28 thoughts on “IAEA Inspectors: Stuxnet May’ve Shut Down Iranian Enrichment Program – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Hi Richard,

    AP has published biased propaganda yet again. In this case, they did not wait for any IAEA official statement, but state “[t]he diplomats said they had no specifics on the nature of the problem ” and even the diplomats remain anonymous. So, who are these diplomats? Are they respected sources? No details? How convenient!

    Secondly, if taken as true, then Iran’s enrichment has ceased and the IAEA sanctions must be lifted at once as there is no actual crime underlying the punishment. The sanctions here have been placed based on Iran’s refusal to halt enrichment based on EXTRA-LEGAL grounds, hysteria and speculation from Israel (Iran has not been sanctioned for violating things under the NPT, but for not giving reassurances in addition to the doctrine that Iran is not legally required to give). Since this is a factual impossibility, there is no legality in sanctioning Iran over a “crime” it is not committing. Indeed, the US would be hard sought to use non-NPT justifications for sanctions AGAIN if there is no possibility of enrichment.

    Finally, and most importantly, since the enrichment was legal in the first place, the responsible parties for the Stuxnet virus must be held accountable in international tribunals before the UN. The ramifications and dangers of Stuxnet to the world, and not only Iran, are huge. This virus had probably the most virulent code ever known to civilian nuclear infrastructure. It also is non-specific to Iran and can attack ANY of the nuclear plants around the world on Siemens infrastructure (according to that guy Chien’s blog, that’s like 90% of the world..great!). Israel exposed the world to this danger, at what cost? To deny Iran the legal right to enrichment while it possesses 300+ illegal nukes and refuses to even sign the treaty? Sounds about the regular M.O.

    Of course, I’m sure you would prefer to read the original and latest IAEA report yourself rather than take an unnamed diplomat over AP’s word for it.


    As of the latest report, Iran’s program still shows zero deviation from civilian nuclear enrichment. The IAEA has also stated that Iran’s program is the most monitored ever.

    Why should the average human care about this? Well, the sanctions, by and far, have not hurt the power brokers in Iran. My Aunt couldn’t send her niece a wedding dress from Cali. My grandmother’s mutual fund was closed at Merrill Lynch (and reopened after I sent them a letter). We’re not even CLOSE to people that are affiliated with the Ayatollahs — quite the opposite. Therefore, the sanctions hurt the opposition in Iran.

    Finally, by lying about the regime that is brutally occupying us, propagandists are scoring the Mullahs huge foreign policy points. In reality, Iran’s right to enrichment is legal under the NPT and they have actually behaved well. This was a calculus by the Mullahs. By refusing to let Israel or the US encroach on this right, they have eventually showed the world that US and Israeli soft power end at Iran’s doorstep.

    One final note that saddens me is how this propaganda has driven many of my Israeli friends to ostracize me in NYC, even though they know exactly who I am. Most Israelis don’t realize that the Iranian people have NEVER denied Israel. We probably have the longest running coexistence out of any in the diaspora, too. Our Jewish population is 2500 years old and in Iranian life there sincerely is no anti-Semitism. Our Iranian Jews are fellow Iranians through and through. I have never met an Iranian who espoused genuine anti-Semitic feelings towards his fellow Iranian and hope to never. There’s something to say about our 2500 year coexistence. Even in the Islamic Republic, our Jews refused to leave Iran for Israel after being offered large cash incentives. Finally, this is not a travel ad for Iran. I just want more Israelis and pro-Israelis to know that the Iranian people have never denied you and we have a shared history in the Jewish homeland.

    1. Richard,
      I sometimes don’t realize the length of my own postings and rarely edit before submitting. I apologize for the verbosity and if you wish to redact/modify/delete, feel free. Thanks again for a great daily blog to visit.

    2. @Persianadvocate
      “Therefore, the sanctions hurt the opposition in Iran”

      That’s a lame argument used in the past by anti sanctions supporters in South Africa and today against BDS in Israel. If you support the use of sanctions or disinvestment you must be willing to assume that the opposition will agree to suffer even more than the rulers for the sake of the “larger cause”

      ” Even in the Islamic Republic, our Jews refused to leave Iran for Israel after being offered large cash incentives”

      Wrong, in 1979 there was a mass exodus of Jewish refugees from Iran to Israel and the USA after the Islamic revolution. Until then the Jews had lived in harmony in Iran for 2500 years.
      Today Jews are forbidden to emmigrate from Iran to any country (I think many other people are also forbidden to emmigrate, but I’m not sure about that).

