The International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES) is an independent non-profit-organization concerned about the impact of science and technology on society. INES was founded in 1991. INES' efforts focus on disarmament and international peace, ethics, justice and sustainable development. INES is affiliated with the United Nations and with UNESCO as a NON-Governmental Organization (NGO). INES has become a network of nearly 100 organisations and individual members.

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Topics, INES Special on Iran, wnii, Issue No. 5/2006, February 2006




The Bush-Cheney Pentagon is reportedly putting finishing touches on a plan to preemptively nuke Iran for insisting on its inalienable right - guaranteed by (a) the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, (b) the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and (c) their Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA - to enjoy the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, the Bush-Cheney Department of Energy just announced plans to form a Global Nuclear Energy Partnership [], through which the U.S. "will work with other nations possessing advanced nuclear technologies to develop new proliferation-resistant recycling technologies in order to produce more energy, reduce waste, and minimize proliferation concerns."

"Additionally, these partner nations will develop a fuel services program to provide nuclear fuel to developing nations, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of abundant sources of clean, safe nuclear energy in a cost-effective manner in exchange for their commitment to forgo enrichment and reprocessing activities, also alleviating proliferation concerns."

Meanwhile, Bush-Cheney have managed to get the IAEA Board to "request" [] that Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei report to the UN Security Council that the Board has "required" Iran to - among other outrageous things - "reestablish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development."

So far, ElBaradei has resisted making such a report, apparently because he feels this egregious overreaching of authority by the Board could result in serious damage to the IAEA as an institution and to the NPT itself.

Now, you might suppose that if Iran quickly signed up for the Bush-Cheney GNEP - as a developing nation, forgoing enrichment and reprocessing activities - Bush-Cheney would be foiled, compelled to postpone nuking Iran indefinitely.




Many commentators argue that a preemptive air attack against Iran's nuclear installations is unfeasible. It would not be swift or surgical, they say, because it would require thousands of strike and defense-suppression sorties. And it is likely to fail even then because some facilities might be too well hidden or too strongly protected. There may well be other, perfectly valid reasons to oppose an attack on Iran's nuclear sites. But let's not pretend that such an attack has no chance of success. In fact, the odds are rather good.

The skeptics begin sensibly enough by rejecting any direct comparison with Israel's 1981 air attack that incapacitated the Osirak reactor, stopping Saddam Hussein's first try at producing plutonium bombs. Iran is evidently following a different and much larger-scale path to nuclear weapons, by the centrifuge "enrichment" of uranium hexafluoride gas to increase the proportion of fissile uranium 235. It requires a number of different plants operating in series to go from natural uranium to highly enriched uranium formed in the specific shapes needed to obtain an explosive chain reaction. Some of these plants, notably the Natanz centrifuge plant, are both very large and built below ground with thick overhead protection.

It is at this point that the argument breaks down. Yes, Iraq's weapon program of 1981 was stopped by a single air strike carried out by less than a squadron of fighter-bombers because it was centered in a single large reactor building. Once it was destroyed, the mission was accomplished. To do the same to Iran's 100-odd facilities would require almost a hundred times as many sorties as the Israelis flew in 1981, which would strain even the U.S. Air Force. Some would even add many more sorties to carry out a preliminary suppression campaign against Iran's air defenses (a collection of inoperable anti-aircraft weapons and obsolete fighters with outdated missiles). But the claim that to stop Iran's program all of its nuclear sites must be destroyed is simply wrong.



What with all the Cheney hullabaloo, you might not have noticed, but it looks as though the US government is getting back into the "regime change" business.

Regime change typically begins with a process of fomenting disaffection, encouraging people to turn against their government. The United States tried it a couple of times in Iraq. The Pentagon poured millions of dollars into backing exile groups with connections in Iraq. A lot of it went to the Iraqi National Congress, based in London, headed by Ahmed Chalabi. It didn't work. In the end, the Pentagon had to change the Iraqi regime the old-fashioned way - by invasion. And today it is the insurgency that is fighting for regime change.

Now, the Bush administration, viewing alarming developments in Iran and the possible development of a nuclear bomb, is squaring off for another effort at regime change, but it is no longer calling it that. The theory is that if Iran does eventually succeed in developing a nuclear weapon, it would be helpful if the government wielding that weapon were a bit friendlier. The administration is also concerned about Iran's taking the lead in bankrolling a Palestinian Hamas government.

The project to penetrate Iran surfaced when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice applied to Congress for $75 million on top of an initial $10 million. She told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the idea was to confront the extremist policies of the Iranian regime and support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom. Money would be provided to Iranian labor unions and an around-the-clock broadcast service in Farsi would be inaugurated.

For the unabridged version see:



If the United States launches an attack on Iran, the Islamic republic will retaliate with a military strike on Israel's main nuclear facility, an advisor to Iran's Revolutionary Guard said.

