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Misconceptions About Iran’s Nuclear Program

Pay particular attention to Joseph Cirincione’s op-ed in the Washington Post, characterized as “Five Myths About Iran’s Nuclear Program”. I think a better word than “myth” would be “misconception”. In the op-ed Mr. Cirincione lays out five misconceptions about Iran’s nuclear program and explains why they’re misconceptions. Here they are:

  1. Iran is on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon.
  2. A military strike would knock out Iran’s program.
  3. We can cripple Iran with sanctions.
  4. A new government in Iran would abandon the nuclear program.
  5. Iran is the main nuclear threat in the Middle East.

His last two interconnected points are very important. A nuclear race is now on in the Middle East and in all likelihood it will continue regardless of what we do. The challenge we should be entertaining is how to manage a nuclear-armed Middle East and mitigate its effects.

Rather than debating items 1-3, just for the sake of argument let’s assume that Mr. Cirincione’s assertions are all correct, namely that Iran’s nuclear weapon (if it, indeed, is producing one) is one to three years away, that the most we can achieve via military strikes is delaying Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and that, even if an enhanced sanctions regime could be put in place against Iran, it wouldn’t prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Under those circumstances what is our most prudent course of action?

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About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging.

Comments

  1. Ugh says:

    Mend relations and try to turn them into a friend rather than an enemy? Really, there were spontaneous rallies in support of the US in Tehran after 9/11, a huge missed opportunity, to say the least.

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  2. DC Loser says:

    There is already an Islamic nuclear power in the neighborhood, and we always like to talk around the issue. Pakistan’s descent into anarchy is something to watch and we have a higher likelihood of something bad happening over there with its nuclear arsenal than anything Iran can do to us in the near term.

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  3. […] “Misconceptions About Iran’s Nuclear Program” “A Case for Humility in Afghanistan?” […]

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  4. […] “Misconceptions About Iran’s Nuclear Program” “A Case for Humility in Afghanistan?” […]

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  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    DC, Pakistan has its own problems with its neighbor India. I doubt they have any nukes to spare for a purpose other than defending against the threat of an Indian nuclear strike. However, the well balanced leadership cabal in Iran have stated their purpose which is to wipe those evil Jooos off the face of the earth. I believe we should do nothing. Taking those honest men in Iran at their word would imbue them with trust which would appease the leftists like yourself and when Tehran tested a couple of nuclear devices over Tel Aviv and some other Jooo city and the evil Jooos responded with a nuclear strike which turned Iran into a field of glass, preserving their oil reserves for thousands of years in the future. Those on the left will once again thrash about looking for someone to blame when all they have to do is stop chopping lines of drugs on the mirrors they have and look at the sorry picture of what is reflected in those mirrors for the fault.

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  6. DC Loser says:

    ZR – You miss the entire point about Pakistan as a failed state. Our fear of the Pak nuclear weapons is not how they are theoretically committed for use against India, but who will hold the keys to the arsenal should the situation worsen and the question arise as to who actually controls those weapons and the likelihood of them falling into the hands of the Taliban or people sympathetic to them. This is what is keeping people awake at night in Washington. Instead of talking about weapons which don’t yet exist, we are thinking about weapons which already are there and may be ripe for the taking by our enemies.

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  7. Alex Knapp says:

    However, the well balanced leadership cabal in Iran have stated their purpose which is to wipe those evil Jooos off the face of the earth.

    Citation needed. Preferably one that isn’t a mistranslation.

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  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Alex, the President of Iran has clearly stated on several occasions Israel should be incinerated, that the ensuing fight will bring about the return of the 12th Imam. Does that clear the picture for you? Do you think you can negotiate with religious zealots who believe their purpose is to bring about some prophesy? Good luck!

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  9. Pug says:

    Alex, the President of Iran has clearly stated on several occasions Israel should be incinerated, that the ensuing fight will bring about the return of the 12th Imam.

    You heard this where?

    I’m sure I could make a pretty good guess as to where you heard it.

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  10. anjin-san says:

    Do you think you can negotiate with religious zealots who believe their purpose is to bring about some prophesy?

    I don’t know that zealots in Iran are any scarier than the ones in this country or any other…

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  11. G.A.Phillips says:

    I don’t know that zealots in Iran are any scarier than the ones in this country or any other…

    Ha, the cult of evolution here is some scary ****, They speak endlessly of reducing the population of the planet to around a billion to save it, but at least their not in control of nukes, oh wait……

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  12. G.A.Phillips says:
  13. Alex Knapp says:

    Alex, the President of Iran has clearly stated on several occasions Israel should be incinerated, that the ensuing fight will bring about the return of the 12th Imam. Does that clear the picture for you?

    Dates? Cites?

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  14. Here’s a treatment of Ahmadinejad’s “wipe Israel off the map” comment from the New York Times in 2006. A lot of wiggle room in there, but not so much as to deny that he seems to be calling for the destruction of Israel. Of course, I’ve found Professor Juan Cole to be good contraindicator of reasonable interpretations.

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  15. G.A.Phillips says: