Iran Is Rushing to Build a Nuclear Weapon — and Trump Can’t Stop It

  
Via:  bob-nelson  •  5 months ago  •  9 comments

Iran Is Rushing to Build a Nuclear Weapon — and Trump Can’t Stop It
The White House strategy of “maximum pressure” is backfiring in the most dangerous way possible.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


512 President Trump says he wants to make sure Iran never acquires nuclear weapons. His policy, however, is having the opposite effect: It is giving Tehran a powerful incentive to go nuclear, while at the same time making it increasingly difficult for the United States to prevent that.

The nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran, in 2010.
Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA, via Shutterstock

On Monday the official Iranian news agency announced that the country had breached the limits for enriched uranium imposed on it by the 2015 international agreements.

Indeed, American policy toward Iran over the past year makes it clear that Iranian leaders were foolish not to develop a nuclear deterrent in the early 2000s.

Although there has not yet been a significant military clash, the United States has effectively declared war on Iran. Its wide-ranging sanctions campaign is strangling Iran’s economy, in the hope of gaining sufficient leverage to force Tehran to permanently dismantle its capacity to reprocess plutonium and enrich uranium, the main pathways to the bomb.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also declared that Iran must fundamentally alter its foreign policy in ways that suit the interests of America and its Middle East allies. By imposing what it calls “maximum pressure,” the Trump administration is threatening Iran’s survival as a sovereign state.

There is no evidence that Iran is likely to capitulate to American demands. If anything, the historical record demonstrates that great powers can inflict enormous punishment on their adversaries — with blockades, sanctions, sieges and bombing campaigns — and yet the pain rarely causes target states to surrender.

American sanctions killed well over 100,000 Iraqi civilians in the 1990s, but Saddam Hussein remained defiant. Nationalism is a powerful force that invariably causes the people being pummeled to hang together, instead of rising up to demand that their leaders surrender to the enemy.

States are also reluctant to capitulate to coercive pressure because it may tempt stronger powers to escalate their demands. If “maximum pressure” works once, Mr. Trump and other American hawks might conclude it would work again. Tehran has no interest in showing that it can be browbeaten.

In fact, Iran has already shown that it will not sit by while its people die and its society is wrecked. The Iranians are likely to launch more covert attacks against tankers and oil facilities in the Persian Gulf and employ proxies to attack American troops and installations. We can also expect them to launch sophisticated cyberattacks against the United States and its allies.

President Trump, in response, is likely to retaliate and further escalate the pressure on Iran. The aim will be to “re-establish deterrence” with Iran and force it to capitulate. But these measures will have the opposite result, as the two sides are now locked in a classic escalatory spiral. Iran will double down, which almost certainly means it will move to build its own nuclear arsenal.

The Iranians had good reason to acquire nuclear weapons long before the present crisis, and there is substantial evidence they were doing just that in the early 2000s. The case for going nuclear is much more compelling today. After all, Iran now faces an existential threat from the United States, and a nuclear arsenal will go a long way toward eliminating it.

Nuclear weapons are considered the ultimate deterrent for good reason: Adversaries are unlikely to threaten the existence of a nuclear-armed state, especially one with a deterrent that can survive a first-strike attack, because that is the one circumstance in which a state is likely to use its nuclear weapons. It is hard to imagine, for example, Israel or the United States attacking Iran — even with conventional weapons — if Iran had the bomb, simply because there is some chance that escalation might lead to nuclear use. Moreover, if its survival was at stake, Iran could credibly threaten to use a few nuclear weapons to completely shut down the flow of oil in the Persian Gulf.

It might seem hard to imagine Iran using nuclear weapons first in a crisis, but history tells us that desperate states are sometimes willing to pursue exceedingly risky strategies — the Japanese decision to attack a far more powerful United States in 1941 and the Egyptian decision to strike mighty Israel in 1973 are the classic cases. The Trump administration would surely be aware of the dangers of provoking a nuclear-armed Iran. In short, nuclear weapons would profoundly alter Iran’s strategic situation for the better.

