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The interesting story floating around since his disappearance on a pilgrimage to Mecca last summer came to some conclusion yesterday with the announcement of Shahram Amiri's defection. Amiri, a nuclear scientist in his 30s did not return from Mecca last summer and at the time Iran accused Saudi Arabia of either facilitating his kidnapping or directly handing him over to the US. Let's say for the sake of argument that he did indeed defect completely of his own free will as reported yesterday. The real story, after months of being debriefed by the CIA, is the complete lack of a smoking gun emerging out of his information and the vague statements released yesterday, or "The dog that did not bark."

There are certainly a number of short reports to review on this story: One can take the mainstream ABC report: "Exclusive Intelligence Coup" OR some of the international sources: BBC, Al Jazeera English and Middle East Online. All of these articles contain the middling statement with slight variation which appears with ABC's exclusive:

"...the scientist has been extensively debriefed, and has helped to confirm US intelligence assessments about the Iranian nuclear programme."

What does the US intelligence community believe about Iran's nuclear program? Most will remember that the 2007 NIE report told us that Iran had suspended the drive to nuclear weapons. Is that what was "confirmed." OR Was it something more dramatic? I doubt it. If Shahram Amiri provided  definitive evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons this would likely have been announced. This is the dog that is not barking. However, for most reading about this story it will, no doubt, present a fresh opportunity to put the words "Iran" and "nuclear" in the same story again, and we will be seeing the usual suspects over the next few days speculating about the menace that Iran presents.

Power in Iran's government, despite appearances to the contrary, remains difused. While Khamenei as Supreme Leader, and Ahmadinejad as President certainly hold a great deal of power, other parts of the governemnt maintain authority too. The Revoltionary Guards, aka the Pasdaran, exert a great deal of influence in the governemnt, the economy and society. Conflict with the West allows this government to maintain cohesion about where to go in the future. There are likely some throughout the power structure who desire to pursue nuclear weapons. Khamenei himself, and many other religious leaders, however, have issued pretty definitive statements that nuclear weapons are, "Un-Islamic."  The compromise on this issue appears to be the pursuit of enrichment capability. The ability to enrich certainly gives the ability to produce, in the future, "weapons grade" uranium. This capability does not mean that weapons are a definitive endpoint. At this time, based on the amount of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Iran has, if they could enrich to "weapons grade" they might have enough for a couple devices. In the balance of power, a couple devices does Iran little good, while the uranium from those "potential" devices could be used to generate a great deal of nuclear electricity.

On the other hand, consider that "controversy" over Iran's nuclear program might be exactly what the Ahmadinejad/Khamenei coaltion desires. External threats are always useful politically, and few issues display Western double standards better than the nuclear issue. The West has a huge problem with Iran developng nuclear weapons while over 90% of such weapons are in the hands of the US and the Russians, and Israel has hundreds of them? This plays very well in domestic politics for Ahmadinejad and other hard-liners. Can we please stop playing their game for once? From what I can tell, most of the people of Iran would appreciate it if we did, and they could get back to the business of reforming their authoritative state.

Originally posted to FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 04:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (115+ / 0-)

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 04:00:44 AM PDT

    •  A US deal with Israel? (7+ / 0-)

      This defector story follows Hillary's anti-Iran talk to AIPAC

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed Monday that the Obama administration will not accept a nuclear armed Iran and is working on sanctions that will bite to press it to come clean about its suspect atomic program.

      In remarks to a pro-Israel group, Clinton said parts of Iran's government are a menace to the Iranian people and the Middle East.

      Clinton said Iran's leaders must know there are real consequences for not proving their nuclear activities are peaceful.

      Part of the price of getting Isreal's cooperation on peace with the Palestinians may be to put more pressure on Iran.

      look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:48:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I find this entire story to be fishy (18+ / 0-)

      We've had this guy for a year, and now the government is "leaking" this information? I find the timing very suspicious, and wonder why on earth we're saying this now.  This can only do two things: put pressure on the IRI during negotiations or drum up support for some kind of military action against Iran.

      And really, what information can Amiri actually have?  He was a scientist for the  IRI, not any kind of policy maker.  He likely knows only what kind of science the IRI knows and is researching - the nuclear fuel cycle.  It's no secret anymore that the IRI is trying to master the entire fuel cycle.  There is no way that Amiri knows anything about what the IRI is going to do with this information. The nuclear cycle has been kept secret for decades, and now those in charge are going to start telling their underlings their dastardly plans?  Unlikely.  

      I fail to see how this is even news.  Propaganda, yes.  New information, no.

      •  OBAMA is pushing for sanctions against Iran (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        liberte

        It seems everyone is onboard but China

        •  Sanctions (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bensdad, liberte, JesseCW, FrankCornish

          only lead to increased reliance on the government. Considering the massive protests over there, public support for the government is exactly the opposite of what should be encouraged. Time to use the carrots, not the sticks.

          ...the alternative is revolution

          by 1000 Points of Fright on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:06:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Russia is planning to fire up Irans (3+ / 0-)

          first commercial reactor early this summer.

          I wouldn't bet the bank on them being on board, either.

          My first choice is a strong consumer agency My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.~E. Warren

          by JesseCW on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:40:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know about this... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankCornish

            Seems like some sort of deal was made with the Quartet- that was when they came out with the joint statement wrt Israeli settlements and a nuclear weapon reduction, iirc. And Russia did make some noise regarding Iran then, I can only imagine that it involved a deal with Iran, considering that is clearly our no.1 policy issue right now.

            Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

            by borkitekt on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 10:22:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If our goal is really to prevent Iran developing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FrankCornish

              nuclear weapons, letting them fire up the reactor would be the wisest course.

              Here's why.

              First, it would take all the refining and enrichment capacity they're likely to have any time soon to keep the reactor supplied, leaving no left over Uranium.

              Second, they've been pretty good about letting the IAEA have access to their active facilities for a decade, and letting the IAEA track their uranium from the mine to the centrifuge.  They can't really divert any without setting of a lot of alarms.

              Third, they have no capacity to reprocess fuel and are years away from being able to do so, so we don't have to worry about them obtaining plutonium from the reactor in the near or medium term - they plan to let the Russians take all the spent fuel, under IAEA oversight.

              My first choice is a strong consumer agency My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.~E. Warren

              by JesseCW on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 11:58:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Doubt it (0+ / 0-)

            Russia has been promising to complete that reactor for a decade now, but they just keep stringing Iran along.

            •  That was my first thought too, but announcing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FrankCornish

              it in response to American pressure for support on sanctions does lead me to take it just a little more seriously.

              My first choice is a strong consumer agency My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.~E. Warren

              by JesseCW on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 11:52:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  yes.. very fishy.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrankCornish

        I always look at the timing of these things and wonder "why now?".

        Obama is getting a lot of heat for being soft on Iran lately.  He might have simply authorized the leaks to tamp down some of that criticism.

        And.. you raise a very good point about this scientist's "need to know".  It would be very unlikely he was privy to long-range plans, or plans to militarize these nuclear capabilities unless he was actually working on the project.

        "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

        by Skeptical Bastard on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:37:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You know "why now" (0+ / 0-)

          Obama is trying to rally support for sanctions. They're actually quite upfront about that. So, how does that make it any more or less "fishy"?

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 09:11:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree with your assertion (0+ / 0-)

            that Obama is trying to rally support for sanctions.

            I truly believe he wishes the whole Iran thing would just go away.

            China and Russia are not on board with any sanctions that have teeth. So, for now, they will not pass any meaningful sanctions in the UN.

            I also believe Obama hopes to push this down the road and ignore it until after Iran develops a nuke and announces such to the world.  At that point it will be a fait accompli.  He will pay lip service to "sanctions" and talk a good talk about the threat, but I don't see him doing squat about it in reality.

            "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

            by Skeptical Bastard on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 09:24:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)
            What claims are being made concerning this guy that are 'fishy'?

            On the wheel of ideology, the cogs of communism and fascism are close.

            by Liberaltarianish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 09:39:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  What do you think if I speculate... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FischFry

      ...may be that Amir's life was in danger? He must be at least willing to defect and that has to involve issues regarding to his safety, living in Iran. And it is no secret that the Iran's government is not necessarily the best friend of the Iranian people in general...

      A scientist/thinker like Amir could be an inconvenience to the theocratic authoritarian Iranian government. The assumption that Iran's government is supportive of Iran's intellectuals even if it claims to be working on a nuclear weapons program falls short of reality when all angles are studied.

      Any ideas?

      •  I don't know for certain (6+ / 0-)

        what his reasons are. As I have stated in other comments, there is certainly reason to believe that he would want to defect. However, with US actions over the last few years, rendition is not out of the realm of possibility either.

        Personally, I think he did defect, but the information he provided is being cast misleadingly and in the most bellicose possible light by ABC, and it will be used by others to incorrectly "prove" an Iranian nuclear weapons program. If anything, this is a doubtful assumption.

        You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

        by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:41:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The realm of possibility (0+ / 0-)

          It's also possible that Venusians used their plasmatic teleportation beam to whisk him out of Saudi Arabia and rematerialized his corporeal essence inside CIA @Langley. After all, the Venusians have been cooperating with the USA for decades.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 09:09:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Another angle... (0+ / 0-)

          ...is the assasination of a well known Iranian quantum theorist a while ago. Link
          According to the sources, he was friendly to the anti-Ahmedinejad section, the pro-reformist side. This is not far fetched since scientists in general, including the physicists, don't necessarily find Ayatolla regimes and theocracies appealing. Moreover, they could be seen as serious threats to such powers if they are popular. I strongly suspect that Amir defected for security reasons although we may never know for sure. Meanwhile, if that's the case, that Amir was under threat in his country, then the question to ask would be why would the Iranian government that is beligrently pursuing (as it claims) nuclear weapons technology would want to threaten and harm its own prominent physicists? Something doesn't make sense here. Either the Iranian government is telling the truth: working on a nuclear weapons program as it claims to be doing. But if that's the case, Amir should not have defected fearing for his life. If he did, however, this could mean his expertise was not an assett but a threat to his government...and that would further mean that the Iranian gov. is not telling the truth about this whole nuclear weapons pursuit thing...

          Weird stuff...lots of questions...and what we know makes little sense, so far...

  •  Rec'd and Tipped for this clause: (39+ / 0-)

    However, for most reading about this story it will, no doubt, present a fresh opportunity to put the words "Iran" and "nuclear" in the same story again[.]

    Very insightful, as this is the primary objective of the MSM reports. Any excuse to put the words "Iran" and "nuclear" in the same story works to reinforce the narrative of Iran as a nuclear threat.

