Tuesday, September 29, 2009

William O. Beeman--Iran's Nuclear Program: Facts Americans Need to Know (New America Media)

Iran’s Nuclear Program: Facts Americans Need to Know

New America Media, News Analysis,
William O. Beeman,
Posted: Sep 29, 2009

The recent news that Iran is in the process of building a second uranium enrichment facility sent politicians and the press into a tizzy. Consequently, the American public is once again being barraged with half-truths and misstatements about Iran’s nuclear program.

In the spirit of public service, here are 10 basic facts about Iran’s nuclear energy program that Americans desperately need to know.

1. No one has presented any concrete evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. This has been asserted in every inspection report of Iran carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and our own American National Intelligence Estimate.

2. Iranian officials have renounced nuclear weapons as un-Islamic and unnecessary for Iran’s defense. Iran has not launched a first strike against any nation for more than 300 years, and it will not attack Israel or any other nation. It will, however, defend itself.

3. Iran would have to build numerous facilities to process nuclear material before it could even think about producing a weapon.

4. The facility discovered last week in Qom is incomplete, non-operational and has not had any nuclear material introduced into it. It is designed, not as a weapons manufacturing plant, but as a mini-version of the enrichment facility at Natanz. It was probably intended as a back-up if Natanz were bombed.

5. The Iranians make a strong claim that they were not required to report the facility until 180 days before fissile material was introduced. It is simply not true that they are in unambiguous violation of their “international obligations,” as asserted by President Obama.

6. The United States knew about the Qom facility four years ago and chose not to reveal its knowledge. In fact, if the facility were illegal, the United States was obliged to reveal it. Either the facility was not illegal, or the United States is itself in violation of its treaty obligations.

7. The Qom facility was not “exposed” by the United States. It was revealed by a voluntary letter from Iran to the IAEA several days earlier than the American announcement.

8. If operational, the Qom plant would at best be able to produce enough raw fissile material to produce only one bomb per year. In order for such a bomb to be built, the enriched uranium would still have to be sent through numerous non-existent processing facilities before emerging as a weapon. By contrast, Israel, Pakistan and India all have large stockpiles of nuclear warheads ready to launch.

9. Iran actually needs nuclear energy to generate electricity, as it asserts. Currently, Iran uses natural gas for its electricity generation. As Iran’s crude oil supplies dwindle, that gas is needed to “re-inject” the oil fields to increase oil production. It is also more profitable for Iran to sell the remaining gas abroad in liquid form than to use it to generate electric power.

10. Iran will not give up nuclear enrichment under pressure. The nuclear energy program was started nearly 40 years ago under U.S. ally Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Iranians of all ages and all economic classes take pride in the development of nuclear energy as proof of Iran’s scientific and engineering prowess. They see efforts to curtail this as attempts by the West to suppress their progress. Whoever is elected president in Iran in the future will enthusiastically support the nuclear program.

So, why have our national leaders misled the public about this program? One reason is that Iran has become the universal bogeyman for American politicians. No one has ever lost a vote by attacking Iran and many have been attacked for seeming to be “soft” on Iran. Moreover, Israel and its supporters have successfully promulgated the equation that to be less than hostile to Iran is to be anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic. Neoconservatives in the Bush administration also had plans for regime change in Iran dating back to the early 1990’s, and portraying Iran as a nuclear menace would build public support for an attack on the Islamic Republic.

Americans may think that an Iranian nuclear weapons program exists because of the clever rhetoric used by Iran’s detractors—even Obama. Phrases like, “We must prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” or “If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, the world is in danger,” are weasel phrases designed to mislead the public. The same tricks were used to convince the public that Iraq was behind the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington.

One thing is certain. If the American public does not wake up and realize that it is being deceived on Iran, either Israel or the United States or both could attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran would retaliate, and the world conflagration would truly begin.

William O. Beeman is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, Minn. He is past-president of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association. He has conducted research in Iran for over 40 years and is author, most recently, of "The 'Great Satan' vs. the 'Mad Mullahs': How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other," (University of Chicago Press, 2008).


