April 2, 2007

Two Years Until Iran Goes Nuclear

It seems that those darned Iranians just keep surprising people with their plucky can-do attitude. For years, Iran managed to fool everyone into thinking that it had no nuclear program at all. Once we discovered that those rascals had been burning the midnight oil to study up on applied nuclear physics, we figured that they could never master the mechanics. Even after Pakistan extended a helping hand by selling them prototype centifuges and weapons designs, Informed Experts told us to relax -- the Iranians would need 5-10 years before they could enrich enough uranium to actually build the bombs.

Well, those enterprising little devils have managed to surprise us again!

Iran has more than tripled its ability to produce enriched uranium in the last three months, adding some 1,000 centrifuges which are used to separate radioactive particles from the raw material.

The development means Iran could have enough material for a nuclear bomb by 2009, sources familiar with the dramatic upgrade tell ABC News.

The sources say the unexpected expansion is taking place at Iran's nuclear enrichment plant outside the city of Natanz, in a hardened facility 70 feet underground. ...

The addition of 1,000 new centrifuges, which are not yet operational, means Iran is expanding its enrichment program at a pace much faster than U.S. intelligence experts had predicted.

"If they continue at this pace, and they get the centrifuges to work and actually enrich uranium on a distinct basis," said David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security, "then you're looking at them having, potentially having enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 2009."

Previous predictions by U.S. intelligence had cited 2015 as the earliest date Iran could develop a weapon.

Well, shucks! Looks like we underestimated those darned Iranians once again. Who knows how they'll surprise us next? Perhaps a mushroom cloud on the Hudson, or a series of them around Tel Aviv ...


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» 2007.04.02 Iran/Brit Hostage Crisis Roundup
-- U.K. Denounces Video of Seized Sailors
-- Iran: No Need to Try Captured British Personnel
-- ABC News: Iran has secretly tripled its enrichment capacity
from Bill's Bites
What Should Britain, the U.S., and Europe Do About Iran? Michael Barone Two interesting pieces from the London papers yesterday on this question, with recommendations you might not expect. In the Times, Gerard Baker says that Britain is doing pretty [Read More]

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Comments (21)

Posted by steve sturm [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 8:32 PM

I had long figured that Bush was determined to talk tough, but in the end, simply hope that Iran wouldn't have a nuke until he was out of office... figuring that it would be sweet to do to (a) Clinton what (a) Clinton did to him regarding North Korea's nukes.

Now it looks like he might not even get that.

For all of Bush's efforts to get the 'international community' to back him (a waste of time, evidenced by their refusal to even back England in the current hostage standoff), all he has done is give Iran time to advance their program and make things harder for us to stop.

Posted by stackja1945 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 8:47 PM

Hitler was defeated when Berlin was taken. Tojo only resigned when defeat was near. Both took five years and million lifes. When will people learn? The MSM today are hopeless.

Posted by OC Chuck [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 8:54 PM

Ezekiel 48 and 49. http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/ezekiel/ezekiel38.htm

In particular, see 48 verse 5:
"Persia, Cush, and Put with them (all with shields and helmets), ..."

Posted by OC Chuck [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 9:04 PM

Sorry, I meant 38 and 39. (pimf)

And 38 verse 5.

While you are at it, check out 39 verse 9. What can supply "fire" for seven years?

Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 9:05 PM

I think Ahmadinejad actually aspires to be the Shiite version of Rev. Jim Jones. Jim Jones (i.e. Jonestown) X 10,000--and probably more with the radioactive fallout. Ahmadinejad's form of suicide/martyrdom would be his order to launch a credible nuclear weapon (at Israel) and then wait for the predictable nuclear response. I think he's just that crazy. I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 9:22 PM

"Who knows how they'll surprise us next? Perhaps a mushroom cloud on the Hudson, or a series of them around Tel Aviv..." -Captain

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud" -Condi in 2002

Here we go again. The Iran invasion will be a hundred times worse for the US than the Iraq invasion. I predict that in 5 years (or much less) you idiots will wishing that the US did not attack Iran.

