but an enrichment facility. Notice how Booth doesn’t make that distinction?

        3. He then writes that “It was instead provided with designs that showed only what was already built.” again, no evidence is provided that there were alternative plans, but the bigger lie is that Booth fails to mention that Iran have opened up the facility to a full inspection regime, so whatever Iran does build there will be under IAEA oversight.

        4. At no point does Herman Nackaerts, the IAEA’s deputy director general, even suggest Iran are in violation of the NPT.

        Refusing to allow the IAEA to tape record conversations is not a violation. Clearly, they were allowed to rake notes.

        If you bothered to read the cable, it’s clear Booth is hyping this to hysterical proportions. 

        The cable states that

        “According to Safeguards regional division director Herman Nackaerts, IAEA inspectors’ first visit to the enrichment facility under construction near Qom had run predictably but without extraordinary responsiveness on Iran’s part”

        6. Regarding the explanation as to why “Iran would build this facility, scaled as it was for 3,000 centrifuges in contrast to the much larger Natanz facility,” the explanation was very straightforward. This facility is intended to protect Iran’s intellectual property regarding it’s research into nuclear enrichment, in the events of a military strike or sabotage if Natanz.

        On fact , the STUXNET attack has justified this strategy by Iran.

        7. The IAEA did not say there was “a high-level decision not to co-operate” but that “STAFFDEL deduced that Iranian officials held back because they were uncertain about what lines of inquiry the IAEA was best equipped to exploit.” 

        Booth made that quote up entirely.

        8. The “Green Salt” issue is entirely unrelated, as stems from the so called stolen laptop, which contains documents that the CIA considers dubious as far as authenticity. The laptop was provided by the political wing of the MEK, a terrorist organization.

        In any case, Booth mentions that “Nackaerts challenged the Iranians to prove the evidence was bogus”, but he forgets to mention that the YS has refused to allow the Iranians to see the documents.

        How is Iran supposed to show “some of the documentation were ‘doctored’ without seeing them Yonira? Have a think about it.

        9. Regarding the documents relating to the uranium metal hemispheres, the IAEA investigated Iran’s claim (that the documents provided were included among other papers by AQ Kahn) and reported that they were satisfied with Iran’s explanation. The story was corroborated by AQ Kahn.

        Thanks for demonstrating how ignorance plays so effectively into the hands of war propagandists.

        Like U said, U am a former nuclear engineer who producescreports for the IAEA, so I can spot the BS a mile away.

      • Shingo
        January 1, 2011, 8:34 pm

        You did note somewhere on this thread that Shingo (January 1, 2011 at 7:34 am) admitted he was a former nuclear engineer who wrote some of these reports for the IAEA that you call him an outright liar for referencing , even without citing links.

        Thanks MRW, but just to cloudy, I have written reports for the IAEA, but none relating to Iran.

        It means I know how to spot BS when reading news items.

      • Shingo
        January 1, 2011, 9:40 pm

        Further to the Robert Booth piece for tge Guardian.

        1. The word lied appears in the headline, but nowhere in the body of the report nor in the Wikileaks cable it links to.

        2. With regard to the documents provided to Iran, the IAEA reported that Iran’s explanation t(that the documents were “mistakenly” included) was satisfactory, but the US has rejected this explanation and has forced the IAEA to insist this in an “outstanding issue”.

        3. There are no refeences to blueprints in the cable. Even the link to the cable is giventhe heading, “Iran hid full reactor plans from nuclear inspectors”, and yet, the word plan appears nowhere in the cable itself.

        4. Mohamed El Baradei, told the New York Times there was “nothing to be worried about” with respects to Qom and havign visited the facility, declared that it was nothing more than a hole in the ground.

        It’s the worst kind of propaganda and false reporting. David Sanger woudl be proud.

      • yonira
        January 1, 2011, 10:48 pm

        Shingo,

        Secondly, Iran has has not denied any inspections in the last 10 years, so you’re also lying in that regard.

        True or not?

      • Shingo
        January 2, 2011, 3:31 am

        True Yonira,

        Iran has not denied any inspections oertaining to Iran’s adherence to the NPT.

        Iran has denied insptors access to areas that do not come under the oversight of the IAEA as per teh NPT. Such areas include their heavy water production facility/

        Did you read my rebuttal Yonira?

      • Richard Witty
        January 1, 2011, 6:46 pm

        If Iran had not made statements urging the elimination of Israel over decades, and had not referred to the US consistently as “the great Satan” (which it has not recanted) and had not taken actions to attempt to make that happen through active proxy powers on Israel’s border, then their nuclear program would be perceived as innocuous.

        That is not the case.

        Again, it is not a fact that Iran has consistently and continuously made its program accessible to full inspection.

        Its not known if it has a nuclear weapons program, or if it intends to start one if it doesn’t currently.

        I don’t know if sanctions are appropriate or not. I do know that the pollyanish attitude that your propose is not appropriate, a rationalization.

      • Shingo
        January 1, 2011, 8:41 pm

         If Iran had not made statements urging the elimination of Israel over decades, and had not referred to the US consistently as “the great Satan” (which it has not recanted) and had not taken actions to attempt to make that happen through active proxy powers on Israel’s border, then their nuclear program would be perceived as innocuous.

         

        Stop lying Witty.  You’ve been refuted and debunked about this claims countless times.

         Again, it is not a fact that Iran has consistently and continuously made its program accessible to full inspection.

        Prove it Witty. Where is your evidence?

         Its not known if it has a nuclear weapons program, or if it intends to start one if it doesn’t currently.

        It is not known if you’re a serial killer either Witty, but absence any evidence, we has to assume you aren’t.

      • lareineblanche
        January 2, 2011, 7:29 am

        Witty :

        If Iran had not made statements urging the elimination of Israel over decades, and had not referred to the US consistently as “the great Satan” (which it has not recanted)

        Well, if inflammatory rhetoric can be a casus belli, it’s probably a good idea for our world leaders to grow a thicker skin, don’t you think?

        It has always amazed me that people who otherwise function normally in society, raise families, have jobs, etc. can display an utter lack of critical thinking. How is this possible? Maybe our society actually encourages it, It’s a broader problem, I think.

