Axis of evil #2. It is time for Iran now.

I’d get all happy to see you if you could give me a citation for this that I could use.

Sure thing, boss. Well, at least there are people like you around to keep an eye on things.

Regardless, your linked article is sort of funny: The biggest problem for America regarding striking at Iran is finding the political support. When CNN flashes an alert and tells the country that the Iranians have struck at US forces in the Gulf region, well, that sort of takes care of the ‘get political support’ problem, doesn’t it?

Nobody in Iraq tried to kill his father, either. That story was, as near as I can tell, utterly bogus. I’ve been asking people for years (including a thread on this board) where the evidence is for such a plot, and nothing has been produced.

No chauvenism or self-righteousness in that post.

I thought of this thread yesterday or the day before. I had CNN Headline News on, and they had something about the Iranians producing, or intending to produce, more enriched uranium that could be used in a weapon. The U.S. administration seems to be pointing a finger and suggesting that this is a threat. The Iranians say that the U.S. is overreacting.

I haven’t read this whole thread, and I’m not awake enough to read it now. I have not looked into the story I heard on the news. Obviously, I’m not prepared to debate. Just wanted to pass along the information.

Iran claims they need nuclear power for domestic energy. This is ridiculous. Not only does Iran have huge oil resources, but they simply burn off all the natural gas created when they refine their oil. Going to nuclear power makes very little sense.

Iran also has little in the way of available exports, so using nuclear energy to power their electric grid frees up more oil to generate revenue.
I don’t think that telling other countries what they “need” is a productive approach to international relations. Slowing down nuclear proliferation might be a good thing (provided it is not simply preparing us for the next WoMD fiasco), but dictating to other countries how to manage their economies sounds like the sort of thing that the U.S. used to claim was bad when the U.S.S.R. did it.

My point is that they have an excess of natural gas, which is a perfectly good energy source. Natural gas is produced as a byproduct of oil refining. Since Iran does so much oil refining, they have an excess capacity of natural gas. If they have an energy problem, why don’t they collect it and use it? As I understand it, Iran currently just burned off their excess natural gas.

In any event, your claim that going nuclear makes sense because then they can make money exporting oil makes no sense, since nuclear power is more expensive than power produced from petroleum. If they sell off enough oil to produce 100,000 MW of electricity, the revenue they get back will not pay for 100,000 MW of nuclear power.

The ‘domestic power’ claim is a thinly veiled lie, and the only reason people fall for it is because they want to believe it.

The assumption there is that the U.S. is dictating how Iran generates energy. Since the U.S. does not believe that Iran has any intention of using nuclear power to generate energy (other than as perhaps a smokescreen to hide their bomb program), the point is moot.

Do you think Iraq was building its nuclear plant to generate electricity for its people?

Looking away while your avowed enemies build weapons that can destroy your cities is just folly.

Do you have evidence of this claim? The CIA places the Iran gas numbers at

Why is Iran importing a product that you claim they are throwing away or why is the CIA lying about production and use?

As to the relative costs of oil vs nuclear power: they are not carved in stone. Costs that occur in the U.S. or Canada that are tied to other regulatory and distribution inefficiencies may or may not carry over to another country. Where are the real cost numbers?

Well, this sentence should actually read “Since the current U.S. administration (that has already lied to its citizens and the world regarding the Iraqi capacity and intentions to use WoMD) claims. . .”

I am willing to believe that the Mullahs would dearly like to create a nuclear arsenal. I am willing to accept the word of the IAEA that they have concerns about the actions of Iran. However, your claim that the desire for nuclear energy is “ridiculous” is simply not supported by any facts yet demonstrated and I am unwilling to take the word of the Bush administration which has already demonstrated a lack of honesty throughout the entire “war on terror.”

This bit from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons implies that Iran has a right to pursue nuclear power, regardless of how the US feels about it:

Bolton’s hysterical claims notwithstanding, a little centrifugal enrichment plant doesn’t put Iran outside the bounds of the treaty, as long as they comply with the terms of their agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

I refer the reader to the following, from Washington Monthly

Production does not equal use. It appears that Iran is now trying to export its natural gas. From this cite:

Iran currently burns off about 20% of its natural gas, I believe. The number was much higher in the past, but with some new pipelines they are managing to export some of it.

Exactly. They need all the export cash they can scrape together. Based on the ministry’s desire to reduce waste, it appears that the burn-off was not deliberate or even careless–they just suffered from an inefficient process. Still, three years ago they were importing 38 times as much as they exported and they were forced to import nearly 6.5% of what they used. Since they do look to turn that into an export commodity, switching their electricity production to nuclear would free up an enormous amount of gas for export sales.

Nuclear power would do exactly what I said: provide a means to turn their fossil fuels into cash at a time when they have few other export commodities.

Except that you just glossed over the fact that nuclear power is expensive - certainly more expensive than natural gas. I’m a big fan of nuclear power, and I know how cheap it can be made if regulatory controls are eased. And it’s not THAT cheap. Not as cheap as natural gas, that’s for sure. And for Iran it’s even more expensive because they will have to run the entire project without the help of the west.

I just don’t buy it. They make oodle of the cheapest energy on the planet, and you believe they’re going nuclear because they want to sell their energy to pay for an even more expensive energy source.

It doesn’t wash. Iran wants the Bomb. They have wanted the Bomb for a long time. Their domestic energy program is, like Iraq’s, a thinly veiled disguise to give them a reason to build an enrichment program that will allow them to make nuclear bombs. Taking at face value their claim that they are just peaceful people who want to use nuclear power for energy is naive and dangerous, in my opinion.

That would be naive and dangerous, yes. However…it may make a great deal of sense to publicly pretend that one considers such a position plausible.

Iran does not have to be our enemy. We have plenty of encouragement for hoping for a more secular and less hostile Iran. The percieved hostility of America cannot but bolster the case for the “conservatives” in Iran, they demand obedience as they demand unity in the fact of the threat.

If we seek a peaceful solution, or only a peaceful coexistence, it makes simple good sense to encourage the development of a secular leadership. A posture of barely suppressed belligerance, needless to say, cannot.

We can adopt a posture such as: we accept, in principle, your right to develop peaceful nuclear power. (A minor concession, since we can do jack shit about it) We offer our assistance, no strings attached, in developing entirely peaceful technology. We make the first step, the first empty gesture, in racheting down the tension.

But so long as we maintain a hostile posture, or a posture than can be misunderstood as hostile, we only ensure the power of the radical Islamists in Iran.

Unfortunately, we’ll be stuck in that Middle East Love Triangle between Iran and Israel. It would be great to try to foster good relations with Iran, but Israel will get royally pissed at such behavior. Such is our awkward predicament.

Well, that is our fault, not theirs. They might be able to get help from China, India, or other places.

As I said, I would not be shocked to discover that the mullahs want the bomb (we did). I am not, however, willing to dismiss the idea that they want to free up a saleable commodity. Expensive is relative. With petroleum prices edging ever higher, (and, presumably, nuclear technology advancing), it may not be that long before the sale of fossil fuels will overcome the cost of nuclear investment. It makes sense for them to have the nuclear program in place when that happens rather than trying to ply catch-up on the day that the cost-benefit ratio suddenly turns in their favor.

I support the efforts of the IAEA to prevent them from building weapons. I recognize that the mullahs are nasty people. However, I do not mindlessly follow the U.S. propaganda about actual capabilities and I also recognize that there is an entire nation that could go democratic if we do not force them to defend the mullahs by our excessive hostility.