Posted by Adjoran [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 9:23 PM

Gee, the CIA missed it?

The same guys who were shocked when the Russians tested their first nuke, when the Chinese tested their first nuke, at the South African nuke and the Israeli nuke, missed completely the Indian and Pakistani nukes, missed the KGB infiltration of Iran in 1952-53, missed the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, missed the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, missed the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, missed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and thought Saddam Hussein's WMDs were "a slam dunk"?

Those guys?

At least their record remains intact . . .

Posted by Fight4TheRight [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 9:31 PM

Scary stuff, to be sure.

I have a question to throw out: If the Nuclear Facility in Iran, that is described, the one that is "70 feet underground" were to be destroyed or very seriously damaged, would that put the Iranians out of the nuclear weapons market or would that just mean a couple more years wait for them to rebuild?

I wouldn't know a centrifuge from one of Nancy Pelosi's ....umm...okay, i won't say it....but if the centrifuges are destroyed..are they replaceable?

Posted by The Mechanical Eye [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 9:42 PM

"Hitler was defeated when Berlin was taken. Tojo only resigned when defeat was near. Both took five years and million lifes."

... and the Soviet Union was defeated without a shot, the work of decades of diplomacy, political and military containment, guile, intelligence work, and the economic and moral exhaustion of communism.

Yes, I know its more fun to sound like Churchill and talk about fighting them here and there. Its more realistic to talk and to cajole and to force and contain Iran.

and all this uncertainty about Iran's program is THEIR doing. Why do you all of a sudden trust some anonymous sources from Iran talking to some hated "MSM" organization like ABC News?

It's called disinformation. They want us beholden to their information misdirects and leaks. What the truth is, I don't know, but what are the chances *this* is true?

Let's have a wee bit of skepticism, please.


Posted by Bennett [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 9:59 PM

I'm not sure why Iran believes it needs a nuclear weapon to command respect and inspire fear in the West. It's been able to do pretty much whatever it wants for a few decades now all without the bomb and has never faced any adverse consequences. There is no affront, no indignity, no provocation deserving of any but the most benign response lest we appear aggressive or belligerent. I'm not sure I see how anything changes once Iran is fully nuclear. Or even, in fact, were it to actually use its pretty new toy.

Posted by Non Partisan Pundit [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 10:00 PM

Of course this article neglects to mention that Iranian UF6 sucks and crashes their cascades.

There's a lot more to making a nuke than installing centrifuges.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 10:23 PM


Doesn't mean they won't use "the tool" as a threat. Since it seems Tony Blair just reacted to them with such exposed fears; that Iran has nothing to lose.

Bush? Sits on his hands. Which, given the circumstances, lets time pass.

And, nothing that appears in the newspapers will amount to a hill of beans, down the road.

Germany, under hitler, was a different country!

Start with the fact that germany had a successful militaristic background. And, unsuccessful outcome to WW1. And, a real believe that they were "blued eyed, and superior." NOT fighting the nazi's on a timely basis was very costly.

On the other hand? In the 1930's we had a terrible depression. And, as soon as we went to war, (really into to. Not just "lend-leasing") ... We were able to out-produce ANYTHING the german's had done.

Want one example? America could turn out 4000 tanks a MONTH. Germany? It took them a full year to produce 4000 tanks.

And, that warlike spirit? It's gone, now.

And, europe's in a sea of troubles.

Bush just sits on his hands.

But that doesn't mean at Bush's desk, there aren't "buttons." Should he decide to press one? We'd be moving forward with an arsenal the iranians can't duplicate.

And, those shaking centrifuges?

Did you know that iran isn't noted for her engineering, nor her science? All she's got is the terrorist's propensity to "threaten."

And, the west, for the most part, gave into the "drivel."

Where, yes, we've manifested our own problems. It takes decades to build this to a point where things blow. WE. ARE. NOT. THERE. YET!

And, interesting things can interfere with centrifuges; causing mayhem. And, explosions. Not for naught, russia showed the world Chenobyl. And, rusting subs full of nuclear materials destined for the bottom.