    Excellent diary. :)

  •  So they are denying the weapons program (6+ / 0-)

    yet planting suspicions in order to get international pressure which gins up popular support?

    Seems complicated.  Why not have an actual weapons program, if one is so willing to incur the costs of suspicion?

    •  Not so complicated, (25+ / 0-)

      they have been "two to three years from a nuclear weapon" for about 20 years now. They are either:

      1. Stupid
      1. Lazy
      1. Not as intent on nuclear weapons as many believe

      It is certainly possible to have enrichment wihtout weapons. The West has largely overplayed the idea that they are intent on weapons. The IAEA has inspected many times and never found anything approaching weapons grade uranium.

      They already face sanctions and isolation, why not keep the controversy up--it is very useful politically. In addition, any time leaders in Iran moderated--Rafsanjani in the early 90s, or Khatami in the 1997-2002 period, they were seriously rebuffed and dismisssed by the US in particular. Conservative forces in Iran bank on conflict with the West--it keeps them in power over a country where 70% of the population is under 30.

      Try Trita Parsi: Treacherous Alliances.

      You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

      by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 04:43:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  IAEA thinks Iran is developing weapons (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, Seeds, Quicklund, BasharH, ctexrep

        capability:

        In unusually blunt language, an International Atomic Energy Agency report for the first time suggested Iran was actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability, throwing independent weight behind similar Western suspicions.

        The IAEA seemed to be cautiously going public with concerns arising from a classified agency analysis leaked in part last year which concluded that Iran has already honed explosives expertise relevant to a workable nuclear weapon.

        The report also confirmed Iran had produced its first small batch of uranium enriched to a higher purity -- 20 percent. Reuters Feb 10, 2010 >>>>>

        This cannot be resolved through conflict, but I have very little doubt of Iran's intentions. They may not be lazy or stupid, they have had major technical blocks in enrichment.  Like my hovercraft, Iran's nuclear weapon may never arrive, but you can't make plans based on that assumption.

        "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

        by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:04:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The IAEA has a new guy (11+ / 0-)

          who seems to be more influenced to pressure than ElBaredei was, and as Frank points out it's more about media perceptions than anything based on reality.

          The US and the IAEA have been playing this game for a long time- either the US will dump a some last minute information the IAEA has to go through before a report to which the US can justify something to the effect of 'possible evidence' to make a nice soundbite, or'pre-releasing' reports from some random people supposedly connected with the IAEA, or twisting and contorting the IAEA's reports, which, if you remember, caused a bit of an uproar a few years back under Bolton.

          Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

          by borkitekt on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:44:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Baredei declared the IAEA probe "dead end" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wader

            based on Iran's intransigence in Nov 09.

            "There has been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the agency to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," ElBaradei said at the opening session of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors. "We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us."
            Washington Post Nov 09 >>>>

            "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

            by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:01:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The IAEA declared that they could not get the (5+ / 0-)

              additional information they needed to make a judgment.  

              As Frank Cornish says upthread, that gets arbitrarily interpreted to mean Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, as you just did.

              The new leadership at IAEA is more willing to make that leap, as borkitect just pointed out to you.

              "Dega dega dega dega. Break up the concrete..." The Pretenders

              by Terra Mystica on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:40:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree, on the remaining issues, it's a black (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Terra Mystica

                box. Baradei was extremely disappointed with Iran's position. Iran has played rope a dope with the IAEA regardless of their actual abilities. Why do people here not grant Iran's leadership the same disingenuous intentions so quickly granted the US and Israel?

                "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

                by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:24:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think people do attribute similar disingenuous (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  boydog, the fan man, JesseCW

                  motives to Iranian leadership, at best.  I think the criticism of Iran goes far beyond that though.  

                  Most of the time this discussion ignores the cynical calculations and manipulations of political elites everywhere, and dwells on the largely fictional "Iran as evil incarnate special case" that obscures deeper understanding of, or practical solutions to, the issue.

                  To use the boxing analogy, Iran is more jabbing and circling (early Ali style, npi), than rope-a-dope, imho.

                  "Dega dega dega dega. Break up the concrete..." The Pretenders

                  by Terra Mystica on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:44:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I know the purpose of these diaries is to (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Terra Mystica

                    provide counterbalance to the normal disinformation out there. The Iranian people seem as wonderful as the people of many other countries, including our own (minus the teabaggers). Governments, on the other hand, I'm always suspicious of, and if Iran announced next week or in 2012 or 2020 that they have developed a nuke weapon, it wouldn't surprise me. In fact I've seen foreign policy papers saying we should learn to adjust to such an eventuality.

                    I want whatever gets the extremist regime out of power asap, minus war.

                    "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

                    by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:56:18 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  ja, ja, ja... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              protectspice, JesseCW

              "Whether they have done some weaponization studies as was claimed is still an outstanding issue. But I have not seen any credible evidence to suggest that Iran has an ongoing nuclear program today. I hope they are not having one," El Baradei said.

              This was just a month earlier- remember the whole OMG! Butsed! Tehy have a secret nukular facility!!!

              If I'm not mistaken, most of this info is coming mysteriously from the terrorist group that the neocons (Ledeen & ¢0.) have been trying to have de-listed from the US terrorist register.  

              Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

              by borkitekt on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:08:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Irans Nuclear Weapon will never arrive (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the fan man

          Israel will see to that.

          Iran has threatened Israel too many times and you can bet the farm on it - Israel will strike Iran if and when they get close.