Of course, the last thing Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh want is for Iran to acquire the bomb. But it is hard to see how to avoid that outcome. The United States is certainly not going to invade and occupy Iran — forever — to ensure that it does not go nuclear. Hard-liners will instead advocate bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the Iranians will go to great lengths to make them invulnerable to aerial attacks. Air power can delay a determined Iranian effort to get the bomb by a few years at most. It is also hard to imagine the United States bombing Iran year after year to prevent it from acquiring the bomb.

Furthermore, Mr. Trump’s policy has backed the United States into a corner, leaving no clear diplomatic offramp in sight. For obvious reasons, Iranian leaders do not trust Mr. Trump, and they surely recognize he might eventually walk away from any deal they strike with him. If Mr. Trump tries to lower tensions by easing the sanctions, which Tehran insists he must do before it will even agree to talk, he will be savaged at home by the Iran hawks, who are an important part of his political base. Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States will be equally critical.

One might argue that Iran can wait out the Trump presidency, hoping that a Democrat wins the November 2020 election. After all, virtually all the Democratic candidates are committed to returning the United States to the nuclear deal.

The election, however, is well over a year away, and Iran cannot know whether Mr. Trump will be defeated. Even if he is, Tehran cannot be sure the new president will deliver on that promise, not only because one can never be certain about the future intentions of foreign leaders, but also because American-Iranian relations are likely to become even more poisonous between now and the election. No sensible Iranian leader is going to wage his country’s survival on who gets elected president of the United States.


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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    5 months ago

Please
 - read the seed before Commenting.
 - Comment on topic ( CoC Rule N° 4 ).
 - cite the portion of the seed on which you are Commenting , to enable us (myself and Mods) to observe whether your Comment is effectively on-topic. I will request "deletion / off-topic" for any Comment that is not clearly tied to the seed.

Thank you.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2  seeder  Bob Nelson    5 months ago
... the last thing Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh want is for Iran to acquire the bomb. But it is hard to see how to avoid that outcome. The United States is certainly not going to invade and occupy Iran — forever — to ensure that it does not go nuclear. Hard-liners will instead advocate bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the Iranians will go to great lengths to make them invulnerable to aerial attacks. Air power can delay a determined Iranian effort to get the bomb by a few years at most. It is also hard to imagine the United States bombing Iran year after year to prevent it from acquiring the bomb.
...
No sensible Iranian leader is going to wage his country’s survival on who gets elected president of the United States.

I see no easy way out of the impasse we've put ourselves in. We're already imposing sanctions, so the ayatollahs have every motivation for going after nuclear capabilities at full speed.

John Bolton wants to invade. Who's in favor?

 
 
 
Ronin2
2.1  Ronin2  replied to  Bob Nelson @2    5 months ago
John Bolton wants to invade. Who's in favor?

No invasion. There is a far simpler answer.

Of course, the last thing Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh want is for Iran to acquire the bomb. But it is hard to see how to avoid that outcome. The United States is certainly not going to invade and occupy Iran — forever — to ensure that it does not go nuclear. Hard-liners will instead advocate bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the Iranians will go to great lengths to make them invulnerable to aerial attacks. Air power can delay a determined Iranian effort to get the bomb by a few years at most. It is also hard to imagine the United States bombing Iran year after year to prevent it from acquiring the bomb.

Iran has signed their own permanent death warrant. Nuclear weapons are only good if a country already has them. Time to tactically put Iran out of the rest of the world's misery.  Are their nuclear testing facilities able to survive a tactical nuke?  If so who cares? They will never be able to leave them anyways. Any country that wants to try and obtain Iran's resources can get them through glass.

Iran was never going to abide by any treaty. They were already violating the missile treaty they signed. Why both developing long range missiles unless they were planning on putting nuclear warheads on them?

