The headline you aren’t seeing: Iran wants talks, Israel pushing for war

Israel/PalestineMiddle East
on 47 Comments
scientistfuneral
Iranians hold a portrait of assassinated nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan at his funeral (Photo via National Post: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel sums up Iran’s latest diplomatic moves:

Iran has agreed to a U.N. inspector mission and to hold talks in Turkey with the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany on its nuclear program…

The U.N. delegation visit is scheduled for January 28 through the first week of February and will be headed by Herman Nackaerts, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief inspector. Additionally, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Iran is ready for “serious” talks which he said could “yield results” if they are “not a game.”

These are openings for more diplomacy on Iran’s nuclear program. But they won’t go far unless the U.S. stops trying to “collapse” the Iranian regime.

And while the Obama administration is “relying on a secret channel of communication” with the Iranian leader to make clear what the “red lines” are for the U.S., Israel is busy trying to scuttle any chance of diplomacy. Iran expert Gary Sick writes in CNN that both the U.S. and Iran want negotiations to occur. But Israel and the hawkish Israel lobby in the U.S. have no interest in that.

All signs point to Israeli involvement in the assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, which has predictably resulted in Iranian threats to Israel and the U.S. and public outcries of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”

Eli Lake reports on the “circumstantial” evidence that points to Israeli involvement in the death of Roshan:

Six weeks ago in Washington, on the sidelines of a major U.S.-Israeli meeting known as the “strategic dialogue,” Israeli Mossad officers were quietly and obliquely bragging about the string of explosions in Iran. “They would say things like, ‘It’s not the best time to be working on Iranian missile design,’” one U.S. intelligence official at the December parley told The Daily Beast.

Those comments were a reference to a string of explosions at a missile-testing site outside Tehran on November 12. The explosions killed Maj. Gen. Hassan Moqqadam, the head of the country’s missile program. But the manner in which the message was delivered—informally and on the sidelines of an official discussion—also speaks to how Israel appears to seek to create the impression of responsibility for acts of violence and sabotage inside Iran without quite taking formal responsibility.

These kinds of actions even have their own Israeli euphemism, “events that happen unnaturally,” to quote the Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, from his remarks before the Knesset on Tuesday. In his testimony, Gantz promised more such unnatural events in 2012 aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear program.

The path to war with Iran has quickly become very real and very dangerous. So let’s be solid on the aggressors here, which the assassination of a young scientist makes clear. The U.S. is on a path to war, or already there, and Israel is gleefully trying to make sure a real war happens. As Sick writes, “what we need right now is a crisis exit ramp”–and that ramp doesn’t run through Tel Aviv.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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47 Responses

  1. dumvitaestspesest
    January 13, 2012, 12:30 pm

    “Finkelstein, however, is doubtful, despite the “hysteria” about Iran investing in nuclear technology, that either the U.S. or Israel would be willing to risk the consequences of a war with the Tehran government.”
    link to normanfinkelstein.com
    I hate to say it, with all my due respect for Mr Finkelstein ,but he seems to be deluded again.
    He was/is deluded with the role of the EU in Europe, with NATO attack on Libya ,and now he shares his unfounded “optimism” on US/Isra not willing to “risk the consequences of a war with Teheran government”.
    So I guess ,all this war mongering done very actively ( US troops are already in Israel getting ready for a Sign ) by the crazy Duet is just for the heck of it, for the lack of any other entertainment??

    • Walid
      January 13, 2012, 3:55 pm

      “So I guess ,all this war mongering done very actively ( US troops are already in Israel getting ready for a Sign ) by the crazy Duet is just for the heck of it, for the lack of any other entertainment??”

      They are ready for a sign that’s directly related to Iran, but they’re probably not there for Iran but for Lebanon. If it would have been for direct involvement in Iran, they’d have been posted on US bases that are practically on borders with Iran. If this is the case, they’re in for an unpleasant surprise.

  2. rensanceman
    January 13, 2012, 12:40 pm

    The delivery to Israel several months ago of “bunker buster” bombs were not defensive munitions. Even Bush refused to supply them knowing what Israel would use them for.

    • Walid
      January 13, 2012, 4:02 pm

      “Even Bush refused to supply them knowing what Israel would use them for.”

