Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 24, 2014

Extended U.S. Iran Talks Likely To Fail Again

The recent negotiations over limits of Iran's civilian nuclear program were unsuccessful. But instead of coming to that conclusions all parties agreed to prolong the deadline for another seven month. In fact two new deadlines were introduced. One in four month to reach a framework agreement and one in seven month to reach a complete understanding. The first deadline is very fuzzy as a "framework agreement" could be just anything. The second deadline is likely one that will not see any further extension.

The open points at the end of this negotiation round were the same as at its beginning. What maximum numbers of centrifuges would Iran be able to use? What is the timeline for lifting sanctions? How long is the whole agreement to run?

The first point, number of centrifuges, is irrelevant. The whole concept, introduced by the U.S., of a "possible breakout time for Iran to get material for one bomb" is nuts. If Iran would be interested in nuclear weapons it would produce those in secret and in numbers that would make them a viable deterrence. The difference between five thousand or fifty thousand centrifuges running under IAEA supervision would not influence that.

The timeline for lifting sanctions could also be simple. As soon as Iran fulfills x% of the agreed upon steps x% of the sanctions should be lifted. Some U.S. sanction are related to other than the "nuclear Iran" issues and can only be lifted by the U.S. congress. Those would likely stay in place but could be reduced in their effects by executive orders.

The timeline for the whole agreement is something that is also easy to do. Iran offers a three or five year limit, the U.S. wants a double digit number of years, the compromise is right in the middle.

All this is easy and could have been done in a 30 minutes phone call. That the last days of negotiations in Vienna, with seven foreign ministers in attendance, could not reach a simple solution is likely because one side does not want one. I am sure that Iran wants a reasonable agreement. I am also quite sure that the U.S. is the blocking side. It wants to keep sanctions as future pressure points even as Iran agrees to limit its nuclear capabilities.

The U.S. needs Iran to solve conflicts in Iraq, in Syria and elsewhere. But that need is not yet urgent enough to allow for some sensible position change in the general attitude towards Iran and its interests. Only if the U.S. faces more pressure from its deteriorating position in the Middle East is a change of mind in Washington likely. The seven month extension of the talks is too short to allow for that. I therefore find it likely that the next talks and the whole negotiation round will fail (again) and that the cooked up conflict will prevail.

Posted by b on November 24, 2014 at 09:09 AM | Permalink

Comments

The technology to assemble a nuclear weapon was developed 3/4 of a century ago. Any nation preferring to make one at the expense of providing the equivalent value in goods and services to their people can do so. We are all in agreement that the Iranian nuclear issue would be nothing but a comical tool of leverage were ongoing hostility and a shooting war not possible permutations.

More than worth revisiting:
http://orwell.ru/library/articles/ABomb/english/e_abomb

Posted by: IhaveLittleToAdd | Nov 24, 2014 9:54:09 AM | 1

It's beyond bizarre that only Iran is being bullied by 5 and a half self-scrutinising nuclear powers to accept foreign scrutiny of its nuclear program. And it's not very funny that the IAEA is almost as big a (fraudulent) joke as the UN and the excruciatingly partisan ICC - which still hasn't put any Western criminals on trial.

There won't be any Nuclear deal with Iran until there is a set of conditions to which every existing or future Nuclear power agrees to abide by - including the exceptionally criminal US of A and Jewish-Occupied Palestine (even though J-OP hasn't got any nukes - which is why the Iran fiasco began inthe first place).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 24, 2014 10:04:26 AM | 2

So the saga continues. Oh well, it's only money, right? Taxpayer money, that is. The congress don't care, nor do the neocons either, because most of them have their money stashed in tax havens. American born & bred Jihad's damaging the internal infrastructure of the U.S. anyway they can. Not until the shooting starts at home, will the so-called brainiacs open their eyes and realize that they have been bowing down before a false idol/god, even then, it will probably be too late.

Posted by: Norman | Nov 24, 2014 10:10:41 AM | 3

"Right to enrich" is principally restricted by the West (especially US and France) for financial reasons whereby it provides the uranium fuel, and also just because it can. Since enrichment under the NPT is fully surveilled by IAEA it makes no other sense. Recently, the US has successfully restricted South Korea from enriching, even though it builds nuclear reactors at home and abroad. They do what they're told because the US has 28,000 troops there. The Iran situation is different.

