Recently, James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence released an "Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence". In this document, retired Lt. General Clapper outlines the Intelligence Community's assessment of threats to US national security as testified to the Senate Select Committee including al-Qa'ida, the threat of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) weapons and the threat posed by Iran. For this posting, I will concentrate on the Director's security assessment of Iran since the Iranians appear to be the heir-apparent of the world's next military action now that Iraq is on its own and Afghanistan appears to be heading that way.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is concerned that the October 2011 foiled attempt to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, shows that some officials in Iran are increasingly willing to stage an attack within the United States if the ruling regime perceives a threat. The ODNI is also concerned that Iran could be plotting against United States or their allies overseas.
The ODNI is very concerned about the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from Iran. The ODNI believes that Iran is keeping its options open for the future development of nuclear weapons capacity by continuing its current nuclear enrichment capabilities. Expansion of its enrichment program has allowed Iran to accumulate 4150 kg of 3.5 percent LEU (low enriched uranium) and 80 kg of 19.75 percent enriched UF6 by the end of October 2011. Iran's growing technical skills in uranium enrichment suggests to the ODNI that Iran will ultimately have the capacity to produce nuclear weapons if and when they are politically willing to do so. The ODNI suggest that Iran would likely choose to deliver its nuclear payload with a ballistic missile system that is already in place since the country already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East and is expanding the scale and reach of its missile forces.
Let's step aside for a moment. I found a rather interesting study on Iran's pending nuclear capability entitled "The Iranian Nuclear Program: Timelines, Data, and Estimates" on the American Enterprise Institute website. This is particularly pertinent given President Ahmadinejad's recent speech in which he proclaimed that Iran would soon announce "...very important and very major nuclear achievements...". In this document, the author, Maseh Zarif, projects when Iran will have converted LEU to create sufficient weapons-grade high-enriched uranium (HEU - 60 to 90 percent enriched) for a weapon. Please note that this study does not assess Iran's intentions to weaponize the HEU, rather, it simply provides a timeline for Iran’s technical feasibility of doing so.
How is weapons-grade uranium created? The process involved in enriching natural uranium (0.7 percent U-235) to HEU is a two- or three-step process using centrifuges; Iran currently is operating 6208 centrifuges at the Natanz facility alone with an additional 348 centrifuges at the Fordow facility. Both processes involved enriching 0.7 percent natural uranium to 3.5 percent LEU; in the case of the two-step process, this is followed by a process that enriches 3.5 percent LEU to 19.75 percent LEU which is followed by an additional process that enriches the 19.75 percent LEU to 90 percent HEU. In the three-step process, an additional step enriches the 19.75 percent LEU to 60 percent HEU followed by enrichment to 90 percent HEU. The time taken for conversion in both two- and three-step processes is the same, however, the two-step process requires between 85 and 116 kilograms of 19.75 percent LEU compared to 243 kilograms in the three-step process. A small atomic weapon can be built from cores containing between 10 and 25 kilograms of 90 percent U-235 (HEU) yielding an explosive yield of 15 kilotons from a 15 kilogram core. For comparison, the blast yield from Little Boy at Hiroshima in 1945 was between 13 and 18 kilotons and is usually estimated at around 15 kilotons.
From the report, here is the author's timeline:
There are three scenarios from the timeline as follows:
1.) Iran could acquire enough weapons-grade uranium within one month of starting to race to breakout HEU - this is deemed highly unlikely.
2.) Iran can acquire weapons-grade uranium for one weapon by mid-August 2012 under currently announced plans for expansion - this scenario is deemed somewhat likely.
3.) Iran will acquire sufficient 19.75 percent enriched uranium by June 1, 2012 to be within 2.5 months of producing weapons-grade uranium for one 15 kiloton bomb - this scenario is deemed most likely.
Now that we’ve seen a potential timeline for Iran's nuclearOn the conventional side, Iran has a growing inventory and production capability of anti-ship ballistic missiles that it views as necessary to both deter and retaliate against forces in the area, including the United States. With these missiles having the capability of delivering WMD, the ultimate risk is increased.
One security issue that the ODNI raises that I found rather surprising was Iran's dramatic increase in intelligence operations against the United States, including increased cyber capabilities, which puts them in the company of both China and Russia. The ODNI notes that corporate financial networks that are increasingly relying on global links including cloud data storage could make American businesses more vulnerable to security breaches by the aforementioned nations.