      Bunker Busters serve only to pulverize empty buildings and kill civilians. It ws tried once before in 2006 and it didn’t work. Bush supplied them along with the phosphorus and the DIMES in 2006 for use over Gaza and Lebanon.

      • Citizen
        January 14, 2012, 8:25 pm

        Those bunker buster bombs Obama gave Israel (to signal he was not wavering on total support for Israel) can go through 20 feet of solid concrete.

    • kalithea
      January 15, 2012, 9:38 pm

      Yeah, we can always count on Obama to escalate where Bush didn’t…BLECH!

      War = Peace = Obama Logic

      • dumvitaestspesest
        January 15, 2012, 9:53 pm

        Oh yeah, we will fight for PEACE with such a Might that no stone on Earth will be unturned, no person will be alive.
        And after that …there will be.. a peace.

  3. Kathleen
    January 13, 2012, 12:43 pm

    Great post Alex…thanks

    • Kathleen
      January 14, 2012, 10:00 am

      Alex a simple thank you email would have sufficed. Huff Po, Raw Story, etc at the very least say thank you. Emptywheel etc hat tips. Build your team…simple thank you’s

  4. Kathleen
    January 13, 2012, 1:54 pm

    Alex can guarantee you would be interested in the debate between Leverett, Ross, Slavin, Parsi over at Race for Iran. Also article at Foreign Policy which is actually on the front of Huff Po (with no room to comment I might add)
    False Flag
    A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.
    Prof Cole has a great deal up at Informed Comment about the situation with Iran

    • ToivoS
      January 13, 2012, 3:43 pm

      A quote from today’s Haaretz on this story:

      “Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us,” Foreign Policy quoted an intelligence officer as saying. “If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they’re supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don’t think that’s true.”

      These sentiments a quite real at the lower levels of State, the CIA and military.

  5. Kathleen
    January 13, 2012, 2:02 pm

    Front page at Huff Po another crack
    SHOCK CLAIM: ISRAELI OFFICERS POSED AS CIA AGENTS

  6. American
    January 13, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Here’s the story.

    False Flag
    A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.
    BY MARK PERRY | JANUARY 13, 2012

    Buried deep in the archives of America’s intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a “false flag” operation.

    The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah — a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization. Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children.

    But while the memos show that the United States had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was not true for Israel’s Mossad. The memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel’s recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel’s ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.

    The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad’s efforts.

    “It’s amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with,” the intelligence officer said. “Their recruitment activities were nearly in the open. They apparently didn’t give a damn what we thought.”

    Interviews with six currently serving or recently retired intelligence officers over the last 18 months have helped to fill in the blanks of the Israeli false-flag operation. In addition to the two currently serving U.S. intelligence officers, the existence of the Israeli false-flag operation was confirmed to me by four retired intelligence officers who have served in the CIA or have monitored Israeli intelligence operations from senior positions inside the U.S. government.

    The CIA and the White House were both asked for comment on this story. By the time this story went to press, they had not responded. The Israeli intelligence services — the Mossad — were also contacted, in writing and by telephone, but failed to respond. As a policy, Israel does not confirm or deny its involvement in intelligence operations.

    There is no denying that there is a covert, bloody, and ongoing campaign aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program, though no evidence has emerged connecting recent acts of sabotage and killings inside Iran to Jundallah. Many reports have cited Israel as the architect of this covert campaign, which claimed its latest victim on Jan. 11 when a motorcyclist in Tehran slipped a magnetic explosive device under the car of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a young Iranian nuclear scientist. The explosion killed Roshan, making him the fourth scientist assassinated in the past two years. The United States adamantly denies it is behind these killings.

    According to one retired CIA officer, information about the false-flag operation was reported up the U.S. intelligence chain of command. It reached CIA Director of Operations Stephen Kappes, his deputy Michael Sulick, and the head of the Counterintelligence Center. All three of these officials are now retired. The Counterintelligence Center, according to its website, is tasked with investigating “threats posed by foreign intelligence services.”

    The report then made its way to the White House, according to the currently serving U.S. intelligence officer. The officer said that Bush “went absolutely ballistic” when briefed on its contents.

