Good news from Iran

There’s a bit of cheery news from Iran this morning. Iran is nearing the completion of its nuclear fuel cycle program:

TEHRAN, Iran — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Iran would soon celebrate completion of its nuclear fuel program and claimed the international community was ready to accept it as a nuclear state.

Iran has been locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program. The United States and its European allies have been seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.

I’ve posted pretty extensively on this subject over the last few years. My position on Iran’s nuclear development program is that I believe that the Iranians are actively developing nuclear weapons; I believe that they’re likely to acquire them sooner rather than later; I believe aggressive military force at the level that we’re willing and able to exert on Iran is imprudent and, worse, won’t achieve the objective of eliminating (or, possibly, even delaying) the Iranians’ development program; I believe that the U. S. and Iran need to treat each other’s interests in the region with more respect and negotiate; and I believe that we should be actively working to deter Iran from developing and using nuclear weapons. I can’t say I find a great deal of solace in this announcement.

On a marginally related note Iran has been known for some time to be harboring high-ranking and Al-Qaeda figures and, apparently, cultivating a positive relationship with Iran with them:

Iran is seeking to take control of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’eda terror network by encouraging it to promote officials known to be friendly to Teheran, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

According to recent reports received by Western intelligence agencies, the Iranians are training senior al-Qa’eda operatives in Teheran to take over the organisation when bin Laden is no longer leader.

Rumours have been circulating about the state of his health for several months. Bin Laden, 49, who is known to suffer from kidney problems that require regular dialysis, has not appeared in one of his videotapes for more than two years, prompting speculation that he is dead.

A leaked report from the French intelligence service, the DGSE, in September suggested bin Laden, who has a $25 million price on his head, had died of typhoid earlier this year.

Even if he is still alive, intelligence officials are working on the assumption that his ability to control the organisation has been severely diminished, and that most of the day-to-day running is being undertaken by Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s Egyptian-born number two.

Iran has always maintained close relations with al-Qa’eda, even though the Shia Muslim state is known to have many ideological and strategic differences with the terror group’s Sunni leadership.

Western intelligence officials now believe that Iran is trying to cultivate a new generation of al-Qa’eda leaders who will be prepared to work closely with Teheran when they eventually take control.

Recent intelligence reports from Iran suggest the Iranians are particularly keen to promote Saif-al-Adel, a notorious al-Qa’eda operative who is wanted in the United States for his alleged role in training several of the September 11 hijackers.

More on the links between Iran and al-Qaeda from Dan Darling at Winds of Change.

While we’re connecting dots, al-Qaeda apparently has plans to attack the UK using a nuclear weapon:

British intelligence officials believe that al-Qaida is determined to attack the UK with a nuclear weapon, it emerged yesterday. The announcement, from an officially organised Foreign Office counter-terrorism briefing for the media, was the latest in a series of bleak assessments by senior officials and ministers about the terrorist threat facing Britain.

UK officials have detected “an awful lot of chatter” on jihadi websites expressing the desire to acquire chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons.

Asked whether there was any doubt that al-Qaida was trying to gain the technology to attack the west, including the UK, with a nuclear weapon, a senior Foreign Office counter-terrorism official said: “No doubt at all.”

The official explained: “We know the aspiration is there, we know the attempt to get material is there, we know the attempt to get technology is there.”

Hopefully, the plan is more aspirational than operational.

Have a nice day!

Cross-posted at The Glittering Eye.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, Terrorism, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,
Dave Schuler
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. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Alex Knapp says:

    While we’re connecting dots, al-Qaeda apparently has plans to attack the UK using a nuclear weapon

    al-Qaeda also has plans to unite all-Muslim speaking nations under a Caliphate headed by Osama bin Laden. However, what they plan to do and what they can actually do are grossly different.

    The syllogism that’s trying to be cultivated here is this:

    P1. Iran is trying to obtain nuclear weapons
    P2. Iran is trying to cultivate ties with al-Qaeda
    P3. Al-Qaeda wants to nuke London
    THEREFORE Iran is going to give al-Qaeda a nuke in order to destroy London

    I think that there’s an AWFULLY big leap betwen the third postulate and the conclusion. Given that al-Qaeda currently supports the Sunni militias against the Iranian-backed Shi’ite milities within Iraq, I think that any “cordial ties” between Iran and al-Qaeda have much more to do with restoring order in Iraq than a secret desire on the part of Iran to hand out nuclear weapons to terrorists.

  2. Anderson says:

    Wow, it’s so rare to read a sensible appreciation of the Iran problem. Thanks! Though don’t miss Cernig’s take on the Iran-Qaeda article.

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Whoops— there’s no such thing as a “Muslim speaking nation.” I mean “Muslim nations”.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    I think that there’s an AWFULLY big leap betwen the third postulate and the conclusion.

    Precisely the reason I end my post with “Hopefully, the plan is more aspirational than operational.”

    I think that any “cordial ties” between Iran and al-Qaeda have much more to do with restoring order in Iraq than a secret desire on the part of Iran to hand out nuclear weapons to terrorists.

    I think that’s a bit of a leap itself made more even more so by the ties between Iran and al-Qaeda (as noted in Dan Darling’s post linked above) that preceded our invasion of Iraq.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    I saw Cernig’s comment, Anderson, although after I had written this post. I don’t think the disinformation explanation holds up because this is old news. Check out Dan Darling’s post linked above.

  6. cian says:

    Iran’s ties to Al Qaeda are much like President Johnson’s were to his enemies- they’d rather have them pissing out than in.

    While the Bush admin was the gift that kept on giving, Al Qaeda’s plan to return the middle east to a time before the time before people started thinking, they will be gone when those who have been using them decide they are no longer useful.