Anyhow, it's all about regime change. The sanctions on Iran started after it became an Islamic Republic and before the nuclear issue was dreamed up. In a pinch the US also has other grievances which have been bases for US sanctions on Iran:
--human rights abuses
--development of unconventional weapons and ballistic missiles
--support for international terrorism
--deceptive banking
--computer and network disruption, monitoring, and tracking
--faulty elections
--evading sanctions

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 24, 2014 10:15:38 AM | 4

Yes b, this is more theater, designed to fail. The empire and their minions will accept no competitive system to challenge their quest for global dominance. This latest brand of virulent capitalism will brook no interference from any source. IMO, that is the global battle now underway.

Posted by: ben | Nov 24, 2014 10:53:16 AM | 5

Nice quote from the Saker blog.."The US can only conceptualize two categories: vassals and enemies."

Until Iran and others accept their " vassel" status, no serious talks will bear fruit.

Posted by: ben | Nov 24, 2014 11:26:54 AM | 6

Latest from the Saker:

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/

Good read.

Posted by: ben | Nov 24, 2014 11:36:01 AM | 7

The issue of nuclear non-proliferation and nature of Iran's civilian program has served the U.S. as a tool for attempting to destroy the Islamic Republic as well as contain or at least slow down its rise as a regional power.

The issues at stake and reasons for the negotiations are far more fundamental, these are the so-called "gaps" which we keep hearing and reading about.

The Deal
A concise interview by Hillary Mann Leverett, a former U.S. foreign policy official, fleshes out the “gaps” that keep an agreement from being concluded in clear language.

First, any 'nuclear' agreement that is signed by the P5+ 1 will essentially mean that the United States recognizes the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic and its sovereign rights.

It would specifically entail that the U.S. accepts an Iran that is “strong, independent and a nuclear power (not weapons power)”.

Second, according to Leverett [2:40-3:15 minutes into the video]: the U.S. can only accept Iran IF:
it can become part of a pro-American security and political order in the Middle East ...to do so it would have to give up some elements of sovereign rights in order to have a big functioning military, full industrialization and to have policies that support the United States.

In essence, Iran would have to agree to become a vassal state and turn back the clock to the pre-1979 revolution, the time of the Shah. Paradoxically, this type of relationship would open up enormous economic opportunities for foreign investment (mostly Asian) in Iran’s energy resources but it would end Iranian political autonomy and would entail that Iran uses it growing power on terms defined and set by the U.S. Some of the factions of Iran’s elite that surround President Rouhani, including Hashemi “the shark” Rafsanjani - the powerful chair of the Expediency and a multi-millionaire, are in favor of giving up elements of its sovereignty and joining a U.S. political and security order in the Middle East for which they would reap enormous personal fortunes.

If Iran closes the “gaps” and agrees to U.S. demands for Iranian compliance with the U.S.’s region wide policy then a range of interlocking issues such as the fates of Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians, Israel’s desire to colonize all of historic Palestine, the possibility of carving out compliant and dependent mini-states including for the Kurds, the enormous leverage to shape global energy flows and gain pressure points over China and Russia come into play.

Standing in the way of such an accommodation are other factions – notably the Pasadran, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Having been elevated to power across Iran’s political structure and expanded its economic interests via its holding company the Khatam al-Anbia during the Ahmadinejad Presidency, the Pasadran are a powerful force in Iranian politics and base their legitimacy as “keepers of the revolution”. The question is what is the extent of this counter pressure against complete and utter subordination to the U.S.?

…what the U.S. negotiating team is trying to test is whether the Islamic Republic of Iran is willing to join this pro-American political and security order. … to signify that Iran can do this they [Iran] would limit their ability to have civilian nuclear program according to American wishes.

The current negotiations about Iran’s civilian nuclear program is the mechanism that the U.S. and western powers are using to achieve their political objectives – one’s they were unable to achieve via overt and covert war against Iran. It would seem that Iran is willing to join a U.S. political and security order in the Middle East as she accepted the interim 6-month deal to reduce uranium enrichment from over 20% to below 5% (a nuclear bomb (minus delivery systems know-how) is only achievable after 90% uranium enrichment and since all of Iran’s nuclear sites are monitored real-time by the IAEA via CCTV … you know where the argument goes).