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:00:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's not what the IAEA said (7+ / 0-)

          They said that Iran has the knowledge to produce a weapon, not that they actually have one or are producing one.

          •  Reread comment, capability, not development. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wader, Quicklund

            If they're working on explosives technology, delivery systems, enrichment of uranium, they are working on capability. If they decide to produce them, they have elements already advanced.

            "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

            by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:19:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't read the report that way (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, FrankCornish

              I see a hodgepodge of separate facts being thrown together and trying to make some kind of analysis based on circumstantial evidence.  Iran is gaining knowledge of the nuclear cycle.  They already have a delivery system - they have a weapons program in general.  They have elements, but so does any nation that has any nuclear program, including merely a civilian one.  The only way to show that Iran has no nuclear weapons capability is to show that Iran has no conventional explosive weapons.  That's not going to happen.

              •  Since their program and intentions are opaque, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Quicklund

                all we may ever see are bits and pieces. Explosives technology related to nuclear weapons is pretty specific. If the IAEA saw some evidence of that, it's troubling.

                When discussing this, I simply think Iran can be every bit as duplicitous as the Untied States. Is that so hard to believe?

                "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

                by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:47:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Based entirely on "intelligence" spoon-fed (8+ / 0-)

          by governments profoundly hostile to Iran, the IAEA says that activities "may" have continued.

          Of course they "may" have.  No one can prove a negative.

          Iran can no more prove it is not seeking a nuke than Saddam could prove he wasn't seeking any weapons of mass destruction.

          My first choice is a strong consumer agency My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.~E. Warren

          by JesseCW on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:42:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I posted ny comment in response to "IAEA (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund

            has inspected many times and never found anything approaching weapons grade uranium." Except they agree with Iran's claim of possessing a small quantity of 20% enriched uranium and agree Iran has capability of developing weapons. People here can say the IAEA is hasn't found anything, or they are in the pocket of the West and have found something, or some other interpretation. It doesn't  matter in the sense that threatening Iran strengthens the leadership's push towards a dictatorship and war is not a solution.

            "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

            by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:59:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Isn't the technology to get to 20% the same as to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              the fan man

              get it much higher?  It just will take longer?
              I guess it depends on how small a quantity of 20%.

              If they started with yellowcake and they are now are 20%, they are definitely making progress.  

              •  FC comments this is used for nuclear medicine. (0+ / 0-)

                That's a legitimate use. The quantity then means everything, which they like to play games about.

                "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

                by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:14:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Well, we have to keep in mind that (9+ / 0-)

        "two to three years from a nuclear weapon"

        has been a talking point about Iran for twenty years by those who have wanted conflict all along, so just because it was said twenty years ago, doesn't mean it was based on anything.

        I see it as the evidence being inconclusive, but more importantly, the broader point isn't whether they might ever pursue nuclear weapons, but whether they would use them if they had them - a point which receives little notice - and THEY WOULDN'T; self-preservation is paramount to those like Khamenei in a way our media completely misses the boat on reporting, far more important to him than avoiding an action that would be "unislamic" (say, such as mullahs taking vows of poverty and then becoming the richest people in the country, which Khamenei was glad to take part in)

        77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

        by ShadowSD on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:46:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This could just mean that... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the fan man

        The inspection regime can slow down the drive towards weapons implementation but not stop it.  Yes, it seems that they've been a couple of years away from a weapon for the past few decades but there's some punctuated evolution going on here.  Having a nuclear scientist from another country (Pakistan) share some secrets with Iran or North Korea (or both) certainly helps to speed things up.  And as the IAEA weren't able to stop India or Pakistan from developing weapons I'm thinking there were a few tricks available for hiding weapons programs.

        As for rebuffing moderate Iranian leaders, we weren't sure whether Rafsanjani was serious about reforms.  Khatami became serious about reforms and we were just beginning to listen when disaster struck in the form of Bush's election.  They should not have been dismissed back then, but I don't think we were ready to listen just yet.  The demonstrations taking place over the past two years have persuaded more Americans of the prospects for a change in relations.

        The most dangerous... programs, from a movement conservative's point of view, are the ones that work the best and thereby legitimize the welfare state. Krugman

        by BasharH on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:53:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "3" doesn't make any sense. (0+ / 0-)

        They already face sanctions and isolation, why not keep the controversy up

        Well, they already face sanctions and isolation, so why not have the controversy AND the bomb?

        •  Because actually having the bomb (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kickemout, JesseCW

          puts them in a different category, and if, God forbid, a rogue nuclear device goes off, who do you suppose will get the blame? It won't be Pakistan, I can tell you that, although they could more easily be the source.

          You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

          by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:47:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Deja Vu all over again (6+ / 0-)

      I seem to remember a certain country called "Iraq."  It's like Iran but ends in a "q" ;).  Now, if my memory serves me right, this country had a leader who wouldn't totally come clean about his WMD programs for some reason.  When all was said and done, it turned out that he didn't have any.  

      Complicated things have been known to happen...

      "If you can't lower heaven, raise hell!" - Mother Jones

      by al ajnabee on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:50:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, Saddam had a reason: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the fan man

        He lived in a really, really dangerous neighborhood, and having WMD as a threat made him feel safer.

        I don't see that as applicable to Iran hinting that it is WORKING on WMD.  That only begs attack, which, if its a cost worth bearing for internal political reasons, is worth bearing for actually working on WMD.  Why put everyone's knickers in a twist and not end up with an actual bomb?

