Fear Iran’s nukes, coming very soon since 1984

Summary:  It’s time for an oldie – “Iran is about to get the bomb.” We believe it, as we have every time since the first story hit the headlines in 1984. But this time it might be a prelude to war. Just as in 2003 our amnesia and gullibility made it easy for Bush Jr. to herd us to the invasion of Iraq. We are a true gift to our elites.

Maelstrom

Contents

  1. Today’s news: Israel peddles a tale.
  2. Flashback to 1984.
  3. Flashback to 1991 – 2000.
  4. Flashback to 2009.
  5. Conclusions.
  6. For more information.
  7. Good books about this vital subject.

(1) Today’s hot news: Israel peddles a tale.

An amazing characteristic of many US journalists is their amnesia, writing news as if the past never happened. Today’s example is the news by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Iran Nuclear Deal Is Based on Lies – Here’s the Proof.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed on Monday a cache of documents he says proves Iran lied to the world about its nuclear program for years, even after the 2015 nuclear deal with the world. “Iran did not come clean about its nuclear program,” Netanyahu said in a prime time address in English.”

The Jerusalem Post has more details.

“Israel delivered a blow to Iran’s nuclear program by spiriting a cache of some 100,000 documents from a secret vault in Tehran that included details about nuclear-weapons production and test sites, senior Israeli officials told reporters on Tuesday.”

See the full transcript here. This is hot news, just as it was in 1984, 1992, 2006 and 2009. But it is not new news, as Krishnadev Calamur explains at The Atlantic. It is old news, and Netanyahu’s story is probably fake – as explained in this post at Moon of Alabama (valuable for its links). Let’s also remember Netanyahu’s testimony to Congress on 12 September 2002, more lies pushing America into attacking Iraq.

“There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking, is working, is advancing towards to the development of nuclear weapons …If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region. And I think that people sitting right next door in Iran, young people, and many others, will say the time of such regimes, of such despots is gone.”

Netanyahu’s claims are no reason to ignore the better founded conclusions of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who have full access to Iran’s nuclear facilities – and who yesterday debunked Netanyahu’s claims. His claims are no reason to ignore the conclusions of the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate. Conservatives said it was all wrong. A decade later its conclusions appear spot on.

How did we get here?

(2)  Flashback to 1984

From Jane’s Defense Weekly, 24 April 1984: “Iran is engaged in the production of an atomic bomb, likely to be ready within two years, according to press reports in the Persian Gulf last week.”

Four years later {1988}, the world was again put on notice, this time by Iraq, that Tehran was at the nuclear threshold, and in 1992 the CIA foresaw atomic arms in Iranian hands by 2000.  Then U.S. officials pushed that back to 2003.  And in 1997 the Israelis confidently predicted a new date — 2005.

— “Ever a ‘threat,’ never an atomic power, Iran points up challenges of nuclear technology“, AP, 27 February 2007 (red emphasis added).

(3)  Flashback to 1991 – 2000

Bad Intelligence – But in Which Direction?” by Justin Logan at Cato, 24 August 2006.

“Since the topic of the day seems to be right-wing anger {NYT, WaPo} at insufficiently panicky intelligence assessments on Iran, it might be worth looking at how bad U.S. intelligence on Iran is–and in which direction it’s been wrong.

“Anthony Cordesman and Khalid al-Rodhan have helpfully assembled a catalog of intelligence community predictions about Iran’s nuclear weapons program in their excellent book, Iran’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Real and Potential Threat. Here are a few assessments from this fascinating book.

“Late 1991:  In congressional reports and CIA assessments, the United States estimates that there is a ‘high degree of certainty that the government of Iran has acquired all or virtually all of the components required for the construction of 2 to 3 nuclear weapons.’ A February 1992 report by the U.S. House of Representatives suggests that these 2 or 3 nuclear weapons will be operational between February and April 1992.”

“February 24, 1993:  CIA director James Woolsey says that Iran is still 8 to 10 years away from being able to produce its own nuclear weapon, but with assistance from abroad it could become a nuclear power earlier.”

“January 1995:  The director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, John Holum, testifies that Iran could have the bomb by 2003.”

“January 5, 1995:  U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry says that Iran may be less than five years from building an atomic bomb, although ‘how soon…depends how they go about getting it.’”

“April 29, 1996:  Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres says ‘he believes that in four years, they [Iran] may reach nuclear weapons.’”

“October 21, 1998:  General Anthony Zinni, head of U.S. Central Command, says Iran could have the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons within five years. ‘If I were a betting man,’ he said, ‘I would say they are on track within five years, they would have the capability.’”

“January 17, 2000:  A new CIA assessment on Iran’s nuclear capabilities says that the CIA cannot rule out the possibility that Iran may possess nuclear weapons. The assessment is based on the CIA’s admission that it cannot monitor Iran’s nuclear activities with any precision and hence cannot exclude the prospect that Iran may have nuclear weapons.”

It goes on for four pages like that, with some realistic predictions sprinkled in for good measure. But I think we can all agree that our intel agencies have a long history of severely underestimating Iran’s capability and interest in building nukes.