The ODNI notes that Iran's leaders are confronting domestic political instability with growing rift between Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ahmahdinejad leading up to the presidential election in 2013 and the legislative elections in March of 2012. That said, it is unlikely that sanctions that seem to be impacting the Iranian economy to some degree, will actually topple the current regime. While the sanctions have worked to some degree, it certainly seems that both energy-hungry China and India are more than willing to step into the infrastructure investment gap that has prevented other countries from investing in Iran's massive oil and gas reserve base. Despite restrictions on importation of Iranian oil by many developed nations around the world, both India and China have proven time and time again that they are most willing to work with the pariah nations of the world to secure their supplies of commodities for the future. The very presence of a highly militarized China in the region certainly complicates potential military action by NATO or any other western-based alliance.
Why the fuss if Iran gets nuclear weapons? America has them and so does Israel. And INdia and Pakistan. What is one more rogue state with nucs going to do that will increase the danger to the world?ReplyDelete
Well Fodder. Ahmahdinejad has stated that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. None of the other states you mention have suggested anything like that.Delete
no he quoted someone else and the actual words were "the imam says that the regime occupying jerusalem must(will) vanish from the page(s) of time(history)" Israel is the rouge state it has 300 nukes hasnt signed the nonproliferation agreement, probaly cause it wants to sell nukes to other countries like it was caught doing to south africa while it was an aparteid state.and for the USA to give financial support to a nation that hast signed that agreement is a direct violation of that treaty making the USA a rouge state aswell actually.Delete
The problem is that the Middle East has been at war with each other for hundreds of years and the problem has not gotten any better. Once all countries in the middle east have Nukes, kiss your ass good bye!Delete
A rouge state? Do you mean a state that applies women's makeup to its cheeks?Delete
iran will use atomic weapons they don't care about death they see themselves as martyrs to the great ALLAH they seek destructionReplyDelete
Remarkable ... where do you get all of this very important information from?Delete
This information is usually printed on medicine bottles thus: "Overdosing on stupidity may cause patient to hallucinate and claim perfect knowledge".Delete
Nuclear weapons will give ayatollah impunity from retaliation for the attacks against their enemies (read: all Western countries and quite a few Arab countries, not just Israel). Iran will become a major force in the Middle East not unlike Soviet Union was in Europe and around the world. They don't need to use nuclear weapons to conduct the proxy war against the West. When asked recently why India did not take stronger measures against Pakistan after the attack in Mumbai, an Indian official said, "You think twice how to talk with the country that has nuclear weapons." Iran is at war with everyone except their brand of Shia Islam, and they will get a free hand to conduct this war by acquiring nuclear capabilities. Think about North Korean threat to its neighbors and occasional acts of war against South Korea that go unanswered. And this is without contemplating a possibility of Iran supplying a rogue terrorist group with a nuclear device. Iran must be stopped by the Western powers. Israel may stand to lose the most so they will have to act if other countries will not, but it really is in the utmost interest of the West and other countries in the Middle East to prevent Iran from going nuclear.ReplyDelete
"Nuclear weapons will give ayatollah impunity from retaliation for the attacks against their enemies"Delete
Really? Why hasb;t that worked for Israel then?
"'Iran is at war with everyone except their brand of Shia Islam, and they will get a free hand to conduct this war by acquiring nuclear capabilities."
At war with everyone? That woudl explain why they have trade agreements with China,Russia, Brazil, India, North Korea etc.
"Really? Why hasb;t that worked for Israel then?"Delete
You could count the Arab Israeli wars before (3 or 4 in 35 years) and after (0 since 1982) Israel was revealed to have nuclear weapons.
I should stop being so clever-clever. If you are within range of a nation who are threatening to destroy you, are you saying you'd do nothing to prevent them getting nukes?
You must be thick as 2 short planks sir
So, what would you call Israel's disastrous incursion against Hezbollah? And before you start saying that Hezbollah is not a "country", let me remind you that the nature of "wars" has changed. Just ask Bush/Obama. More importantly, why aren't the moderates in Israel being heard?Delete
The only solution to this crisis will be a free nuclear middle east. Don't you guys think that the fear of Iranian are legitimate? Any country that feels threaten as Iran is, will do the same thing. For those who think Iran will supply nuclear to terrorists is just nonsense and irrational; Pakistan is perfect example of rational behavior of the use of nuclear weapon. If the nuclear free middle east is not implemented, all talks about Iran is one sided and hypocritical.ReplyDelete
Pakistan is a "perfect example of rational behavior", are you serious? I have no qualms about Pakistanis but the country has been virtually overrun with terrorism and an increasingly impotent government. I am not going to mention that it was the Pakistanis chief nuclear scientist who originally started selling nuclear secrets to places like Iran or that countless terror networks use Pakistan as both a safe haven and forward operating base for attacks in places like Afghanistan, India, and the US.ReplyDelete
The fundamental difference between countries like Soviet Union and now Russia, US, China, etc. having a nuclear bomb and places like Iran is that conventional world powers are not suicidal religious zealots. You may disagree with US policies or Russian, or Chinese but its quite twisted to equate this too the daily practices of the Iranian Theocracy towards its people and neighbors. Notice, that some of the loudest voices against Iran are not only Western powers but also every Sunni state bordering them. Is it possible that the whole world is not wrong about them? Do you really think that a group of countries who have little if any common interests would all be convinced by a lobby group or a single country to act in such a way?