      1. You obviously won’t believe any personal narratives I have to give you (and already have), so please accept this PBS Tehran Bureau Article that precisely addresses the fact that sanctions are hurting the Iranian people instead of the regime. My own family’s trivialities are comparably nothing (particularly the ones I related above) in relation to the common Iranian that faces 40% unemployment and an even more indefinite future than young people face today in America.

        So, you are right, in 1979 there was a mass exodus from Iran, but it wasn’t only our Jewry that left. My parents did, too. The revolution caused MILLIONS of Iranians to go into the diaspora. Many of our Jewish families stayed, over 25,000 I believe. I think it’s funny when I see propaganda come out of Israel trying to invite my Iranian Jewish brother against me or me against him. We are the same, just like you and me are.

        That last line about Jews not being able to emigrate is news to my friend Danny who just came back from visiting his Jewish grandma in Tehran with his IRI passport. Also, it’s just hogwash propaganda and you know it. You kinda just like jabbed that one in before you left. lol

        No, let me tell you some useful truth about Iran’s Jewry. They have an ACTUAL representative in our Majlis Parliament, one that is well respected and actually like the go-to guy for any official Iranian Jewish representation. In Iran, Jews are actually allowed to create their own liquor at home. This is strictly forbidden for Muslims. So, when you go to an occasional Jewish shopkeeper’s store, you might get a few shots of some homemade moonshine 😀 it’s good, clears the sinuses. Taar’of ma naadarim. “We don’t have any reservations about offering you anything” – our hospitality. And then the expected Le Chaim 🙂 However, I would not say that the Iranian Jew is a happy human being. Neither is the Iranian Muslim, or Ba’hai. It all has to do with this oppressive government, their morality police, and a few thousand thuggish basiji.

        I am also not saying that as your average non-Middle Eastern looking Jew (aka if you look straight up like a potential spy) you should go in there walking, telling them PersianAdvocate sent you and and that you heard it was a good time. If you’re a hasbarist though, feel free, and use the group rate: aac3.

        1. Interesting discussion about Jews in Iran. Here’s a recent, and appropriate message I received from an Iranian friend about her recent trip home to visit her mother (Richard, I sent you this on Oct. 17th):

          “Let me tell you a story both of you might enjoy. Last week a group of friends of the Freer Gallery were visiting Iran. Included in their trip was a reception at the Malek Library and Museum (my grandfather’s endowment to the holiest shrine in Iran in Mashad). Since the chief rabbi of Iran had just donated an ancient Torah to the Library, the director put on an exhibition of rare holy books, including Torahs, Bibles, the Zoroastrian Vendidad and of course, Qurans, and invited their respective priests to attend. The Americans, half of whom were Jews, couldn’t believe their eyes. I’m sure they thought it was a show put on for them and not to be trusted, because one of them asked the chief rabbi why he had donated the book and asked him if he could read Old Hebrew. The chief rabbi didn’t see their disbelief in a political light, but rather as a comment on the reputation of Jews ‘They think we are tight-fisted’ he told my brother and laughed and laughed at the Americans’ surprise at seeing them there with old Torahs on display. Of course, with the Cyrus Cylinder currently on loan from the British Museum and on display, the rabbis are elated and guiding daily tours of their flock to see the precious cylinder seal which, among other things, calls for their liberation. This is the sort of thing that never gets reflected in the press. Unfortunately. As Jane Lewisohn said to me today at the inauguration of the new Centre for Iranian Studies, ‘That’s the beauty of Iran, it’s full of surprises, but the media only want to see the official line.’

          Gougouli (Fatema)”

          1. I have great reverence and respect for Fatema and Eskander Maleki. They are well known and well respected throughout the world, not just in the Iranian community. My mother creates Persian Miniatures, and we have actually met in the past, although they may not recall me as I was just another young face. I would love to hear more about some of these cultural exchanges so that I can start spamming them wherever people will read! Thank you for that.

      2. That’s a lame argument used in the past by anti sanctions supporters in South Africa

        No, it’s not a lame argument. In fact, western sanctions against Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children just as they inevitably will eventually kill Iranian children. And the diff. w. S.A. sanctions is that they will not moderate & even change the policies of the Iranian regime. But they will hurt innocent civilians. For sure.