Anonymous said...

1. Iran has not permitted free inspections.
Furthermore there is evidence that an interest in obtaining nuclear weapons existed and probably still exists.
2. They deny an interest, true.
As Mike Mullen says I don't believe them for one minute.
As for attacking Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah are proxies that wouldn't hesitate. Don't tell me you really believe that Hezbollah has not received weapons from Iran.
3. Or they could obtain fissile material ore even weapons from North Korea, as Syria did.
4.You are out of date here.
5.Your interpretation is diputed by most authorities.
6.and 7. They revealed the Qom facility when they knew they were going to be outed.
8. You can't be sure about non-existent facilities.
Other countries have nuclear weapons-yes they do, and North Korea is dangerous also, but that's off-argument.
9. A dubious defence of their "need."
10. Comes down to a matter of trust. Their record of support for terror (even in Iran itself) denies them credibility.

Anonymous said...

There's a report in the NYT today casting more doubt on the validity of Beeman's observations about Iran's intentions. The IAEA has new indications of experiments that can only be construed as work towards weaponisation.
And to top it off the article concludes that they are draping banners on their Shahab-3: "Wipe Israel off the map."
Care to comment, Professor B?

Anonymous said...

An interesting article was published by the Iranian Republic Guard describing "the day after"
Iran detonates a nuclear weapon.

Anonymous said...

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck-

Anonymous said...

Iranian Duplicity

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Iran is helping the Syria government put down protests by providing equipment and logistical support, the Daily Telegraph reported June 13. During an interview with Sky News, Hague said Iran’s role demonstrates Tehran’s hypocrisy in world affairs.

I'm not surprised. Are you Professor B.?

Anonymous said...

Beeman does not have credentials as an authority on nuclear weaponisation, nor does he have the knowledge to talk authoritatively about this subject.

Lack of such knowledge has not been an obstacle to pronouncements with no real basis. See for example his discussion re. Jamie Lee Curtis and hermaphrodism.

Anonymous said...

So Iran is helping to kill more Americans.
How do the apologists for Iran greet this news?

Anonymous said...

Dirty dealings in Syria, the latest in Iranian efforts to be the boss of the neighborhood.
From the London Times:
Syria is using large numbers of Hezbollah and Iranian snipers as “military consultants” to murder anti-regime protesters, a senior government defector has told The Times.

The salaries of the marksmen are paid through a slush fund replenished with US dollars flown in from Iran, according to Mahmoud Haj Hamad, who was the treasury’s top auditor at the Defence Ministry until he fled Syria last month.

The same fund is used to pay the Shabiha, the gangs of thugs who have joined the state security services in torturing and killing protesters.

Mr Hamad, appalled at the destruction of cities by the armed forces, fled Syria with his family last month. His account is the first by a senior insider to confirm the presence of foreign forces in Syria to help to prop up the regime.

Even as the Government was blaming the uprising on plots by its Arab neighbours and “foreign elements”, it was turning to its regional allies to help to suppress the protests. “The Syrian Intelligence weren’t qualified, they didn’t have decent snipers or equipment,” he said in an interview. “They needed qualified snipers from Hezbollah and Iran.”

Both have tight military ties with the regime of President Assad, a member of the Alawite sect, a sub-group of the Shia branch of Islam. Mr Hamad said: “At the beginning there were hundreds, then when things started to get worse they started to bring in more outsiders. The numbers were huge — in the thousands.”

Anonymous said...

So the plot against the Saudi Ambassador couldn't have been the work of Iran because it involved a low level operative (used car salesman)?
How about Iranian operative attacking a soft target in Bankok managing to blow his own legs off?

Anonymous said...

There's a story in the London Times about the Iranian operatives (proven beyond all doubt). They partied with Thai escort girls the night before the attempted and bungled terrorist attack.
I suggest that you read it, and then refrain from using the argument that no amateurish operatives would be used by the Iranians.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard the one about the Iranian snipers in Syria really being false flag Mossad agents?

