I’m going to be fifty-nine soon. The first five years of my life, looking at a nice pair of baobabs didn’t do anything to me, but from the sixth, they began to make sense, I am proud ta add. I started noticing shapes early. What can I say, I am a child prodigy.
Fifty-four years, give or take, I’ve been watching those bubbly-boos and noting their nuances. At one point I even had a scrap book into which I jotted details the same way Max Planck watched electrons jump from one energy level to the next. We both were interested in the basic orb-like shapes. Max got off trying to find the perfect ‘black body’, an object that absorbs all radiation it receives without reflecting any of it back into space. Me too, except that Max was a theoretical physicist while I actively experimented.
Just as Max thought small was awesome, I’ve learnt not ta be blinded by size alone. The true connoisseur will look beyond girth. He’ll discern the slightest tremors, the tiniest goose bumps that rise at the slightest touch, round the periphery of the aureole like a circle of crack republican guards, each jealously guarding one hair and each hair standing sentinel around the sacred obelisk, the nipple.
Over the years, I have confronted flushed nipples, button nipples, angry red nipples, burgeoning nipples, throbbing nipples, glowing nipples, burning nipples and even a pair of abominable nipples. I have witnessed haughty nipples that looked down upon me and cheeky nipples that looked up, promiscuously. There was even a sulking pair that hated each other. They looked away, at a divergent angle of maybe twenty degrees, give or take. I have known nipples that could press a doorbell from the street and I have had aggressive ones poke me in the eye.
But this isn’t about nipples or aureoles or even goose pimples. This is about the truth behind the Iranian deal, like the title says. So, please, can you be serious and discipline that one-track mind of yours? Nipples have a time and place. This isn’t it.
I have been looking with interest at Iran’s sudden capitulation. All the defiance has evaporated into thin air, it has turned off it’s centrifuges and let IAEA inspectors buzz around it’s Natanz enrichment plant like hornets. Iran has come in from the cold. The official story in the west is that the sanctions really began hurting and the Iranians were left with no choice.
Here is the deal in brief (and I quote CNN on this)….
What Iran has committed to do:-
—Halt production of 20 percent enriched uranium and disable the centrifuge process used to produce it.
—Start neutralizing its 20 percent enriched uranium stockpile to 5% (sufficient for power generation) .
—Limit centrifuge production to what’s needed to replace damaged machines.
—Refrain from building a facility capable of extracting plutonium, which could be used to make nuclear bombs.
In return, the western powers have committed to the following:-
—Suspend implementation of sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports and sanctions on goods imported for use in its automotive industry.
—Suspend sanctions on Iran’s import and export of gold and other precious metals.
—Free up Iranian money to help pay the educational costs of young Iranians, many of whom are attending U.S. colleges and universities.
—Raise tenfold the ceilings for money transfers to and from Iran.
—Ease Iran’s access to $4.2 billion in restricted Iranian funds in several installments.
Seems like a pretty reasonable win-win kind of deal to me. Win-win for the two leaderships, not ordinary Iranians. No one has bothered to factor into the dialogue the hopes and aspirations of ordinary Iranians, to live free of the oppressive religious fanaticism and to enjoy the prosperity they once did. Regime change or even assurances of internal reforms were never on the table.
I cannot help but see a parallel between Iran’s change of heart and Gaddafi’s sudden metamorphosis around 1998, from the ‘mad dog of the middle east’ to our dotty uncle Mu Al who forsook all his bluster and became a diplomat. Gaddafi even went one step further. He admitted to orchestrating the bombing of the Pan Am jumbo over Lockerbie in 1988 even when compelling evidence exists that actually someone else did it- the Syria-based PFLP/GC (The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine/General Command).
Documents now declassified by the US government suggest that that the Iranian government had paid the PFLP to put explosives on board the Pan Am jet, as vengeance following the downing earlier that year, of an IranAir Airbus over the Strait of Hormuz by surface-to-air missiles ‘mistakenly’ fired from the guided missile cruiser, USS Vincennes.