        The Iraninan opposition has NEVER supported sanctions.

        The mass exodus of Iranian Jews in 1979 was largely monarchists who were ardently extremely right wing. To this day the Iranian Jewish communities in L.A. & Great Neck & other places are very right wing & very, very almost obscenely rich.

        Today, Jews are NOT forbidden fr. emigrating. In fact, Chrisitian ZIonist offered a $25,000 bounty for any Jew who would emigrate. There were about 25 takers altogether.

  2. Interesting. A very informative post.

    I’m not sufficiently versed in Jewish/Iranian interaction to make any observation on the subject other than to indicate such longevity – spanning over two millennia – must lend a positive aspect to the relationship.

    But, as an engineer with some small knowledge of Siemens controllers, I do find the Stuxnet worm worthy of considerable note.

    A program designed to lurk in the background, biding its time and then, without warning or advance notice, striking quickly and stealthily at its intended target. After doing the deed, it returns to the anonymity from whence it came and there it waits, looking for the next opportunity to trigger what appears to be its sole and primary function; a spoiling tactic, preventing activities deemed unwelcome and injurious to those who called it into being.


    Don’t those operational parameters now appear strangely familiar to something else; another ‘worm’ of even greater complexity and with far more universal application?
    And it didn’t need a small army of cyberpunks to create it. Just two engineers, one of them myself, idling away a pleasant hour or two in Nuremberg some thirty years ago.

    It just goes to show; there is nothing new under the sun.

      1. I saw it on the AP feed as well — but the caption is wrong. It is the turbine room, not centrifuges. It is true that the “Bushehr” centrifuges are not in the powerplant itself, but they are associated with it.

        The IAEA report linked by PersianAdvocate refers to 2009 only, and is outdated. Back then, my line was “Yeah, sure, they are driving the inspectors nuts by deliberately refusing to live up to the rules they agreed to, but the cascade of little violations was handled by the inspectors, no major violations occurred, and while the Iranians have or had weapons aspirations, none of this adds up to a totality that justifies the level of Western invective.”

        At the time, most liberals denied Iran had been doing anything wrong.

        But starting at the very end of 2009, the IAEA made more stuff public, the Iranians became more provocative and the invective ramped up.

        Bottom line 1: While it is hard to definitively pin Stuxnet on Israel, Israel had the greatest motive to create it. Also, the Israelis laid in a big supply of jet fuel and ordnance starting last spring — timing that would suggest they were worried about an Iranian response to Stuxnet, or were going to use more direct means if Stuxnet failed. Let’s say that the real scenario was that the US or the Germans created it, to deter Israel from bombing. That would really be about the same thing, wouldn’t it?

        Bottom line 2: The overwhelming weight of evidence is that the Iranians are using a civilian nuclear program to hide a military one. And it is clear from IAEA reports that the Iranians had started a weapons program a decade ago — and they would have been crazy not to (tough neighborhood, at war with Iraq which clearly was trying to go nuclear). The world is not likely to be a safer place if Iran goes nuclear, however.

        Does that mean Stuxnet was justified? Or should be ignored? Iran clearly has been violating the terms of a treaty it agreed to, but as yet only in relatively minor ways. Israel never signed the treaty in the first place, though, and managed to falsify inspections done by the Carter Administration. Stuxnet is an act of aggression, but (lets be frank) a clever and pretty well targeted one, whereas a bombing run would be a disaster for all parties, and all nations. I’d like to see more discussion on those points rather than argument that Stuxnet’s origin is or is not Israel or that Iran wouldn’t think of going nuclear.

        I’ll start this way: Personally, I think all acts of aggression, including Stuxnet, should be investigated and punished — with severity of punishment depending on circumstance. Ignoring things like this leads to world anarchy.

        1. That’s the latest IAEA report, which comes out every July. You are pretending like it’s outdated? What do you want me to do, change IAEA protocol and request an immediate audit? There is ongoing monitoring, you’d expect statements from the IAEA to the effect that Iran is not complying with the NPT, rather than the US simply suspects Iran of not complying and that Iran must render the US “reassurances” of its peaceful aims. You present your argument with such force, one would believe, save for the fact that you’ve provided no real evidence or support for your claims that there are “mounds and mounds” of support behind your assertions.