(4)  Flashback to 2009

U.S. now sees Iran as pursuing nuclear bomb“ in the Los Angeles Times, 12 February 2009 – “In a reversal since a 2007 report, U.S. officials expect the Islamic Republic to reach development milestones this year.”

Needless to say, nine years later we have no public evidence that any significant development milestones were achieved in 2009. Worse, this story was obvious propaganda even when published — as I show with much detail in Iran’s getting the bomb, or so we’re told. Can they fool us twice?

20121007-No-Iran
US Government Policy.

(5) Conclusions

See this partial list of lies since 1950 by our leaders: The Big List of Lies. Many Americans believed each one, just as millions believe the latest “Iran’s getting Nukes” story. A people who do not remember their past – and who uncritically believe what they are told – cannot even hope to govern themselves. But we can change, if we have the necessary willpower.

I doubt that political reform is possible unless we do so.

(6)  For more information

More recent comments about the folly of our relations with Iran.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts asking if the US or Israel will attack Iran? (with information about Iran), and especially these …

(7) Two good books about this important subject

See these books for more information about the history of forecasting our enemies’ atomic weapon programs.

A great starting point is this history of attempts to predict when nations will get the bomb: “The Secrets of the Bomb“ by Jeremy Bernstein in the New York Review of Books, 25 May 2006.

Also see the April 1974 CIA report “Prospects for Further Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.” It proved to be far too pessimistic about the spread of nuclear weapons. For an accurate predictions about a nation getting the bomb, see this.

“How long, we may ask, is it likely that this advantage will rest with the United States? In the Debate on the Address I hazarded the estimate that it would be three or four years. According to the best information I have been able to obtain, I see no reason to alter that estimate, and certainly none to diminish it …”

— Winston Churchill, speaking in the House of Commons on 7 November 1945 (source: Hansard website of debates in Parliament). The Russians exploded their first bomb on 29 August 1949: three years and ten months after Churchill’s speech.

Red Cloud at Dawn: Truman, Stalin, and the End of the Atomic Monopoly
Available at Amazon.
Spying on the Bomb: American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea
Available at Amazon.

3 thoughts on “Fear Iran’s nukes, coming very soon since 1984

  1. This failing has been among the greatest sources of contention between myself (amongst the last of Gen-Xers born) and my parents (who are conservative boomers) and it is a failing that transcends gender, age, political stripe or religion. I find it laughable that so many dismiss my generation, and the millennials that followed, as being ignorant of history, when the truth insofar as my own anecdotal experience is concerned, is that millennials and their antecedents were simply not bothered to be taught any form of historical propaganda, which constituted the bulk of historical instruction taught to me prior to university. Indeed, my most formative years being under the dual reign of Thatcher and Reagan, I recall clearly the rubbish that was swallowed uncritically regarding the history of the West.

    The problem is that there is no evolutionary incentive for humans to go so radically (in the true etymological sense of the word) against the grain in that manner, insofar as any recognition of the historical narrative instilled in us as false, revisionist or propagandist tends to result in the most profound internal turmoil. This turmoil is vitally important, I agree, in that it very often represents the most profound step on the individual mind’s apprehension of objective reality divorced of preconception. However, the vast majority of people are unprepared to charge that particular gate. To step beyond the social narrative in a way that permeates one’s entire life requires that a human come face to face with comprehensive unbelief, that without further investigation everything that you have been told by any source of authority, no matter how cherished previously, is false. It’s the loneliest and most precarious branch on the tree of knowledge. It often destroys ties with family, friends, church and community at large, sometimes for a lifetime. It can lead to convictions of nonviolent resistance that can lead to incarceration. In my own experience, that transition is the hour of Jacob Marley’s death, at which his chains become visible. The chains have been removed from the mind but their presence in speech and action is made all the more acutely obvious. It reminds me of the oft-quoted admonition of Ecclesiastes:

    ‘Because In much wisdom there is much indignation: and he that addeth knowledge, addeth also labour. ‘

  2. So what are all those deeply buried under ground facilities for? The local chess clubs maybe?

    We spend at least tens of billions of dollars a year on the Black World of the CIA, NSA, etc. You would think the highly educated and well paid spooks could give us a simple truthful answer to a this simple question. But then truth for we the people isn’t what they are really about. Is it?

    I’m pretty sure with a mere billion bucks to spend, most us could come up with the answer to when and how the Persians gonna get their NUKIE.

    The Romans had an inordinate fear of the ‘Parthian Shot”. This inordinate fear of those confounded Persians contributed in part to their great defeat at the hands of the Barbarians at Adrianople in 378 AD.

    Why can’t we Gringos have our little “Parthian Shot” neurosis too? It’ll help sale some F-35s maybe. And it may make the Israeli Jews feel a little better about their non existent strategic depth.

    1. Jennings,

      “So what are all those deeply buried under ground facilities for?”

      The IAEA has been inspecting all those “deeply buried under ground facilities” that were constructed before the treaty.

      ” You would think the highly educated and well paid spooks could give us a simple truthful answer t”

      The IAEA gives highly detailed reports with those answers. I suspect you prefer lies, however. You and your kind have gone bonkers over every set of lies about Iran’s nukes since 1984. Know nothing. Learned nothing.

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