        •  I think Frank's idea makes sense (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          boydog, Terra Mystica, FrankCornish

          Having an external enemy increases internal cohesion.  I also don't see Iran as "hinting" that they are working on a bomb.  Rather, I see them as being less than cooperative and being quite explicit that they want to develop nuclear technology to showcase the unity of Islam and science.  I don't exactly buy this, which is why I think that there has to be more going on.

          I think that actually having a bomb would be pretty useless because using it would be suicidal.  That's why I wonder if putting "everyone's knickers in a twist" isn't itself the point...

          "If you can't lower heaven, raise hell!" - Mother Jones

          by al ajnabee on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:23:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Iran is in a really, really safe neighborhood (5+ / 0-)

          and isn't being threatened by an extremely bellicose American Secretary of State who voted to massacre Iraqi civilians based on nothing more than some forged yellow cake claims.

          Yeah.  

          It makes no sense at all why they'd like to leave the world guessing as to whether they could build a few nukes before the tanks could roll into Tehran.

          Saddam came clean.  He cooperated fully with inspectors.

          We took that and said "Yay!!! Now we know for sure it's safe to attack!!".

          My first choice is a strong consumer agency My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.~E. Warren

          by JesseCW on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:59:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, wrong (6+ / 0-)

        They DID "come clean" about their non-existent WMD programs, denying up and down that they had any. And...THEY WERE TELLING THE TRUTH.

        Now we have your analogy with Iran, claiming that Iran "won't totally come clean." EVERYTHING Iran has said is that they are not either now or planning to in the future make nuclear weapons. Maybe, just maybe, you should consider that THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH.

        Claiming that Iraq and Iran were trying to "deceive" the world turns the truth on its head. Its the U.S. and its allies which is trying to deceive the world, most notably the American public.

        Eli Stephens
        Left I on the News
        "March 20: Get off the computer and into the streets!"

        by elishastephens on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:09:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terra Mystica

          By "coming clean" I meant allowing full and unfettered inspections--which both have been reticent about.  I probably should have made that more clear.

          The parallel I see is the argument that has been made in both cases to justify US aggression: "why won't you cooperate unless you have something to hide?"  I think this is specious.  Iraq had its reasons (fear of attack) and Iran may have its own reasons.  Personally, I'm partial to Frank's theory that the leadership benefits from low-level tensions between Iran and the West...

          Of course, we're all just speculating here...

          "If you can't lower heaven, raise hell!" - Mother Jones

          by al ajnabee on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:15:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Iran is in full compliance with IAEA (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            as far as inspections. Your claim about not allowing "full and unfettered inspections" is simply false.

            As for Iraq, perhaps the fact that the "inspectors" were also working for the CIA and reporting back targeting coordinates to the U.S. military for use in subsequent attacks might have had something to do with Iraq's "reticence."

            Eli Stephens
            Left I on the News
            "March 20: Get off the computer and into the streets!"

            by elishastephens on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:57:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You keep putting words in my mouth (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              boydog

              Did I ever say that they weren't in full compliance?  No.  I said that they were reticent--and rightly so.  Given Iraq's experience, they're right to be reticent.  To me, this sounds like reticence (which is distinct from violating the Non-proliferation treaty):

              http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

              You can nitpick all you want, but try telling me that the hawks in this thread don't sound like Rumsfeld circa 2003...

              "If you can't lower heaven, raise hell!" - Mother Jones

              by al ajnabee on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:07:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The ABC exclusive (12+ / 0-)

    "...the scientist has been extensively debriefed, and has helped to confirm US intelligence assessments about the Iranian nuclear programme."

    is the truth wrapped in propaganda language designed to mislead.

    Latest US Intelligence assessment:

    Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons though we do not know whether Tehran eventually will decide to produce nuclear weapons.

    We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

    by truong son traveler on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:22:21 AM PDT

    •  Enriching to 10% is harder than the next step (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KevinNYC, Kimball Cross, BasharH

      of enriching to weapons grade U-235. It appears that Iran is building a stockpile of low enriched uranium that could be fairly quickly enriched to weapons grade.

      This gives the regime bargaining strength.

      look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:40:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  IAEA confirms small quantity at 20%. (4+ / 0-)

        "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

        by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:42:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which is used for nuclear medicine, (5+ / 0-)

          stores of which Iran has been complaining they will run out of for some time. No one was willing to sell them more.

          Iran actually has excellent doctors and a thriving medical system. My wife is planning to do a knee replacement surgery over there as opposed to here--they also do not do knee replacement as readily and have alternative procedures that do not enrich the producers of synthetic knees.

          You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

          by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:26:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is it true that they lack the tech to process (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            R Rhino from CT4

            the 20% enriched for use in the Tehran reactor? They apparently requested preassembled targets for the reactor, but were rebuffed.

            By the way, the world in general is reliant on too few reactors for this purpose. The United States lacks the ability to supply its own needs in this regard. A shut down in a Canadian reactor squeezed supplies in the US a few years ago. We import isotope seeds used in cancer therapy from Australia. Thankfully, technologies have recently been patented to produce most commonly used isotopes from low level enriched uranium in smaller, safer reactors.  

            As I wrote in another comment, there is no way out of this other than through diplomacy and without threats. I also wrote I believe Iran can be at least as duplicitous as the United States or Israel when it comes to their intentions and capabilities.