In return, unilateral U.S. sanctions that are akin to war continue and are hampering any attempts at economic recovery that could alleviate the deteriorating lives of its populations. U.S. policy makers desire that collective punishment of Iran’s relatively young population would somehow destabilize the country and open the door to a coup d'état remains a mirage.

Signing an agreement is the ultimate sign that Iran has “closed the gaps” and satisfied some of the U.S.’s political demands. Whether that means the demise of the axis of resistance and a free reign to the religious fundamentalist regimes of the region, mainly the Saudi’s, Israel’s and the Turks and former colonial powers of France and Britain is open to the unfolding of history.

Nevertheless, the maximalist points of the “gap” are at least a U.S. demand that Iran agree to give up crucial elements of its sovereignty and join a U.S.-centered political order in the Middle East. Iran seeks as its maximalist position to maintain its independence, sovereignty and ability to rise as an important power, paraphrasing HML. Iran’s principle threat as seen by the Saudi’s, Israeli’s and former colonial powers like France is its continued rise as a formidable power in West Asia.

So, looking forward the prospects that these countries will try their utmost to sabotage any U.S.-Iran deal will be complemented by a pro-war faction (including Democrats) controlling Congress and putting pressure on Obama. The prospects for a deal are not promising and even if forthcoming the nature of that deal will depend on the conflict's in Syria and Iraq and desperation of the Obama and Rouhani administration to seal a deal. Until then, both parties are planning for war.


Posted by: thirsty | Nov 24, 2014 11:56:38 AM | 8


Twilight of the NPT

Since the 1990s Iran has instead sought to establish civilian nuclear energy and substantial missile capacity. By pursuing both these paths, Iran could hope to become a threshold state in the same sense as Germany and Japan, and it could do so quite legally under the npt, to which it has continued to adhere under the Islamic Republic. Meanwhile, the us—supported by the eu—has been attempting to prevent Iran from exercising its legal rights to enrich uranium for civilian uses.

Posted by: thirsty | Nov 24, 2014 12:03:55 PM | 9

A rather sober (perhaps premature) assessment of Israel's failure to sabotage U.S. policy on Iran.

Israel Losing the Battle to Wage War on Iran

Good Read.

Posted by: thirsty | Nov 24, 2014 12:08:01 PM | 10

It may seem tangential but the P5+1 negotiations to draw in Iran into a U.S. centric political order in West Asia should be seen in the context of the U.S. elite's delusions of global supremacy.

Empire of Chaos

Posted by: thirsty | Nov 24, 2014 12:14:48 PM | 11

The U.S. is still pissed about the Shah being overthrown.

Posted by: Mark Gaughan | Nov 24, 2014 12:16:00 PM | 12

Here Comes the War Faction

Iranian leaders have said that if lawmakers pass new sanctions legislation—even if it is vetoed—that would kill a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid kept a bill from getting a vote that would have increased sanctions against Iran if it walked away from talks or violated a deal. That bill, cosponsored by Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez and Republican Sen. Bob Corker, is backed by 60 senators.

The extension of the talks likely pushes the announcement of a deal until after Republicans have taken control of the Senate in January. Corker is expected to chair the Foreign Relations Committee. The perch will give him a megaphone through which to voice his opposition.

Republicans gave Obama a preview of what that could look like, sending him a sharp warning Tuesday.

"We are alarmed by recent developments in your administration's policy toward Iran," 43 Republican senators, including Marco Rubio of Florida, wrote in a letter to Obama. "... Unless the White House genuinely engages with Congress, we see no way that any agreement consisting of your administration's current proposals to Iran will endure in the 114th Congress and after your presidential term ends. And they won't be alone.

In a separate letter, 11 incoming Republican senators said that if the administration "reaches a deal that we deem unacceptable, we will join our colleagues in the Senate to act to keep America safe.

Posted by: thirsty | Nov 24, 2014 12:32:24 PM | 13

@ 11 the U.S. has a short memory, just look at the love vest with Vietnam. The problem is that the Iranian's refuse to kneel - that is the crux of the problem.

Can U.S.-Iran Relations be Like U.S.-Polish Relations?
If only they would follow former foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski's observations about Poland's relations with the U.S. as giving "the Americans a blow job" then all would be forgiven.

Obviously describing a key strategic alliance as sucking dick is the kind of thing that could get any politician in trouble, let alone a foreign minister.

Obviously! But is it true? If so, then that could be the breakthrough necessary to get a deal in the P5 + 1 and "close the gaps." Of course it only involves the U.S. and Iran anything else would be haram.

Posted by: thirsty | Nov 24, 2014 12:44:20 PM | 14

It took an age for the Iran sanctions to wind their way thru the courts.

Article below details briefly how the EU is not taking into account its own decisions, which more or less deemed the Iran sanctions ‘illegal.’

al-monitor May 2014:

http://tinyurl.com/klb77t7

Orlov and others include in their lists of signs of failing, faaalling ta-da, decaying empires: loss of the monopoly of violence, and loss of the rule of law, no matter what the law (oppressive, ridiculous, etc.) - the topic treated is not about mayhem in the streets, or favoritism, but about legal frameworks, their purpose, and how they fail or are broken.

In effect, many sanctions against Iran have been lifted already, and various biz. are getting off the ground. It seems that the US is using the the term ‘temporary lifting of sanctions.’ Boeing is dealing with Iran, for ex.

“Iran,” said Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, “is the biggest opportunity of the next 10 years.” (from Time mag. Oct 2014.)

Just like in Germany, vis à vis Russia today, we see a clash between two parts of US - now - EU ideology.

Free trade lifts all boats, profit is all, and neo-colonialism, or just ‘plain trade’ of some supposedly benevolent form is an overall boon.

On the opposing side, there is the punisher, the controller: the arms, space / security / communications/ industry, the human control industry (citizen surveillance, prisons, slave labor, concentration camps, genocide, etc.) In function of various geo-political aims of many kinds. (e.g. re. Israel.)

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 24, 2014 1:22:44 PM | 15

I dont think the US wants a deal. Frankly speaking if Iran excepts Israel it wouldn't matter any more if Iran wants the A bomb or the H bomb. As long as the Iran-Israel issue stand I doubt there will be any peace.
The only Plus I see is that atleast the Iranians are speaking to the Americans face to face and I am extremely happy that clowns like Ahmedinijad are no longer speaking for Iran.

Posted by: Nini | Nov 24, 2014 1:45:19 PM | 16

the exceptional nation continues to sanction on other 'select' nations... something in their for the cold brained fans of freedumb i guess...

you hit the nail on the head here b - "That....seven foreign ministers in attendance, could not reach a simple solution is likely because one side does not want one." bingo... they wouldn't be an exceptional nation anymore if they thought these sanctions were anything other then a bullying device to be used on certain countries and not others( i'm not saying which others, lol)...

the bullying, exceptional nation just can't stop being what it is.. @11 mark - sums it up in a lot less words, lol..

Posted by: james | Nov 24, 2014 1:45:51 PM | 17

RT is reporting that Chuck Hagel, the US Secretary of Defense, has resigned; and the micromanagement of Pentagon affairs by the administration is suggested as one reason he is calling it quits. White House may be closely jiggering with diplomatic affairs, too, as one might imagine in this political climate, where war is being ramped up through ever increasing sanctions. The collapse of the rule of law and the concentration of power in executive hands seems to be the trend in the US. And in the EU, as well as in the USA, the bureaucrats are overriding court rulings, to keep the agenda of the Deep State in force.

The Iran negotiations are sabotaged by the US side and are nothing but a farce at this point. The link Noirette provides, at #14, exposes the collapse of a moral center in the EU, as far as rule of law is concerned. It's quite possible that Hagel is ducking out of office now, because the US administration is going all the way towards confrontations, for the continual policy of aggression, expanding rather than curtailing war. The underhanded approach and the gaining of advantage by deception is becoming obvious, as is the concentration of the war hawks on their insane desire for domination, as they are gaining momentum.

Posted by: Copeland | Nov 24, 2014 3:18:00 PM | 18

Hagel is out, and McCains Dirty Ops Mafia have triumped, with the WB-CIA coalition SOFA in Afghanistan now reversing the military's last chance to restrain the CIA-MIC Fourth Reich of a 1000 Years. How ironic on the aftermath of US-CA-PL support for Global Fascism, that the Pentagon is preparing to create women combat corps, just like Israel, whose unholy alliance with McCain, ISIS and the DarkAges Sheiks casts a pall of death around the earth. Whoo-ahhh!
On to Damascus! On to Tehran!! Trillion Dollar Perpetual War!