          Your bottom lines are also questionable. It is patently false that there is ANY evidence of Iranian military intention. Your logic also doesn’t follow that Iran has every reason to want a bomb at this juncture in time, considering that the US is protracted in two long wars already, that are failures, and this has long been fit into the Iranian calculus. Indeed, while toeing this line in the sand where Iran is enforcing a legal right and Israel and the US are trying to deny it via lies, Iran has exponentially surged. Iran’s breakout capacity, like Japan, is sufficient deterrent.

          Iran also realizes it’s not a small country with a small population (this is the ACTUAL defense calculus). That IS the deterrence to attacking Iran. Iran will block off Hormuz, commit terrorism on attacker’s soil, attack their interests globally and take them on like an Al-Qaeda on steroids. They don’t face the situation of Israel, where there is somewhat of a siege mentality.

          Stuxnet could cause a Chernobyl or Three Mile Island (and not only inside Iran). There is little difference between melting down a nuclear plant or bombing it. It’s a clear act of war and a violation of international law, just as a US soldier slapping an Iranian border guard in the face may become. The net results are devastating.

        2. As with most hasbarist arguments, yours failed the test of basic diligence. The director addressed the IAEA yesterday (Nov 23) and gave a far more confident measure of the Iranian nuclear program. That report is not available online. I am sure you will hear the truth about it on some articles and complete misinformation about it in others. I would wait until it’s published from the IAEA and make my own interpretations. Here is the director’s report as of September 10, 2010 (which is as up to date as you get):
          “I. Summary
          41. While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. [footnote]”

          The footnote references Iran’s Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocols that were UNILATERALLY laid upon Iran by the UNSC based on zero evidence, but Israeli hype and speculation. These are extra legal. Anti-Iranian factions lobbied heavily to get their IAEA director in so that he would get tougher with the Iranians, so he did, and now words things to make it seem less apparent that the IAEA “CONTINUES TO VERIFY” (meaning it’s currently and most recently certified as legal!) Iran’s civilian program while harboring concerns ambiguously referred to and then cited with a footnote. That lengthy footnote reveals that the concerns are not over the NPT, but over the UNSC based sanctions and pro-IPAC lobbied US demands and also over items discovered 10 years ago, when Iran’s nuclear program was first discovered. How relevant. The report goes on to state in the next paragraph what these extra-legal concerns are. Why do I call them extra-legal? Because there’s an irrefutable hypocrisy when you veto resolutions against a legit card carrying member of the Nuclear Rogue Regime Axis of Evil for clear and patent violations of international law, but go beyond your wildest efforts to extend punishment on a country suspected of currently having zero nukes and has signed a treaty to subject it monitoring. Also, the US certainly didn’t heed the UNSC’s call to not invade Iraq and cause catastrophe. The lack of mutual enforceability creates a kangaroo court. The Iranians see no reason, legal nor moral, to bend to the UNSC under the same token for something it correctly understands it has the full legal right to and is being improperly denied.

          The concerns in this report fall apart with mere scrutiny.

          1. The 2009 IAEA report was finalized in July (drafts were available on line in February at the UN) but it still refers only to 2009.

            The new Nov 23 report you selectively quote also clearly says that since 2008 Iran has refused to cooperate with IAEA’s investigation on “activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

            The situation is a simple one:

            1. Iran signed the NPT.
            2. The NPT allows countries to engage in peaceful uses of nuclear technology as long as they submit to IAEA inspection.
            3. Iran has hamstrung the IAEA inspection process.
            4. This triggered (first) the additional inspection protocols and (second) mild sanctions. This is not a “unilateral” thing. Iran broke the rules and has to take the consequences. I might add that the Security Council voted it. Not just the West, but China and Russia, too. You (and the Iranian government) would have us believe that the Security Council acted in a vacuum. Nonsense.
            5. Whenever UN debate heats up, Iran suggests that it is interested in a deal brokered by Brazil and other developing nations to enrich Iranian nuclear fuel out-of-country. It then sabotages the detailed negotiations. That also has been going on for several years. But it is certainly a good solution.

            India (an NPT signatory) developed nuclear weapons and was shut off from peaceful technology for 20 years. Two years ago it agreed to rather strict monitoring of its peaceful program in exchange for access. India did not blame the West or anyone else for its own actions. It felt it had to go nuclear because Pakistan was doing the same, and it accepted the consequences.

            Iran wants to have its cake and eat it, too.

