Selasa, 17 Juli 2012

Let Iran have the bomb: US professor Kenneth Waltz.....>>>...Kenneth Waltz, a professor at Columbia University in New York and at the University of California at Berkeley, has long advocated the view nuclear weapons bring stability to the world, acting as a deterrent to war. But eyebrows were raised when his provocative essay - "Why Iran should get the bomb" - appeared as the cover story in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs, long seen as an influential establishment journal. This week the US congress will vote to tighten dramatically economic sanctions on Iran amid growing impatience at the failure of President Barack Obama's administration to halt Tehran's nuclear program. A leaked Pentagon assessment has warned Iran continued to "make large strides" and could be just three years from testing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking US soil. "The threat from Iran is real," John Boehner, the Republican House Speaker, said. ..>>....A federal grand jury in Washigton D.C. on July 13 indicted Parviz Khaki, an Iranian citizen and Zongcheng Yi, a resident of China, for their alleged efforts to obtain and illegally export to Iran U.S.-origin materials that can be used to construct, operate and maintain gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, including maraging steel, aluminum alloys, mass spectrometers, vacuum pumps and other items. Khaki is also accused of conspiring to procure radioactive source materials from the U.S. for customers in Iran. Iran has said it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes in its nuclear facilities. However, those facilities have long been thought by the west to be “dual use,” capable of producing radioactive material that can be used in nuclear power plants, as well as materials that could be used in a nuclear weapon...>>...The Obama administration hoped the specter of an oil embargo and increasingly stringent banking sanctions would finally force Iran to come clean on its clandestine nuclear program and end its enrichment activities. No such luck. After the third round of P5+1 negotiations in Moscow ended last month in a stalemate, the White House and Congress are competing to isolate the intransigent Iranian government...>>



Two indicted for allegedly trying to send U.S. nuclear materials, equipment to Iran



Nuclear centrifuge
A Filipino and a Chinese national were accused of trying to obtain and export radioactive material, equipment and raw materials through China to Iran where it would be used to produce enriched uranium.
A federal grand jury in Washigton D.C. on July 13 indicted Parviz Khaki, an Iranian citizen and Zongcheng Yi, a resident of China, for their alleged efforts to obtain and illegally export to Iran U.S.-origin materials that can be used to construct, operate and maintain gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, including maraging steel, aluminum alloys, mass spectrometers, vacuum pumps and other items.   Khaki is also accused of conspiring to procure radioactive source materials from the U.S. for customers in Iran.
Iran has said it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes in its nuclear facilities. However, those facilities have long been thought by the west to be “dual use,” capable of producing radioactive material that can be used in nuclear power plants, as well as materials that could be used in a nuclear weapon.
The indictment charges Khaki, 43, and Yi, each with one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by conspiring with others to export U.S. goods to Iran without the required U.S. Treasury Department license.  Both men are also charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S.; two counts of smuggling; two counts of illegally exporting U.S. goods to Iran in violation of IEEPA; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Khaki was arrested on May 24, 2012, by authorities in the Philippines in connection with a U.S. provisional arrest request stemming from a March 8, 2012 indictment in the District of Columbia, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement on July 13.  ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case.  
