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Flashpoint: Iran


President: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad


CIA World Fact Book - Iran -- Freedom House Country Report - Iran

Timeline of Iranian Missile Development

Timeline of Iranian Nuclear Development

GlobalSecurity.org - President Ahmadeinejad's Website

Nuclear Weapons - The intelligence on this issue shows that Iran is probably years away from building a bomb. Iran is just now assembling the centrifuge arrays, called 'cascades', that are necessary for the large-scale enrichment of uranium required to make a nuclear bomb. Iran probably only has tens or at most hundreds of operating centrifuges right now - Iran will need thousands of centrifuges to complete the long, slow process of enrichment. Centrifuges enrich uranium hexaflouride gas (UF6) by separating the rare fissible uranium isotope U-235 from the more common inert uranium 238. Iran operates as many as 10 of its own uranium mines.

The main strategic foci in Iran are the nuclear facilities at Natanz and Bushehr.

Delivery Systems - the most potent missile system for possible delivery of nuclear warheads is the Shahab-3 (Shooting Star) Missile, derived from the North Korean No-Dong missile design, with a range of up to 1,500km. Iran has road-mobile missile launchers to carry these weapons. Iran has also developed the Shahab-4 with a range of 3,000km, which Iran claims is an orbital launcher with no military application.

Diplomatic Options - The issue of Iran's violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has been referred to the UN Security Council, which now must decide how to handle this situation. The Security Council has a wide array of options to deal with transgressions. Here is what the UN Charter says:

Charter of the United Nations, Chapter VII, Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression.

Article 39 - The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Article 41 - The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.

Article 42 - Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.

Russia has gone on record stating that it opposes sanctions against Iran.

Is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nuts? - Some say no, and Victor Davis Hansen says he is really crazy like a fox. By his own words though, Ahmadinejad thinks the Holocaust is a hoax, wants to see Israel wiped off the map, believes that he was surrounded by a halo during his speech to the UN, and has threatened the West with dire consequences. He also believes in the impending return of the Twelfth Imam. We report, you decide.

Opposition Groups - There is a wide variety of Iranian opposition groups and movements, including democratic movements such as Hakha, royalists such as Mihan (in Farsi) and Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi , the Marxist Tudeh Party, and the cult-like MEK (in Farsi). There are far more groups than this, too numerous to list.

Update: Kim Priestap at Wizbang tells us that John Bolton is requesting a vigorous response to Iran in regard to its treaty violations.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 9 March 2006 05:56 PM


Uh Oh,Yikes...!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 9, 2006 06:19 PM

Ok...I am thinking of a song again? I will give you 10 bucks if you can guess what it is? 10 Bucks!...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 9, 2006 06:45 PM

Flock of Seagulls???

And Iraaaaannnn, Iran so far awayyyyy . . .

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 9, 2006 06:49 PM

I accept Paypal, and Diner's Club Zsa Zsa.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 9, 2006 06:49 PM

I don't think pay pal takes bucks? It will have to be in person!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 9, 2006 07:18 PM

BTW that wasn't the song!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 9, 2006 08:09 PM

But you gotta admit, it was a good guess . . .

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 9, 2006 08:22 PM

"foci" You guys are so ahead of me. I have trouble getting past "See Spot, Dick, and Jane."
ZZ-Is the song "Bad Boys?"
Good post, the civilized part of the world has to take these guys out. Glad to see Europe is at least starting to pay attention to these nuts.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at March 10, 2006 06:11 AM

Ken, that was such a bad guess it is hillarious!
EB, The song is not "Bad Boys" but good try! Guess again???

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 10, 2006 09:21 AM

I have forgotten, but does any action from the UN require a unanimous vote from the Security Council?
If so, what is the upside for Russia to vote against any actions by the UN?
Russia has been the victim of many muslim terrorist attacks, so this is confusing me.

ZZ- Rocket man?
You dropped the bomb on me?
You and me against the world?
Ahab the arab? (Isn't he Persian?)
If any of the above is not it, give us a clue. Does it have anything to do with the no-dong missle design or the new, improved, larger no-dong.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at March 10, 2006 12:38 PM

OKay! I will tell you. Really great guesses EB BUT, It was King Tut...You dropped a bomb on me was last time! King Tut was the song Steve Martin sang...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 10, 2006 02:32 PM

Well, permanent Security Council members have a veto on any action.

The reason why the UN fought in Korea, for example, is because the Soviet Union abstained from voting in the Security Council, rather than outright vetoing UN action. Which was a silly thing for them to do actually, but there it is.

We very well may be able to get another Russian abstention here though, and perhaps a Chinese one also, if not outright approval.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 10, 2006 04:08 PM

Ken...You and will and Rob Port should combine these posts and write a book! I love the diagrams, maps and charts!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 10, 2006 06:38 PM

I've got a book coming out in July ("No Higher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf", Naval Institute Press) about the last time U.S. and Iranian forces clashed. The companion website has photos of the reflagging and convoy effort, the seizure of an Iranian minelayer, and the daylong battle waged in retaliation for the 1988 Iranian mining of the Roberts.

Posted by: Brad at April 20, 2006 02:53 PM