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Nov 24, 2014 4:31:13 PM | 19

It seems to me that the perpetual 'negotiations' with Iran are modeled on the perpetual 'peace process' with the Palestinians: death by a thousand cuts.

As the bankruptcy of the West begins actually to sink in and the US sanction regime crumbles in the wake of the new financial order ... perhaps even US/Israel's profligate expansion will come to a halt, and the tide will begin to rise in Palestine for the Palestinians as well as in Iran for the Iranians.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 24, 2014 4:42:54 PM | 20

Nuclear ICBMs...more and faster for Iran.
Then we see how fast US and Israel and UK shut their mouths and back down, the way they did with North Korea.

Posted by: farflungstar | Nov 24, 2014 5:14:44 PM | 21

Hagel quit now in order to rid himself of the Obama taint.

The PTB are leaning hard toward the trouncing of Hillary by the JEBSTER.

Hagel, and his Black Box Vote Flipping, will be assured a position in the JEB Cabinet.

Gotta get the stink off him soon enough to get Republican love. The perception is that Obama is ruining everyone and everything he touches.

Posted by: fast freddy | Nov 24, 2014 6:38:11 PM | 22

JFL@19

I wish I could be as sanguine about the decline of the Hegemon as you are. The Beast has much power and many resources to tap and expend to produce distruction and mayhem before anyone will have the power to stop it. The US has lost every war since WW2 but still marches on lighting fires anywhere it chooses.

The BRICS may be able to protect themselves somewhat from the US but their moves are defensive not offensive and offense is what wil be needed to stop the US.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 24, 2014 8:17:20 PM | 23

@Copeland #17:-

RT is reporting that Chuck Hagel, the US Secretary of Defense, has resigned
Only at MoA is RT going to be cited for developments inside the US instead of US media. I don't visit RT much myself, since it is directed at Western audiences and I can read Russian.

That said, the RT piece is more informative than what came on top of my Google news, an LA Times piece which beats around the bush. What the resignation comes down to is that a Republican SECDEF is not hawkish enough for the Obama administration. I would say that given that the Obama administration only has two years left, replacing the SECDEF once again indicates that the administration is off its rocker. I wonder what people in the US military, who tend to be Republicans, will think about this. To me, it sure adds to the impression that Obama is a despot. Also, tensions between a country's executive branch and its military do not exactly enhance the impression of the stability of that country's government.

Posted by: Demian | Nov 24, 2014 8:19:05 PM | 24

Posted by: Demian | Nov 24, 2014 8:19:05 PM | 23

Obama chucked Hagel for two reasons.
1. Not telling enough lies (none at all that I'm aware of).
2. Speaking the truth about Obama's insane ISIS and Syria policies.

I'm guessing the eerily inept psycho, Shrillary, will replace Hagel.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 24, 2014 10:56:55 PM | 25

@Hoarsewhisperer #24:

Here are a couple of pieces on Hagel's getting fired. I think that what that comes down to is that Washington just can't get enough war.

Hagel out - Flournoy maybe?

So, Hagel is out. He is evidently the loser in a struggle between the military leadership and the Children's Crusaders at the White House and State Department. The military want more clearly defined goals across the Islamic culture continent and "the kids" want to run foreign affairs on the basis of the crap they write in magic marker on white boards in their seminars.
Why Chuck Hagel’s Departure Really Matters
The New York Times reported that the United States will expand its mission in Afghanistan in 2015, with US troops participating in direct combat with the Taliban while American airpower backs Afghan forces from above. …

[I]t is against this new hawkish posture that Hagel’s departure should be understood and discussed. It is possible that it was the subtext to his resignation: Hagel came aboard to help manage a withdrawal from Afghanistan and shrink the Pentagon budget, and an anonymous US official told the Times Monday that “the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus.”