            Stuxnet seemed to be well targeted, and almost certainly could not have caused a Chernobyl-type general accident. BUT someone basing a cyber-attack on some of the same code could cause such an accident anywhere.

            Thus my question remains: I think Stuxnet is an act of aggression, either by Israel or in cooperation with Israel to deter Israel from doing something really, really even more stupid. There should be a detailed investigation, and consequences. But what? Could the discussion focus there?

          2. BTW, why this:

            “As with most hasbarist arguments, yours failed the test of basic diligence.”

            1. ad hominem and hardly hasbarist anyway.
            2. Inaccurate. This whole thread started with Richard’s good summary of an AP report on the latest IAEA report. You respond with 2009 info! I have a faxed copy of the latest complete report — 9 pages long.

          3. You are asking for reports that predict the future? What do reports do? They reflect on past periods. You are asking me for information that even the IAEA doesn’t have. I am giving you what is the most current publication on their website. All of your information needs context, which you conveniently leave out.

            “3. Iran has hamstrung the IAEA inspection process.”
            Iran has legitimate concerns that the IAEA is unduly influenced by the US and pro-Israeli corner. Therefore, when they exercise certain rights like asking the IAEA to replace two very suspicious inspectors with simply two other ones, and the IAEA responds that this is a problem, you don’t need much more than common sense to figure out that there is something shady going on.

            ” This is not a “unilateral” thing. Iran broke the rules and has to take the consequences. I might add that the Security Council voted it. Not just the West, but China and Russia, too.
            As I’ve written elsewhere earlier, Russia and China have completely separate interests in sanctioning Iran. For one, they don’t comply with the sanctions themselves! Even some EU countries are skirting the sanctions while paying them lip service. Effectively, they see stupid Westerners taking themselves out of the market and competition in Iran. Instead, they’ve strengthened bonds. Where the West refused to help with Iran’s technical work under the NPT, Russia stepped in and strengthened its influence over Iran AND gave itself yet another bargaining chip on the international level.

            And you’re right, you don’t seem a hasbarist after reviewing your replies. I found your responses to be challenging. I questioned my own interpretation before reaffirming that I’m likely more correct than you, so I owe you kudos for that. One should not think they have the monopoly on the truth ever..

            Iran’s suggestion that parties other than the US broker nuclear agreements is not only reasonable, but non-negotiable. You have to be literally nuts to advance the argument that America as current can be trusted as a fair broker of ANYTHING related to Israel, particularly to anyone with even minimal cognitive abilities and 52 chromosomes, sorry.

        3. Exactly right — Iran now probably knows more about Stuxnet than anyone else — maybe even the folks who wrote the code in the first place!

          Also exactly right, the US is not the country to broker a deal for out-of-country enrichment. And, in fact, the US has stepped back. Brazil had taken the lead on this, but was frustrated by on-again, off-again Iranian interest.

          I think that in general Iran’s complaints about IAEA are not well founded. That’s opinion, of course — reasonably informed opinion but not based on airtight facts. I also say “in general,” because I’m sure there has to be SOMEONE on the IAEA staff that’s a pipeline to the CIA, etc. I have done some consulting work there in Vienna (working on the library database system, and that was quite a few years ago, and this was not high level work, to be sure, but I met a lot of staffers and did need UN security clearance) and can say without reservation that the place has very high ethical standards and does quite a bit of self-policing (and a lot of UN agencies emphatically do not…). I can honestly report that no one in the US government tried to recruit me after the IAEA work (maybe because they tried about 30 years ago after a trip to Moscow, and I went public with it, or maybe because of genuine CIA disinterest…).

          IAEA also resisted Bush’s nonsense about Iraqi uranium enrichment and so forth. So that should give them some street cred. Long before Gulf War II the IAEA did pull a surprise raid on Iraq’s secret nuclear enrichment site and intercepted flatbed trucks loaded with calutrons (magnetic uranium enrichment devices, essentially large mass spectrometers) heading away from the facility in the opposite direction. That ended THAT route to weapons of mass destruction.

          IAEA also tended to be very diplomatic about Iran, until very late 2009 — it avoided scary public statements, filed reports to diplomats, and stepped back. The problem was that many (especially on the far left) took this as evidence that there was no problem. So when the diplomats acted, it seemed to casual observers that they were acting with no basis. People who WERE following it carefully (me among them) saw the basis, but not the urgency. I’m still not sure I see the urgency.