Yi, is purportedly the managing director of Monalila Co. LTD, a company in Guangzhou City, China, said ICE. He remains at large, it said.  
Both men face a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiring to violate IEEPA; five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States; ten years in prison for each smuggling count; 20 years in prison for each IEEPA count and 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.
In carrying out the conspiracy, the indictment alleges Khaki directed Yi and others to contact U.S. companies about purchasing U.S.-origin goods. Yi and other conspirators then placed orders and purchased goods from various U.S. companies and had the goods exported from the U.S. through China and Hong Kong to Khaki and others in Iran. Yi and others allegedly lied to suppliers about the goods’ final destination in Iran.
The indictment alleges that on Dec. 6, 2008, Khaki asked an individual in China to obtain 20 tons of C-350 maraging steel, a special class of extra-strength steel used to make gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment, from the U.S. for Khaki’s customer in Iran.  In the months that followed, Khaki talked with Yi about purchasing 20 tons of maraging steel from a U.S. company with which Yi was in contact. 
In March 2009, Khaki allegedly began communicating with an undercover U.S. federal agent posing as an illegal exporter of U.S. goods.   The agent told Khaki that the U.S. company could not sell Khaki the maraging steel because doing so was illegal, but that he (the undercover agent) could potentially help export the steel for a fee.   Khaki allegedly replied to the agent with questions about price and payment.   In the months that followed, Khaki continued to communicate with the agent in an effort to acquire and export the maraging steel to Iran, noting in one instance, “you know and I know this material are [sic] limited material and danger goods…”  Khaki also discussed his desire to make money from the transaction.  
The indictment also alleges that in late 2008, said the indictment, Khaki reached out to an individual in China about procuring 20 tons of 7075-O aluminum alloy 80mm rods and 20 tons of 7075-T6 aluminum alloy 150 mm rods from the U.S. or Europe.  In one communication, it said, Khaki explained that the aluminum alloy had to be American made because his Iranian customer had previously found that Chinese aluminum alloy was of poor quality.  
Khaki also allegedly sought to obtain mass spectrometers from the U.S.   In a May 2009 email request to the undercover federal agent, Khaki specified that one magnetic mass spectrometer he sought was for the isotopic analysis of gaseous uranium hexafluoride. Uranium hexafluoride is the chemical compound used in the gas centrifuge process to enrich uranium.  Khaki and Yi also conspired to obtain other items from U.S. companies that can be used for gas centrifuges, including measuring instruments, pressure transducers, vacuum pumps and other accessories, according to the charges.
The indictment further alleges that Khaki sought to obtain radioactive source materials from the U.S.  According to the indictment, in May 2009, Khaki sent an email to the undercover agent asking the agent to purchase radioactive sources and test materials from a U.S. company.  Attached to the email was a list of products, including barium-133 source and europium-152 source, as well as contact information for the U.S. company.  
In January 2011, Khaki contacted the undercover agent again requesting that he purchase various radioactive sources.   In one email to the agent, Khaki allegedly sent a product catalogue for radioactive sources, including cobalt-57 source, and in another email he requested the agent purchase cadmium-109 source.

Americans Favor Diplomacy Over Military Action on Iran by Almost 4 to 1

Ajad article.jpgIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a press conference in Tehran. (Reuters)

J

The Obama administration hoped the specter of an oil embargo and increasingly stringent banking sanctions would finally force Iran to come clean on its clandestine nuclear program and end its enrichment activities. No such luck. After the third round of P5+1 negotiations in Moscow ended last month in a stalemate, the White House and Congress are competing to isolate the intransigent Iranian government.
Last Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department moved to close holes in the Iran sanctions regime, blacklisting more than a dozen front companies and four individuals that are helping Tehran evade U.S. and European Union (EU) restrictions on its oil exports, and placing twenty Iranian financial institutions on a watch list.
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Congress is pushing for tougher measures aimed at crippling the Iranian economy, arguing that current U.S. efforts are falling short. Taking matters into their own hands, a bipartisan group of legislators began crafting legislation to impede Iranian companies from buying insurance, exporting goods, and securing foreign financial assistance. "What we've done so far has been good, but it is clearly not enough," concludes Howard Berman, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "The pressure has to intensify."
At the same time, outside groups such as the hawkish Foreign Policy Initiative are ratcheting up calls for preemptive military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. In a recent piece, Jamie Fly and William Kristol advocate for Congress to pass an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran to lend credibility to the U.S. threat of direct action.
Amidst the heightened cacophony of policymakers and pundits, there remains strong public support in the United States--and in many countries abroad--for sanctions, but widespread opposition to the use of military force. A new analysis of U.S. and global opinion on nuclear proliferation, produced by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), reveals some insights on the most imminent threat to international peace and security.
  • Americans are deeply concerned about Iranian acquisition of the bomb. An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens believe that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and poses a serious threat to U.S. national security. They doubt that a nuclear-armed Iran could be deterred from attacking Israel by the prospect of nuclear retaliation--in other words, they do not believe that Tehran can be expected to behave rationally. Such anxieties are also shared among European publics, albeit by smaller majorities. Surprisingly, levels of concern about an Iranian nuclear weapon vary across the Muslim world. In Iran's regional rival, Saudi Arabia, 45 percent of respondents consider the prospect of an Iranian bomb to be a negative development, compared to 70 percent in Jordan.
  • Americans favor sanctions over military force by wide margins. When presented with a menu of five policy options to deal with Iran's nuclear program in 2011, one third of U.S. respondents favored imposing sanctions to stop Iran from producing nuclear fuel, whereas only 13 percent endorsed military action. A slim 8 percent of respondents were willing to accept a nuclear Iran.
  • American support for military force rises if depicted as a last resort. In 2011, the German Marshall Fund (GMF) presented U.S. and European citizens with two options: take "military action against Iran" or "simply accept that Iran could acquire nuclear weapons." Faced with this scenario, 49 percent of Americans and 42 percent of Europeans favored the use of military force. (This question assumed, somewhat problematically, that military force would necessarily achieve the goal of dismantling the Iranian nuclear program.)
  • A majority of Americans support engagement with Iran. By a wide margin, U.S. citizens in a November 2011 poll agreed that "Iran is a threat that can be handled with diplomacy now" (55 percent), rather than with immediate military action (15 percent). That's a ratio of about 3.7 to one. Reluctance to contemplate military options may reflect public pessimism about its likely consequences. A 2010 survey by Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey found that four-fifths of Americans believed that military strikes alone would fail to stop Iran's nuclear program. Huge majorities also thought  attacks would increase support for the Iranian regime and potentially lead to retaliatory strikes against U.S. regional allies and the U.S. homeland.
  • Most Americans do not favor an Israeli strike. If support is low for U.S. military action, should the Israelis take care of the problem instead? In a poll released in March 2012, 24 percent of Americans advocated an Israeli strike, while 69 percent favored the continued pursuit of negotiations with Iran by the United States and other major powers. Only 14 percent believed the U.S. government should encourage an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities; instead, 80 percent believed the United States should either remain neutral (46 percent) or actively discourage (34 percent) such a unilateral attack. (To be sure, the desire to remain "neutral" could encompass a range of motivations--including a desire to have Israel do the dirty work, without embroiling the United States).
  • Three quarters of Americans prefer that the United States deal with the Iranian nuclear issue through the UN Security Council. In a March 2012 poll by the Sadat Chair/PIPA, 74 percent of U.S. respondents preferred the UN Security Council to lead the charge against Iran, whereas only 20 percent thought the United States should act primarily by itself.
  • Americans can envision a nuclear deal with Iran. Under Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, all countries possess the right to peaceful nuclear energy. Given the proliferation risks and Iran's of reneging on international agreements, many U.S. officials and experts argue that Iran should only be allowed to import fuel from abroad, rather than produce domestically. American citizens, however, support the idea of allowing Iran to produce nuclear fuel on the condition that the regime accepts intrusive UN inspections.
This article originally appeared at CFR.org, an Atlantic partner site.