        You have consistently been shown, with ample sources cited, that there is a deliberate campaign of disinformation and misinformation regarding Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, and must come to the logical conclusion that the information is being deliberately manipulated for ulterior motives, other motives than the ones expressed. Is this really so hard to believe? Why do you put so much faith in vague statements from people who have consistently shown themselves to be untrustworthy? It’s mind boggling.

        The US does not want independent development in the region beyond its sphere of influence, or beyond its control. Neither does Israel want any kind of competition.

        Ali Gharib reports on LobeLog :

        “At that conference, neoconservative Washington Times journalist Eli Lake had the best question of the whole two and a half days, on this very subject:

        QUESTION: Thank you. This is a question for General Amidror.

        Could you comment on why it seems Israeli estimates of the Iranian program have been one to two years away for about 10 years now?

        Does this reflect the failure of your analysts or the success of your saboteurs?

        Amirdror, ever the diplomatic general, answered “both.”

        When it is shown that Iran is funding terrorist groups acting on American soil, then you will have the right to complain all you want.

      • Samuel
        January 2, 2011, 2:48 am

        Is there something I don’t know about Iran that causes a few people on this blog to act as if they are groupies for Iranian interests?

        Even if the proof is scant about Iranian nuclear plans, shouln’t one be just a little scared that there MIGHT be something there? Aren’t you evn a little scared?

        The attempt to paint Iran as the “great white hope” of a new non-USA free world frightens me!

      • Shingo
        January 2, 2011, 3:29 am

        Samuel,

        Even if the proof is scant about Iranian nuclear plans, shouln’t one be just a little scared that there MIGHT be something there? Aren’t you evn a little scared?

        In light of the fact that 80% of Americans were fooled into believing that Iraq had WMD and was linked to Al Qaeda, I would have thought that any thining person would excercise at least as degree of cynicism as to the story we are being fed about Iran.

        You seem all to willing to be lied to a second time. Yes, those of us who remember the lies we were fed into the runup to the Iraq war are now on guard and have learned to discern between facts and the narrative.

        The attempt to paint Iran as the “great white hope” of a new non-USA free world frightens me!

        And the prospect of going to war with Iran over a false premise doesn’t? Did you lose your mind over teh holiday season Samuel?

        Have you even bothered to reas the volumes of evidecne we have presented here or are you waiting for someone to write you a WMD for Dunnies edition?

    • NimaShirazi
      January 1, 2011, 6:05 pm

      There are a great many errors made by Witty in the above comment, notably the absurd and long-debunked assertion that Iran has an “overtly stated aim of removing Israel from the map.” This is a flat-out lie.

      A quote I withheld from my article (and was planning on using at some other point in something else) is one by George W. Bush back in March 2008. While speaking on the Farsi-language U.S. government propaganda radio station, Radio Farda, which illegally broadcasts in Iran, Bush stated, “They’ve [the Iranian government] declared they want to have a nuclear weapon to destroy people — some in the Middle East. And that’s unacceptable to the United States, and it’s unacceptable to the world.”

      This statement was so devoid of truth, in fact, that even former State Department Iran specialist Suzanne Maloney was moved to speak out. Maloney, who was at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center (not a progressive organization by any stretch) at the time, said, “The Iranian government is on the record across the board as saying it does not want a nuclear weapon,” adding that while, in her opinion, “there’s plenty of room for skepticism about these assertions…it’s troubling for the administration to indicate that Iran is explicitly embracing the program as a means of destroying another country.”

      The fact of the matter is this, Witty: Neither Ahmadinejad nor any other Iranian official has ever threatened Israel in any way, let alone “existentially,” as the media, and governments of the US and Israel would have you believe. The misquote attributed to the Iranian president stems from 2005 – then repeated in 2006 – that Ahmadinejad, as claimed by Jerusalem Post reporter Herb Keinon, “vowed once again that Israel would be ‘wiped out.’”

      Only later in his article did Keinon reproduce the entire quote from Ahmadinejad, which reveals a contextually vital qualification:

      “The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom…[elections should be held among] Jews, Christians and Muslims so the population of Palestine can select their government and destiny for themselves in a democratic manner.”

      Similarly, press reports from the previous fall, which sparked the entire “wiped off the map” fiasco, failed to tell their readers the whole story. In that speech, Ahmadinejad reminded his audience that, while the eventual weakening or complete dissolution of America’s hegemony over the Middle East via its colonial-settler garrison state may be unthinkable or unimaginable to some, “as Khomeini predicted, other seemingly invincible empires have disappeared and now only exist in history books.” He listed the Shah’s tyrannical monarchy in Iran, the repressive and expansionist Soviet Union, and the Iraqi dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, as examples of “regimes that have collapsed, crumbled or vanished” in only the past three decades. In conclusion, Ahmadinejad repeated Khomeini’s prescient view that the political demise of the Zionist government of Israel would soon follow: “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.”

      Witty, you should also keep in mind that the idiom “wipe off the map” doesn’t even exist in Farsi and therefore such a translation is automatically impossible. Please stop repeating this lie.

      Furthermore, your claim that “there were extended periods when Iran did not allow inspections,” is also erroneous and disingenuous. Can you please provide some evidence for this?

      Perhaps you should recall that back in May 2007, the IAEA publicly denied reports about Iran hampering inspections of its nuclear program. “The information… is untrue,” IAEA spokesman Marc Vidricaire told reporters. “We have not been denied access at any time, including in the past few weeks.” He added, “Normally we do not comment on such reports but this time we felt we had to clarify the matter.”

      Iran’s nuclear program has never – ever – been secret. The program began under the Shah – with the full financial and technological support of the US and other Western countries – and continued through the 1980s. After the revolution, however, the weapons program was dismantled and only the energy aspect remained. After West Germany reneged on their commitment to help Iran build two nuclear reactors that Iran had already paid for (and West Germany never returned the money, either), Iran asked the IAEA for technological support, which it received from France. Under the guidance and supervision of the IAEA, Iran’s determination to produce nuclear fuel was therefore well-known, well-monitored, and completely transparent. When, in 1983, the intention of the IAEA to “contribute to the formation of local expertise and manpower needed to sustain [Iran's] ambitious program in the field of nuclear power reactor technology and fuel cycle technology” was passed on to the technical cooperation program (which legally binds NPT member states to help other member states acquire this peaceful technology), the U.S. government “directly intervened” to discourage the IAEA from assisting Iran in production. Furthermore, between 1983 and 1995, Iran attempted openly to restart its nuclear power program, but was prevented by the US at every step from achieving its goal. The US even convinced Russia in the early 1990s not to sell Iran a centrifuge plant.