          I think that most of the Iranian NPT violations seem to have little or nothing to do with concern about spies, though. The inspections they agreed to include things like requiring 48-hour notices before they move uranium. They then end up giving just a few hours, but IAEA has gotten pretty good about getting out to sites in question, although not always with all the monitoring equipment Iran had agreed to. The IAEA staff has come to loathe the Iranians over this — it is just game-playing, they say, and makes their lives miserable.

          The Iranians have also had to own up to several secret facilities (one big one), after the fact. That’s an NPT violation. They agreed to declare all such facilities ahead of construction, and if the facilities are for peaceful use and certified as such by IAEA, they would be inoculated (in theory) against Israeli or US raids.

          These things triggered the “additional protocols” under the agreements that Iran signed, but Iran has not allowed any inspections under the ap’s.

          BTW, just a personal note on an irony. In the mid-1970s, I took four semester-long courses (on a nondegree basis; I already had my MS) in international oil economics at FDU from the late Nasrollah Fatemi, who had been Iranian UN ambassador and oil minister. The CIA unseated his government, but gave him asylum! And just as there is no unanimity in the Iranian government, there was (and is) none in the US government. See for instance http://www.iranica.com/articles/harriman-mission for a glimpse at the genesis of the unseating. Fatemi is referenced, and did not write this, but he talked about all this in about the same way. So did his gracious and brilliant wife, who ran the Iran Red Crescent in the 1940s.

          1. I take back my previous comments and realize now in retrospect my strong wording to you. As you can tell, I’ve dealt with quite a few idiots. You are OBVIOUSLY not one of them! My sincere apology.

            “The Iranians have also had to own up to several secret facilities (one big one), after the fact. That’s an NPT violation. They agreed to declare all such facilities ahead of construction, and if the facilities are for peaceful use and certified as such by IAEA, they would be inoculated (in theory) against Israeli or US raids.”

            Are you speaking of the MEK leaks that first blew the whistle on the program? That was nearly a decade ago and it confuses the context of current dealings by invoking it. While it’s relevant that one understands Iran may have at one point sought nuclear arms under the guise of dark, one should also realize that a Nation’s interests and plans can change based on the current ground situation. This one tends to favor a doctrine of imitating Tokyo: get to the threshold level but don’t build nukes.

            The other thing that is being left out of the context of all of these arguments are the real life implications of a worst case scenario: that Iran does want to build nukes. In that instance, Iran would have to kick all of the IAEA inspectors out, break the seals, and the enrichment would take several months (estimates have varied, I’ve seen reports say 6-12 months generally) to go from LEU->HEU. Not to mention the fact that there would likely be some sort of intervention then, that being the point in which the US and Israel have painted themselves into a corner where they almost politically HAVE to attack Iran if they do that. The Iranians also don’t have a delivery system that I’m aware of. Although they can be purchased, the delivery systems that would be available on the black market to Iran are outdated. Similarly to when Kim Jung-Il threatened to nuke Hawaii, the US will respond: “Shoot your 30-70 year old nuke in the sky, and we’ll ignite that baby right over your head before it leaves your border”.

            The Iranian behavior of not being perfectly complicit is purposeful. The regime has no rational basis for using antiquated nuclear arms in an offensive manner. The “apocalyptic” image the propaganda likes to draw of the regime is likely more true for the current Knesset than the Majlis. Therefore, the whole thrust of the world’s concerns are misplaced. Really, Iran is wondering why the 189 nation demand at the last NPT review conference was so moot and how these same P5+1 are now trying to wag the finger at an Iran that, by all means and measures, is WAY more complicit with the world’ nuclear standards than Israel, a possessor of over 300 nukes and a non-signatory to the very law it pounds the table with.

          2. I think we are all a little idiotic at least some of the time.

            IAEA (and, I might add, the West) has actually been pretty tolerant of the old Iranian violations. A decade ago, Iran was just coming off a war with Iraq. Saddam had claimed he was working on nukes and in fact IAEA found ample evidence — facilities, equipment, and documents — and had stopped the program. But no one in Iran could be sure of that at the time. During the war, Iran started its own weapons program, quite apparently in response to the Iraq program and to a horrendous war. The Iranian government would have been derelict NOT to do so. The country was in mortal danger.