Anonymous said...

For a description of life in present-day Iran, I recommend "Letter from Tehran" by Laura Secor in the May 7th issue of "The New Yorker."

Anonymous said...

TEHRAN — Iran’s vice president delivered a baldly anti-Semitic speech on Tuesday at an international antidrug conference here, saying that the Talmud, a central text of Judaism, was responsible for the spread of illegal drugs around the world.
Must be a mistranslation,eh?

Anonymous said...

In a speech published on his website Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the ultimate goal of world forces must be the annihilation of Israel.

Speaking to ambassadors from Islamic countries ahead of 'Qods Day' ('Jerusalem Day'), an annual Iranian anti-Zionist event established in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini and which falls this year on August 17, Ahmadinejad said that a "horrible Zionist current" had been managing world affairs for "about 400 years."

Repeating traditional anti-Semitic slurs, the Iranian president accused "Zionists" of controlling the world's media and financial systems.

Sounds more and more like Hitler every day.

Anonymous said...

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told an annual anti-Israel protest in Tehran on Friday that the Jewish state was a "cancerous tumour" that will soon be excised, drawing Western rebukes.

Washington said Ahmadinejad's statements were "reprehensible", while Paris viewed them as "outrageous."

Ahmadinejad's diatribe against Israel in his Quds (Jerusalem) Day address was the latest in a long line to have drawn criticism from Western governments.

"The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumour," he said.

"The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land.... A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists," he said.

Of course, this is not what he said.
The correct translation is we love you Israel.

Anonymous said...

It's disgusting the way blowhard Beeman and other shills for Iran comment on "apartheid" in Israel while ignoring Iran's support for the brutality taking place in Syria.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Iran is dedicated to annihilating Israel, the Islamic regime’s military chief of staff declared Sunday.

“The Iranian nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel,” Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi said in a speech to a defense gathering Sunday in Tehran.

His remarks came on the day International Atomic Energy Agency director Yukiya Amano flew to Tehran to negotiate for inspections of Iran’s nuclear program. They were reported by the Fars News Agency, the media outlet of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.

While many within the Islamic regime, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have often stated that Israel should be annihilated, until Sunday no one in the nation’s leadership has announced Iran’s determined resolve.

Anonymous said...

Amsdinejad should have checked with Beeman before using the word
"annihilate" again.

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Rouhani: Israel an Old Wound that Must be Removed

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Anonymous said...

Guess who is back------

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is believed to have made a deal with Iran's Supreme Leader Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Hugh Tomlinson

Published at 12:01AM, August 6 2013

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former President of Iran, was appointed to a top political council in Tehran yesterday, a remarkable comeback by the man who inspired fear and loathing during his eight turbulent years in office.

His numerous enemies at home and abroad had hoped he would be cast into the political darkness. Instead, Mr Ahmadinejad’s appointment to the Expediency Council, a day after his successor Hassan Rowhani was sworn in, indicates that he will remain a force within the regime.

The appointment was confirmed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, sparking fresh rumours that the two men have cut a deal. Mr Ahmadinejad threatened to expose corruption at the highest levels of the regime if one of his close aides was not permitted to run in the June election.

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“Considering the profuse experience you gained during eight years of worthy efforts, I appoint you as a member of the Expediency Council,” a statement posted on Mr Khamenei’s website said.

The announcement does not put Mr Ahmadinejad completely in the clear. He still faces the prospect of becoming the first Iranian President to face criminal charges brought by the state.

Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian Parliament and an old adversary, launched legal action against the former President in June, with the case expected to go to court in the coming weeks.

Dominated by conservative clerics and politicians, the Expediency Council advises the Supreme Leader on legislative issues. It is headed by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, also a former President and another enemy of Mr Ahmadinejad.

Some analysts speculate that pitting the two former presidents against each other may well be part of a plan by Mr Khamenei to divide and rule