Yet another reminder: Iran still closing in on bomb

Faking injuries in a winning 4th quarter? Iran at the precipice.

So, who’s up for another round of graphs showing that Western diplomacy, sanctions, and technology have yet to out-maneuver Iran in the mullahs’ push for a bomb?

A long-time IAEA expert, Olli Heinonen, predicted this past week that, using her newer, advanced centrifuges, Iran could produce enough high-enriched uranium (HEU) for a first nuclear warhead in as little as two weeks from making the decision to go for the “breakout.”  (See here also.)

For clarity, this does not mean Iran is “two weeks from a bomb.”  It means that once Iran decides to take the final enrichment step, it could take as little as two weeks Continue reading “Yet another reminder: Iran still closing in on bomb”

The art of “gray-hull diplomacy”

Rules of force.

I received a question last week from a correspondent:

I was wondering if you could suggest some manners in which the US could make the military option more credible against Iran.

To my request for clarification, the correspondent replied that this question was more about how to credibly intimidate Iran than about how to effectively interdict Iran’s nuclear program with military force.

It’s a very good question.  How should an American president use the military in an intimidating, persuasive manner, to induce Iran to give up her nuclear-weapons purpose?  Very little has been discussed on this topic in the forums of punditry; virtually all treatments focus on the feasibility or proper method of a military attack campaign.  Is there an “intimidation option,” Continue reading “The art of “gray-hull diplomacy””

Intel on Iran’s nuclear weapons program: An endless do-loop

Blah blah blah Parchin yada-yada.

Maybe we know more now about something that started 12 years go.  That would be nice.  The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), which follows the Iran nuclear problem closely, believes it has identified a building where IAEA has information that explosive tests have been conducted for a nuclear warhead detonator.  ISIS issued a report on 13 March highlighting the building in imagery near the Parchin weapons facility southeast of Tehran.

An interesting aspect of the ISIS analysis is the fact that the building in question is located well outside the main area of the Parchin facility.  Basically, it is in an area the ISIS analysts had apparently not reviewed before, Continue reading “Intel on Iran’s nuclear weapons program: An endless do-loop”

Iran: Conflicting reports on new blast near Esfahan

Blowing (stuff) up.

Local officials are offering different explanations for the blast that rocked Esfahan (also spelled Isfahan) a few hours ago.  It will be some time before there is enough information to make a good assessment, but a few things can be said now.

First, although the probable location of the explosion hasn’t been clarified, comments from the provincial governor suggest that it was on the east side of the city.  The governor claimed that the blast resulted from a military training exercise at the air base co-located with the Esfahan International Airport, which is situated on the east side of the city.  Presumably his comments, whether true or not, were intended to offer an explanation consistent with the local inhabitants’ experience of the blast.

The Esfahan nuclear compound is located east of the metro area, but there are good reasons to doubt Continue reading “Iran: Conflicting reports on new blast near Esfahan”