            What sets IAEA and the West off today are the ongoing “little” violations — not giving proper notice when nuclear material is moved, for instance. When one talks about a cask of low-enriched uranium, it is no big deal. But once you get up t0 20% enriched, a single cask can be further refined to build a bomb or two.

            The biggest violations in the IAEA sense are the discovery of an entirely undeclared plant site (not equipped) 18 months ago, and undeclared irregularities in design details of the centrifuge cascades. IAEA in its work basically tries to keep track of all fissionable material. To the extent that someone has an undeclared facility, or piping (in which a bit of fissionable material always gets “lost”) that is not quite what the design specs say it is, IAEA goes nuts.

            The fact that Israel has nukes is of course upsetting — and I might add, upsetting to the West. Quite aside from the direct human toll, if the nukes are ever used, the world will be plunged into an unending economic nightmare. The assurance theoretically is that Israel would not use the nukes unless its existence is directly on the line.

            The problem (again, more my opinion, but reasonably informed) is that the Arab world (specifically NOT the Persian world and specifically not Muslim-only!) was taking most of the diplomatic stupid pills up until 20 years ago. Deliberately targeting civilians, especially children, is not a good approach if you are trying to win friends and influence people.

            Since then of course, the Israelis have been making up for lost time, in overdrive. Granted, even 20 years ago, Israelis were killing 8 Palestinians for every one Israeli, and I did a churlish story pointing out that American teen-agers were somewhat more likely to die violently (17 per 100,000) than Israeli teenagers (12 in 100,000), but Palestinian actions, like Munich, seemed more wanton.

            Now the Israelis clearly don’t care who gets in the way, either, and only thinly disguise their actions — when they bother to disguise at all.

            So is the old assurance really still valid? World opinion is slow to change, so the attitude is that Israel will not be a casual nuke-user may indeed not be valid. I would have been somewhat placated 20 years ago. After the Rabin assassination and certainly given Bibi’s cabinet, I’m not so sure. And certainly Western diplomats aren’t, either.

            Also, the Bush administration clearly gave Israel a blank check on using some conventional weapons technology from the US — technology like cluster bombs and certain guided weapons and even drone technology. So everyone in the region wonders what might really happen to Israel’s nukes if a 1973-style war or worse breaks out.

            But that’s not the IAEA’s official concern. Israel never signed the NPT and thus is barred from most civilian nuclear technology. Control of Israel’s nukes, or influence on their use, has to come from elsewhere. That strikes the Iranian government as unfair — as well it should. But blustering about wiping Israel off the map, and violating the protocols it has agreed to, is not helpful.

            Think about it. The Europeans, who really don’t like US-style military budgets, are willing to spend money and political capital (especially in Turkey) to build a defense against possible Iranian strikes down the road. I don’t like where all this is leading, and the ball is in Iran’s court right now. I think Iran can negotiate a good deal with good safeguards, and improve its security… unless it is closer to having a bomb than I think it is. The diplomats seem to think the worst in that regard. Hope they are not justified in doing so.

  3. richard

    you really should add the word “alleged” to your claim that israel manufactured the worm

    some experts believe it came from israel…but there has yet to be concrete proof

    it could have been manufactured right here in the good old us of a

    1. you really should add the word “alleged” to your claim that israel manufactured the worm

      Do you have any evidence that anyone other than Israel produced it? If not, I’m comfortable w. the language I used.

      some experts believe it came from israel

      No, every expert who has advanced an opinion on the subject says it’s Israel. A few in the very beginning noted it could come from other sources, but no one these days who speaks to this issue says anything other than Israel. And you & I both know it was Israel, don’t we. You think two NY Times distinguished reporters would write that Israeli officials smiled when asked whether Israel was the author–if they didn’t know what that meant???

      Apologism & hasbarism doesn’t become you.