Iran's government, not people or society, is an unstable force that does not have the interests of its own people or humanity in mind. They must be stopped simply because the alternative carries more risk than can be rationalized
Simon here makes a perfect example of misquoting. Here is what you should have been quoting:Delete
"Pakistan is perfect example of rational behavior of the use of nuclear weapon."
Simon says, "The fundamental difference between countries like Soviet Union and now Russia, US, China, etc. having a nuclear bomb and places like Iran is that conventional world powers are not suicidal religious zealots."ReplyDelete
But there is no evidence of what you say except for the hysteria coming from Israel and the US.
ahem suicide bombers..cough...hezbollah links, quotes about wiping Israel from history etcetcetcetcDelete
Iran will have the nukes. Period. The root cause of deep hatred towards Israel by all Muslim world, is Israel's illeagal occupation of Palestine and it's humiliating treatment of ordinary Palestinians. Iran stood up for Palestine. A nuclear Iran means Israel will have to surrender the land back to their rightful owners and Israel is not ready for that !ReplyDelete
Anonymous if Israel does not surrender the land to the Palestinians then what? A nuclear attack?Delete
The issue does not concern Iran a wonderful nation who Hangs Gays and Woman who have had
sex outside of wedlock from a Crane.
During the Iran Iraq war a Million Iranians were killed.
The leaders of Iran dropped MUSTARD GAS ON IRAQ, IMAGINE WHAT THESE INSANE LEADERS WILL DO WITH NUKES. ISLAM THE RELIGON OF PEACE. LOL
Iraq was the country who dropped mustard gas on Iran actuallyDelete
What do you mean by maintaining "Israel's illeagal occupation of Palestine", because I don't understand. Israelis are a semitic population as the Arabs are. The Jews had a state in Palestine 2000 years ago, long before Arabs knew they were Arabs... The Jews suffered a lot from Muslim Arab persecution and were eventually forced to emmigrate to Africa and Europe centuries ago. Now that they returned on their ancestral lands, they are the illegal and the occupyers or the Arabs? Think again.Delete
I just read that link and it's rubbish. Sorry, but this post is full of falsities.ReplyDelete
First of all, the big annoucenment from Iran was that they had produced the first fuel rods for thr Tehran Research Reactor. Big deal.
Secondly, the claim that Iran will "acquire sufficient 19.75 percent enriched uranium by June 1, 2012 to be within 2.5 months of producing weapons-grade uranium for one 15 kiloton bomb" is simply absurd fo a number of reasons:
1. Iran have never enriched to 90%, so there is no evidence that they are able to.
2. Even if they could, in order for Iran to enrich to 90%, they would have to take a number of steps. a) They would have to withdraw from the NPT and kick out the inspectors. That lone could take months.
b) Then they would have to reconfigure a cascase of centrifuges to produce 90% entiched U235. Thattoo could take months.
c) And when all that's done, the task of actually producing a bomb begins. That includes machining of the core elements (a skill which they have not mastered) and the production of the implosion mechanism (which they have yet to produce).
d) The imposion/detonation system alone could take months, if not years to perfect.
e) Last but not least, they have to test the thing, which means burning up all the 90% U235 they have just produced.
I agree the whole Iranian nuke thing is really about oil and greed.Delete
Yea, USA fights these Oil Wars then pays Top $ for Oil. makes alot of sense Iraq should pay back the cost of the War.Delete
If you agree with Iran so must and defends them like i see in some statements here than by all means move to Iran and see how you really feel. In no time will you change your mind. Live it before you defend it. Until you live in that kind of sutation in Iran, your statements show your true ignorance about Iran.ReplyDelete
Let Israel do what it wants. We don't need to defend them.ReplyDelete
Robin: Although a nuclear Iran may actually be a threat to capitalist societies that would love to take over an oil rich country, just like they did in Iraq, this will add further stability to an Islamic Fanatic Regime which is widely hated from within its own people. Unfortunately "changes in Iran" seem only be possible by foreign intervention. Iranian opposition have been tortured, jailed, hanged and exiled enough that can no longer fights for their rights without foreign support.ReplyDelete
Conclusion, if not for nuclear, at least for the sake of Human Rights the Iranian regime should change either by war or through supporting and arming the opposition.
So can Iranian cabinet members post here? Sure sounds like the bull crap you hear from them lairs. For me bottom line, anyone who thinks death by way of martyrdom is going to get you virgins and gold in the heavens for your grateful deed, who are sexually suppressed in life, must I go on! Some of the outlandish statements and speeches President Ahmahdinejad has said, like there was no Holocaust, it was made up because the numbers of the dead were off or made up.ReplyDelete
Put it to you this way, they need no big bomb! If they unleash a nuke any where, any where! If that country has a nuke also, it's over! No country, even Israel, as much as they hate Iran, would unleash a nuke on them first.I feel Iran would if provoked.They would use a dirty bomb quick!
I dont believe that Iran will pull the nuclear trigger. The Iranian Theocracy positions of power are held by old men. The are fanaticle but not suicidal. You never see old men strap on bombs, they have the young men do their bidding. They live comfy lives and want to continue. Much like here in the US its the old men who start wars and young men who die. In a nuclear war everyone is in, everyone is in danger.They dont want to put themselves in that position.ReplyDelete
They know if they ever fire a nuke at Israel they will be hit hard. They will just go on with all their bold talk.To many wars.
Iran is rational. They will not do it.ReplyDelete
A 15kt is not much more then a tactical weapon but enough to destroy the economy of a country like Israel. The Palestinian issue is a made up ruse.ReplyDelete
Call the kettle black but who paints the kettle? Remember Saddam invaded Kuwait as the translator gave him the signal the US would not intervene.
The Vietnam War was started in a similar fashion, exaggerations of the Communist threat due to a domino effect from N Vietnam and then lighting the fuse with the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
I would rather see countries become energy independent but so far efforts are being compromised and diverted in various modes from fossil to green. It's seems elite entities behind the scenes don't want to see an enriched middle class continuing for some reason. Both major parties have been infiltrated.
Maybe it's getting past the social-religious mirages.
Bottom line: Iran wants geopolitical dominance though covert actions while having a deterrence to retaliation by opposing nations. The ruling religious fanaticals want to achieve this though gradual infiltration and takeovers.
The West has been losing this front continuously. Just look at what's been happening in Afghanistan. You would have to completely take over the country and eradicate all the old religious cultural mores. That would take immense, intensive manpower and overwhelming military power. You would have to be Orwellian and Stalinist about it with these guys. Then after 2 or 3 generation you hope they will see the light. But it won't be done on a fossil based economy nor a wimpy green one either unless your talking genocide.
The quarantine of Iran will slowly but surely break its back. it may take ten years or twenty years but it will become a very backward nation like North Korea.ReplyDelete
The idea of a nuclear armed Iran is insane by any reasonable person's account. The Iranians leaders are out of touch with the modern world, and women of the West should be the loudest voices demanding an halt to Iran holding WMDs. Sanctions, yes, but if sanctions don't stop this madness...then the USA and its true allies must, with all the forces it has at its disposal.ReplyDelete
US,UK,France,Germany and Israel are the main threats and Pakistan,N Korea some what threats to the World. Let all other powers join hands and wipe these out!!!ReplyDelete
A few dozen anti-terrorist nukes exploded over Iran will stop the threats of Iran and provide a path for them to join our allies Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on the path to democracy as soon as they liquidate the terrorists that infest their countries.ReplyDelete
I hope Iran gets the bomb soon.if I was Russia/china I would just give them one just to shut the western empire up. Shut up! You murdering two faced hypocrites!ReplyDelete
I have never heard so much bu*lsh*t from so many misinformed individuals!! How pathetic can one get, to post utter rubbish from fabricated hearsay, and believing it to be God's truth...!ReplyDelete
Israel's Bibi Netanyahu was recorded by the News Media back in the mid 90's where he vowed to wipe every Arab from the Near East, and expand Israel accordingly. A stereo comment that seem to emerge every now and then when an argument is set forth about the Israelis... (They are the chosen people before the Arabs were known to the region), therefore it automatically gives them the right to forcefully expel the Palestinians and confiscate their land and abodes. The only country in the world that has managed to ignore all the sanctions imposed by the UN and The Human Rights Organisation against its behaviour towards the Palestinians.
I can clearly see Native Americans revolting against the US and do what Israel is doing to the Palestinians!! Perhaps China will give the natives full support including a full arsenal of nuclear weapons "just in case!!"
Well, I've commented on the credibility of information available in the minds of many on this theme, and suggest some indepth knowledge of facts which is present in the www. before taking a plunge in commenting...
Palestine Land, what planet are you from? do the History goof. Most of Jordan is Palestinian Land I hear NO complaint about Jordan taking there land or wanting it back. This is Not about Land this is about total annilation of the people of Israel. WISEUPDelete