  7. John says:

    It’s a bleak future with bleaker options. Here’s one way this will resolve itself. Israel knows that if they don’t defend themselves, nobody will defend them – I do like Israel – but I don’t necessarily trust them. Israeli Mosad will obtain samples of Iran’s nuclear grade materials – smuggle it into the U.S. and make an attack look like it came from Al-Qa’eda. Since Iran is gaining controlling interest of Al-Qa’eda – the U.S. will justify bombing Iran back to the stone ages (Serving Israel’s safety – but only after the U.S is “attacked”). Does anyone else think that this issue is important enough to begin trading sanctions with China and Russia until they play ball – or at least make them pay into an international Escrow Billions of dollars (or gold) that they forefit if Iran develops nuclear weapons?

  8. Wazistan says:

    Womens developments coming to the front for freedom loving peoples of afghanistan, but without in fidel dollars.

  9. part9 says:

    escrow eal is Freddi’s zeal.

  10. spencer says:

    Boy this must make you so proud that you voted
    for Bush.

    Has any US president every weaken the country as much as Bush?

    I’m sure bush has done more damage to the US Army then any American since Robert E. Lee.

  11. geezer says:

    Dave, Iran is an enemy, period. What’s more, along with Israel, we are Iran’s main enemy. Exactly what negotiation would result in anything resembling the “peaceful” coexistence between the West and Communism from the 40s to the 90s? This couldn’t be any more 1930s if we all stopped watching TV and went back to being huddled around the family radio.

    Not that I’m hot for it, but it becomes increasingly clear that what Iran’s leadership really seems to crave is a good ass whupping. If the Israelis don’t move first, I’m convinced Dubya will get the Dems on board before he does anything militarily.

  12. LJD says:

    Of course Iran has no problem with nuking Israel on their own, but at least it’s not London right, Alex?

    Spencer- take your meds.

  13. Jaibones says:

    Spencer, I suppose your ignorance is no surprise, given your illiteracy. My advice, learn how to read and write, and then do some reading, before your attempt to write.

    As for Dave’s analysis that:

    – Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and will have them soon,

    – the U.S. should tell them that they shouldn’t do that, but not engage in any military action to prevent them from doing it, and that we couldn’t stop them even if we (unwisely) attempted to do so,

    – the U.S. should be “negotiating” to “deter” Iran from doing this, and

    – Dave is sad to hear that he is correct in point number 1.

    Great, Dave. You a Democrat, or just an independent, impotent, suicidal hand wringer?

  14. Cernig says:

    I find it strange that so many on the extreme right are digging to find A-Q’s connections with Iran while Pakistan’s connections with the Taliban and A-Q are out in plain sight yet far less noise is made about it.

    Jane’s Intelligence Digest, 1st Nov. 2006:

    Pakistan’s dangerous Afghanistan policy

    Afghans are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the performance of Hamed Karzai’s government and as the country slides into ever more instability, Pakistan’s ultimate game plan in Afghanistan has begun to unfold.

    Shifting its policy of half-heartedly cracking down on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, implemented in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US, Islamabad appears to have made a sombre decision to create the necessary conditions for regaining its strategic depth in Afghanistan by resuming its political and military support for the Taliban.

    The Taliban card

    Ever since the Taliban regime was overthrown in 2001, Afghan officials and coalition commanders have criticised Islamabad for not doing enough to crack down on the Taliban operating from Pakistani territory and have often accused the Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), for actively supporting them.

    The evidence from NATO’s two-week long Operation Medusa in Kandahar province in mid-September, in which hundreds of Taliban were killed, further confirm Pakistan’s involvement in the Taliban resurgence. Several independent intelligence estimates from the region also indicate that in recent months the ISI-sponsored training camps and jihadist madrassahs have swelled along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

    I suppose it all depends on who you need an excuse for attacking.

    I wish Dan had given links to source articles. The U.S. 9/11 Commission based much of its findings about Iran/A-Q connections on the say-so of intelligence officers who said so on the say so of exactly two people. Those same two are responsible for the pronouncements of various other “experts”. None of those experts care to admit that since their pronouncements both sources have been seriously called into question.

    The first is Hamid Reza Zakeri, a “former Iranian intelligence officer”. According to Zakeri, the Iranian intelligence service was really behind the 9/11 attacks and had employed al-Qaeda to carry them out. Zakeri’s claims are widely publicized. However, these claims are quickly discounted, and German intelligence notes that, “he presents himself as a witness on any theme which can bring him benefit.” [Chicago Tribune, 1/22/04; Associated Press, 1/30/04; Reuters, 1/22/04; Deutsche Presse-Agenteur, 1/22/04]

    The second is Alireza Jafarzadeh, “NCRI official”. He is a commited and longterm member of the MeK (NCRI is its political wing), an Islamist/Marxist terror organistaion which carried out atrocities on behalf of Saddam Hussain and which believes it’s leader to be the actual Moslem messiah fortold by prophecy. (There is also little doubt that he has signalled his willingness to be a suicide bomber for the MeK in the past.) The bulk of the organisation is currently held under armed guard at Camp Ashraf, Iraq because of its past crimes and it is a U.S. State Dept. proscribed terrorist organisation. It’s fairly simple to find other information on Jafarzadeh, though. He has consulted for FOX, written for Front Page magazine. He is behind claims of nuclear cruise missiles, 5,000 centifuges and underground tunnels built by the Russians, among others. He also runs the Washington-based neocon Strategic Policy Consulting group.

    Theres an old law of computing I’m sure everyone is aware of: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

    Regards, Cernig