    “The report sparked White House concerns that Israel’s program was putting Americans at risk,” the intelligence officer told me. “There’s no question that the U.S. has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we’re not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians.”

    Israel’s relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the day it left office, this same intelligence officer noted. Israel’s activities jeopardized the administration’s fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under intense pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S. claims that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks in kind on U.S. personnel.

    continued at …….link to foreignpolicy.com

    • American
      January 13, 2012, 2:52 pm

      A bit more:

      ”A senior administration official vowed to “take the gloves off” with Israel, according to a U.S. intelligence officer. But the United States did nothing — a result that the officer attributed to “political and bureaucratic inertia.”

      “In the end,” the officer noted, “it was just easier to do nothing than to, you know, rock the boat.” Even so, at least for a short time, this same officer noted, the Mossad operation sparked a divisive debate among Bush’s national security team.

      “This certainly isn’t the first time this has happened, though it’s the worst case I’ve heard of,” former Centcom chief and retired Gen. Joe Hoar said of the Israeli operation upon being informed of it. “But while false-flag operations are hardly new, they’re extremely dangerous. You’re basically using your friendship with an ally for your own purposes. Israel is playing with fire. It gets us involved in their covert war, whether we want to be involved or not.”
      What has become crystal clear, however, is the level of anger among senior intelligence officials about Israel’s actions. “This was stupid and dangerous,” the intelligence official who first told me about the operation said. “Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us. If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they’re supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don’t think that’s true.”

      It is believed the Mossad is still collaborating with the Jundallah. The Jundallah is a true terrorist group , killed dozens at a time in many attacks, multiple kidnappings and executions.

      • lysias
        January 13, 2012, 3:25 pm

        Jundallah is a terrorist organization based in Baluchistan that claims to be fighting for the rights of Sunni Muslims in Iran:

        The group has been designated a terrorist organization by Iran, and the United States[16] and it has been linked to, and taken credit for, numerous acts of terror, kidnapping and the smuggling of narcotics.[17] Many observers believe the group is linked to al-Qaeda.[18][19][20] Iran has long alleged that the U.S. government is supporting Jundallah. Several other sources such as the ABC News, Daily Telegraph, and journalist Seymour Hersh have also reported that Jundullah has received support from the United States against the government of Iran,[21][22][23][24] although the US denies any involvement.[21]

      • lysias
        January 13, 2012, 3:27 pm

        The fact that former CIA officials are now revealing this shows that there’s some pushback against Israel, maybe resulting from the current danger of war.

      • ToivoS
        January 13, 2012, 4:33 pm

        Lysias The fact that former CIA officials are now revealing this shows that there’s some pushback against Israel is almost certainly correct. I see this leak directly related to the assassination of Ahmadi-Roshan. I wouldn’t be surprised if the CIA knows exactly who organized the hit and they are giving the Israelis a message that they could reveal even more secrets.

        This is also a message to Iran — Who us? No, the Israelis did it.

      • richb
        January 13, 2012, 6:02 pm

        And the fact that Iran is still seeking negotiations means message received.

      • Winnica
        January 14, 2012, 1:39 pm

        According to the Guardian, the Iranians are blaming the US and UK, not Israel.
        link to guardian.co.uk

    • Kathleen
      January 13, 2012, 3:29 pm

      yeah I put part of the story up awhile ago and someone decided to take it down. Put it up at Phils thread too. Amazing that it made it up on front page of Huff Po. Some real cracks in the wall. That interchange over at Race for Iran between Leverett, Ross, Slavin and Parsi is well worth listening to.

      • Kathleen
        January 13, 2012, 5:14 pm

        interesting to watch that Foreign Policy story at Huff Po go from a link with no comments to front page Huff Po for a while comments have been flooding in back to a lower level story. Wonder who ordered it to be taken from the top liner

      • MRW
        January 13, 2012, 8:27 pm

        Oh gee, Kathleen, with Hilary Rosen the Political Editor? :-)

        Nice to see the retired guys coming out with the goods. They took oaths to defend against enemies both foreign and domestic.

    • Carllarc
      January 13, 2012, 4:50 pm

      I wonder what the Netanyahu/Israeli spin machine is going to say about this.