Yes. We're being blackmailed.

And, Bush is being attacked by fleas and bees.

He'll use his arms, more, to fight off the attacks. But they won't kill him. (And, unlike Jimmy Carter, he's not sitting in his office, day and night, thinking he's in charge of the box, out of which he thinks he can get out of; like Houdini.)

We've got two years, too.

And, by now? You know the press, lies. The media exercises propaganda campaigns. And, hillary has found the spigot to millions. But that spigot is not for everybody.

We've also come a long way, discovering that Special Interests have taken control in politics. Now, it's not an exercise to invalidate laws passed by Congress. But a whole other attitude!

I call the new attitude: LESS SYMPATHY.

In other words? You lost your sympathy (or your virginity) when you saw Katrina playing out. And, you saw generosity used against the nice people who thought they'd "halp."


In two years?

For all you know the centrifuges shaking now, underground, in iran; can go UP in a huge accident. Long before there's a launch.

What you don't know?

Heck, you don't even know how there was a leak of Po-210, that supposedly killed Litvinenko. And, shed particles from Moscow to Instanbul. To areas in Germany. And, London. Somebody forgot to screw the cap on tight?

Ah. You just don't know.

And, that I.mam. The one who said Litvinenko's coffin was NOT coming into his parlor! Did he happen to see a "leak" in stuff that had been put into his mosque, beforehand, for storage? You just don't know.

You also don't know where it all "went." Trying to trace this stuff is like trying to "trace" the tons of cocaine and opium, that travel about, illegally.

While we have so many policemen, issued books full of blank paper, "so they can take reports."

Sometimes? We should pass around salt shakers to go with what gets reported.

While Tony Blair? Dithers. Especially because he's not working together with Bush. And, hasn't been, for years.

Too many Special Interests. With independent goals.

Oh, I have a question. How many millions will the Brits fork over for their sailors? When you're dealing with the islamic freaks you can depend that there is a menu full of prices.

Me? Not a farthing.

You feel you have fewer friends in this world? Welcome to what happens when you give "special interests" a boost over what works well for us, as a society.

Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 10:43 PM

Re: Non Partisan Pundit at April 2, 2007 10:00 PM

If Iran is not good at any of the fast airborne ways to deliver a warhead, there are about a hundred slow ways to deliver it. That part won't make much difference to them. Smugglers know smuggling.

Posted by Anthony (Los Angeles) [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 2, 2007 10:44 PM

And given how accurate our intelligence has been over the years regarding anyone's nuclear ambitions, the Persians will probably detonate one next week. :/

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 3, 2007 12:38 AM

If you've been to Drudge; you've seen it.

The Gardian in the UK, is reporting, I kid you not. That Talibani, the Kurdish president in Iraq, had "invited 7 tip-top iranians To his area in Iraq. When, it seems the Americans went and captured 5"low level" iranians. But two big fish got away.

How big? Well, big fishes getting away are always "big fishes."

Shows ya, though. That Tony Blair HATES Bush, and will do all sorts of hoop jumping to make it "bad for the Americans."

Why? Because, somehow, General Patraeus has learned to keep prison doors locked well enough; that the five American hostages, taken at gun point from Talibani. Or not. (But they sure felt comfortable "visiting" iraq. Huh.)

And, Bush, for this reason, alone, sits on his hands.

In the big bathtub called the Gulf.

While Americans are learning all over again, what Patton knew so well. The Brits are a bunch of blow hards. And, they're only "happy" when they think they are in control.

Didn't gain control of the USA in 1941. Because General Marshall, Chief of the Joint Chiefs, told FDR he'd quit. It we didn't retain our supremacy.

Our military is in the field learning many lessons.

In iraq? The iranians might have felt invited. But they got captured.

The Gardian? Might be moving Tony Baloney Blair's agenda forward. Not particularly good news for the Kurds. Who live under the same American pressures as Maliki. THE AMERICANS COULD LEAVE!

After Bush demonstrated, for a time, that we'd change the leaders we were sending into the field.

Until we got to the current combination. A sense of fear and foreboding for the iraqi elites? Sure. Like all democracies, there's plenty of gossip.

