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An Inside Look At Iran's Nuclear Program 528

Posted by timothy
from the glowing-reviews dept.
NotBornYesterday writes "On April 8, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited his country's secretive nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz for a photo op. What came out of this visit is a series of photos which have caused a fair amount of interest among western scientists. Shown in the photos are not only some of the inner workings of the plant and current generation of enrichment centrifuges, but also key components to newer generations of more effective centrifuges. Analysts are 'intrigued' not only by the technical revelations in the pictures, but also because Iran's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar accompanied Ahmadinejad through the facility."
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An Inside Look At Iran's Nuclear Program

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2008 @06:46PM (#23286914)
    You know what? Fuck you, seriously, fuck you.

    Way before the invasion of iraq we heard alot of how bad iraq was with their WMD:s and their connections to terrorism. And now what? No WMD:s no connection what so ever to al'quaida and what is the answer now? It was to bring democracy to Iraq.

    And now it's irans turn, well you know what; this is a war that america can't afford. The dollar isn't worth salt so just turn the fucking propaganda machine of again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glitch23 (557124)

      Way before the invasion of iraq we heard alot of how bad iraq was with their WMD:s and their connections to terrorism. And now what? No WMD:s no connection what so ever to al'quaida and what is the answer now? It was to bring democracy to Iraq.

      Hussein was bragging he had WMDs in order to stave off an invasion by Iran. Unfortunately his bragging was picked up by U.S. intelligent forces which of course assumed he wasn't bluffing. Since he was bluffing it explains why we didn't find WMDs in Iraq. Hussein's attempt at protecting his country from Iran backfired on him. And since this submission happens to also be talking about Iran and its progress dealing with their nuclear program it seems that Hussein's idea of touting his arsenal's power wasn't

      • by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @08:28PM (#23287594)
        The national debt has much to do with the value of the dollar. This war we can't afford has driven the national debt to the stratosphere. Your attributing the current problems of the dollar to the last 6 months is utter bullshit, the U.S. has been drained for years by central bankers, globalist megacorporations, and this war-without-end to line the pockets of war profiteers and oil tycoons.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by n dot l (1099033)
      The thing that really gets me about the media coverage is that everyone just assumes that Iran could only ever possibly be interested in attacking Israel or the USA. Like there isn't anybody nearby that might be more threatening, that they might one day have to defend themselves against. Certainly they wouldn't be near any large, nuclear-armed nations with a history of invading their neighbors and...oh, wait...

      As for bringing the defense minister along, well, what's strange about the defense minister inspec
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by murdocj (543661)

        The thing that really gets me about the media coverage is that everyone just assumes that Iran could only ever possibly be interested in attacking Israel or the USA.

        I suspect that has something to do with the President of Iran stating that his goal was to wipe Israel off the map. Some people don't take him seriously. People didn't take Hitler seriously, either.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TapeCutter (624760) *
          "I suspect that has something to do with the President of Iran stating that his goal was to wipe Israel off the map. Some people don't take him seriously. People didn't take Hitler seriously, either."

          It's called rhetoric and in this case actually refers to how Isreal was formed (which btw the US opposed at the time), the oft repeated statement has nothing to with nukes or conventional warfare and the neo-cons are fully aware of that fact. About 90% of Lebannon's population supports Hezbollah, 70% of Pale
        • by n dot l (1099033) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:41AM (#23289252)

          I suspect that has something to do with the President of Iran stating that his goal was to wipe Israel off the map. Some people don't take him seriously. People didn't take Hitler seriously, either.
          People should remember that in Iran "President" means something more like "Head of the Domestic Government", and that foreign policy and control of the military is reserved to the Supreme Leader (yes, that's the actual title), a man who has often wished for the Israeli government to fall apart or be destroyed, but who has not wished the same for the Israeli people.

          And the "wiped from the map" quote is, at best, a disputed translation of Ahmedinejad misquoting a statement their Supreme Leader made about the Israeli government, and at worst it's just a bunch of random empty threats. We'd waste less of our time taking Chinese seriously when they claim all sorts of land as their own - they have a history of actually sending their army out to secure the claim.

          And as far as the Hitler comment goes...come on. Show me where he's trying to usurp control of Iran for his own nefarious purposes. You don't honestly belive that he, and Khamene'i, and the councils that have some power over them, and all their advisors and assistants are all in it to blow up Jerusalem (which is actually holy to them) and then promptly die, do you? Not only that, but that they've somehow kept this a secret fom all the beurocrats that they employ to do their bidding, who would expose them in an instant if they were actually planning on getting Iran depopulated - let alone the Iranian people, who would certainly revolt if they seriously believed their leaders were out to get them killed.

