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Jul-19-2010 15:02printcomments

Will the U.S. Use the Military Option to Prevent Iran's Nuclear Ambitions?

Hopefully, Iran's leaders will agree to the deal agreed to by Iran's negotiators, but rejected by Iran's leaders.


(SAN FRANCISCO) - I am partially responding to Zahir Ebrahim's passionate article, "The Persian Useful Idiots!." I agree with at least one of his premises. That is, the United States will do everything in its power to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, possibly including military action. It is my observation that few, if any, in the West and the Arab world believes that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon. And civilian nuclear technology can easily be diverted secretly to weapons purposes.

First, we start with our deep distrust of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This distrust only deepened after the violent suppression of demonstrations by Mir-Hossein Mousavi supporters protesting alleged election fraud in last year's presidential election.

Second, at one time, military action was considered unthinkable. Air strikes could take out some of Iran's nuclear facilities, but there was no way to eliminate all of them. Some of the nuclear labs are located in heavily populated areas; others are deep underground. And Iran's ability to strike back by unconventional means, especially through its Hezbollah terrorist network, is formidable. And another war in the Middle East is the last thing the U.S. needs or wants.

Now, however, there is a growing realization that diplomacy and economic pressure are not going to force Iran to negotiate a nuclear deal. The U.S. believes it made a generous deal, which the Iranian negotiators accepted, whereby there would be an exchange of Iran's 1.2 tons of low-enriched uranium (3.5% pure) for higher-enriched (20%) uranium for medical research and use. The Iranian leaders rejected this proposal. This rejection put the military option is back on the table.

The proposed Turkey-Brazil nuclear swap deal was viewed by the U.S. as too little. When the idea of a uranium swap was begun, Iran had an estimated 1,200 kilograms of uranium, but that has since nearly doubled. In other words, even if Iran sent uranium abroad under the proposed Turkey-Brazil deal, it would still have enough to build one nuclear weapon.

Third, vastly improved human-intelligence has made progress in providing more accurate targets. Israel has been brought into the planning process largely because the U.S. officials is afraid that the right-wing Netanyahu government might try to attack the Iranians on its own.

Finally, Iran's Sunni neighbors seem to favor a U.S. military action. For example, United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba said on July 6 that he favored a military strike against Iran despite the economic and military consequences to his country. This reflects an increasingly attitude in the region. And the Saudis, in particular, seems to agree. The danger is that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, the Turks, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, and other countries in the region will go nuclear too. No one wants the most volatile region in the world to go nuclear.

Even a targeted attack on Iran would be disastrous. It would unify the Iranian people against the latest in a long series of foreign interventions. It might alienate and possibly unify much of the world — including countries like Russia and China that we've worked hard to cultivate — against the U.S. There would also be a certain Iranian reaction in Iraq, in Afghanistan, by Lebanese Hezbollah against Israel and by the Hezbollah network against the U.S. and Saudi homelands. It could lead to a catastrophic regional war.

Maybe, it is all saber-rattling to get Iran back to the negotiation table. Unfortunately, Iran has very little credibility and any offer by Iran to talk would probably be viewed as really only an offer to stall. And maybe the saber-rattling is not a bluff. If the U.S. won't tolerate a nuclear Iran and Iran won't budge, maybe a military action is inevitable no matter the consequences.

Hopefully, Iran's leaders will agree to the deal agreed to by Iran's negotiators, but rejected by Iran's leaders. A world with less, rather than more nuclear weapons, would be a better, safer world. writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer's talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address

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An Iranian Activist July 19, 2010 11:29 pm (Pacific time)

The heart of International Ismalic Terrorism Does NOT Desereve to have any knid of weapons, nuclear is indeed a disaster!

Ralph E. Stone July 19, 2010 6:46 pm (Pacific time)

There is not much that can be done about countries like North Korea, Israel, India, and Pakistan, who already have nuclear weapons, but we hopefully we can prevent more countries obtaining them.

Natalie July 19, 2010 6:16 pm (Pacific time)

Yeap, the World is sitting on the barrel filled with gunpowder and looking for the matches. The only question is whether women will outsmart their men and hide the matches really good or will climb up the barrel with their kids to see the last show on Earth. I say it could happen faster then any Gulf Doomsday.

Vic July 19, 2010 4:01 pm (Pacific time)

"The danger is that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, the Turks, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, and other countries in the region will go nuclear too. No one wants the most volatile region in the world to go nuclear.".... Like Israel? Funny how this article completely overlooks the undeclared nuclear arsenal of Israel, who have attacked every one of their neighbors at least eight times...some many many more. But that is OK, I guess.....Good Gawd.

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