Iran, the bomb, and U.S. public opinion

Iran, the bomb, and U.S. public opinion

Editor’s note: Stewart Patrick is senior fellow and director of the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations. The original post can be read here. The views expressed are solely those of the writer.
The Obama administration hoped the specter of an oil embargo and increasingly stringent banking sanctions would finally force Iran to come clean on its clandestine nuclear program and end its enrichment activities. No such luck. After the third round of P5+1 negotiations in Moscow ended last month in a stalemate, the White House and Congress are competing to isolate the intransigent Iranian government.
Last Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department moved to close holes in the Iran sanctions regime, blacklisting more than a dozen front companies and four individuals that are helping Tehran evade U.S. and EU restrictions on its oil exports, and placing twenty Iranian financial institutions on a watch list.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Congress is pushing for tougher measures aimed at crippling the Iranian economy, arguing that current U.S. efforts are falling short. Taking matters into their own hands, a bipartisan group of legislators began crafting legislation to impede Iranian companies from buying insurance, exporting goods, and securing foreign financial assistance. “What we’ve done so far has been good, but it’s clearly not enough,” concludes Howard Berman, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The pressure has to intensify.”
At the same time, outside groups such as the hawkish Foreign Policy Initiativeare ratcheting up calls for preemptive military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. In a recent piece, Jamie Fly and William Kristol advocate for Congress to pass an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran to lend credibility to the U.S. threat of direct action.
Amidst the heightened cacophony of policymakers and pundits, there remains strong public support in the United States – and in many countries abroad – for sanctions, but widespread opposition to the use of military force. A new analysis of U.S. and global opinion on nuclear proliferation, produced by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Program on International Policy Attitudes, reveals some insights on the most imminent threat to international peace and security.
– Americans are deeply concerned about Iranian acquisition of the bomb. An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens believe that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and poses a serious threat to U.S. national security. They doubt that a nuclear-armed Iran could be deterred from attacking Israel by the prospect of nuclear retaliation – in other words, they don’t believe that Tehran can be expected to behave rationally. Such anxieties are also shared among European publics, albeit by smaller majorities. Surprisingly, levels of concern about an Iranian nuclear weapon vary across the Muslim world. In Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia, 45 percent of respondents consider the prospect of an Iranian bomb to be a negative development, compared to 70 percent in Jordan.
– Americans favor sanctions over military force by wide margins. When presented with a menu of five policy options to deal with Iran’s nuclear program in 2011, one third of U.S. respondents favored imposing sanctions to stop Iran from producing nuclear fuel, whereas only 13 percent endorsed military action. A slim 8 percent of respondents were willing to accept a nuclear Iran.
– American support for military force rises if depicted as a last resort. In 2011, the German Marshall Fund presented U.S. and European citizens with two options: take “military action against Iran” or “simply accept that Iran could acquire nuclear weapons.” Faced with this scenario, 49 percent of Americans and 42 percent of Europeans favored the use of military force. (This question assumed, somewhat problematically, that military force would necessarily achieve the goal of dismantling the Iranian nuclear program.)
– A majority of Americans support engagement with Iran. By a wide margin, U.S. citizens in a November 2011 poll agreed that “Iran is a threat that can be handled with diplomacy now” (55 percent), rather than with immediate military action (15 percent). Reluctance to contemplate military options may reflect public pessimism about its likely consequences. A 2010 survey by Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey found that four-fifths of Americans believed that military strikes alone would fail to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Huge majorities also thought attacks would increase support for the Iranian regime and potentially lead to retaliatory strikes against U.S. regional allies and the U.S. homeland.
– Most Americans don’t favor an Israeli strike. If support is low for U.S. military action, should the Israelis take care of the problem instead? In a poll released in March 2012, 24 percent of Americans advocated an Israeli strike, while 69 percent favored the continued pursuit of negotiations with Iran by the United States and other major powers. Only 14 percent believed the U.S. government should encourage an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities; instead, 80 percent believed the United States should either remain neutral (46 percent) or actively discourage (34 percent) such a unilateral attack. (To be sure, the desire to remain “neutral” could encompass a range of motivations—including a desire to have Israel do the dirty work, without embroiling the United States).
– Three quarters of Americans prefer that the United States deal with the Iranian nuclear issue through the U.N. Security Council. In a March 2012 poll by the Sadat Chair/PIPA, 74 percent of U.S. respondents preferred the U.N. Security Council to lead the charge against Iran, whereas only 20 percent thought the United States should act primarily by itself.
– Americans can envision a nuclear deal with Iran. Under Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, all countries possess the right to peaceful nuclear energy. Given the proliferation risks and Iran’s of reneging on international agreements, many U.S. officials and experts argue that Iran should only be allowed to import fuel from abroad, rather than produce domestically. American citizens, however, support the idea of allowing Iran to produce nuclear fuel on the condition that the regime accepts intrusive U.N. inspections.
Post by: 
Topics: Iran • United Nations • United States