      From then on, Iran continued its own civilian work without the help of the so-called “international community” (which really just means the US, UK, France, and Germany) and built the Natanz enrichment site on its own. In February 2003, after Iran announced officially the existence of the Natanz facility (which it did within the time frame mandated by Iran’s Safeguard Agreement with the IAEA, specifically, no later than 180 days before the site becomes operational), a spokeswoman for the IAEA confirmed, “This comes as no surprise to us, as we have been aware of this uranium exploration project for several years now. In fact, a senior IAEA official visited this mine in 1992, and the Iranians announced to us officially in September their plans to develop an ambitious nuclear-power program that would include the entire nuclear fuel cycle”

      It should also be made clear that Iran has made efforts above and beyond what is required by their treaty agreements to ensure that their nuclear program is peaceful and legitimate. These efforts include an offer of multinational enrichment within Iran four years ago (which would have provided numerous countries professional access to Iran’s program, thereby making it literally impossible for Iran to divert any material to military purposes in secret – something the IAEA has annually acknowledged Iran has never done). Also, Iran’s nuclear sites and facilities are all under the 24-hour video surveillance by the IAEA, allow unfettered access to IAEA inspectors and inspections, and are subject to material seals application by the Agency. Additionally, even though it is not even authorized under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, since March 2007, there have been at least 35 unannounced, surprise inspections of Iranian facilities. Throughout all of this monitoring and observation, the IAEA has consistently come to the following conclusion: “The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material [to weaponization] in Iran.”

      Furthermore, a look at the 2007 “Work Plan” between Iran and the IAEA (a prime example of Iranian ‘confidence building measures’ that are disingenuously sought by nuclear-armed Western hegemons) and Iran’s compliance with fulfilling these measures to the IAEA’s satisfaction shows that Iran has indeed “responded as desired” to the IAEA’s “demand list.”

      As pointed out in Iran’s ‘explanatory note‘ to the IAEA, following February 2010′s Safeguards report,

      “It should be recalled that there were only six past outstanding issues which had been included in the agreed Work Plan (INFCIRC/711) and that all of them have been resolved. Also the part IV. 1 of the Work Plan reads as follows: ‘These modalities cover all remaining issues and the Agency confirmed that there are no other remaining issues and ambiguities regarding Iran’s past nuclear program and activities.’ Therefore, no new issues should be raised such as ‘possible military dimension’.”

      May I propose a New Years Resolution for you, Witty? Stop lying.

      • MRW
        January 1, 2011, 7:36 pm

        Thanks for the answer, Nima. But we’ve told Witty these things with links, with quotes, with direct proof for years here. He doesn’t read the rebuttals or, if on the off chance he does, he’s incapable of comprehending the content or unwilling to understand cause and effect, timelines, and facts. Obstinate, in fact. His filigreed answers gurgle up from some sulpherized ground-pool of failed logic he keeps out his backdoor then he mists over them with his own brand of ZioVictim Febreze.

      • eee
        January 1, 2011, 8:31 pm

        Nima,

        What exactly is the difference if the Iranians want regime change in Israel or to wipe Israel from the map? What exactly does a regime change in Israel mean except the end of Israel?

        And you completely ignore the undisclosed nuclear facilities the Iranians have and the fact that they funded the Syrian nuclear effort that Israel bombed.

        I understand you not wanting Iran to be bombed, but to neglect all the evidence that shows Iran brinkmanship is not the way.

      • Shingo
        January 1, 2011, 9:19 pm

         What exactly does a regime change in Israel mean except the end of Israel?

        Doesn’t Israel and the US want regime change in Iran ere?

         And you completely ignore the undisclosed nuclear facilities the Iranians have and the fact that they funded the Syrian nuclear effort that Israel bombed.
        .

         

        What undisclosed facilities www? How do you know they exist I’d they are undisclosed?

        And no ere, there was no nuclear rector bombed by Syria. Nuclear reactors don’t disappear into dust when they are destroyed. 

      • annie
        January 1, 2011, 9:40 pm

        What exactly is the difference if the Iranians want regime change in Israel or to wipe Israel from the map?

        hey eee, have you read jposts Mossad chief in Wikileaks: US should change Iranian regime

        Another document, from an August 2007 meeting with Mossad chief Meir Dagan, refers to “covert measures” to be used against Iran, but does not specify what they are. Dagan also “urged more attention on regime change” in Iran, “asserting that more could be done to develop the identities of ethnic minorities in Iran.”

        Dagan said Israel and the US could “change the ruling regime in Iran, and its attitude towars backing terror regimes. We also could get them to delay their nuclear project. Iran could become a normal state.” He suggested exploiting Iran’s “weak spots” such as high unemployment and inflation rates, and Iranian citizens’ opposition to their government’s investments in Hamas.

        i’ve read this cable, sorry too lazy to look it up. it is very clear he wants to change the regime.

      • MRW
        January 1, 2011, 9:48 pm

        eee,

        Bulls**t. What nuclear Syrian facilities? the fact that they funded the Syrian nuclear effort that Israel bombed.

        The hell they did. The (Orthodox Jewish) Military American reporter, Trish Schuh, went there and reported on it. You will believe any BS, won’t you, without checking on it. Schuh tells it differently; she reported it contemporaneously to the event, and she is more believable than you.
        link to joshualandis.com

      • Antidote
        January 1, 2011, 9:53 pm

        that would be the classic definition of a fanatic: unable to change his mind, or the subject

      • Potsherd2
        January 1, 2011, 9:53 pm

        Israel goes through a regime change after every election. It gets rottener every time, but it’s still around.

      • NimaShirazi
        January 1, 2011, 10:01 pm

        eee,

        Are you saying that “Israel” can only “exist” as an ethnically cleansed, aggressively militarized, racist apartheid state, replete with a two-tiered justice system and institutionalized discrimination and inequity, which treats its indigenous population as, at best, second-class citizens and, more often, as a demographic threat from within?

        If that’s the only way “Israel” can continue to be “on the map,” tell me again why you continue to support its “existence”?

        Incidentally, thank you for admitting that Israel would immediately cease to exist if it became an actual democracy that provided full representation and rights for all its people. It’s about time.