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/iran-breached-the-nuclear_b_9977768

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-missiles-un-exclusive-idUSKBN0TY1T920151216

Iran violated a U.N. Security Council resolution in October by test-firing a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, a team of sanctions monitors said, leading to calls in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday for more sanctions on Tehran.

The Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Iran said in a confidential report, first reported by Reuters, that the launch showed the rocket met its requirements for considering that a missile could deliver a nuclear weapon.

“On the basis of its analysis and findings the Panel concludes that Emad launch is a violation by Iran of paragraph 9 of Security Council resolution 1929,” the panel said.

Diplomats said the rocket test on Oct. 10 was not technically a violation of the July nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, but the U.N. report could put U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration in an awkward position.

Iran has said any new sanctions would jeopardize the nuclear deal. But if Washington failed to call for sanctions over the Emad launch, it would likely be perceived as weakness.

Diplomats said it was possible for the U.N. sanctions committee to blacklist additional Iranian individuals or entities, something Washington and European countries are likely to ask for. But they said Russia and China, which dislike the sanctions on Iran’s missile program, might block any such moves.

The treaty Iran signed was never going to work. Russia and China will never allow snap back sanctions, hell our NATO allies would block it as well.  Iran knows this and feels free to do whatever they want. Why bother attacking foreign tankers? (glad to see that everyone has dropped the pretense that this is a US or Israel false flag operation).  Because they can, and want to prove it to the rest of the world.  Think Iran will calm down once they have nuclear weapons? Get real.

It might seem hard to imagine Iran using nuclear weapons first in a crisis, but history tells us that desperate states are sometimes willing to pursue exceedingly risky strategies — the Japanese decision to attack a far more powerful United States in 1941 and the Egyptian decision to strike mighty Israel in 1973 are the classic cases. The Trump administration would surely be aware of the dangers of provoking a nuclear-armed Iran. In short, nuclear weapons would profoundly alter Iran’s strategic situation for the better.

It is not hard to imagine Iran using nuclear weapons first; but drop the crisis part.  The article fails to mention Iran is not well liked by other Middle Eastern countries, that would feel threatened by a nuclear armed Iran. Stop the Middle East nuclear arms race before it starts.  Prevent Saudi Arabia and Egypt from needing to acquire nuclear weapons to offset Iran.

My only worry is that Trump will give the Iranians warning before ending their existence.  No reason to give them cause to send all of their terrorist militias and specially trained troops out of the country.  Better tell our troops in Iraq and Syria to get ready, and make sure we have plenty of air support available to back them up. The Iranian militias deployed already in those countries will not be happy.

I would feel sorry for the average Iranian civilian; but as for the rest- they can rot in whatever special hell their religion offers.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1    5 months ago

Let's keep this clear and simple. Your proposition is to nuke Iran, right?

 
 
 
Ender
2.1.2  Ender  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1    5 months ago

Death warrant? Are we all the dump called trump now, and can say what ever we want?

So I guess you want a new war? Seems like it.

So glad you may feel sorry for some civilians. I guess that is supposed to make it better.

Do you trumpers ever look in a mirror and/or have any, some kind of reflection?

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
2.1.3  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.1    5 months ago

that's what i read.

sounds like a plan.

what could go wrong in nuking Iran...?

 
 
 
WallyW
3  WallyW    5 months ago

The sanctions are working, make them even tighter

No need to invade, which Trump would never approve.

Israel might have their own plans though.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  WallyW @3    5 months ago

Please
...
- cite the portion of the seed on which you are Commenting, to enable us (myself and Mods) to observe whether your Comment is effectively on-topic. I will request "deletion / off-topic" for any Comment that is not clearly tied to the seed.

Thank you.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
3.2  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  WallyW @3    5 months ago
No need to invade, which Trump would never approve

Even if it does come to that (which I don't think it will).  The US already has much of the needed equipment in place already in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 
 
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