The advisor, Dr. Abasi, said Tehran would respond to an American attack with strikes on the Dimona nuclear reactor and other strategic Israeli sites such as the port city of Haifa and the Zakhariya area.

Haifa is also home to a large concentration of chemical factories and oil refineries.

Zakhariya, located in the Jerusalem hills is - according to foreign reports - home to Israel's Jericho missile base. Both Israeli and international media have published commercial satellite images of the Zakhariya and Dimona sites.

Abasi, a senior lecturer at Tehran University, was quoted in the Roz internet news site, identified with reform circles in Iran.

Iranian affairs experts believe Abasi's statements are part of propaganda battle being wages by all sides - including Israel and Iran - in the lead up to next months United Nations Security Council debate on Iran's nuclear program.

At this stage, the possibility that sanctions will be leveled at Iran are extremely low.



'10,000 would die' in A-plant attack on Iran Weblog: A sobering view of Iran

Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a "last resort" to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb.

Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets, assessing weapon-loads and working on logistics for an operation, the Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

They are reporting to the office of Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, as America updates plans for action if the diplomatic offensive fails to thwart the Islamic republic's nuclear bomb ambitions. Teheran claims that it is developing only a civilian energy programme.

This is more than just the standard military contingency assessment," said a senior Pentagon adviser. "This has taken on much greater urgency in recent months."
The prospect of military action could put Washington at odds with Britain which fears that an attack would spark violence across the Middle East, reprisals in the West and may not cripple Teheran's nuclear programme. But the steady flow of disclosures about Iran's secret nuclear operations and the virulent anti-Israeli threats of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has prompted the fresh assessment of military options by Washington. The most likely strategy would involve aerial bombardment by long-distance B2 bombers, each armed with up to 40,000lb of precision weapons, including the latest bunker-busting devices. They would fly from bases in Missouri with mid-air refuelling.

Read the whole article:


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  1. March 6, 2006, is the day when the IAEA's director Mohamed ElBaradei submits to the UN Security Council his report on Iran's nuclear program. This could lead to the matter being placed on the Council's formal agenda.
  2. For some months, various statements by Israeli and US figures have been hinting that military strikes against Iran's nuclear and strategic installations could occur from the end of March (i.e. after the legislative elections and the formation of a new Israeli government).
  3. There had already been talk of such strikes at the start of 2005. For over a year Israel and the USA have been making multiple military preparations with this "option" in view.
  4. US officials have also mentioned the "nuclear option", i.e. the use of nuclear weapons against Iran. Note that President Chirac's speech of 19 January 2006, addressed to French nuclear submarine crews in Brittany, offers an a priori justification for such an action.
  5. Although at present "the possibility that sanctions may be taken against Iran is extremely slight", particularly after Mohamed ElBaradei's statement that the Western states have scarcely any choice about accepting Iran's uranium enrichment activities at a non-military level, this slight possibility of diplomatic, economic and other sanctions against Iran is not particularly reassuring: it could lead the USA and Israel to act "unilaterally" with military strikes.
  6. Some observers think that the decision to make such strikes has already been taken in Washington, without however an identifiable implementation date. In any case, the coming weeks are likely to play a crucial role in the subsequent course of events. The final positions which Russia and China will adopt at the Security Council will be extremely important, as will those of US allies like France and the UK.
  7. The most pessimistic observers, not necessarily the least realistic, consider that military strikes against Iran, whatever their nature but especially if they are nuclear, would have incalculable and uncontrollable consequences, likely to result in what they don't hesitate to call a "Third World War".
  8. In this very unhealthy "pre-war climate" and this relatively volatile "pre-war situation", public opinion in the countries concerned can play a not-negligible role in steering events one way or the other. It is therefore of prime importance that the advocates of a peaceful diplomatic solution should mobilise rapidly and in large numbers, so as to place pressure on the governments in question.

See also their NEWS REVIEW ON IRAN



Qum, IRNA: Hojatoleslam Mohsen Gharavian, a scholar at Qom Seminary, on Monday rejected rumors appearing on some websites quoting him as saying that the use of nuclear weapons is allowed according to the Islamic tenets.

The British weekly "Sunday Telegraph" in its last edition wrote that religious leaders in Iran have issued a new fatwa (religious decree) that permits the use of atomic weapons against enemies.

The theologian, who was talking in an exclusive interview with IRNA, added, "We do not seek nuclear weapons and the Islamic religion encourages coexistence along with peace and friendship."

Recalling his statement, Gharavian reiterated, "I said if the enemies plan to launch attacks on our vital sites, we have the capacity to defend ourselves and take retaliatory measures against them.

"Unfortunately, these websites have tried to misquote me," he reiterated.

He said Iran is doing its best to promote spirituality and humanistic and Islamic values and never wages a war.

The religious figure said the distortion of his remarks betrayed the enemies' desperation.

"I have just stated an idea, but it is obvious that the Islamic Republic of Iran plans to settle its nuclear case through negotiations.

"The enemies aim to create pretexts and misuse the issue through hue and cry."

pdf version:



TEHRAN, The New York Times - The rest of the world cannot deter the will of the Iranian people to pursue their nuclear program, the country's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Wednesday, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says nuclear arms violate Islamic beliefs. "The West knows very well that we are not seeking to build nuclear weapons," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with Tajikistan's president, Emomali Rahmonov. "Nuclear weapons are against our political and economic interests and our Islamic beliefs. Therefore, the Islamic Republic will not fear the uproar and will continue the path of scientific progress relying on its principles, and the world cannot influence the will of our people."

The comments were the first by Ayatollah Khamenei reported publicly since last week, when Iran defied an agreement with Britain, France and Germany and broke internationally monitored seals at its nuclear site in Natanz to resume research activities. The three countries have begun drafting a resolution to submit to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear monitoring agency, that calls for Iran to be referred to the Security Council for possible punitive actions.

Iran has warned that if the case is sent to the Security Council, Iran will retaliate by banning United Nations inspectors from visiting its sites and resuming the sensitive work of enriching uranium.

Iran says it wants to enrich uranium to low levels to produce fuel for its nuclear power plants.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki urged Europe to refrain from "hasty actions," referring to the call to send Iran's case to the Security Council.

"I hope the Europeans have understood Iran's clear and direct message and do not make any hasty decision which would complicate the situation for all sides," he said in a meeting with journalists at Parliament, the ISNA news agency reported.

The foreign minister added that Iran had clarified its willingness to continue negotiations in messages discussing its plans for producing nuclear fuel that it has exchanged with Europe, China, Russia and the nonaligned states of the atomic energy agency.

Russia and China, both of which have vetoes on the Security Council, are among Iran's allies and Iran hopes they will oppose sanctions. Russia has helped Iran build its first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr.

Originally in: 1137733200&en=38d9f51234e92b61&ei=5094&partner=homepage

IRAN: IS THERE A WAY OUT OF THE NUCLEAR IMPASSE? International Crisis Groups' Middle East Report No. 51


There is no easy way out of the Iranian nuclear dilemma. Iran, emboldened by the situation in Iraq and soaring oil prices, and animated by a combination of insecurity and assertive nationalism, insists on its right to develop full nuclear fuel cycle capability, including the ability to enrich uranium. Most other countries, while acknowledging to varying extents Iran's right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to acquire that capability for peaceful energy purposes, have a concern - reinforced by Iran's lack of transparency in the past, continuing support for militant Middle East groups and incendiary presidential rhetoric - that once able to highly enrich uranium, it will be both able and tempted to build nuclear weapons.

But EU-led diplomacy so far has failed to persuade Iran to forego its fuel cycle ambitions; the UN Security Council seems unlikely to agree on sanctions strong enough to force it to do so; and preventive military force is both a dangerous and unproductive option.

Two possible scenarios remain, however, for a negotiated compromise. The first, and unquestionably more attractive for the international community, is a "zero enrichment" option: for Iran to agree to indefinitely relinquish its right to enrich uranium in return for guaranteed supply from an offshore source, along the lines proposed by Russia. Tehran, while not wholly rejecting offshore supply, has made clear its reluctance to embrace such a limitation as a long-term solution: for it to have any chance of acceptance, more incentives from the U.S. need to be on the table than at present.

If this option proves unachievable - as seems, regrettably, more likely than not - the only realistic remaining diplomatic option appears to be the "delayed limited enrichment" plan spelt out in this report. The wider international community, and the West in particular, would explicitly accept that Iran can not only produce peaceful nuclear energy but has the "right to enrich" domestically; in return, Iran would agree to a several-year delay in the commencement of its enrichment program, major limitations on its initial size and scope, and a highly intrusive inspections regime.

Both sides inevitably will protest that this plan goes too far - the West because it permits Tehran to eventually achieve full nuclear fuel cycle capability, with the risk in turn of breakout from the NPT and weapons acquisition, and Iran because it significantly delays and limits the development of that fuel cycle capability. But with significant carrots (particularly from the U.S.) and sticks (particularly from the EU) on the table - involving the appropriate application of sequenced incentives, backed by the prospect of strong and intelligently targeted sanctions - it is not impossible to envisage such a negotiation succeeding.

This proposed compromise should be compared neither to the fragile and unsustainable status quo, nor to some idealised end-state with which all sides might be totally comfortable. The more likely scenarios, if diplomacy fails, are for a rapid descent into an extremely unhealthy North Korea-like situation, with a wholly unsupervised nuclear program leading to the production of nuclear weapons and all the dangerously unpredictable regional consequences that might flow from that; or a perilous move to an Iraq-like preventive military strike, with even more far-reaching and alarming consequences both regionally and world-wide.

To read the full report please
visit: iran_gulf/51_iran_is_there_a_way_out_of_the_nuclear_impasse.pdf --