        Which “undisclosed nuclear facilities”, pray tell, have I ignored? Are you referring to Iran’s Fordow facility near Qom, which was supposedly “revealed” to the world by Barack Obama last September? If so, the reality is that Iran had already announced this site to the IAEA earlier that week. IAEA spokesman Marc Vidricaire said, “I can confirm that on 21 September, Iran informed the IAEA in a letter that a new pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction in the country.” Obama’s revelatory press conference was held on September 25th. Whoops! Where’s Doc Brown when you need him?

        Under its safeguards agreement with the IAEA, Iran is not obligated to inform the Agency of any new facilities until six months before the introduction of nuclear material to the site. As such, since the Fordow enrichment plant was not yet operational, and wouldn’t be for another 18 months (at minimum), Iran had broken no rules. In fact, the site was announced at least a full year before it needed to be. As Ali-Akbar Salehi, Iran’s nuclear chief, remarked at the time, “This installation is not a secret one, which is why we announced its existence to the IAEA.”

        Ahmadinejad himself even felt the need to point out that the agreements and guidelines between Iran and the IAEA do not require approval by the United States. “We have no secrecy, we work within the framework of the IAEA,” he said. “This does not mean we must inform Mr Obama’s Administration of every facility that we have.”

        Regarding Iran’s involvement in Syria’s alleged nuclear site illegally bombed by Israel, there is absolutely no evidence to support your claim. The only allegation to this effect was supposedly made by former Revolutionary Guard General Ali Reza Asghari, who was recently murdered in an Israeli prison.

        The assertion of Iran’s funding of a Syrian nuclear facility has also been denied by a “US counterproliferation official.”

        So, again, what evidence am I neglecting?

      • Shingo
        January 1, 2011, 10:56 pm

        Another very impressive rebuttal Nima.

        I sincerely hope that Phil invites you to post articles here on a regular basis.

        May I ask if you have a background in nuclear science?

      • MRW
        January 2, 2011, 1:06 am

        Each one of these facts, eee, that Shirazi cites was mentioned several times on this blog. Either you don’t read, or you don’t research. Or you don’t give a shit.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        January 2, 2011, 8:12 am

        MRW, doesn’t that article look a bit like a softball though? All you have to conclude is that apparently there wasn’t any nuclear material yet.

      • NimaShirazi
        January 3, 2011, 2:17 am

        Thank you, Shingo.

        To answer your question, no, I do not have a background, academic or professional, in nuclear science, though I am honored that you (especially) might think so. Basically, I just know how to read.

        Please feel free to get in touch with me via email if you have any further questions. My contact info is available on my website, Wide Asleep in America.

      • Shingo
        January 3, 2011, 5:51 pm

        Nima,

        You clearly know ore than just how to read. Most of the public give up their deductive and reasoning faculties the minute someone mentions the word nuclear. This is what the pro Israeli war hawks are exploiting as they drum up fear and hysteria.

        Thanks for the offer to mail you. I will certainly be contacting you as you have an impressive ability to compile information.

        I have bookmarked your blog and will certainly be checking in frequently. I really appreciate and admire your work and I hope we see a lot more of you on this blog.

      • lareineblanche
        January 1, 2011, 8:20 pm

        Whoah, Nima. Keeping / copying / saving for future reference (if that’s OK with you).

      • Shingo
        January 1, 2011, 8:42 pm

        Excellent rebuttal Nima,

        Sadly, such valuable information is wasted on pathological liars like Witty.

      • Antidote
        January 1, 2011, 10:22 pm

        “pathological liars like Witty”

        no worse than the ‘international community’ (see Nima’s defintion)

      • Richard Witty
        January 1, 2011, 9:26 pm

        “This is a flat-out lie.”

        I interpreted the translation as not genocidal, as some did, so much as an effort to EXPEDITE entropy, a similar sentiment to a Hebrew prayer spoken daily “for all is vanity – except the pure soul which is destined to give an accounting before the Throne of your glory. All the nations are as nothing before You, as it is written: The nations are as a drop from a bucket; considered no more than dust upon the scales! Behold the isles are like the flying dust.”

        link to web.archive.org

        Tehran, Oct 26 – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

        “The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world,” the President told a conference in Tehran entitled ‘the world without Zionism’.

        “The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land,” he said.

        “As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,” said Ahmadinejad, referring to the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini.

        Addressing some 4,000 students gathered in an interior ministry conference hall, Ahmadinejad also called for Palestinian unity, resistance and a point where the annihilation of the Zionist regime will come.

        “The Islamic umma (community) will not allow its historic enemy to live in its heartland,” he said.

        Regarding the Zionist regime’s retreat from the Gaza Strip he said, “we should not settle for a piece of land”.

        “Anyone who signs a treaty which recognises the entity of Israel means he has signed the surrender of the Muslim world,” Ahmadinejad said.

        “Any leaders in the Islamic umma who recognise Israel face the wrath of their own people.”

        Regarding the prolonged conflict between the Islamic Ummah and the Zionist regime, Ahmadinejad said “It dates backs hundreds of years. Sometimes Islam has advanced. Sometimes nobody was winning. Unfortunately over the past 300 years, the world of Islam has been in retreat”.

        “One hundred years ago the last trench of Islam fell, when the oppressors went towards the creation the Zionist regime. It is using it as a fort to spread its aims in the heart of the Islamic world.”

        Your quote
        “The Iranian government is on the record across the board as saying it does not want a nuclear weapon,” adding that while, in her opinion, “there’s plenty of room for skepticism about these assertions…it’s troubling for the administration to indicate that Iran is explicitly embracing the program as a means of destroying another country.”

        Again, “there is plenty of room for skepticism about these assertions”.

        Please note that I did NOT say that Iran IS building a nuclear weapon. I stated that Iran may be, and that is sufficient for intensive concern. And, I did not say that sanctions is called for, with the implication that bombing also is not called for.

        link to theisraelproject.org

        While you may question the veracity of a report appearing on a website entitled the Israel Project, it still contains relevant statements and supporting links to determinations by the IAEA that admittedly do not grossly describe Iran as affirmatively conducting a nuclear weapons program, but does also question your assertion that Iran has always and consistently complied with IAEA requirements.

        Maybe they are only technicalities. Maybe they are material.