FINDINGS  1.  Support for Continued Diplomacy Rather Than an Israeli Military Strike Only one in four Americans favor Israel conducting a military strike against Iran’s nuclear  program. Seven in ten favor instead the US and other major powers continuing to pursue negotiations with Iran. Three in four say that the US should primarily act through the UN Security Council rather than acting by itself.
Respondents were then asked to choose between  two alternatives. Only 24% favored “Israel conducting a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program” while 69% favored “The US and other major powers continuing to pursue negotiations with Iran."  Respondents were not informed about which was the US government’s position.  Support for continued diplomacy was a bipartisan attitude, with 58 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats preferring to pursue negotiations (independents, 67%). A related question was asked in Israel (February 22-26) in a poll by the Sadat Chair, University of Maryland.  Only a small minority of Israelis--one in five--wanted Israel to  strike Iranian nuclear facilities without at least American backing. 
2.  US Stance Toward Israel  Only one in seven Americans thinks the US should encourage Israel to strike Iran’s program, but views are mixed as to whether the US should openly discourage Israel or stay neutral.  In order to probe public views in greater depth, we offered arguments for three different courses of action by the US and asked respondents how convincing they found each argument. The three courses of action were to encourage Israel to strike Iran’s nuclear program, to discourage it from doing so, or to stay neutral.  The argument that the US should discourage Israel was found the most convincing.  Finally, having evaluated the three arguments, respondents were asked to pick one of the three courses of action. Curiously, though the argument for discouraging Israel was found convincing by a much larger majority (71%) than the argument for staying neutral (52%), when asked to choose a slightly larger number elected a neutral position (46%) than elected discouraging Israel (34%).  Only a small minority—14 percent—thought the US should encourage Israel to attack Iran’s nuclear program. 
3. If Israel Goes Ahead With a Strike   If Israel goes ahead with a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program and Iran retaliates (but not against American targets), only one in four favors the US providing military support for Israel, and only four in ten favor the US providing even diplomatic support.  Few would support open opposition.  The most popular position is for the US to take a neutral stance.  If Israel strikes Iran even without American approval, slightly more than one in five Americans think the US would provide military support, and a slight majority thinks that it would at least provide diplomatic support.  Respondents were asked to “suppose Israel strikes and Iran retaliates by striking back at Israel, but Iran does not attack any US targets,” and then offered a range of six alternatives for what the US should do in this case.  Two were supportive: ƒ Provide whatever help Israel requests, including military forces ƒ Publicly support Israel’s actions, but not provide military support Two were neutral:  ƒ Stay neutral and do not get involved ƒ Stay neutral and actively work to get both sides to stop the fighting And two involved the US publicly opposing Israel’s actions:  ƒ Publicly oppose Israel’s actions ƒ Actively distance the US from Israel by stopping military aid 
Only four in ten (39%) preferred options that would express support to Israel after an attack on Iran.  A quarter (25%) were willing to provide military help if requested, while 14 percent would go as far as offering diplomatic support, but would not provide military support. About half (49%) preferred options that took a neutral stance.  Twenty-seven percent wanted the US to work actively to get both sides to end hostilities, while another 22 percent preferred that the US stay neutral and “not get involved.” Very few respondents (6%) wanted to take a course of directly opposing Israel in a time of war.  Four percent wanted to stop military aid to Israel and another two percent wanted to simply express public opposition. There were clear partisan differences on this question.  Among Republicans, 59 percent wanted to support Israel after an attack on Iran, though a lesser 41 percent were willing for this to include military forces.  Thirty-five percent of Republicans wanted the US to stay neutral (work to stop the fighting, 21%).  Only 3 percent wanted to oppose Israel’s actions. Among Democrats, however, three in ten Democrats (31%; independents, 23%) wanted to support Israel, with 16 percent willing to provide military forces. Six in ten wanted the US to stay neutral (59%; independents, 54%), with 34% wanting to US to work to stop the fighting. Only 9 percent of Democrats wanted to take a stance of opposition to Israel (independents, 8%).Beliefs on How the US Would Actually Respond if Israel Goes Ahead  After respondents had expressed their preferences in this hypothetical situation, they were asked what they “believed the US government’s reaction would be.”  In this question, respondents were offered the same four options that had been offered when the question was put to a representative sample of Israelis in the Sadat Chair poll mentioned above.  The options were: ƒ It [the US government] would support Israel diplomatically, but not provide military assistance ƒ It would join the war on Israel’s behalf ƒ It would stay neutral ƒ It would punish Israel by reducing its current support to Israel The most common answer was that in the hypothetical situation, respondents supposed the US government would support Israel diplomatically, but not provide military assistance (32%).  Another 22 percent thought the US would join the war—making a modest majority (54%) who thought the US government would be publicly supportive.  Thirty percent thought the US government would stay neutral, and only 10 percent thought the US would reduce its current support. Among partisan groups there were a few noteworthy differences: a higher 43 percent of Democrats thought the US government would support Israel, but only diplomatically; and a higher 37 percent of independents thought the US would stay neutral. When Israelis answered this same question, 39 percent thought the US government would support Israel diplomatically and another 27 percent thought it would join the war.  Thus a larger 63 percent of Israelis supposed the US government would have a supportive reaction (compared to 54 percent among Americans).  A much lower 14 percent of Israelis thought the US government would stay neutral (compared to 30 percent of Americans).  Fifteen percent thought the US would reduce its current support—higher than the 10 percent of Americans who thought this.


