June 01, 2006

Iran and the nuclear question

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5037678.stm

It seems that there might now be some kind of agreement within the world powers over how to deal with Iran and the nuclear issue (see above). Apparently they have set up both “carrot and stick” measures – meaning that Iran could get something good if they agree completely but will be punished (quite possibly sanctions) if they decide not to cooperate. We won't find out what the measures are until after Iran know – but the implication that China and Russia might now agree to sanctions is certainly new.

I'm still struggling to understand why we don't just let Iran have nuclear power. They don't (and couldn't) pose a direct threat to us because they are too far away and it would take decades for them to make effective ICBMs which would be needed for them to pose a real threat to us. It would be far easier for us to monitor that and then take military action if, and only if, they did develop those.

I'm willing to bet that what we had to give the Russians and Chinese in order to get this agreement was worth far more than the agreement itself


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  1. The BBC's report was interesting to watch.. It had footage on an Iranian government spokesperson speaking to the press, over which it 'dubbed':

    Iran has said it will continue to enrich uranium, which is used for electricity and nulear weapons development.

    Nice bit of insinuation there from the beeb. Why wait for government propaganda when they can do it so much better..

    (apologes if the quote is slightly wrong, but the main point remains true)

    02 Jun 2006, 00:03

  2. James

    Iran has huge oil and gas reserves. It does not need nuclear power. Why do we have to beat about the bush and swallow that government's propaganda?

    Why should we bother with any of this? Well, I certainly don't think we should intervene just because they oppress their own people. They don't pose a direct threat to Britain, although they seem to be helping Iraqi insurgents who are killing British troops. Incidentally, they wouldn't need ICBMs to hit Britain, they'd just have to help terrorists import a 'dirty bomb', not that I'm suggesting there's any sort of imminent threat of that. I hope their intentions are entirely peaceful and that they only intend to use nuclear technology for fuel, or only for deterrent purposes. But Iranian politicians have said Israel should be wiped off the map. If they had a war with Israel it would be nice just to let them get on with it, though I doubt we could just ignore it if both sides used nuclear weapons.

    Yes the UK, USA and Israel all have nuclear weapons, so why not let the Iranians? The UK has never used them, the USA only did so in entirely justified circumstances, and Israel has had its neighbours try and obliterate it on several occasions. Maybe, and certainly hopefully, Iran has no aggressive motives. But it does have a religious extremist government. That's the key difference. Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities.

    Note, least there be any misunderstanding, (i) I am not advocating military action against Iran now or in the near future; (ii) it may well be counterproductive at any time, save in the face of an imminent strike; and (iii) yes it would be nice if the Iranians were just a bunch of laid back, peaceful sorts. I hope that's true.

    02 Jun 2006, 13:32

  3. Just a few points:

    they seem to be helping Iraqi insurgents who are killing British troops

    So you were saying why we swallow government propaganda.. I'm not quite sure the Iranians would want a fractured unstable neighbour, rather than stable, (but shia–dominated) democracy that is being attempted.

    If they had a war with Israel it would be nice just to let them get on with it, though I doubt we could just ignore it if both sides used nuclear weapons.

    …ooook… I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that that was sarcasm… although I guess it would solve the Isreali–palestine conflict…

    USA only [used nuclear weapons] in entirely justified circumstances

    Well, maybe you could possibly argue that for the first time…but I doubt anyone would say Nagasaki was 'entirely justified'

    Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities

    …let's hope you don't get hold of any nuclear weapons…

    02 Jun 2006, 15:10

  4. " If they had a war with Israel it would be nice just to let them get on with it, though I doubt we could just ignore it if both sides used nuclear weapons.
    …ooook… I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that that was sarcasm… although I guess it would solve the Isreali–palestine conflict…"

    I'm not sure why you are being so hard on him; as a country we should put the needs of our people above anyone else.

    And James, for the record, it would be very easy to make a dirty bomb without a nuclear reactor; infact I've heard of people who have made what is tantamount to one in their own homes (although they didn't have the bomb side becuase they weren't terrorists – but that would be trivial)

    02 Jun 2006, 17:05

  5. James

    I said it would be nice to let them get on with it, meaning it would be nice if all wars in other countries didn't affect us. The interminable African wars tend not to, hence we ignore them. I'm not going to get started on Israel/Palestine, that's been done to death (ho ho) on other blogs and someone can start another one if they like.