        You may prospectively accuse the mass media of misrepresenting, omitting, selecting for political ends, but please have the intellectual discipline to distinguish between what I said, and what others have said.

      • MRW
        January 1, 2011, 9:50 pm

        Witty, you can interpret up the ying-yang. You’re wrong. And your lies are despicable. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Shingo
        January 1, 2011, 10:27 pm

        Tehran, Oct 26 – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

        As you have had explained to you countless times Witty, this is not what Ahmadinejad said.

        Nima just explained ot you that “wiped off the map” does not exist in Farsi.

        link to antiwar.com

        Again, “there is plenty of room for skepticism about these assertions”.

        Skepticism is meaningless without evidence, and there is zero evidence to dsprove this statement by Iran.

        Please note that I did NOT say that Iran IS building a nuclear weapon. I stated that Iran may be, and that is sufficient for intensive concern.

        That is a meaningless statement, because one coudl make the same claim about ANY state. Once could claim that you Richard, may murder someone’s child today, but that is absurd without evidence.

        While you may question the veracity of a report appearing on a website entitled the Israel Project, it still contains relevant statements and supporting links to determinations by the IAEA that admittedly do not grossly describe Iran as affirmatively conducting a nuclear weapons program, but does also question your assertion that Iran has always and consistently complied with IAEA requirements.

        This is a pure Isreli propaganda source with no credibility.

        Contrary to it’s title, none of the items memntioned constitutes any violation of the NPT.

      • NimaShirazi
        January 2, 2011, 12:35 am

        Richard,

        You write that Iran “may be” “building a nuclear weapon” (despite all evidence to the contrary) and that mere possibility alone is, in your estimation, “sufficient for intensive concern.”

        Does this mean that, in your estimation, Brazil’s or Argentina’s nuclear programs are also cause for “intensive concern”? What about the other 70 countries that share the exact same evaluation that Iran received from the IAEA in its Safeguards Statement for 2009, namely that – for countries “with comprehensive safeguards agreements in force, but without additional protocols in force,” the IAEA “found no indication of the diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities” and affirmed that all “declared nuclear material remained in peaceful activities”?

        Additionally, despite the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Iran wishes to gain the ability to produce a nuclear weapon (remember, this is the official conclusion of not only Iran, but of the IAEA and US intelligence agencies), if it were to do so, and stopped short of production while maintaining the capability (often dubbed the “Japan option” or “breakout option”), Iran would join a nuclear club of 140 countries that, according to the IAEA and even Green Peace, “currently have the basic technical capacity to produce nuclear weapons. Over 40 countries have the materials and knowhow to build nuclear weapons quickly, a capacity that is referred to as ‘rapid break-out.’”

        Are all of these countries’ activities subject to “intensive concern” and cause for hysterical alarm, aggressive warmongering, and genocidal speculation?

        Still, even with this in mind, Iran has stated time and time that it regards the idea of “nuclear deterrence” to be a useless tool in foreign affairs and has no intention of being party to an arms race in the region. As such, Iran has called repeatedly for a comprehensive, internationally monitored agreement to affirm the Middle East as a nuclear weapons-free zone. The reason this is rejected out-of-hand by the US is solely because of Israel, which has an unmonitored and unrestricted arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons. The US has also provided vital nuclear weapons technology to both India and Pakistan, despite the fact that, like Israel, neither of the countries are NPT members, and therefore the actions of the US are totally illegal, as expressly stated by the terms of the Treaty itself.

        In your opinion, are Israel’s 400 nuclear warheads not cause for “intensive concern”?

      • MRW
        January 2, 2011, 1:22 am

        Witty,

        You dont even know what entropy means. Jesus Christ.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2011, 4:57 am

        The translation “wipe Israel from the map” came from the English language press relations body of the Iranian government.

        I would grant the possibility that their own press relations organization might have mistranslated a critical contreversial statement that could likely lead to increased tension and permanently.

        As I stated, I interpreted the statement as it was later clarified as meaning, not in the original heat of genocidal intent, but that all nations are as dust in the wind, and will eventually disappear from the face of the earth, Iran, Israel, Palestine, US, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Iraq.

        But, I and most in the world observe that Iran has a different foreign policy approach than to patiently wait for the natural process of change, that it ACTS to expedite that in the selective cases of Israel and the US (very remotely).

        It does so by propaganda wars, by proxy wars, by legal fights, by tribal fights (Islam as tribal, we vs them).

        I could see an argument of “we are similar to Israel in our tribalist orientation, and in our defensive willingness to harm the other.”

        I think that Iran is seen as the opossite of a charitable nation. Not that its people aren’t charitable personally, but that as a state, its policies are aggressive even as, like Israel, they rationalize that they are mostly conforming to the literal written terms of international agreements, and as Shingo stated “deserve the predisposition of innocence” (not a direct quote).

        If Iran hosted an international conference entitled “A World Without Anti-Semitism”, then the opinion of the world about Iran might start to change. It would then though have to consider the argument of Zionism, and consider the possibility that anti-Zionism or forms of anti-Zionism is anti-semitism in fact.

      • Shingo
        January 2, 2011, 3:34 pm

        The translation “wipe Israel from the map” came from the English language press relations body of the Iranian government.

        False, it came from MEMRI and has been demonstrated to be false countless times.

        You are simply clinging to this argument (as you do with the lies about the Gaza attack), because you some psychological and ideological need to do so.

        It does so by propaganda wars, by proxy wars, by legal fights, by tribal fights (Islam as tribal, we vs them).

        Israel is doing precisely that. In fact, Israel and it’s supporters are not even pretending to deny that the terrorist attacks on Iran are being conducted by Israel.

        Of coure, this also exposes your racism, becasue it is an effort to deny that Hamas and Hebollah have legitimate grievances.

        If Iran hosted an international conference entitled “A World Without Anti-Semitism”, then the opinion of the world about Iran might start to change.

        There are 25,000 Jews living happily inside Iran who refuse to leave becasue their living conditions are bettter in Iran than they would be in Israel.

        If Israel hosted an international conference entitled “A World Without Nuclear Weapons” or at least participated in the ofrm to make the ME nuclear free, the the opinion of the world about Israel might start to change.

        It would then though have to consider the argument of Zionism, and consider the possibility that anti-Zionism or forms of anti-Zionism is anti-semitism in fact.