But England still has 15 sailors being held as hostages. You can only guess one of the "other" hang-ups, comes from the millions being asked for each one. Too expensive?

Blair's slow drip of news won't work at influencing Bush. Why? Bush already made up his mind.

And, at least his first name is GEORGE.

George understands that the longer it takes the less likely he's gonna cooperate with the bunch of losers. Be they in congress. Or at 10 Downing.

You could, of course, read between the lines.

Between the lines? England's up the stream without winds to push the sails anywhere. And, she's also "without a paddle."

What awaits?

Oh, we've got the money for the navy to sit in the Gulf and play "war games." We've still got the iranian prisoners. And, Blair? Has no deal.

He also sweats when he bluffs.

Posted by ed_in_cda [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 3, 2007 12:39 AM

Israel isn't likely to show up at a nuke fight with a peace proposal. Israel surely knows that when the time comes to bite the bullet, negotiating with its "allies" for moral support would be a waste of time. Or more succinctly, Israel must realize by now that counting on preemptive help from any other country including Britain and the US is nothing more than a death wish.

So the only question left unanswered is whether Iran would actually choose a target other than Israel to prove its "manhood". After seeing what the US did to the taliban for 911, surely they wouldn't dare...... but ya never know.....

And if killing one prince in Sarajevo brought all of Europe plus the Ottomans, et al into WWI, it seems reasonable to suppose that nuking Tel Aviv would be a lot worse than nuking Tehran in terms of mutual aid treaties and related consequences.

So go for the throat Israel. No point in waiting any longer. There's no longer any doubt about how this will all play out. It's up to you. And you might as well get it over with while the Yanks and Brits are still committed, and besides, you have a better chance of dragging them into it when they're still in the neighborhood compared to after they get back home and become comfortably isolationist as they must surely dream about, denials notwithstanding.

Wow! The permutations and combinations are absolutely fascinating: Why would the Israelis stop with Tehran - might as well do Damascus too. Which side will the Saudis be on? The French? What about oil supplies? I wonder if CNN has continency plans for embedding staff in Tehran and Tel Aviv. And Bush would be president for the next 20 years!

The mind positively boggles at all the ramifications. On the other hand, if we negotiate long enough, maybe global warming would fry all the stupid buggers.....

Posted by Tom Holsinger [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 3, 2007 1:01 AM


They have nukes now. They've had them for years. The question is how many and what kind

Small sturdy U-235 gun-type nukes of the 1945-vintage Little Boy variety, which can be delivered by ballistic missile, are easy to make but incredibly wasteful of scarce, expensive U-235. Probably 2-3 nukes with implosion-type triggers can be made with the U-235 required for a gun-type trigger.

Bulky large implosion-type nukes of the 1945 vintage Fat Man variety, which can use either U-235 or plutonium triggers, are reasonably frugal with scarce, expensive, weapons-grade fissionables but can only be delivered by cargo container or mutli-engine aircraft.

iran can build both of those now, and almost certainly has at least one of each, probably several.

The Holy Grail of Iran's nuclear program, which has been merged with North Korea's, is to build small sturdy implosion-type nukes capable of delivery by ballistic missile. This is bloody difficult and requires a test series of at least several shots even given all the blueprints for the things. Which Iran and North Korea have had since the A.Q. Khan network sold the things to them 15-20 years ago.

North Korea's first test, using a plutonium implosion-type trigger, fizzled. They and Iran need at least one more, and IMO two more, tests before there is a significant danger of them having a suitable missile warhead. Plus 100+ days after the final test.

IMO Iran and North Korea together have the weapons-grade fissionables for at least a half dozen nuclear weapons, and more likely 10-20 weapons. Perhaps 2-3 of those use gun-type U-235 warheads suitable for delivery by missile, and the rest are of the bulky, fragile, implosion variety suitable only for deilvery by cargo container or multi-engine aircraft.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 3, 2007 1:04 AM

I agree. Israel won't nuke iran. Too far to go. And, not enough friends in the world to provide cover.