4. Pessimistic Assumptions About Effect and Costs of a Military Strike  
Americans think that a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program is not likely to produce much benefit--or to be low in cost.  Only one in five believe that a military strike will delay Iran’s abilities to acquire a nuclear weapon for more than five years.  Less than half believe that a strike would weaken the Iranian government. Also, few Americans believe that a strike 
will involve a short exchange: a large majority believes that a strike would lead to at least months of military conflict between Iran and Israel, and half believe that it would go on for years. 

Respondents were asked what they thought the likely outcome if Israel were to strike Iran’s nuclear program. Three levels of delay in Iran’s progress were offered: delaying capabilities by 1-2 years, 3-5 years, or more than 5 years.  Respondents could also choose the possibility that a strike would have no effect on Iran’s nuclear program, or that it would even accelerate the program. 

Only 18 percent believed that such an attack would delay Iran’s capabilities by more than 5 years (there was no partisan difference).  Twenty-two percent thought it would bring 3-5 years’ delay, and another 20 percent thought it would bring just 1-2 years’ delay.  Another 22 percent thought it would result in accelerating Iran’s program; 9 percent thought it would have no effect. 

When the same question was asked in the poll of Israelis, Israeli assessments were strikingly similar to those of Americans.  Only 22 percent thought an attack would result in more than 5 years’ delay of Iran’s capabilities.  Twenty-two percent thought it  would bring 3-5 years’ delay, while 9 percent thought it would bring 1-2 years’ delay.  Nineteen percent believed an attack would have no effect on Iran’s program, but Israelis were less likely than Americans to think an attack would actually accelerate the program (11%, compared to 22%).

Less than half of respondents said that they believed that Israeli airstrikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities would have the effect of weakening Iran’s government.  Asked “If Israel were to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, in your view, how would this affect the Iranian government?” only 42 percent thought the Iranian government would be weakened, while 51  percent thought it would either have no effect (21%) or the government would actually be strengthened by the attack (30%). (No partisan group had a majority believing Iran’s government would be weakened.) Among Israelis, the responses to the same question  were fairly similar: 45 percent thought Iran’s government would be weakened but 44 percent thought it would be strengthened (no effect: 4%). 

Few Americans believe that an Israeli strike on Iran would involve a short exchange.  Respondents were asked, “If Israel were to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, in your estimation, how long would an armed conflict between Iran and Israel last?”  Only 21 percent thought it would be a matter of days (9%) or weeks (12%).  Instead, 74 percent thought such a conflict would run on for months (26%) or years (48%).  
Israelis were relatively more sanguine than Americans about the length of possible hostilities.  Thirtyseven percent thought such a conflict would take days (18%) or weeks (19%); 29 percent thought it would take months and only 22 percent thought it would take years—compared to the 48 percent of Americans who thought this. 

5. Assumptions About a Strike and Preferred Policy Positions 
Respondents who favor providing military or diplomatic support to Israel in the event of a strike are more optimistic that a strike would substantially delay Iran’s ability to acquire nuclear weapons and that a strike would not lead to a drawn out military conflict between Iran and Israel--though even they were not optimistic that the conflict would be short.   
  
While it is not possible to establish whether such beliefs are causal, respondents who favored providing military support to Israel or diplomatic support were more optimistic about the effectiveness of a strike.  Among those who were ready to provide military support, 61% assumed that the strike would delay Iran’s ability to acquire nuclear weapons by 5 years or more (29%) or delay them 3-5 years (32%).  Among those who favored only diplomatic support, 52% assumed 5 years or more (20%) or 3-5 years (32%).  However among those who favored a neutral position, only 32% assumed 5 years or more delay (15%) or 3-5 years (17%).  And among those who favored a critical position toward Israel, 34% assumed 5 years or more delay (16%) or 3-5 years (18%).

Those who favored support for Israel were also more optimistic that the strike would not lead to a drawn-out military conflict between Iran and Israel.  Among no group did a majority think that the conflict would last less than “months.”  But a majority of those who favored military support thought that the conflict would last no more than months (56%), as did this who favored diplomatic support (66%), while a majority of those who favored neutrality thought it would last years (68%) as did those who favored opposing Israel (58%).   

6. Pessimism About Iran Acquiring Nuclear Weapons  
Americans show substantial pessimism about Iran and its nuclear program. Six in ten believe that Iran has decided to try to produce nuclear weapons and is actively working to do so.  Nine in ten believe that it is likely that Iran will eventually develop nuclear weapons.   

Given three options, 58 percent of respondents said they thought Iran has decided on nuclear weapons and working to produce them.  Only three in ten (30%) thought along lines similar to the views of the US intelligence community: that Iran “is developing some of the technical ability necessary to produce nuclear weapons, but has not decided whether to produce them.”  Only 6 percent said Iran is “producing nuclear fuel strictly for its energy needs.”  

Among partisan groups there were meaningful differences.  Seventy-three percent of Republicans thought Iran has decided to produce nuclear weapons, while 24 percent thought it has not yet decided.  
A lower 56 percent of Democrats thought Iran has decided to produce nuclear weapons, while 35 percent thought it has not decided.  Among independents, however, only 44 percent thought Iran has decided to produce nuclear weapons (not decided, 32%). 

Nine in ten Americans think it likely “that Iran will eventually develop nuclear weapons.”  Forty-nine percent called this prospect very likely and 40 percent somewhat likely.  Republicans, however, are the only partisan group with a majority (63%) calling this very likely (Democrats 44%, independents 39%).