            "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

            by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:07:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  They can't use it. The lack the tech to fashion (0+ / 0-)

            it into fuel rods. In fact, they asked the US for these rods last year.

            "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

            by the fan man on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 09:10:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well, riddle me this: How does a country (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boydog, protectspice, FrankCornish

      permanently forgo "the option to develop nuclear weapons"?

      Obviously, such a thing is not possible.  So, the phrase "Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons" is completely meaningless.

      They (the Likud 'Nuclear Iran' propagandists)  haven't got diddly, it seems.

      And this will tend to undercut the fear of nuclear Iran as Netanyahu's bad-faith excuse for not moving on the Palestinian issue.  

      Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

      by oblomov on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:52:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Being set up for another resource grab. (3+ / 0-)

    If Iran had no oil or natural gas; this would be a non story.
    Create an enemy to reach the real goal.

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:32:48 AM PDT

  •  Unusually for me... (6+ / 0-)

    I believe this story as reported, which given the subject matter is perhaps a little trusting.

    It's just I totally buy the idea that a young Iranian scientist didn't trust his govt. And that the Obama admin seemed more hospitable than the Cheney one...

    •  I tipped you (6+ / 0-)

      Not because I'm sure either way about this particular story, but the differences in government really would resonate to outsiders and it's important to point that out; after all, under Bush's strategy of invading Iraq but letting North Korea do whatever it wants, a country would have to be FOOLISH not to want nuclear weapons, certainly when it was identified as an "axis of evil" along with said two countries.  However, enter Mr. Non-Proliferation, and it's a completely different ball game - so what you say is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.

      77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

      by ShadowSD on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:50:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OK (0+ / 0-)

      If the scientist defected to the US, what kind of information do you really think he has?  Any information is at least one year old.  This is a young man who, in all likelihood, did not know much about any other potential nuclear site.  He would likely know what science the Iranian regime knows and is looking for.  Which would be mastery over the nuclear cycle.  He can say what projects he was working one.  Given his youth and position, he only knows things about the science that the IRI knows.  There is no way that he knows what those in power in the IRI are going to do with this knowledge; the leaders didn't get to power by sharing their secrets with underlings.  

      The IRI kept any nuclear program secret for over 20 years.  Do you really think that they are spilling the beans now?

      I have serious doubts about the defection, given that the man was on the Haj.  People just don't go on a Haj unless they are deeply religious. Why defect?

    •  I'm not necessarily doubting that (4+ / 0-)

      he defected--it could be. Anyone would have their reasons. However, his input to the nuclear arms issues are hardly clear, and the reporting of this story are not intending to clarify, but to fearmonger.

      You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

      by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:29:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps the Israel Gambit? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, the fan man, Terra Mystica, dan667

    Perhaps they want to play the same game that Israel has played with nuclear weapons.   That is, have them but deny it!   The result, keep your enemies guessing, is very useful.

  •  From Juan Cole today (18+ / 0-)

    Meanwhile, ABC News's Brian Ross got the scoop on the defection to the US of Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri. US intelligence continues to maintain that Iran has not committed to having a nuclear weapons program. Presumably this information came from Amiri and is fresh and solid, since he is a consummate insider.

    Yet you get headlines like, "Iran moves closer to nukes."

    Somehow American hawks can't seem to get their minds around the obvious conclusion from the CIA diction, which is that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program at the moment. It can't move closer to nukes if it doesn't have a weapons program! Moreover, that it does not have such a program is no longer a considered opinion or educated guess, but is based on the best kind of intelligence. It is the conclusion that the 16 US intelligence agencies came to in 2007, and there is apparently still no evidence that Iran has changed its mind about the undesirability and even evil of nuclear warheads (though there are no doubt hard liners who disagree with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's fatwas against nukes as un-Islamic.)

    As long as the US does not object to the actual nuclear weapons of Israel, India and Pakistan (none of which signed the NPT), its obsession with Iran's civilian energy program will strike people in the region as unfair.

    Informed comment

    The corporate media will continue to beat the propaganda drums for the Washington establishment. It's becoming more and more clear that a regime change continues to be their desired goal. Meanwhile the public will be fed lies and misleading information a la the lead up to the invasion of Iraq.

    "There's a saying in Tennessee ..."

    We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

    by truong son traveler on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 05:53:20 AM PDT

  •  The Iranian power elite aren't alone.. (6+ / 0-)

    ..in finding an "External Enemy" useful.

    On the other hand, consider that "controversy" over Iran's nuclear program might be exactly what the Ahmadinejad/Khamenei coaltion desires. External threats are always useful politically,

    Pretty useful and financially rewarding to the Western MIC as well.

    -7.75 -6.46 ...be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides. ~ Carl Sagan

    by andrewinscotland on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:09:15 AM PDT

  •  if israel doe not want iran to have nukes (4+ / 0-)

    then israel needs to acknowledge they have nuclear weapons, accept nuke inspectors, and dismantle their nukes.

  •  You know, Goddamnit, this is important news that (4+ / 0-)

    the MSM should be focusing and investigating not matter how slow the trickle coming in.  Instead, with all the shit going on in the world and Iran's threatening bluster on this very subject, I turn on all the news channels and all I fucking hear is about fucking Tiger Woods comeback at the fucking Masters.  WTF!