ON THE OTHER HAND? There's always the incompetence. Occam always uses his razor to cut deep into the stupid stuff.

And? First off, none of the scientists are home grown.

For all we know?

Dubai could also be a colossal blunder. You think because they built this "Singapore" on the sands, that all cash is welcome?

Singapore has the population; with plenty of geniuses to go around. Dubai? Imports everthing. Except for the goats. And, their religion. And, the "custom" of men wearing dresses, still. What else have they done that leads you to believe "just because they built it" the Cayman Islands are now in trouble?

Hardly likely.

Castro is either dead. Or on his way to doing more than just playing dead. And, in time? After we do lots of sea action in the bathtub called the Gulf, we can spare some ships to toodle about in the Caribbean. Where countries await GROWTH. You think not?

I think europe's shedding its influence.

I think there are lots of reasons to think the Islands in the Caribbean can be much more than just tourist destinations.

While I think ALL the arabs are without sustainable laws. That, besides money, needs courts to enforce countracts. Arabs don't have that, either. Just as you don't need toilets in tents. You don't need to produce income for the people you intend to fleece.

On the other hand? Dubai sure gave lots of money to architects! To build fake lagoons in stagnant waters. Sometimes, there's just no accounting for taste.

While Iraq gets two more years. And, then? Some. Probably the man who wins in 2008 isn't going to be from the Special Interests side of the map.

With speaking skills? Who knows?

Today's current crop of congress critters have no fears at all for this President.

But if you go back and scratch. You'll see the congress critters were TERRIFIED of Reagan! Do you know why? Reagan's reach was so great; that except for a few lonely pockets, most congress critters lived in districts where Reagan was adored. And, IF Reagan so much as made a "funny comment" about a congress critter; the information flew home. And, the competition came out of the woodwork.

To win elections, you begin years earlier. And, you have a plan. You're not side-tracked off your plan, either. And, the good ones? No how to speak.

While most of the donks are pretty convinced they're "elite enough" not to have a wide majority of people. They don't care. As long as the president is weak, they live in congress stealing taxpayer money. (It's a game that keeps a lot of lawyers employed.) So far.

But things change.

Sometimes? It's real hard to get a custom dropped.

Back in WW2? You won't believe this, but most women wore girdles! And, girdles needed rubber. But we also needed rubber in industry. To make war supplies.

FDR actually got it in his head to "ask" women to give up their girdles. Well? HE LOST! Women "refused."

Do you know when women gave up their girdles? Maybe, when panty hose got invented? But that didn't hold in the stomach muscles that tended to go to pot when a woman passes 30.

Did the french trapeze bring it on?

The shift?

The Chameez?

I have no idea. All I know from having observed it, is that styles changed. But once women began wearing jeans? Wow. You're looking at a hit.

And, the business of making girdles died.

It's nice to see something biting the dust that once robbed women of the ability to breathe easy.

Now? You're telling me that people will fall victim to the donks? And, the elites? Isn't it possible that most Americans are now more together on what they want than ever before?

Start with this. A win. Not a pull-out. In Iraq.

A strong military. That flexes its muscle. Even if it plays by the rules that make it look weak. Sometimes, NOT being an animal actually makes your police and miltary STRONGER.

Oh. And, the Internet GROWS.

Want to see weak? Look at Katie Couric's numbers. She's like Hillary. Earning millions. But both of them, aren't really "facing crowds." Insiders are dumping all this money on them.

Until the fashions change.

Posted by ed_in_cda [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 3, 2007 1:12 AM

God almighty. Whoever keeps hiding the meds, please go play in the traffic!

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 3, 2007 9:21 PM

A lot of speculation and misinformation out there but this is what I believe...... Israel will take out Iran's nuclear capabilities long before we even consider it. If they were even close,imho, the deed would have been done by now.

Posted by Chimpy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 2:40 AM

Opps, he did it again.

A few weeks ago the Capt used a story for a post that used anonymous sources after complaining about anonymous sources in another thread a few days before. Looks like this ABC story was based on anonymous sources too. What’s up with that??
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