Iran’s Current Nuclear Weapons Strategy
UPDATED The Iranian regime claims that it is not seeking to make nuclear weapons, and that its purification of uranium is for peaceful purposes only. Iran has said it will participate in talks on the nuclear issue with the P5+1 group, so called because it consists of the five Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, UK, US) plus Germany. But they have also said that they will not abandon their nuclear program.
Recent news analysis has concluded that the Obama administration plans to continue using sanctions, instead of military action, prior to the November general elections in the U.S., but that Israel would like to exercise its military option sooner. Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton has concluded that the Obama administration deliberately leaked classified Israeli intelligence information, specifically, that Israel had an agreement to use airfields in Azerbaijan, along Iran’s northern border, for an attack on Iran. [Fox News] This leak may well have attained its intended purpose: to derailed or delay any Israeli attack on Iran.
The P5+1 talks, in Turkey, in April of 2012, have not met with success.
“Shortly after talks concluded Saturday in Turkey between the so-called ‘P5+1’ nations and Iran, an online statement from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Prophet Mohammad Division claimed the West has surrendered to Iran’s will and accepted the Islamic republic’s right to nuclear enrichment.” Western nations caved on nuclear enrichment, boasts Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps
Iran continues to assert its right to purify uranium. The above article claims that the P5+1 group admitted that Iran has a right to purify uranium to the 3.5% level. But in any case, Iran has refused to accept any limits on its purification of uranium.
The next talks are scheduled to begin on May 23rd. The U.S. will not support any military action before then. And if there is another month or two delay after May 23rd, I believe that Iran will have nuclear weapons by then (by June or July).
In my opinion, Iran fully intends to make and use nuclear weapons against the West, beginning with an attack on the United States. (See my many previous posts on this topic.) What, then, is their strategy to accomplish this goal?
They realize that the U.S. will be unlikely to attack Iran, prior to the elections, as long as it seems as if sanctions might work. The agreement to participate in P5+1 talks dangles a false hope in front of the Obama administration, in order to delay any military strike. The Iranian strategy is one of delay, while they quickly complete the steps needed to make at least a couple of nuclear bombs.
How much of a delay is needed to complete a nuclear weapon? By all accounts, Iran now has over 100 kg of 20% U-235, which is enough to make 2 to 4 nuclear bombs, once it is purified to 90%. I believe that Iran has already begun to purify its stockpile of 20% uranium into the 90% weapons-grade material that it needs. For they realize that they can only delay a military attack for a very limited period of time, perhaps only a few months. So if they are going to make 90% uranium for a bomb, they know that they must do so promptly.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced irritation on Sunday that the next session of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers would be held in more than a month’s time. ‘My initial impression is that Iran has been given a freebie. It’s got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition,’ Netanyahu said in video footage, provided by his office, during a meeting with US Senator Joseph Lieberman.” [YnetNews.com]
Once the U.S. elections are completed, the situation will change. If the Republicans win, a military strike is suddenly much more likely. Even if Obama wins reelection, he no longer has to worry about the effect of a strike on his reelection chances. As he said to the Russian prime minister on a different topic, after the elections, he is more free to act. So Iran realizes that it must complete its nuclear bomb production well before November of 2012. It takes a few months to go from a stockpile of 20% uranium to a hollow sphere of 90% U-235. And according to the Nov. 2011 IAEA report, Iran has already completed all the other steps and components needed to make a nuke (including practicing making a hollow sphere out of a dense metal, and testing the compression of that sphere with high explosives).
If Iran began to purify 90% U-235 in late March or early April, then they will have two to four nuclear bombs by summer of 2012, just in time to beat the November deadline. They cannot wait any longer to begin purifying 90% uranium, due to the continued threat of an Israeli attack. But the Israelis lack sufficient weaponry to destroy the Fordow facility, which is deep underground. So it is crucial for Iran to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel by making it seem as if sanctions will work.
And that is, in my view, the sole purpose of Iran’s participation in the 5+1 talks. They have no intention of giving up the pursuit of nuclear weapons. They simply wish to delay U.S. military action and U.S. support for Israeli military action, until they can complete their nuclear weapons. After that point in time, any military action would risk a counter-attack with a nuclear bomb.