    2. You are presenting a non-realistic view of the world based on propaganda produced only for American and Israeli domestic consumption (and for any one else who is gullible). The Israelis stand alone in the nuclear arena and only lobbyist influence is preventing the US and others from forcing Israel to sign the NPT per the 189 nation mandate at the last NPT Review Conference, which the US also agreed to. That’s the REALPOLITIK, not what you read in the Jerusalem Post. This would require a wholesale disclosure of Israel’s rogue program and require nothing of Iran at the same time (something that Israel voiced complaint about but received no real response — again, the propaganda is only good for internal American and Israeli rhetoric — on a global level everyone knows the truth, the media might not just reflect that on purpose). How effective is media manipulation? When Khomeini was flown into Iran on the Air France plane with a BBC reporter on board, the Shah was using whatever power he had left to try to force BBC to publish his statements, but they refused. They basically silenced the king of a country and let the opposition fill the airwaves. That’s all it takes. That’s all it took in 1953 when the CIA overthrew our democracy. You control the images; you control the people. The same lobbyist pressures produce the propaganda, etc. All of it are machinations from Israel’s Foreign Ministry. There’s even an official, oustanding DOJ request from 1962 for AIPAC to pronounce that is a foreign agent of the Israeli government here: http://www.irmep.org/1962Order.pdf , with more information about that here: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-department-of-justice-asked-to-regulate-aipac-as-a-foreign-agent-of-the-israeli-government-88190712.html.

      Then you have the recently filed court papers alleging much of the same — undue government influence, illegal lobby manipulation.

      You might be thinking: well, why would anyone not understand that Israel NEEDS it nukes? The world understands that Israel needs its security, this is fundamental throughout the international lexicon of Sovereign State rights. The world understands that small countries like Israel, Kuwait, and others, particularly in the Middle East, are at risk of invasion. But the world has also witnessed, and deplored via countless resolutions, Israeli behavior in response to the various issues it faces and the world has realized that Israel, as a State, does not act rationally or sanely. Indeed, in REALPOLITIK once again, the entire world has witnessed this:

      The Iranians acting calmly and responding logically with truth to Israeli-sourced propaganda aimed at reducing Iran’s legal right under a treaty Israel not only skirted, but did so to create 300 nukes, introducing nuclear arms to the ME in the first place.

      I question your logic if you think continuing the behavior of the past decade is to the benefit of Israel’s standing in the region and globally. It’s quite bittersweet that the very message I am preaching to you is the one that will benefit you and save you from your own planned destruction. I can only minimize voices like yours to save bystander Israelis and maximize voices like Richard who speak with a moral compass and in line with the universal MANDATE of human rights.

  4. SEE: Son of Stuxnet? Variants of the cyberweapon likely, senators told ~ By Mark Clayton, CSM, 11/17/10

    (excerpt)…The Stuxnet malware, discovered this summer, was apparently designed to strike one target – Iran’s nuclear-fuel centrifuge facilities, researchers now say. But Stuxnet’s “digital warhead,” they caution, could be copied and altered by others to wreak havoc on a much grander scale.
    Variants of Stuxnet could target a host of critical infrastructure, from the power grid and water supplies to transportation systems, four cybersecurity experts told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    “The concern for the future of Stuxnet is that the underlying code could be adapted to target a broader range of control systems in any number of critical infrastructure sectors,” said Sean McGurk, acting director of the National Cyber-security and Communications Integration Center at the US Department of Homeland Security.
    Stuxnet infiltrated and targeted an industrial control system software that is widely used in US infrastructure and industry, meaning the nation is vulnerable to future Stuxnet-like attacks, he said…
    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/1117/Son-of-Stuxnet-Variants-of-the-cyberweapon-likely-senators-told
    P.S. Pandora’s Box? None of us is safe. NONE OF US!

    1. One additional party that was given the Stuxnet warhead: Iran.

      Oohhhhh yaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Forgot about that one…

      *shakes head* lol

  5. In essence, the problem boils down to one simple fact; there is, as yet, no dynamic to move matters forward, nothing in play but a static situation, the ball being constantly batted backwards and forward with not the slightest hope of finding any means of resolution. This lack of deviation from the status quo over the past six to seven decades is almost beyond belief.

    Yet everyone seems prepared to continue with the situation as it stands with no one able to bring matters to a head, to kick-start any kind of process that might lead to a more stable and mutually agreed upon peace settlement.

    If there is nobody now prepared to stick out his or her neck, to put their reputation and, quite possibly, their lives on the line, then only two options remain. These are: 1. Fighting it out to the bitter end with the entire world looking on, as helpless as ever. Or 2. Discovering that the problem can be made to deliver a sort of proto-peace, one from which something much more permanent has a better than even chance of emerging.

    Maybe what the situation really needs is, indeed, a deliverable warhead and, quite possibly, more than one.
    Of course, it will have to be of that very special non-lethal variety, a variety all of us will then be more than ready and willing to use.

    Because, if we carry on much as before, all we can accomplish is to talk this thing to death. And even then, it will be Death that must have the final word.

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