          All I see is a politician dancing for the cameras, trying to draw people's attention away from the fact that since their government directly controls something like half of that nation's economy (in addition to the usual stuff like education and the justice system and basic infrastructure), it is directly responsible for a huge portion of whatever domestic problems they may be having right now.

          No. The nation-sized suicide bombing is top-grade bullshit. If they're building nukes they'll be using them the same way all the other countries that have nukes use theirs - as a cheap way to guarantee that nobody ever invades your territory to take your land.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I suspect that has something to do with the President of Iran stating that his goal was to wipe Israel off the map.

          I've found some facts about this, it turned out that he never stated this.
          He quoted someone who said something like "I wish the page of history on which Israel was created would never have been written".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by OakDragon (885217)
      Yeah, take that Slashdot, you bunch of right-wing, neo-con war-mongers!
  • That NotBornYesterday seems to think that we were born yesterday. He wanted to make sure we knew that Iran's Defense Minister went on tour of the facility with Mahmoud. What I also find intriguing is that Iran wanted to turn the visit to a top secret facility into a photo op. Would President. Bush want to turn a visit to Area 51 into a photo op?

    New rule. Before we start another war, we need to finish the first one. OK?
    • What I also find intriguing is that Iran wanted to turn the visit to a top secret facility into a photo op.

      What better way to make idiots thing they're not hiding anything than by selectively showing us things. I could "prove" that the USA had no ICBM's with a few photo-ops in empty siloes - especially if I were willing to redecorate the siloes a trifle between photos to suggest that I'm showing ALL of them, rather than just three of them....

      • And to such a tour, which is to prove that you built those nuke silos only as shelters in case some terrible terrorist bombs you away, you take along your DOD head honcho along with key missile designers, and you put them prominently into the picture so they can't be missed?

        This can only mean one of two things: Either you're insanely stupid, or you want the rumors about your alleged missile program to fly high and have everyone in fear and awe of your (alleged) missile power. Which would be smart, you could
      • What I also find intriguing is that Iran wanted to turn the visit to a top secret facility into a photo op.

        What better way to make idiots thing they're not hiding anything than by selectively showing us things. I could "prove" that the USA had no ICBM's with a few photo-ops in empty siloes - especially if I were willing to redecorate the siloes a trifle between photos to suggest that I'm showing ALL of them, rather than just three of them....

        Or maybe the Iranians are trolling.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TekPolitik (147802)

      He wanted to make sure we knew that Iran's Defense Minister went on tour of the facility with Mahmoud.

      More to the point, that's not even something that ought to raise suspicion. In a region where terrorism is a real, daily threat, you want the military to be looking after security issues at an enrichment plant even if it is only being used for civilian purposes - you want them to be making absolutely sure that the facility is not open to abuse by those who would use it for more nefarious purposes.

      That's

      • by wellingj (1030460)
        Very astute observation.
      • If one is worried about terrorist attacks on a nuclear facility one doesn't send the Defense Minister to guard it. You're as much of an idiot as the others who disregard his presence as just a normal routine thing.

        THEY ARE WORKING ON THE BOMB. When they have one they will use it, probably on Israel but possibly on the US.
    • New rule. Before we start another war, we need to finish the first one. OK?
      Counting Afganistan there are actually two on the go at the moment, so, yes. I agree,
    • I'm sorry, and people can mod me down all they want for this, but you're an idiot. It IS relevant that the Defense Minister was there. Everyone with half a brain knows that Iran is working towards having nuclear weapons. They figure that once then have them everyone will be afraid to touch them.

      People can blather about how it's ok for us so it's ok for them and engage in the normal moral relativism that is so rampant today, but I for one don't want to see a theocracy that condones suicide bombings to have
  • Threat? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NuclearError (1256172) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @07:18PM (#23287142)
    I once attended a lecture where the speaker said that the best thing to do with Iran was to force them to produce uranium in a consortium. Europeans do this by sharing the same enrichment plant, and it lets them keep tabs on how enriched each country is making its uranium. With Iran's new centrifuge technology, I'm sure they would be welcome at an international plant, especially if it allayed fears about a weapons program.
    • I doubt the US want Iran to check their uranium enrichment plans. And neither the other way around. So a middle east consortium would be the at least thinkable solution. Now, do you think the US will tolerate or even trust a middle east consortium to act as a device to ensure no weapon capable uranium is produced?
    • I once attended a lecture where the speaker said that the best thing to do with Iran was to force them to produce uranium in a consortium.
      Great idea. Lets ring the North Koreans.
  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @07:23PM (#23287174)
    Signatories to the NPT are allowed to enrich Uranium as part of a civilian program. Perhaps if Iran had not been the target of US sanctions since 1979 (when they overthrew the brutal western-backed Shah and his CIA-trained SAVAK secret police), they would be more trusting about getting their nuclear fuel from outside. As it is, they have a mentality of being as independent and self-sufficient as possible.