    Nagasaki – The Japanese started the war in Manchuria and expanded elsewhere, till Pearl Harbour. They prosecuted the war with staggering brutality – enslaving occupied people, starving PoWs, chemical weapons experiments on whole, Chinese villages, Kamakazi attacks (including the large scale one launched with the Yamato task force – something like 10,000 men sent on a suicide mission). They defended their territories with savagery and fanaticism. Hence the casualty rate (on both sides) if America had had to invade Japan would have been appalling. America developed the bomb. They warned the Japanese they had it. The Japanese refused to surrender. America dropped it on Hiroshima. STILL the Japanese didn't surrender - the Mayor of Hiroshima said that it was a bad thing, but it came with the territory in wartime. So America dropped another and then warned that the next would be on Tokyo. Then, and only then, did the Japanese throw in the towel. There's only one country to blame for it all and that's Japan.

    02 Jun 2006, 17:14

  6. Glad you clarified it… but i still don't think it's "nice" just letting two countries blow each other to pieces, but maybe I'm just too soft for all this realpolitik..

    On the subject of Hiroshima/Nagaski, I disagree..found a good site here .. And from it I quote:

    Apart from the moral questions involved, were the atomic bombings militarily necessary? By any rational yardstick, they were not. Japan already had been defeated militarily by June 1945. Almost nothing was left of the once mighty Imperial Navy, and Japan's air force had been all but totally destroyed. Against only token opposition, American war planes ranged at will over the country, and US bombers rained down devastation on her cities, steadily reducing them to rubble.
    In April and May 1945, Japan made three attempts through neutral Sweden and Portugal to bring the war to a peaceful end
    Secretary of State Stettinius told the US Ambassador in Sweden to "show no interest or take any initiative in pursuit of the matter." Similar Japanese peace signals through Portugal, on May 7, and again through Sweden, on the 10th, proved similarly fruitless.
    the Japanese were willing to end the war on any terms, as long as the Emperor was not molested. If the US leadership had not insisted on unconditional surrender — that is, if they had made clear a willingness to permit the Emperor to remain in place — the Japanese very likely would have surrendered immediately, thus saving many thousands of lives.
    The sad irony is that, as it actually turned out, the American leaders decided anyway to retain the Emperor as a symbol of authority and continuity. They realized, correctly, that Hirohito was useful as a figurehead prop for their own occupation authority in postwar Japan.

    Besides, why not just continue the fire–bombing, which actually killed more people in Tokyo in one raid than the Hirshima bomb..? Answer? I think US just wanted target practice for there new toy..or they were just using it as a further symbol of US military dominance.. either/or.

    …but I think we're getting a bit off topic.. sooooo as an admin, I'll say that if James want to reply to me, please do, but everyone else, please only comment on the blog post about Iran…

    02 Jun 2006, 18:29

  7. On the subject of Iran (although I don't think that discussions about the use – or abuse – of nuclear weapons is off topic)... They have apparently rejected calls from America to come to talks – although we knew that they would – because the Americans put the one condition on talks that they knew the Iranians wouldn't accept; namely stopping enrichment. I think this has been a bad move on the part of America because now one of them has to back down and they've both previously said they wouldn't; which would make one of them look weak. I think we should just get Ahmadinejad over here and talk in person with him with no conditions – it's easier to get a deal with someone when it's face to face – and Blair could ask why they want nuclear power, if they would ever give it up, and if they wouldn't what they would do by way of guarantees to make sure we can trust them.

    02 Jun 2006, 18:58

  8. James

    I will have a look at the link on Nagasaki when I have the chance, but it runs counter to everything I've ever read about the Japanese war. And it doesn't change anything about how they fought or that they started everything in the first place.

    Iran – they do benefit from the insurgency, as America getting bogged down in Iraq will put them off military adventures in Iran. But of course if there's a way to negotiate them away from nuclear weapons, then so much the better.

    Iran v Israel – nice if we could ignore it, not nice if it happened. Nicest of all is if they chuck all religious and ethnic differences and just get on with living.

    02 Jun 2006, 19:33


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