7. Pessimism About How Iran Would Behave If It Acquires Nuclear Weapons   
If Iran were to develop nuclear weapons, six in ten believe that it is more likely that Iran would use them against Israel rather than being deterred by the likelihood of retaliation.  The largest concern is that Iran would either use nuclear weapons, or that their possession it would make Iran more aggressive--less than that it would engender a nuclear arms race in the region. 
Respondents were asked to “suppose Iran develops nuclear weapons” and to say which of two alternatives they thought more likely to occur: ƒ Iran would be likely to use them against Israel because it is so hostile toward Israel ƒ Iran would be deterred from striking Israel for fear of being destroyed in a nuclear retaliatory strike  

Three in five (62%) thought Iran would be likely to use nuclear weapons against Israel; only 32 percent thought Iran would be deterred (It should be noted that the study did not measure how many respondents were aware that Israel has nuclear weapons).  Eighty percent of Republicans thought Iran would be likely to use nuclear weapons, as did 56 percent of Democrats and a plurality of independents. 

Americans’ largest concern is that Iran would either use nuclear weapons or that it would make Iran more aggressive—less than that Iran acquiring nuclear weapons would engender a nuclear arms race in the region.  Respondents were offered a number  of possible situations that could follow Iran developing nuclear weapons.  In one question, they were asked which situation most concerned them.  
A majority of Republicans (57%) were most concerned that Iran would actually use nuclear weapons, while among Democrats and independents this was a lesser 39 percent and 35 percent, respectively. In a second question, respondents were asked which two situations they thought most likely to occur.

The most frequently chosen possibility (52%)  was that Iran would feel emboldened to pursue aggressive policies.  After this, essentially tied for second place, were that Iran would use nuclear weapons (47%) or that there would be a regional arms race (44%).  Well behind them were that not much would change (15%) or that stability would increase (8%). 

UN atom probe hostage to big power diplomacy
Offering immunity or an easing of the sanctions pressure may be the only way - if there is one at all - to coax Iran to end years of stonewalling a UN watchdog investigation into suspected nuclear weapons research in the Islamic state.
Any such initiative would likely need to come from world powers as part of a broader diplomatic thrust to defuse the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, leaving the investigation by the UN atomic agency dependent on how those talks develop.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has failed in a series of high-profile rounds of discussions in the last six months to persuade Tehran to give it access to sites, officials and documents it says it needs for the long-stalled inquiry.The roller-coaster negotiations have underlined the IAEA's limited power to make Iran cooperate with it, suggesting Tehran will do so only if it gets something in return elsewhere and fuelling Western suspicions that it is playing for time.

"It looks to me now that the IAEA-Iran track isn't going to go anywhere unless there is progress made in the talks between Iran and the powers," senior researcher Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

Iran seems to be using its discussions with the IAEA - at times raising hopes for a deal, then dashing them - to gain leverage in its separate meetings with the powers that have made little headway since they resumed in April after a 15-month gap.

The six powers - the United States, France, Russia, Germany, Britain and China - also want Iran's full cooperation with the UN watchdog. But their more immediate demand is that Iran stop atomic activity that takes it closer to potential bomb material.

Tehran may also require assurances that, if it eventually does agree to give UN inspectors greater freedom to carry out their work, any incriminating evidence they unearth will not be used against it. Iran denies Western allegations it is seeking to develop the capability to make atom bombs.

To help break the deadlock, Iran should be given "a grace period with no adverse consequences in case their full transparency with IAEA inspectors reveal past wrongdoing," said former chief UN nuclear inspector Pierre Goldschmidt.

Goldschmidt, now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said this should be offered and guaranteed by the powers.
"Personally I see no problem with immunity for the past," said a senior Western diplomat, who follows the nuclear issue closely but is not involved in negotiations with Tehran.
"But it has to be verifiable. The models are South Africa and Libya. I fear Iran will not accept such true transparency," the envoy said, referring to decisions years ago by those two countries to abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions.

Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group think-tank said the relationship between Iran and the IAEA had become "hostage to the nuclear brinkmanship" of Tehran and the world powers. The six states demand that Iran scale back its uranium enrichment programme and shut down an underground nuclear facility where it is carrying out higher-grade atomic work.

Iran seeks recognition of what it says is its legal right to refine uranium and a lifting of increasingly harsh economic sanctions now targeting its economically vital oil exports.
A bullet-point presentation of Tehran's negotiating position published by Iranian media indicated that it expects an easing of sanctions for "transparently" working with the UN agency.
"We are in a chicken and egg conundrum, where Iran's nuclear crisis cannot be resolved without the IAEA giving Iran a clean slate, but that will not happen until the crisis is resolved," Vaez said.

SIPRI's Kile said he believed Iran needed "something positive and tangible in return" for cooperating with the IAEA, perhaps in the area of sanctions.

