Monday, 19 November 2007


Following a new report on Iran’s nuclear activities, the US has vowed to work towards further sanctions, with the menacing possibility of military action if the situation is not resolved.
Iran claims it is only interested in nuclear power, not weapons. The truth of this must lie in the processing. A nuclear ‘fuel’ must be refined. For nuclear power this requires a small number of centrifuges for the refining process. For weapons grade ‘fuel’, a hundred times the number of centrifuges are required.

The experts seem to think Iran has centrifuges for the latter.

If so, then nuclear weapons seem to be a possibility, with all the fears abroad of the Islamic Bomb. But what would be the outcome of possible military aggression to stop such a program?
Let’s make one thing clear. Without a massive air force to counter it, nothing on Earth can stop a modern US Division. Hence, if full military conflict began, America would soon arrive in Tehran. But then they would face a simple problem. Namely, what then?

As soon as the assault was over, insurgency would begin.

And it is unlikely that a single US soldier would survive. So military options could only involve air strikes. But even here there are problems.
Russia would almost certainly side with Iran, leaving the dangerous possibility of renewed fears of conflict with Russia. This may one day come, regardless, but bringing it on in this way is madness.
If Iran continues with a nuclear program to produce weapons, the whole argument is pointless. Air strikes, when they came, would undoubtedly be an Israeli response. After all, it is they who are threatened the most.

© Anthony North, November 2007

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Cheap said...

Actually, the number of centrifuges is not the issue. Iran needs 50,000 centrifuges for a viable civilian nuclear fuel program. It has 3000 thus far. Centrifuges are used to "purify" uranium. At 3.5 percent purification, the uranium is useful for reactor fuel only. At 90 percent purification, it is used for bombs. Iran only purifies to 3.5 percent, and the IAEA constantly monitors Iran's nuclear program to ensure that it doesn't go past that level. Therefore, Iran's program cannot be secretly used to make bombs.

anthonynorth said...

Hi Cheap,
I admit my science may be a bit shakey here, but 90% enrichment is for highly advanced nuclear weapons. As I understand it rudimentary bombs can be produced with 20% enrichment - highly capable 'dirty bombs' with even less.