Posted by: Demian | Nov 24, 2014 11:24:38 PM | 26

Unfortunately I think b is right about this -- the negotiations are not going to succeed. It has been clear for the last three years that Iran would not accept any restrictions on their rights under the NPT and that sanctions would have to be lifted for any agreement. The Leverett's have been making this argument for many years. Two and half years ago there were a number of indications coming out of the Obama admin that they were serious about reaching an agreement. If that was the case then the time to close the deal would have been now with the current elections over and a new Congress dominated by hawks coming in next year. Given that it seems like Obama and Kerry have backed away from ending the no-war/no-peace policy against Iran. The question is why.

First, I am pretty sure that they have changed their minds. To enter these extended negotiations that have gone on for two years means they were interested reaching some kind of deal. Any sentient observer has to have known what such a deal would consist of. Surely Kerry and Obama had to have known. Now it looks like they are backing away from the obvious. Yet again it makes them look like a couple of losers. This fiasco follows the other absurdly inept effort by Kerry in the Israel-Palestinian negotiations the past year. Quite frankly, I can't understand why they even began these negotiations if they were unwilling to actually follow through. Perhaps it is a sign of Obama's weakened position after the fiascoes in Libya, Syria and Ukraine over the last 3 years.

The Leverett's have been pessimistic about a successful outcome since last spring and it looks like they were right.

Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 25, 2014 12:02:56 AM | 27

Demian | Nov 24, 2014 11:24:38 PM | 25

Yep. There's certainly a lot of blood-soaked salivating going on among the right-wing cranks. Xymphora has reproduced some silly stuff from Max Boot.

I was going to mention Hagel's dismissal in the Open Thread but it belongs here in an Iran thread because there's no doubt, in my mind, that Hagel was chucked because of Kerry's abject failure to subjugate Iran 'diplomatically' (LOL) - leaving Obama with "no choice" but to get tough by projecting all the bullshit, stupidity and wishful thinking he can muster/bluster. It's interesting that the defenders of Obama are talking about everything EXCEPT Iran as the motivation for sidelining Hagel.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 25, 2014 12:22:54 AM | 28

@Hoarsewhisperer #27:

I think that Hagel's dismissal belongs here as well, since one can take the thread's subject to be about USG's relentlessness when it comes to non-subjugated foreign powers in general.

I think it's a stretch to say that the standoff with Iran had anything to do with Hagel's dismissal. I think Hagel was dismissed because he was standing up for the US military, which is apparently sick of being involved in hopeless undertakings in the Muslim world. The US military can understand that fighting IS without coordinating with the Syrian government is crazy.

It will be interesting to see what kinds of consequences Hegel's dismissal will have. My reading of it is that the Obama administration has gone the way of Bush II's administration: it sees taking reality into account as beneath its dignity.

Posted by: Demian | Nov 25, 2014 1:08:50 AM | 29

...
I think Hagel was dismissed because he was standing up for the US military, which is apparently sick of being involved in hopeless undertakings in the Muslim world. The US military can understand that fighting IS without coordinating with the Syrian government is crazy.
...
Posted by: Demian | Nov 25, 2014 1:08:50 AM | 28

That sounds like a peculiar reason to sack the DefSec. One imagines it would be part of his brief to at least pretend to stand up for the military. And I most certainly DO NOT believe that the Blowhards are bombing the bits of Syria they're bombing without Putin and Assad's permission ... and a list things they'd better not destroy ... unless they want to be vaporised the same day.

Imo, Syria is all about Putin helping the US military to look dopey, loud, and ineffectual. And that's the way it seems to be going. The more they bomb the more threatening ISIS gets, according to Obama.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 25, 2014 10:10:25 AM | 30

@28 "it sees taking reality into account as beneath its dignity."

Spot On

Posted by: thirsty | Nov 25, 2014 10:23:04 AM | 31

@1 Ihavelittletoadd said: "The technology to assemble a nuclear weapon was developed 3/4 of a century ago. Any nation preferring to make one at the expense of providing the equivalent value in goods and services to their people can do so. We are all in agreement that the Iranian nuclear issue would be nothing but a comical tool of leverage were ongoing hostility and a shooting war not possible permutations."