      • Kathleen
        January 13, 2012, 5:15 pm

        Existential threat from that scientist. The Mossad should be hung out by the International Criminal court. How many people do they kill a year just because they want to…well Mossad and CIA

  7. pabelmont
    January 13, 2012, 2:23 pm

    When will HuffPo run an article saying that Mossad agents posed as Al-Qa’eda agents to get saudi Muslims to “do” 9-11? Could be true, nu?

    The main point is THIS: with everyone running around doing stuff and pretending they didn’t, or pretending they did but were someone else, WHY BELIEVE ANYTHING you read or hear about terrorism, anti-terrorism, provocations for war, etc?

    • lysias
      January 13, 2012, 3:26 pm

      Especially since so much of the “evidence” was extorted out of detainees who were subjected to torture.

      Who now believes the confessions gotten in this way out of prisoners by Stalin’s secret police?

    • kalithea
      January 16, 2012, 12:05 am

      Yeah, I wonder if those Israeli “movers” and the Israeli “art” students that were staying in Florida at the same time the Saudis were taking flight lessons ever got together at Starbuck’s to shoot the breeze in Arabic?

      Mossad: So how’re those flight lessons coming along? Don’t worry, if the planes don’t do the job, we’ve got Plan B all set to go.

      • iamuglow
        January 16, 2012, 1:19 am

        Thats the thing. In light of this, in light of Lavon, in light of what happened after 9/11 is it that far fetched? No. Not really.

  8. Dan Crowther
    January 13, 2012, 2:52 pm

    The part of the FP report that should be shouted from the rooftops:

    You know, they’re supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don’t think that’s true.”

    • Kathleen
      January 13, 2012, 3:36 pm

      That statement by Chris Matthews last night about Israel being “adverserial” was stepping out.

      • Citizen
        January 14, 2012, 8:31 pm

        You give the little punk a big gun, and what do you expect? Uncle Sam is not a good patriarch.

  9. Richard Witty
    January 13, 2012, 4:04 pm

    The Straits of Hormuz is the only significant red line for the US.

    And, it is for the US only as representative and protector of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, others.

    That Iran is considering closing their supply lines as well, means that they are willing to project collective punishment to get their wishes.

    In their uranium enrichment process they are past the concentration needed to power nuclear power plants, but are proceeding to a level that could be used to power nuclear plants or shortly be transformed into weapons grade.

    If someone has more complete, non-biased, information on their nuclear enrichment capability, I would appreciate that comment.

    The political dilemma of the US as police, serving to protect others’ rights, more than even their own rights and interests, is that a sense of duty invokes a very different decision tree and sense of responsibility than when one is motivated by one’s own interests.

    • mig
      January 13, 2012, 5:15 pm

      If someone has more complete, non-biased, information on their nuclear enrichment capability, I would appreciate that comment.

      Glad that you asked RW, and i can give you straight answer : link to iaea.org

    • Shingo
      January 13, 2012, 8:07 pm

      The Straits of Hormuz is the only significant red line for the US.

      That will only happen is the US/Israel attacks Iran.

      And, it is for the US only as representative and protector of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, others.

      All of which are US sponsored dictators.

      That Iran is considering closing their supply lines as well, means that they are willing to project collective punishment to get their wishes.

      What unimaginable stupiduity adn bias. The US is trying to bankrupt Iran and block it’s oil sales. Is that not collective punishment to get their wishes?

      In their uranium enrichment process they are past the concentration needed to power nuclear power plants, but are proceeding to a level that could be used to power nuclear plants or shortly be transformed into weapons grade.

      Stay away from the topic of Iran’s nuclear indistury unless you are prepared to educate yourself with the basics. Look up the Tehran Nuclear Reactor (TNR) and the fuel specs it takes. You will find that it requires 20% enriched fuel (as do most research reactors), which is higher than the requirements for power reactors, which only require 3.5%.

      If someone has more complete, non-biased, information on their nuclear enrichment capability, I would appreciate that comment.

      Why should anyone bother Witty? You’ve been provided with this information countless times and you refuse to read it.