        Zionism is racism and so is anti-semitism.

      • Richard Witty
        January 3, 2011, 4:49 am

        Somehow the link to the Iranian Press Service directly, did not convince that the source of the translation was NOT Memri, but Iran itself?

        I granted that perhaps the English language press service might have mistranslated a critical and contreversial statement.

        Its false though to claim that the chain of press that published it on the basis of trusting the Iranian translation, did so falsely.

        Al-Jazeera reported the translation, the Washington Post reported it as originally appearing on Al-Jazeera.

        Again,
        If Iran desired to change the tone of its relationship to Israel and to the west, it could host and sincerely explore a conference on “The World without Anti-Semitism”.

      • MRW
        January 3, 2011, 7:16 am

        It was MEMRI, and here is a detailed comparison of sources, written in 2006. This link has been posted here repeatedly. Maybe you will finally read it.
        link to informationclearinghouse.info

      • Richard Witty
        January 3, 2011, 8:17 am

        And you accuse me of self-medication?

        Did you read the link I posted, directly from the Iranian press service?

        Unless you are deeply insulting Iran, inferring that Israel controls Iran’s communications.

      • NimaShirazi
        January 3, 2011, 4:17 pm

        Richard,

        Do you not think that five years after the initial mistranslation (regardless of where it was published and thereafter repeated) and long after the mistranslation had since been exposed, it is absurd that the “wipe Israel off the map” phrase is still being tossed around as justification for demonizing Iran and its leadership?

        Also, why is the onus on Iran to ingratiate itself to the West by holding, by your hilarious suggestion, a conference denouncing anti-Semitism? Iran has an ancient community of over 25,000 Jews, the second largest Jewish population in the Middle East after Israel. This community is in no danger.

        In fact, the Iranian Jewish community routinely acknowledges the distinction between Zionism and Judaism. For example, Ciamak Morsadegh, the Jewish Iranian parliamentarian and community leader, has noted this clear distinction between religious faith and culture and violent, ethnocentric nationalism. In 2007, while chairman of the Tehran Jewish Committee, Morsadegh declared, “If you think Judaism and Zionism are one, it is like thinking Islam and the Taliban are the same, and they are not.” A year later, he criticized Israel’s policies towards Palestinians, especially in Gaza, saying it showed “anti-human behavior…they kill innocent people,” and continuing that the Jewish community in Iran does “not recognize a government or a nation for the Zionist regime.”

        Your insistence on argumentum ad ignorantiam is ridiculous.

        Incidentally, Witty, can you do me a favor? Can you please write a lengthy and fully-sourced essay about how you’re not a serial pedophile and autoerotic asphyxiation connosieur…because, quite frankly, until you do that, how am I to know you’re not? As Donald Rumsfeld said, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

        And please remember, for safety’s sake, to always have a spotter!

      • Richard Witty
        January 3, 2011, 5:05 pm

        I get your defensiveness relative to my posts.

        I thought that I clarified that I personally did not understand the meaning of “wipe them from the map” to be the genocidal intent that some others attributed, that I merely heard it for what I think it accurately was, advocacy for the elimination of Israel as Israel (and specifically as the invited haven for world Jewry).

        Is that not accurate? Does Iran desire that Israel not exist as Israel? And, is it taking indirect and direct actions to precipitate that?

        If so, then the concern by Israel relative to Iran is called for. They cannot be sure that Iran will not orchestrate a confrontation that would result in Iran undertaking some grossly malevolent consequences, even if not originating from a nuclear weapon.

        For example, in the Gulf War of 1990, Israel was targeted with missiles originating from Iraq, even though it was not a party to the conflict between Iraq and Kuwait, nor between Iraq and the US. Prior to those missiles, Iraqi officials did declare that they would include WMD’s in the warhead, either nuclear waste or chemical weapons. Thankfully, they were “just a warning”.

        In Iran, the government has periodically orchestrated show trials of “spies for Israel”, without public scrutiny, no right of appeal, punishable by summary judgement. Members of the Iranian Jewish community have been implicated, as well as other “convenient” foreigners.

        In the Jewish community, the effect of those arrests and executions combined with the more numerous arrests and executions following the original Iranian revolution, have been chilling.

        Iranian Jews may prefer to remain, and they may express their appreciation for the magnamity and generosity of the Iranian populace, and even express some elements of appreciation for the Iranian regime, but to claim that they feel entirely confident and free there is speculative at best.

        As I said, I do not know if sanctions are called for. I, like Jeffrey Goldberg, state publicly that military action is uncalled for.

        I wish you stated similarly about Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas (in different ways), and opposed the effort to remove Israel from the map (an accurate description of the Iranian foreign policy, even if slower and “subtler” than gross military initation).

      • Richard Witty
        January 3, 2011, 6:07 pm

        On the theme of “a world without anti-semitism”.

        It is a truth that Iran is perceived as an anti-semitic state, and anti-white state, in a racist manner.

        During the “world without Zionism conference”, Ahmenidijad and others did make comments implying that the holocaust did not happen, or was not particularly significant. The Jewish poster children that he invited, the Neturai Karta, objected strongly to those comments, and threatened to leave, even as they theologically supported the theme that to their assessment Zionism was premature, that the messiah could only come by the prerequisite of “if you keep my commandments” and not by force of arms or even force of human will.

        If your desire is to reduce tensions in the world, it would be a good program to recommend, and to pursue it earnestly, without censorship.

        Its important for Iran’s leaders to do on its own merits. Currently, the assertions “we are not anti-semitic” ring as true to me (and literally most others in the west) as the assertion that Netanyahu loves Palestinians and uninhibitably desires peace.

      • Richard Witty
        January 3, 2011, 6:10 pm

        On your insult or “illustration” of prove that you are not a pedophile.

        It is beneath you, and an utter misrepresentation of my comments. Its as if you are talking to yourself. I spoke respectfully to you, obviously disagreeing sharply with your conclusions.

      • Shingo
        January 3, 2011, 11:32 pm

        I get your defensiveness relative to my posts.

        Don’t confuse defensiveness with digust over your pathological lying.

        I thought that I clarified that I personally did not understand the meaning of “wipe them from the map” to be the genocidal intent that some others attributed

        Yes you clarified that you insist on repeating a lie about any statements about wiping Israel off the map. You’ve had this explained to you repeatedly, yet for some unexplained reason. you belligerently persist with maintaining this lie.

        Why is that Witty?

        Are you expecting a pat of the back because you are playing down the severity of a statement that has been proven to be false anyway>

        Is that not accurate? Does Iran desire that Israel not exist as Israel? And, is it taking indirect and direct actions to precipitate that?

        You know it’s not accurate Witty, so why are you playing such childish games and being coy? Iran’s desire is that Israel exist as as a democratic state for all it’s constituents.. Is that not what you want?

        And no, Iran is not taking indirect and direct actions to precipitate anything. Hamas and Hezbollah have their own legitimate reasons for existing, just as Israel has it;s own reason for existing beyond any role it might serve for US policy.

        They cannot be sure that Iran will not orchestrate a confrontation that would result in Iran undertaking some grossly malevolent consequences, even if not originating from a nuclear weapon.

        Absolute rubbish Witty. Ehud Barak has stated that Israel is no threat to Israel, even with a nuke. In his own words, Iran are not mashugina.

        As Goldberg explained in his article last year, even Nentayhu doesn;t fear an attack from Iran. What he does fear is that a nuclear armed Iran would discourage Jews from migrating to Israel and encourage Israelis to leave Israel.

        In Iran, the government has periodically orchestrated show trials of “spies for Israel”, without public scrutiny, no right of appeal, punishable by summary judgement.

        Given that Israel has practically boasted about sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program, as well as participated in the murders of Iranian scientists, the trials are probably based on sound evidence.

        Members of the Iranian Jewish community have been implicated, as well as other “convenient” foreigners.

        Stop lying witty. Those who were charged were not members of the Iranian Jewish community.

        In the Jewish community, the effect of those arrests and executions combined with the more numerous arrests and executions following the original Iranian revolution, have been chilling.

        What arrests and executions took place following the original Iranian revolution Witty? Do you have a clue what you are talking about, or have you given up any attempt to base your diatribes on some modicum of fact and evidence?

        but to claim that they feel entirely confident and free there is speculative at best.

        And to argue otherwise is speculative at best and pure hysteria.

        I, like Jeffrey Goldberg, state publicly that military action is uncalled for..

        That’s not what Goldberg has stated publicly.

        I wish you stated similarly about Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas (in different ways), and opposed the effort to remove Israel from the map (an accurate description of the Iranian foreign policy, even if slower and “subtler” than gross military initation).

        We just wished you’d stop lying and insulting the intelligence of everyone on this forum. There is no Iranian policy to remove Israel from the map. Nor is it the policy of Hamas or Hezbollah.

        Iran should stop supporting Hezbollah and Hamas when the US stops supporting Israel.

      • Shingo
        January 3, 2011, 11:46 pm

        It is a truth that Iran is perceived as an anti-semitic state, and anti-white state, in a racist manner.

        Perceived by whom Witty? This tactic of yours (arguing about hat the public thinks) is as sleazy and dishnoest as it gets. The perceptions about Iran are not based on first hand experience, but by what information he publis has been fed.

        Richard Cohen from the NYT visited Iran and said that as a Jew, he felt more welcome in Iran than anywhere else in the world.

        The Jewish poster children that he invited, the Neturai Karta, objected strongly to those comments, and threatened to leave, even as they theologically supported the theme that to their assessment Zionism was premature, that the messiah could only come by the prerequisite of “if you keep my commandments” and not by force of arms or even force of human will.

        False on all counts Witty. Neturai Karta argued that Zionism is a violation of Jewish values and Jewish teaching. They cite that Zionism is a violation of the 3 oaths in the Talmud.

        They did not threaten to leave, but the argument that is made no difference whether the Holocaust had claimed the lived of 6 million or 1 million – that it was a massive crime against Jewish people regardless.

        If your desire is to reduce tensions in the world, it would be a good program to recommend, and to pursue it earnestly, without censorship.

        If your desire is to reduce tensions in the world, end the occupation, illegal settlements and siege of Gaza.

        Currently, the assertions “we are not anti-semitic” ring as true to me (and literally most others in the west) as the assertion that Netanyahu loves Palestinians and uninhibitably desires peace.

        Seeing as you are a shameless liar, what rings true to you is of no relevance to honest individuals.

      • NimaShirazi
        January 4, 2011, 1:38 am

        Richard,

        Shingo handles your comments rather well, so I have very little to add. I would, though, like to point out that Iran has never threatened to attack any country, including Israel, and has repeatedly stated its opposition to military confrontations.

        With specific regard to Israel, Ahmadinejad made clear (during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur at the D8 Summit in July 2008) his belief that the Zionist ideology of militarized, ethnosupremacist nationalism (i.e. the Israeli government) is “inherently doomed to annihilation and there is no need for Iranians to take action.”

        It appears that what you deem “grossly malevolent consequences,” others call democracy.

        I have only a couple (admittedly multi-part) questions for you, Richard:

        1. You state that you “do not know if sanctions [against Iran] are called for.” Do you think that Israel should be sanctioned for breaking international law on a daily basis, disregarding countless legally-binding United Nations Security Council resolutions, for continued land theft, colony construction, collective punishment, war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and institutionalized racism and discrimination? Or is the verdict still out on that one, as well?

        2. You wish that I would, among other things, oppose the “effort to remove Israel from the map,” which you weirdly claim is official Iranian policy. Do you believe it was United States policy to remove the Soviet Union from the map? Do you think the US achieved that goal? Did you support that policy and favor the inevitable outcome? I wonder, Witty, do you think Apartheid South Africa should still be “on the map”? What about just South Africa? Is there a difference between the two, Witty? If so, what is that difference? Do you find both places to be legitimate and worthy of praise and international acceptance? With the disappearance of the former, did the latter also cease to exist, or did it, in fact, come into being? Should the change of political character and organization, of constitution and representation, be seen as the destruction of such a place, or rather the birth of a better place, based on equality, law, and justice?

      • NimaShirazi
        January 4, 2011, 12:43 pm

        Richard, in response to your January 3, 2010 at 6:10pm comment, which I just saw now:

        First off, since you don’t know me, how are you to say what’s beneath me? For all you know, pedophilia and autoerotic asphyxiation comments are as high-brow as I get.