    Iran is not in violation of the NPT, but the major nuclear powers are, since they have not disarmed and have no intention of doing so. In fact new nuclear weapons systems are being developed right now. Why then does the media not focus on the NPT violations of the big 5? Perhaps people feel the big 5 are so responsible that it's ok for them to posses them, but frankly the historical record does not back that up. Hiroshima and Nagasaki aside, Richard Nixon is on tape suggesting a nuclear strike on North Vietnam and before the Iraq war, UK Minister of Defence Geoff Hoon threatened Iraq with a nuclear strike (crazy I know).

    The big 5 want to maintain a permanent nuclear apartheid whereby they keep their weapons (and threaten others with them, explicitly or implicitly) while preventing any other country from developing them. It's not a sustainable situation. You can't wave your gun about and then expect everybody else to refrain from acquiring guns of their own. It is the major powers themselves that are putting us all in a huge amount of long term danger due to their failure to disarm. That should be the real focus of media attention.
    • If I may summarize your stance: it's civilian and thus legal, and they have a right to arm themselves.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster (516420)
      The NPT was a noble effort, and a necessary one for the sake of appearances, but even when the treaty was signed nobody seriously believed that the nuclear genie could be stuffed back into the bottle again. The efforts spent policing the nuclear forces of the world would be better spent in addressing the differences that lead to the desire to use these weapons in the first place.
  • Well gee, do you suppose maybe the Iranians are simply building the enrichment facility to fuel a power plant as they've been saying all along? Duh.
  • Could an innocuous non-weaponized nuclear program actually be more harmful to the west than the doomsday-device-building vision that the US is attempting to portray?

    Ahmadinejad is no fool, and knows that any evidence of "actual" nuclear weapons would spell doom for his nation.

    He's playing his cards, and seems to be coming out on top, and making his opponents look like absolute idiots...
  • Double standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xquark (649804) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @07:33PM (#23287232) Homepage
    Iran like any other signatory of the NPT has a right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. They also have a right to develop, purchase and sell said technology freely and without any hindrance as long as they abide by the NPT. Iran unlike other countries such as India, Pakistan and Israel (which are not signatories of the NPT) intends to use its nuclear technology for generating energy as a way to decrease dependence on oil exports (as any sane country should be doing now).

    When other nuclear powers (lead by a country where its own president can't even pronounce the word nuclear properly) get in the way of this process it sends a clear message to other countries that are signatories of the NPT they it may not be as easy as they think to develop peaceful nuclear technologies within their own countries. As a result black-markets start popping up making ratifying the NPT all that more difficult.

    If the US and UK just abide by the terms of the NPT then the majority of problems they are now seeing will all but disappear.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @07:42PM (#23287292)
    The president of Iran visits a top secret (!) nuclear facility, taks his defense minister along, and everything they do there (give or take...) is photographed and published.

    Umm... am I the only one that wonders about the only question worth asking? I.e. why?

    He is not dumb. Doing a tour to an uranium enrichment plan with your minister of defense and going public about it is not really what you do if you have a nuke program running and want to keep it secret. The very first reaction is, well, the reaction it caused. That's a no brainer. So the only logic conclusion is that this reaction was wanted.

    And that again starts another round of asking why.

    There are now two possible reasons. First, there is a nuke program and they are trying to create some sort of deterrent for an immediate strike, to show that they are able to retaliate. Second, there is no nuke program, but they want everyone to think there is one. Now, there is no strike planned (at least none that I know of), so the first reason makes little sense.

    The second starts another round of why.

    Personally, I could see a plan. The US will start a new ralley for nuke inspections in Iran, finally Iran will grudgingly agree, they will poke and prod and find nothing, and Iran can do another finger pointing at the US as some aggressor, which only thinks the worst of any country they can't control, discredit the US internationally.

    And then start a nuke program. Who'd call for inspections?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by joocemann (1273720)
      Have you seen the pictures? Are you a professional analyst? No. What makes you think these analysts are more correct than those analysts that were used to lie to us in 2002?
  • by fermion (181285) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @07:50PM (#23287346) Homepage Journal
    When things like this come out, it is hard to know how much of it is real. We can recall that the old USSR was masters of such public relations, convincing every organization on earth that they remained a player, costing the US taxpayer trillions in unneeded expenditures. In an older example the british empire managed to continue the façade of a world power well into the 20th century using such tactics.