      The political dilemma of the US as police, serving to protect others’ rights, more than even their own rights and interests, is that a sense of duty invokes a very different decision tree and sense of responsibility than when one is motivated by one’s own interests.

      If you believe the US is motivated by a sense of duty or serving to protect others’ rights, then you are beyond help.

    • MRW
      January 13, 2012, 8:31 pm

      Oh, Richard:

      In their uranium enrichment process they are past the concentration needed to power nuclear power plants, but are proceeding to a level that could be used to power nuclear plants or shortly be transformed into weapons grade.

      They have enriched to 5%. Took them 20 years to accomplish. The 20% enrichment needed for medical isotopes they got from Russia.

      You need 92% enrichment for a nuclear weapon. They neither have that, nor can they do that. Read Gareth Porter. He reports on the science.

      Porter articles
      link to atimes.com
      link to counterpunch.org
      link to ipsnorthamerica.net

      • Richard Witty
        January 14, 2012, 6:14 am

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Per this article, the majority of nuclear plants in the world use 3-5% enriched uranium, and that 20% enriched uranium is considered potential weapons grade.

        If Iran wanted to commit to nuclear power, they would have opted for a reactor that only produced nuclear power, and only required fuel towards that end.

        They chose ambiguity, with the consequences that their “honest intentions” would be misunderstood as a threat.

        I asked for non-biased assessment.

        link to npr.org

        “On Monday, Jan. 9, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had begun producing 20 percent enriched uranium at Fordow, a fuel enrichment plant buried deep underground near the holy city of Qom. On the surface, there is little new here: Since February 2010, Iran has been producing 20 percent enriched uranium at Natanz, another once-secret site located about 3.5 hours from Tehran.

        Iran disclosed neither the Natanz nor the Fordow site to the IAEA until forced to do so, in 2002 and 2009, respectively, when outside observers discovered and publicized them. Fordow is smaller than Natanz in scale, but better protected from prying satellites and, potentially, a bombing campaign. Worryingly, the plant appears designed to focus on producing higher enrichments.”

      • Shingo
        January 14, 2012, 4:00 pm

        Per this article, the majority of nuclear plants in the world use 3-5% enriched uranium, and that 20% enriched uranium is considered potential weapons grade.

        No it’s not. not even close. 20% is sometimes referred to as highly enriched uranium, but it’s not even close to wepoans grade, which is considered 90% and above.

        If Iran wanted to commit to nuclear power, they would have opted for a reactor that only produced nuclear power, and only required fuel towards that end.

        Absolute rubbish from an absolute ignoramus.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Like I said Witty, you should stay waysa from this topic unless you want to educate yourself first. ou obviuosly have no clue what you are talking about.

        There are 2 rectors in Iran, one at Bushehr (the power reactor) and teh Tehrna Nuclear Reactor (the research reactor).

        1. The Bushehr reactor only takes 3.5% netiched fuel
        2. The TNR, which the US provided to Iran in 1968, requires 20$ enriched fuel. This is about to reach the end of it’s life and is being replaced.

        Here’s another bit of information for your Zionist brain. When the TNR was first provided to Iran by the US, it was a TRIGA type reactor, a unique design which actualyl ran on 90% enriched fuel. That’s right, a recror that ran on near wepoans grade fuel. The Iranians didn’t feelt they needed it so had itr modified to onluy require 20% fuel.

        So tell us Witty, if the Iranians wanted a nuke so badly, why did they practically give it away?

        They chose ambiguity, with the consequences that their “honest intentions” would be misunderstood as a threat.

        Rubbish. There is no ambiguity whatsoever. You simply have no idea what you are talking about.

        I asked for non-biased assessment.

        You were provided with a report from the IAEA you idiot. If anything, it’s biased against Iran?

        Your link from NPR is also BS. Iran weer not force to disclose the facility ar Fordow. Under the terms fo the NPT, Iran is not required to decalre any facility until 6 month prior to introducing fissile material. Iran decalred it at least 18 months prior.

        In fact, the US admitted it had no idea what the Fordow facility was until Iran decalred it to the IAEA. Obama’s press conference about the so called secret facility care 4 days after Iran submitted this declaration to the IAEA.