    "These are people of the land. The common clay of the new west. You know.....morons!" -The Waco Kid

    by fedorko on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:27:05 AM PDT

  •  Curious in regards to Israeli policy (5+ / 0-)

    Fareed Zakaria believes Israel's current stance in defiance of US pressure may suggest that the Israeli government is not that concerned with Iran.  For if they were, they would not use this time to create distance with their key economic and military ally against Iran.  Who knows, its an interesting hypothesis.

    This is another piece in one f-ed up puzzle over there.

    "If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin." - Charles Darwin

    by ViralDem on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:33:08 AM PDT

    •  Israel used to be happy to deal with Iran, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liberte, Terra Mystica, FrankCornish

      for the first decade after Khomeini's revolution.  This is all detailed in Trita Parsi's Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States, and was demonstrated for all to see in Iran-Contra.

      Israel's close relationship with the U.S. developed during the Cold War, fostered by shared anti-Sovietism.  Once the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union disappeared, new common enemies had to be found.  For a while, that was Saddam's Iraq (even though Saddam used to be one of our guys in the Middle East).  Once Saddam's Iraq disappeared, a new common enemy had to be found, and Israel is trying to take advantage of America's hostility to Iran, growing out of the hostage crisis, to make Iran the new common enemy.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:47:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Spot on. Thanks much.* (3+ / 0-)

    Let's let the pols do the selling out, you and I keep fighting for what's right.

    by Matthew Detroit on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:35:31 AM PDT

  •  Colin Powell (9+ / 0-)

    by way of Bloomberg 19 March

    The Iranians are determined to have a nuclear program," Powell said in the interview, which will be broadcast on Bloomberg Television’s "Conversations with Judy Woodruff" this weekend.

    "Notice I did not say a nuclear weapon. But they are determined to have a nuclear program, notwithstanding the last six or seven years of efforts on our part to keep them from having a nuclear program."

    A Republican who endorsed Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 election, Powell said the president speaks to him "on a fairly regular basis," usually by himself, and allows him to be candid. He said Obama has "pretty much kept in place" the terrorism policies of President George W. Bush, under whom Powell served from 2001 to 2005.

    We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

    by truong son traveler on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:46:00 AM PDT

    •  What is wrong with having a "nuclear program"? (4+ / 0-)

      I assume this means they want to be capable of producing a nuclear weapon within a relatively short time if they ever decide to do so.  (Remember how Bush would occasionally talk as if Iran's even having the knowledge of how to make nuclear weapons is somehow impermissible.)  I think this is called the "Japan option," and I also believe nothing in such a program would violate the Nonproliferation Treaty.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:41:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Uhm, obviously if this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, FrankCornish

    guy had something bad to say about Iran, they would have announced it long ago.  Sounds like he confirmed there is no nuclear program and no need for belligerence.  Watch this story disappear like lightning.

    Denial is complicity.

    by Publius2008 on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:20:56 AM PDT

  •  I have an idea. Probably a good one. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hlinko, liberte

    I'll speculate regarding top top secret intelligence information and demand that the USA modify policy to accomodate, not what intelligence folks have risked their very lives for, but what I've guessed from here in my basement.

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:34:08 AM PDT

  •  There are too many ways to second guess why (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, condorcet

    someone said something to draw conclusions in any of this.

    •  I would certainly agree that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Terra Mystica, JesseCW

      definitive conclusions are not possible, however, the way the story is being played is false, and it is being used to trump up a convenient "story" which has yet to be confirmed.

      The 2007 NIE has not been overturned.

      You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

      by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:53:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Real, *effective* Intelligence is back (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberte, Quicklund, FrankCornish

    After nearly two decades - Intelligence services were pretty dysfunctional under Clinton too (mostly thanks to Clinton nominating Republican incompetent nutcases like Louis Freeh).

    So at long last, we're seeing tactics that really work, like recruiting defectors and infiltration.

    Techniques that, as a security professional, I've been advocating for lost decades now.

    In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few. - Shunryu Suzuki

    by thenekkidtruth on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:42:28 AM PDT

    •  True, (4+ / 0-)

      but what intelligence has been confirmed in this story?

      It appears to be used for war mongering, when in fact the findings are rather more vague.

      You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

      by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:52:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ends versus Means (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        2laneIA, liberte, Quicklund, FrankCornish

        I'll grant you that, except from the point of view that a ton of intelligence about what's really going on with regards to Iran's nuclear ambitions will be discovered.

        What excites me is the fact that this type of cooperation would never have occurred under BushCo.  I can't imagine Iranian nuclear scientists dying to cooperate with Bush, but now it seems that there's a level of trust in Obama which inspires such defections.

        An asset like Shahram Amiri should not be underestimated.  The potential and invaluable information which stands to be gained could save hundreds of lives, and may even be a potential game changer with Iran, if we're having a particularly good day.

        THIS is the type of thing which exemplifies highly effective intelligence at its best.

        In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few. - Shunryu Suzuki

        by thenekkidtruth on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:00:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why do you suppose they announced it? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          liberte, thenekkidtruth

          Would it not be better to keep his whereabouts unknown? Iran certainly suspected we had him, but there's a big difference between suspecting and knowing.

          You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

          by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:02:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There comes a point (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            2laneIA, liberte, Quicklund, FrankCornish

            Remember Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar's capture in Karachi, Pakistan?

            US forces knew where he was for 15 months before they made their move, and during that time we gained invaluable information.  As always happens, a captured Baradar ultimately became more valuable than he was as a free asset in vitro.