It is by now virtually beyond reasonable doubt that Gaddafi and his Libya had nothing to do with Lockerbie. And yet he paid restitution in billions for it. I don’t claim to be an expert in the behavior of Muslim leaders but having watched them so long, there’s one thing I am absolutely certain about. They don’t back down and especially when they are innocent as in Gaddafi’s case. It is not in their ethos. The bravado is almost a macho thing and ceding ground is considered akin to insulting their faith. They are willing to see their populations live in misery, rather than capitulate. If they even perceive being offended, they go into a pouting sulk, like kids. In any Islamic state, there is no such thing as finding a fresh new way to govern. Islamic leaders are not in the habit of saying,’ F–k it, tennis anyone?’
And yet these two so-called ‘pariahs’ did just that, give in. Inexplicable, if you ask me.
Are we looking at the force of western foreign policy, combined with the threat of a pre-emptive Israeli strike, in play here? Maybe, but I doubt that. Sure, sanctions played a role but Iran has lived under sanctions for three and a half decades. It has always had strong backing from Russia and China and hidden support from France and Germany, whose technology and machineries it has imported worth billions in the years after the Shah.
Besides, American military might is no longer what it used to be and there is virtually no way that a fresh conflict in the region will receive support among the American electorate. Even support for Israel worldwide is diminishing, evident from the increased level of antisemitism everywhere, as the perception of Israel changes, from wronged victim underdog to arrogant brawler upstart. Israel knows that it can ill afford attacking another nation without due cause.
So why did Iran come to the table?
There is only one piece that can complete the puzzle. They already possess enough weapons-grade uranium to make 5 to 10 nuclear weapons in the high kiloton or low megaton range. Remember those persistent rumors of warheads purloined by Russian middlemen during the breakup of the Soviet Union?
A declassified 2005 CIA status report on the threat of nuclear terrorism, states that weapons-grade nuclear materials have been stolen from Russia in sizeable quantities during the 90s, since right after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Signed by then CIA Director, George Tenet, the document says, ‘We assess that undetected smuggling has occurred, although we do not know the extent or magnitude of such thefts. Nevertheless, we are concerned about the total amount of material that could have been diverted over the last 10 years…..”
The CIA document lists some known cases, such as the 1992 theft of 90+% pure uranium from the Luch Scientific Production Association in Podolsk, Russia, the 1994 disappearance of 95% pure uranium from Moscow and an unconfirmed but massive theft of ultra-high grade urianium from an unknown business enterprise in Chelyabinsk Oblast in 1998, the amount stolen being “quite sufficient material to produce an atomic bomb”, as per the CIA report.
There have been similar reports of thefts of not only weapons grade uranium but also other elements that make up components of a nuclear explosive device, such as polonium and beryllium. A 50kg lump of pure uranium is not much bigger than a baseball. The “Little Boy”, the Hiroshima atomic bomb used only 64kgs of the metal.
If Iran was the receiver of all that Russian nuclear loot, it stands to reason why they are no longer concerned about having their centrifuges dismantled. Who gives a shit about the damn centrifuges when you already have the real fizzy stuff?
As to the technology behind building nuclear weapons, it is beyond doubt that Iran already has all of it. If Pakistan’s Dr Abdul Qadir Khan could sell the North Koreans the technology, why would he not sell it to fellow Muslims across the border, with whom Pakistan has always had cordial relations?
My bet therefore is that Iran already has at least around 5 to 10 nuclear weapons and are presently working on integrating them into long-range missiles as well as suitcase-type bombs that can be smuggled across borders easily. That the western nations have no clue is credible, given that both, the 1974 Indian nuclear test and the 1998 Pakistani tests came as a complete surprise to them.
The Americans view the deal with Iran as a foreign policy success, with even respected commentators like Fareed Zakaria and Max Fisher weighing in with hefty pats on the back of the State Department. If closing the barn door after the horse has already fled can be considered a plus, then yes, this is a victory.
In the ultimate analysis, why can one nation, especially one like Iran which is under a constant and real threat of a preemptive attack from Israel, not have nuclear weapons when others can?