        Iran has tried to secure a 3rd party enrichment deal so that it wouldn’t have to enrich to 20% but Obama buckled to Bibbi and opted for sanctions, so the deal fell through. Even when Brazil and Turkey resurrested the deal Washington told them to butt out.

        Stay away from this tops Witty. Leace it to the adults.

      • Richard Witty
        January 15, 2012, 8:34 am

        “Here’s another bit of information for your Zionist brain. When the TNR was first provided to Iran by the US, it was a TRIGA type reactor, a unique design which actualyl ran on 90% enriched fuel. That’s right, a recror that ran on near wepoans grade fuel. The Iranians didn’t feelt they needed it so had itr modified to onluy require 20% fuel.”

        What year did they modify it? Source?

        Shingo,
        The problem with arguing with you is that I dis-believe you. I don’t take your conclusions as true.

        “Highly enriched uranium (HEU)
        A billet of highly enriched uranium metal

        Highly enriched uranium (HEU) has a greater than 20% concentration of 235U or 233U. The fissile uranium in nuclear weapons usually contains 85% or more of 235U known as weapon(s)-grade, though for a crude, inefficient weapon 20% is sufficient (called weapon(s)-usable);[2][3] some argue that even less is sufficient[citation needed], but then the critical mass for unmoderated fast neutrons rapidly increases, approaching infinity at 6%235U.[4] For critical experiments, enrichment of uranium to over 97% has been accomplished.[5]

        The very first uranium bomb, Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, used 64 kilograms of 80% enriched uranium. Wrapping the weapon’s fissile core in a neutron reflector (which is standard on all nuclear explosives) can dramatically reduce the critical mass. Because the core was surrounded by a good neutron reflector, at explosion it comprised almost 2.5 critical masses. Neutron reflectors, compressing the fissile core via implosion, fusion boosting, and “tamping”, which slows the expansion of the fissioning core with inertia, allow nuclear weapon designs that use less than what would be one bare-sphere critical mass at normal density. The presence of too much of the 238U isotope inhibits the runaway nuclear chain reaction that is responsible for the weapon’s power. The critical mass for 85% highly enriched uranium is about 50 kilograms (110 lb), which at normal density would be a sphere about 17 centimetres (6.7 in) in diameter.

        Later US nuclear weapons usually use plutonium-239 in the primary stage, but the secondary stage which is compressed by the primary nuclear explosion often uses HEU with enrichment between 40% and 80%[6] along with the fusion fuel lithium deuteride. For the secondary of a large nuclear weapon, the higher critical mass of less-enriched uranium can be an advantage as it allows the core at explosion time to contain a larger amount of fuel. The 238U is not fissile but still fissionable by fusion neutrons.

        HEU is also used in fast neutron reactors, whose cores require about 20% or more of fissile material, as well as in naval reactors, where it often contains at least 50% 235U, but typically does not exceed 90%. The Fermi-1 commercial fast reactor prototype used HEU with 26.5% 235U. Significant quantities of HEU are used in the production of medical isotopes, for example molybdenum-99 for technetium-99m generators.[7]”

        The NPR report described a 1/9/2012 AIEA report that Iran is producing only 20% enriched uranium currently, and NOT 3.5-5% uranium.

        And, that the difference in technical capacity to enrich uranium to 85%-90+% is a smaller technical hurdle than the difference between going from 3.5% enrichment to 20%.

        Development of inter-continental ballistic missiles, active nuclear weapons research, enrichment of nuclear material are a trajectory.

        Your argument, the argument in support of Iran’s program, shifts from “they are not building nuclear weapons”, to “so what if they do?”.

        Please choose one assertion.

        Iran has the option of accepting 20% enriched uranium from external sources for non-weapons related research and medicial purposes. But, it is choosing to escalate, even in this “small” way.

      • kalithea
        January 16, 2012, 12:11 am

        “They chose ambiguity…”

        Gee they chose ambiguity…hmmm…THEY MUST’VE PICKED IT UP FROM SOMEWHERE THIS “AMBIGUITY”.

        Zionists are so hypocritical.