            There is a plethora of factors which goes into a decision like this, but what is certain as that such a move is evaluated on a continual basis.  In the case of Amiri, I would guess that his announced defection would have political capital with our allies, especially Russia.

            And Russia, indeed, has announced a close alliance with us in recent weeks with regards to a nuclear Iran - coincidental with the Amiri announcement.  Shahram Amiri, btw, disappeared in May or June of 2009, so this information was not made known for about a year.

            In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few. - Shunryu Suzuki

            by thenekkidtruth on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:13:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not sure what to think... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankCornish

            But isn't it convenient for the Iranians to drum up propaganda and outcry over a missing nuclear scientist, who in the end either doesn’t know enough to give a true view of the status of the Iranian Nuclear Program, or is actually complicit in providing misinformation to the intelligence community.

            I don’t much like going there, and maybe I’ve played one too many games of Diplomacy, but it seems to me that many have underestimated the Iranians in past subterfuge and may continue to do so in this case.

  •  New VFW magazine has Iran on cover. (4+ / 0-)

    I received it in the mail yesterday, and just glanced at the cover.  It highlights a story inside about Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

    I fear the military-industrial complex has decided to get us ready for war with Iran.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:42:39 AM PDT

  •  I always look forward to your common sense, (4+ / 0-)

    fact-based diaries.  Thanks for another one.

    Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Dennis Kucinich

    by keeplaughing on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:46:15 AM PDT

  •  Excellent work FC, thanks. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terra Mystica, JesseCW, FrankCornish

    Let's not just chant the words "Iran" & "nuclear" over & over again & whip outselves into a frenzy where Iran appears as an existential threat to us.

    Meteor Blades seems to do an outstanding job of community moderation despite the abject failure to be perfect.

    by catilinus on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:53:26 AM PDT

  •  Whole lotta assuming going on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    condorcet, La Gitane

    I seriously, seriously doubt the news released contains all the information relavent to Shahram Amiri's defection.  This entire diary is a mountain of straight speculation.

    The take-home message I got from this news is, This defection gives* the US tremendous first-hand insight into Iran's nuclear program, and knowledge being a Good Thing, this is Good News.

    (* Assuming this defection is not a double=agent ploy on the part of Iran.)

    •  Actually the fact that they relaesed this (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund, protectspice, JesseCW, AreDeutz

      information is troubling.

      It is better to keep Iran uncertain and suspecting about his whereabouts than to eliminate all doubt.

      You may be a careful reader, but most people reading this story will once again see "Iran" and "nuclear" and assume that something is seriously wrong and be more inclined to believe the bellicose rhetoric coming from many.

      You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

      by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:10:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Under this form of logic (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, R Rhino from CT4

        It is impossible to report any news about Iran's nuclear program without it being an attpt to incite hostility between Iran and the US.

        most people reading this story will once again see "Iran" and "nuclear" and assume that something is seriously wrong and be more inclined to believe the bellicose rhetoric coming from many.

        Why was it released? Why is any news released? I reject this speculation

        It is better to keep Iran uncertain and suspecting about his whereabouts than to eliminate all doubt.

        This assums Iran has doubts in the first place. And it assumes that there is only one way to play an hand, that circumstances never change, etc.

        What we have here is a news release showing the tip of the tip of the iceberg, followed by a diary that purports to describe the 99% let unseen.  It is pseculation built upon specuation.  

        This is all fine and good and, God help me, to me even plain good fun. But. It is good fine fun only when it is understood to be an excercize in speculation. Raw speculation is not fine good fun when approached from the perspective of a call-to-arms.

        Or put another way, see tagline.

  •  A nuanced analysis, FrankC. Thank you for posting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankCornish

    We will restore science to its rightful place....We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil .... All this we can do. And all this we will do.

    by puffmeister on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:37:15 AM PDT

  •  Curveball II (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, FrankCornish

    The Iranian version.

    Pseudo-credible WMD propaganda can fetch a pretty penny from the neocon gang again.

  •  Why does the dog not bark? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywriter, FrankCornish

    I remember before the Iraq war Saddam used to create a lot of confusion about his weapons of mass destruction. Inspectors on the ground could not find any, but that didn't stop Dubya from invading.

    Turns out, Saddam didnt have any WMD's. He talked a big game to keep Iran from bothering him, but he never thought that the USA would actually invade! It was like he had a "Beware of Dog" sign, and forgot to get the dog.

    So confusion seems to be a common technique used in the middle east. We just need to understand it, and get it right, doggone it!

    I am confused. No, wait! Maybe I'm not!

    by Tuba Les on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 09:23:32 AM PDT

    •  Who says Saddam had no WMD's? (0+ / 0-)

      Turns out, under U.S. law explosives constitute weapons of mass destruction.  The Hutarees were just indicted for planning to use weapons of mass destruction, because they planned to make and use IED's.

      By that standard, Saddam's artillery shells and grenades would have been WMD's.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 11:07:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Absolutely excellent diary--a sane voice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice, FrankCornish

    in a field full of loony hysteria.

    •  Thanks, (0+ / 0-)

      I try to avoid lighting my hair on fire, and I would really appreciate not having to write these pieces, but when I see a story like this pop up, as much as I dislike the current regime in Iran, I have to respond.

      US policy for years has been at best, counter-productive.

      You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

      by FrankCornish on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 10:13:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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