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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Regime change in Iran won't solve the nuclear problem

In an earlier post, I reported that 86% of Iranians favor the pursuit of nuclear energy, including uranium enrichment, although only 38% favor the pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

It's actually worse than that, because the Green leaders are even more radical on the pursuit of a nuclear than Ahmadinejad himself.
In October, negotiators in Geneva reached a deal that could have defused the nuclear issue, at least for a while: Iran would send much of its low-enriched uranium abroad, where it would be further enriched and then returned in a form suited for medical use and not weaponizable.

Then, after Ahmadinejad hailed this deal as a “victory” for Iran, it was denounced not just by some conservatives in Tehran but by the “progressive” Mousavi. The deal collapsed, and Ahmadinejad eventually discovered the wisdom of Mousavi’s position. Just this week he proudly announced that the uranium in question would be enriched by Iran — not to weapons-grade levels (90 percent), but to medical-use levels (20 percent), an achievement that would move Iranian scientists along the learning curve toward weapons-grade.


In any event, last week saw the release of a big report that helps explain why playing the nuclear card is such good politics. It’s an analysis by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of several opinion polls conducted in Iran over the past year. (There’s a tendency on the part of American commentators to minimize the importance of public opinion in authoritarian states, but the reason authoritarians try so heavy-handedly to manipulate opinion is that they fear it — especially once an unruly opposition movement has emerged, as in Iran.)

Perhaps the best news in the PIPA report is that the Iranian public isn’t committed to getting the bomb. Given the choice between developing 1) nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, 2) nuclear energy only or 3) no nuclear technology, 55 percent of Iranians (and 57 percent of Mousavi supporters) chose door number two, while only 38 percent (and 37 percent) wanted the bomb.

But note that almost no one chose door number three. So if your goal is to get Iran to give up its nuclear program altogether, I recommend finding another goal.

Why such strong support for nuclear energy in a country whose natural endowments don’t exactly leave it devoid of energy sources? The history of Iran’s nuclear program is long and tortuous, and there have definitely been periods (possibly including now) when the government was trying to develop nukes. But at the popular level, a separate motivation has taken shape: pride in the technical prowess embodied in the program.

This pride may have grown more intense and nationalistic under Western pressure to constrain the program. Though most Iranians say sanctions already imposed on the country have hurt it, 86 percent of them — and 78 percent of Mousavi supporters — say that Iran should not “give up its nuclear activities regardless of the circumstances.”
The good news is that most Iranians claim that they don't want nuclear weapons. The problem is that unless you have a way of really supervising the goings on (much more closely than the current vintage of IAEA inspections), you can't ensure that an undemocratic government like Iran's won't develop nuclear weapons. Moreover, if the opposition shares Ahmadinejad's hostility for the US, Israel and other Western countries (which it may), it will have every motivation to continue trying to pursue a nuclear weapon in secret.

Read the whole thing.


At 6:49 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

It's coming down to a us or them situation...

No one spends 4 billion dollars funding hamas, hezbollah, syria and themselves on weapons for show...

Real war is coming...

Wake up...

At 7:23 PM, Blogger nomatter said...

The only good thing that could happen to Iran is the people denounce Koranic teachings. There are a lot of bad things to say about secularism but unfortunately in the case of Iran, that is the first step to freedom.

When you see the mobs burning the holy Koran while killing the mullahs only then can we take a breath.

Until that point crunching numbers (which I think are cooked both ways) amount to nothing.

Bottom line here, the U.S along with the rest of the spineless world knew for certain Iran would come to the point of enriching uranium. This is a journey which has taken quite a long while.

As far as I am concerned regime change is far into the distance, if ever. Even if it came tomorrow. without burning the Koran and killing the mullahs, Israel sits in one of the most dangerous times ever.

Look back just to the not so distant past at all the lost signals the world conveniently and selfishly ignored. Not one Jew alive today has not suffered because of it.

So here it is. Not so many years ago world leaders, past U.S president's pontificated on the fear of Iran arriving to the point of nuclear enrichment.

Write in a date on Google, enter the name of a world leader or past president, Iran. How pathetic to find reference upon reference of toothless condemnations, disbelief, rationalizations, veiled threats and weak sanctions aimed at Iran.

Iran can, because they can.

Possibly at the very least if the allies bombed the rail lines to Auschwitz there might not be so many gaping holes in our families. Get my point?


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