The United States and its allies have ruled out offering any sanctions relief before Iran takes concrete action to ease their concerns. They have demanded that Iran halt higher-grade enrichment and close down the underground Fordow site, but without promising any significant easing of sanctions in return.
"There is another school of thought which is: Iran is simply stalling for time ... and this is basically a way of keeping the discussions going, forestalling military action and allowing their nuclear programme to advance," Kile said.

As Iran stonewalls the IAEA inquiry, Western diplomats say, satellite images show what appears to be a clean-up of a military site, Parchin, where UN inspectors believe Iran has carried out experiments relevant for developing nuclear weapons."Iran's ongoing activities at the Parchin site continue to raise concerns about efforts to destroy evidence of possible nuclear weapons-related work," a US think-tank, the Institute for Science and International Security, said.

Iran has dismissed the allegations aired about Parchin, a vast military complex southeast of Tehran, as "childish" and "ridiculous", just as it rejects Western suspicions that it is seeking the capability to build nuclear bombs.
The writer filed this analysis from Vienna


By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A Iranian parliamentary committee has approved a bill requiring the government to design nuclear-powered merchant ships and provide them with nuclear fuel, an Iranian news agency reported Sunday.
The bill appears to be a symbolic gesture to bolster Tehran's argument that it has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. The West suspects Iran's nuclear program is aimed at developing weapons technology, a charge Tehran denies.
Nuclear-powered vessels other than warships are rare, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has said in the past that nuclear-powered merchant ships would be uneconomical.
Lawmaker Mohammad Bayatian was quoted by the semi-official Mehr news agency as saying sanctions are forcing Iran to use different fuel for its oil tankers and other large vessels, to avert the need to refuel during long voyages. Some countries refuse to provide fuel to Iranian ships in line with Western sanctions.
Iran is seen to be far from a capability to build nuclear-powered ships. Iran says it is designing a nuclear submarine.
The West has raised concerns that Iran might cite submarine and other nuclear-powered vessel construction as a justification for producing weapons-grade 90 percent enriched uranium.
Nuclear submarines are powered by fuel ranging from 20 percent purity to more than 90 percent. Many U.S. submarines use nuclear fuel enriched to more than 90 percent, the same level used to build atomic bombs.
Bayatian said the bill has been approved by a parliamentary committee and will be debated in the house next week.
"Given the sanctions that enemies have imposed against our country, the bill must be enacted," he said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Let Iran have the bomb: US professor Kenneth Waltz

Kenneth Waltz, a professor at Columbia University in New York and at the University of California at Berkeley, has long advocated the view nuclear weapons bring stability to the world, acting as a deterrent to war.
But eyebrows were raised when his provocative essay - "Why Iran should get the bomb" - appeared as the cover story in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs, long seen as an influential establishment journal.
This week the US congress will vote to tighten dramatically economic sanctions on Iran amid growing impatience at the failure of President Barack Obama's administration to halt Tehran's nuclear program.
A leaked Pentagon assessment has warned Iran continued to "make large strides" and could be just three years from testing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking US soil. "The threat from Iran is real," John Boehner, the Republican House Speaker, said.

He claims Iran's leaders are not irrational, as often portrayed, and that far from being emboldened they would be less bellicose if they acquired nuclear weapons for fear of sparking a nuclear conflict.
Professor Waltz insists that "the danger of a nuclear Iran has been grossly exaggerated" and argues allowing Iran to go nuclear "would probably be the best possible result; the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East".
Professor Waltz cited as an example long-time enemies India and Pakistan, which fought three wars prior to acquiring the bomb but had "both become more cautious since going nuclear".
He also rejected the argument that if Iran obtained nuclear weapons a regional arms race would follow, with Saudi Arabia seeking the bomb. When Israel acquired its bomb in the 1960s, he said, it did not trigger an escalation even though it was at war with many neighbours.
It is a view with few supporters in Washington.
"If Ken Waltz were a democracy activist living in Tehran or a mother of three living in Tel Aviv or Abu Dhabi he'd probably think differently about the prudence of an Iranian bomb," said Karim Sadjadpour, Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "He has the luxury of theorising from thousands of miles away."
Michael Singh, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, another foreign policy think tank, pointed out that the Saudis had said explicitly they would pursue a nuclear weapons program if Iran acquired one.
He also rejected the South Asian example, pointing out that the bomb, far from having restrained Pakistan, appeared to have emboldened it to support terror attacks in India.
Although Iran has repeatedly declared that its nuclear program is peaceful and it has no intention of producing nuclear weapons, it is enriching uranium to higher levels.
Most experts believe Iran has not yet made a decision on whether to go ahead and is 12-18 months away from a bomb were it to decide to pursue that option.
The Sunday Times



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