  10. radii
    January 13, 2012, 4:26 pm

    … however

    this time, in real time, we are getting an honest accounting of what is taking place even in the mainstream media and from government leaders:

    Hillary stated categorically that the US had no part – Russia’s head of national security said plainly that israel is trying to compel the US into a war with Iran – Chris Matthews on Hardball openly discussed the israel-first aspect to this ( link to msnbc.msn.com ) – and the US intelligence world allowed the release of the information that it was Mossad posing as CIA that worked with internal Iranian opposition

  11. Keith
    January 13, 2012, 6:24 pm

    “Iran expert Gary Sick writes in CNN that both the U.S. and Iran want negotiations to occur.”

    Perhaps someone should tell that to Barack Obama! The statement flies in the face of all of the empirical data. Gang, it’s easy to believe what is convenient to believe, and self-deception is the rule not the exception. US actions toward Iran are hardly friendly, those of a peacemaker. The image of a reluctant empire being dragged to war by Israel is not credible. The empire is currently engaged in worldwide full spectrum warfare in an attempt to secure US/corporate/financial hegemony in the 21st century.

    • seafoid
      January 14, 2012, 3:39 pm

      The US is as bad as Israel. It is all about regional control of oil.

      link to ft.com

      My fear is that two or three weeks before the election something will happen – an October surprise,” he continues. “If Iran was struck by Israelis during October, the negative effects would not be felt until late November and December. The first effect would be, ‘Ah, how wonderful. Let’s get behind the Israelis.’ Then all bets would be off.”

      • kalithea
        January 16, 2012, 12:25 am

        Hate to be superstitious, but:

        October surprise: The numbskulls attack Iran

        December: Full-blown War

        December 21: Mayan prophecy fulfilled, i.e. Nuclear apocalypse

        Those maniacs in Israel may yet destroy the planet.

  12. Allison Deger
    Allison Deger
    January 13, 2012, 8:14 pm

    Thanks Alex, great article.

  13. dumvitaestspesest
    January 14, 2012, 2:19 pm

    warning .very drastic pictures of the Iranian “regime”

    link to youtube.com

    link to youtube.com

  14. kalithea
    January 16, 2012, 12:16 am

    The Empire: Please, pleeeease don’t make us go to war for you!

    The puny state: DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND ENGLISH: THIS IS AN ORDER NOT A REQUEST!

    The Empire: Iran, can’t you see they’re twisting our arm; we’re helpless, it’s not our fault, believe us!

    Iran: HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK WE ARE???

  15. kalithea
    January 16, 2012, 1:35 am

    What really irritates me here is that this site and many Progressive sites except Glenn Greenwald (who is also prescient!) don’t understand the importance of supporting Ron Paul. For God’s sakes! WE ARE ON THE BRINK OF A F_CKING CATASTROPHIC WARRRRRR!!! Does anything else matter?? Why not support him in every way straight to the convention??? What have you got to lose??? Support his campaign; donate, highlight his stance on this war, blog on his behalf, do anything!! Is there any other hope for us here? The fate of so many innocent lives is at stake, economies dependent on Iranian oil are hanging by a thread! THIS IS LUNACY! God! Am I the only person that sees piles of mangled bodies all over Iran and a run on banks all over Europe and financial chaos everywhere — what is wrong with you people??? Quit with this COMPLACENCY!

    Ron Paul is the LONE VOICE IN CONGRESS trying to prevent war in a room filled with insane people! LISTEN TO THIS MAN’S PASSIONATE PLEA HERE!

    link to youtube.com

    Ron Paul’s last sentence: “And I warn, this was a very dangerous vote!”

    The man predicted the mortgage/housing crisis and the financial collapse several times leading up to 2002 and beyond!! No one listened! AND IT ALL HAPPENED.

    Stop nitpicking at whether he would end up helping the Palestinian cause! He wants to pull funding from ISRAEL for gawd’s sakes! Anything’s better for Palestinians then the status quo! And quit with the JUST WAR bullshit! Do you see any JUST wars on the freaking horizon???

    STOP SPLITTING HAIRS ALREADY AND SUPPORT THE ONLY PERSON TRYING TO PREVENT THIS MADNESS AND SAVE LIVES! NOTHING ELSE MATTERS RIGHT NOW EXCEPT PREVENTING THIS WAR! NOTHIIIIIING!

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