    I believe they are taking a page out of the N. Korean playbook, taunting the world with images and tests, and then laughing when the world, particularly the US, can do nothing about it. Of course nothing can be done about it because they probably do have something, and any force would be risky. Compare this to Iraq where there was little risk as iRaq has little, and unlike the some other countries in the region, apparently had relatively little influence in global events.

    Of course if the US like, like the British empire in it's waning day, had not deployed it's forces so willy nilly, and has not spent itself to the brink of bankruptcy, there might be something we could do with Iran and N. Korea. As it is we can't even take care of the real and present threat, Afghanistan and Pakistan, so little else matters.

    In the end though I think it is just PR. Just because you have the toys does not mean you know how to use them. And, unlike the end of WWII, two or three big bombs, with threats of more to follow, it not enough to win a confrontation. In any case, one can hardly argue that fanatical religious states with nuclear weapons are inherently dangerous. Israel, which ranks very low in freedoms granted by the modern state, and appears to be controlled by fundamentalism as any country in the region, has had nuclear weapons for years with little negatve effect.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd...bandrowsky@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 03, 2008 @08:00PM (#23287428) Homepage Journal
    There's a lot about this fabled US vs Iran rivalry that does not add up and it almost makes me think that to a large degree the Bush Administration is covertly fostering the rise of Iran as a middle eastern superpower.

    Motive
    1. Geopolitically, US foreign policy is to create regional checks around the globe so that she can use her weight so swing a balance of power one way or the other but without having to be overtly committed. A strong Iran creates enormous problems for Russia and China both. China has no domestic oil whatsoever, and Russia is well within range of Iranian missiles.

    2. Money. We often talk about the US petrodollar as a product of Saudi Arabia, but what's often overlooked is that the USA still possesses a fairly sizable proved reserve of oil in her own right. In essence, the dollar is not just backed by US influence in the middle east but also by the USA's own oil reserves. Yes, the USA does not pump enough of its own oil, but, if we were to throw the environment into the dumper, we could drill Alaska, drill offshore, grind up all the shale in Colorado, convert to coal to liquids, drill the Bakken, and we'd wind up with trillions of barrels of the stuff. So, in the long run, high oil prices benefit the United States, because ultimately, the USA has that money in the bank. Let's put it this way: ANWR alone is worth a trillion dollars.

    Supporting Evidence
    1. Whose benefited. Everything the Bush Administration has done has benefited Iran from a security perspective. The Iranian foreign minister even pointed this out on NPR. Bush knocked off Iraq and Afghanistan both, and neither regime supported the USA. On the flipside, the high oil prices that exist partially because of the war in Iraq and the bellicosity with Iran actually are proving to be lucrative for nearly every traditionally Republican constituency. Oil men, miners, agribusiness, chemical, even US manufacturers have all benefited from rising oil prices and a devalued dollar. If Iran and the USA are enemies, both sides are laughing all the way to the bank.

    2. History. Republicans, in particular, despite their bellicosity with Iran, have a long and fabled history of actually dealing with the Iran in pragmatic terms "behind the scenes". Ronald Reagan was nearly brought down because of a complicated deal which actually saw the USA supply weapons to Iran during the Iran - Iraq war. I mean, while Democrats talked rapproachment with Iran, Republicans were already making deals with them and hiding it.

    Later on, administration officials from both Reagan and Bush I would both admit that they did, in fact, have a back door in communications to Iran. It's reasonable to think that a Dick Cheney who was an integral part of all of those administrations might actually have a back door to Iran himself. We do know, right away, that the government we work with in Iraq travels to Iran rather frequently. It's almost inconceivable that the USA would not be using the Iraqi leadership as the most covert sort of conduit.

    3. Careful rules of engagement. The USA rightfully complains about the Iranians funding and helping anti-American insurgents in Iraq, but at the same time, the USA is also helping anti-Iranian insurgents in Iran. This is a sort of a standoff. Despite proclamations against Iranian leadership, the Administration has bent out of its way to say, for the most part, that Iranian leaders are not directly implicated in this and they actually might not be.

    4. A total pass on WMD proves cooperation. The USA had absolutely no problem launching a unilateral war on Iraq because of WMD that didn't even exist, but Iran has 9000 centrifuges spinning and there's not been a shot fired. Even the claim that the Iraqi invasion has weakened the USA abilities to conduct airstrikes doesn't wash. The Navy and Air Force are certainly not tied down. The USA has, since the invasion of Iraq, conducted airstrikes in Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan... rumoured to have conducted airstrikes in Oma

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