        I see you are frustrated with, what you call, “an utter misrepresentation of [your] comments.” Imagine that…maybe I should just try to wipe your comments off a map, instead. If the misrepresentation of comments is so offensive to you, maybe you should stop continuing to misrepresent the comments of others, in the face of plenty of evidence contextualizing and correcting your disingenuous representation of those comments. Think about it.

        Next, I see that you are aghast at the implication that, until sufficiently proven otherwise, you are something odious and sinister, something repulsive and appalling, something inexcusable and unforgivable. Good. That was my point exactly, Richard. Hopefully it will allow you to understand the absurdity of the debate over the Iranian nuclear program…though, I’m not holding my breath on that one (since I don’t have a spotter present).

        Finally, you accuse me of talking to myself. Meanwhile, you posted three comments in a row within the span of an hour.

        In sum, click here.

  14. MHughes976
    January 1, 2011, 1:51 pm

    We seem to have proof that the West does not really know the state of Iran’s nuclear programmes, seeing that the repeatedly alleged timescales have equally repeatedly been wrong – or at least that for public relations purposes the West chooses to be somewhere between ignorant and alarmist.
    Ignorance, real or wilful, about the state of the programmes does not imply that we have no idea about the programmes’ very existence. The Iranians must have thought about it. We do not know what intentions they have actually formed, but in a sense we don’t permit their intentions to be peaceful because there is nothing that they could do, any more than there was anything that Saddam could have done, that would be accepted by us an indication of good faith. So unless there is a general pacification, or at least a substantial negotiation, they have little option but to keep us on tenterhooks and we have little option but to try to do the same to them. My sense is that they are slowly winning the game of suspense, since Israel’s endless scaremongering has amounted increasingly to a series of empty threats, and empty threats are debilitating. In the end this should, if people are rational, lead to that substantial negotiation that most of us yearn for. I suppose the danger is that Obama’s search for reelection will send him crazy.
    Well, let all that not happen. Let 2011 be the year of peace. No harm hoping.

    • Shingo
      January 1, 2011, 5:37 pm

      Ignorance, real or wilful, about the state of the programmes does not imply that we have no idea about the programmes’ very existence.

      There is a programme MHughes, it justhappens to be a legal and civlian one.

      Much of this is hype, because the animasoty towards Iran is not about it’s nuclear program, it’s both historical and based on the inability of the West to comprehend that a state like Iran could function outside our sphere of influence.

      There is a huge shift taking place in the Middle East. Our puppet dictators are eitehr fac ign challenges ot their reign or comming to an end, while a new power structure is emerging – one that does not include the US.

      • MRW
        January 1, 2011, 7:51 pm

        Shingo,

        while a new power structure is emerging – one that does not include the US.

        That is the real Bush legacy, which few Americans can really see or understand. They still believe the poppycock of American Exceptionalism (these idiotas got their history from the movies, and like Witty, are unwilling to read, re-educate themselves, and change). Since the majority of these exceptionalism placeholders are Baby Boomers (like me), we’ll have to wait until they die out for the myths to give way, or the Millennials will have to wake up to their immense power (which they have neither done, nor realize they have) and tell their parents to F**k off, you ruined it, it’s a different world, We don’t buy your world view anymore, so move to Florida or Vegas and shut up.

  15. MRW
    January 1, 2011, 4:56 pm

    For the record, I’ve spent the past three days downloading every link in this article for safekeeping and preservation. This summary needs to be preserved for the historical record.

    • Shingo
      January 1, 2011, 8:50 pm

      Yes indeed, this is the most comprehensive timeline I’ve seen on this topic, so I have mailed it to myself for future reference.

      • MRW
        January 1, 2011, 9:51 pm

        Shingo, I preserved all 550+page links within.

  16. DICKERSON3870
    January 1, 2011, 7:44 pm

    RE: “The Phantom Menace” – Nima Shirazi
    MY COMMENT: Please help me, for God’s sake. I feel so trapped. This is even worse than “Groundhog Day” (1993) !!!
    FROM IMDB:

    Storyline – A weather man is reluctantly sent to cover a story about a weather forecasting “rat” (as he calls it). This is his fourth year on the story, and he makes no effort to hide his frustration. On awaking the ‘following’ day he discovers that it’s Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. First he uses this to his advantage, then comes the realisation that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing EVERY day.

    “GROUNDHOG DAY” TRAILER (VIDEO, 02:46) – link to youtube.com

  17. Tuyzentfloot
    January 2, 2011, 6:33 am

    Here’s another recent addition to the scare: link to telegraph.co.uk .

    Some extra notes.

    - Despite people like van Creveld claiming that it would make perfect sense for Iran to build nuclear weapons in defense against the US/Israel, it appears the rationale for nuclear weapons inside Iran is with respect to immediate neighbours, not Israel or US.

    - On nuclear capability: if you’d ask people what it means you’d get a wide spectrum of responses so it’s rather vague and threatening. As Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett have stated, Iran does want to have an option to develop nuclear weapons. That means, they want a credible threat that if they one day decided to start a nuclear weapons program, it would be successful within reasonable time.

    - support for civil nuclear energy is not ‘regime-driven’, it’s pretty unanimous. Iran is enough of a democracy to make it difficult for the government to go against that.

    • Shingo
      January 2, 2011, 3:40 pm

      Here’s another recent addition to the scare:

      I wouldn’t pay any attention tho that article. It’s vague and full of lies.

      For example, it makes the claim that:

      “Last year Iran was forced by intelligence disclosures to admit it was secretly building a second enrichment plant near Qom, a facility that has North Korean hallmarks.”

      Yet, at a State Departmet News conference at the time, the spoekesman was asked why Iran had declared the facility when they did and the answer given was, “we don’t know”.

      There is nothing about the Qom facility that has North Korean hallmarks. As the articel admits, it hasn’t had any centrifuges installed yet and is under IAEA oversight.

      I doubt that Mohamed Reza Heydari’s quote3s are even true.

    • Psychopathic god
      January 3, 2011, 7:41 am

      re:

      - support for civil nuclear energy is not ‘regime-driven’, it’s pretty unanimous. Iran is enough of a democracy to make it difficult for the government to go against that.

      Speaking of Flynt and Hillary Leverett, here’s some information from their blog, Race for Iran, on Iran’s decades-long energy infrastructure development incorporating nuclear energy production:

      link to raceforiran.com

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