Yes and no. Everyone knows that compressing fissionable material past a well documented critical limit results in an explosion.
However, the degree of compression matters. More efficient compression means less material is needed for a targeted explosive power - which in turn greatly affects the numbers and cost of nuclear weapons development.
The amount also greatly affects the potential platforms. Little boy was something like 10 feet long by 2 feet in diameter and weighed around 5 tons, with a yield around 16 kilotons. Fat Man was slightly longer, slightly heavier, but was 5 feet in diameter and had a yield of 21 kilotons.
Modern warheads like the Minuteman W87 weight 600 pounds or less and have an explosive power of up to 475 kilotons.
It is really tough to put a 10,000 pound bomb onto a missile - whereas the Minuteman ranges 8000 miles give or take with 3 warheads.
I'd also note that nuclear weapons design isn't pure science either - during the era of live testing, there were numerous instances of failures. More recently, North Korea had a failure as well.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 25, 2014 10:28:39 AM | 32

C1ue @ "It is really tough to put a 10,000 pound bomb onto a missile" but rather easy to load on a small boat and sail into the harbour or harbours of your choice. New York sounds nice, or how about Tel Aviv?

Posted by: harry law | Nov 25, 2014 1:14:26 PM | 33

The nuke negotiations will succeed when and if Israel wants them to, so they won't succeed.

Like all aware Iranians, I'm sure us regulars here all had the above take on the negotiations. Somehow that's reassuring. And it's honorable and a good PR strategy that the Iranians are 'playing along', just to show (and gradually increasing numbers in the West are noticing) who runs U.S. policy in the greater Middle East.

Posted by: fairleft | Nov 25, 2014 1:33:06 PM | 34

You can imagine Germanys talks with the Fed about repatriating their gold bullion will go equally glacially, just as the discovery of Switzerlands looted bullion will go like rocket fire after Sundays referendum, which is why Swiss citizens will be 'retabulated' to lose, and why its pointless to waste ink on Iran, the US-UK-IL-KSA Wehrmacht will do whatever they wish, your views are mere fly specs on the Parchment of 21C UberMenschen History, your lives just useless mouths to feed.

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Nov 25, 2014 5:18:55 PM | 35

The US isn't seeking a solution to conflict in the Middle East. The US strategy is to create chaos.

Posted by: Arius | Nov 25, 2014 5:18:59 PM | 36

@ 30 Hoarsewhisperer:

"That sounds like a peculiar reason to sack the DefSec. One imagines it would be part of his brief to at least pretend to stand up for the military."

My assumption is that it would be to make sure that the top brass were in line with the president's policy.

Posted by: sleepy | Nov 25, 2014 8:54:27 PM | 37

Before the elections, Bibi and the Israel Lobby were constantly claiming, directly and indirectly, that as soon as the elections were over, Obama would stab America's BFF in the back (so vote Republican!!). Obama appears to be doing everything he can to counter that narrative (including letting the Iran talk deadline pass) -- aside from upping the rhetoric about Israel's occupation as being really unhelpful.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Nov 25, 2014 10:21:21 PM | 38

My assumption is that it would be to make sure that the top brass were in line with the president's policy.
Posted by: sleepy | Nov 25, 2014 8:54:27 PM | 37

I hope that you and Demian are right. That would imply a forthcoming purge of the military, would it not?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 26, 2014 12:05:46 AM | 39

According to my info, the White House wants a deal/an agreement with Iran but there're forces that are opposed to an US-Iranian agreement. and those forces are doing all they can to sabotage those talks. That's why the US can't hasten the talks.

Posted by: Willy2 | Nov 26, 2014 3:16:38 PM | 40

@harry law #33 You said: "C1ue @ "It is really tough to put a 10,000 pound bomb onto a missile" but rather easy to load on a small boat and sail into the harbour or harbours of your choice. New York sounds nice, or how about Tel Aviv? "

Yes and no. First of all, 10,000 pounds in a very dense package is not something you can move without heavy equipment. In this era of satellite surveillance, automated flagging via satellite imagery of the juxtaposition of heavy equipment and specific civilian vessels is in no way impossible.

Secondly, there are a lot of ways to detect radiation relatively remotely these days.

Last - the WW II bombs above were created by a nation-state. The types of material available to a terrorist are almost certainly much poorer, hence both yields and costs proportionately higher. Little Boy was 80% enriched uranium while Fat Man was plutonium - note how the US is screaming murder over Iran enriching uranium into the 20s.

Movies to the contrary - no nation wants nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists no matter what the price.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 1, 2014 5:28:50 AM | 41

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