Patterico's Pontifications


Argentina, Iran and Nuclear Weapons

Filed under: International,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:42 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Despite the recent NIE, Investor’s Business Daily explains why we know Iran’s true intent is to acquire nuclear weapons:

“It’s no surprise Iran was behind the vicious bomb attacks that killed 114 in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s. But what is surprising is why Iran did it: Argentina wouldn’t help Iran to build nuclear weapons.

To those apologists for Iran who counsel patience, remember: Iran has been at this a long time. Its nuclear program started under the Shah, but in recent years has taken a sinister turn under the Ayatollah Khomeini’s successors.

Take the attacks on Argentina, viewed by many at the time as an isolated, bizarre attempt to kill Jews. It was that, all right — but much, much more. Indeed, the bombings of the early 1990s had what suspense sleuths like to call an “ulterior motive” — to send a message to Argentina that its refusal to help Iran build nuclear weapons would be dealt with severely.

Tehran’s Argentine terror bombings began in 1992 with an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29. Two years later, its agents bombed the city’s AMIA Jewish community center, killing another 85.”

An Argentinian prosecutor followed the trail that led to Hezbollah and Iran:

“According to Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who has stayed with the case while the rest of the world has forgotten it, the attacks were “ordered, planned and financed” by Iran’s top leaders — including its ex-president, the “moderate” Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Nisman told the Jerusalem Post that the AMIA bombing “had been commissioned at a meeting held in Mashad in August 1993, attended by then-president Rafsanjani, then-intelligence minister Ali Fallahian and other Iranian ministers and military leaders.”

They gave the job to their terrorist client, Lebanon-based Hezbollah. The group did the job with its usual murderous efficiency.

Why go to all that trouble halfway around the world to kill Jews? In fact, it wasn’t just about killing Jews. To Iran, that was a bonus. The real reason: Iran’s mullahs had a deal with Argentina to help it rebuild its nuclear program after the Iran-Iraq war. Argentina, under intense pressures from the U.S., pulled out of the deal.

Iran’s leaders were furious, and took their rage against the U.S. out on the much-weaker Argentina. That’s why some of Iran’s top leaders got involved.”

Argentina has enlisted the aid of INTERPOL to bring to justice the Iranians responsible for the bombings:

“Nisman, to his credit, is now seeking the arrest of several Iranian leaders who were responsible for the terrorist murders, including Rafsanjani. Somewhat surprisingly, the international police group, Interpol, has agreed to uphold the arrests, dealing what Nisman called “an unprecedented diplomatic defeat for Iran.”

At this point, you might ask: Isn’t this old news? The answer is, no. For one thing, many of those involved in ordering that attack in power in Iran are still in power now. At the very least, they should be delivered up for justice.

More importantly, this puts the lie to Iran’s claims that its nuclear program is for “peaceful purposes.” Anyone who has in mind “peaceful purposes” doesn’t murder 114 innocent human beings.

In fact, Iran’s program has always been about nuclear weapons, not energy. Just look who’s in charge: Iran’s nuke program is headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the chief of the Revolutionary Guard Corps., the head of the Defense Industries Organization and the leader of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

Strictly speaking, none of those is a civilian.

Those who trumpet the recent National Intelligence Estimate, which suggested Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003, should perhaps read a little deeper. That same report also said there was “moderate-to-high confidence” that Iran is “keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.” It will have enough raw nuclear material by the middle of the next decade to do so, especially now that Russia is selling it fissionable material.”

IBD’s summary: Iran’s desire for nuclear weapons isn’t new nor is “the West’s ability to deceive itself about Iran’s true intent.”


13 Responses to “Argentina, Iran and Nuclear Weapons”

  1. If Iran’s mullahs want a nuke, designate a spot in Iran where these mullahs are gathered, and I’m sure one can be delivered.

    PCD (09d6a8)

  2. The Left’s Mantra:

    “We are not at war with Eastasia. We have never been at war with Eastasia.”

    Techie (ed20d9)

  3. Good post, DRJ. To my mind, there’s no question that Iran has been working on getting nuclear weapons for a long time, and retains that goal whether or not they’re working on it right now. That intent is clear.

    As to their intent for the bombs, given their position and beliefs, I think that they most importantly see having a nuclear capacity as the most effective deterrent against an attack by the US. They fear this because of the history of intervention by the West in Iran, our long standing opposition to the Islamic regime, and now our invasion of Iraq.

    I also am convinced they see it as a road to increased power and influence in the Middle East.

    I am least convinced that they see it as an offensive weapon against Israel or anybody else, for reasons I’ve posted elsewhere. The only justification for using it as an offensive weapon I’ve heard is that they are just crazy and want to start the last days war to bring on the 13th Iman. Not impossible, but I find it unlikely. As the Argentina story points out, the decision by the mullahs to attack was a carefully calculated, albeit appalling, response to a political development. It was limited and intended to be deniable. Crazy, yes, but not irrational if you start with their premises. An attack against Israel or us would be irrational.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  4. One more point about Iran’s desire for security in the Middle East. Iran’s interest in nuclear weapons predates the mullahs. The Shah apparently envisioned Iran having nuclear weapons and Iran allegedly carried out experiments in which plutonium was extracted from spent nuclear fuel and assembled a nuclear weapon design team in the mid-70’s (the only use for plutonium is nuclear bomb). Now the Shah was probably worried about Iraq and, later, 8 months before Israel obliterated Iraq’s Osirak nuclear plant with eight F-16’s, Iran attacked and damaged it with two F-4’s (at the beginning of the Iran-Iraq) war. Later in the war Iraq attacked Iran’s Bushehr reactor six times and destroyed it. Shia’s and Sunni’s, Arabs and Persians, have been fighting each other for a thousand years.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  5. Iran’s probable goal is to reassert its’ historical hegemony over the ME. Having WMD is a powerful arguement for dealing with reluctant supplicants; but, is a neccessity for dealing with a powerful, regional opponent (Israel) who will have to be destroyed for Iran to attain these goals.

    As long as Iran lacks a reliable, long-range delivery method for 100’s of nukes, it doesn’t have any real deterrant to US actions.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  6. To Jayhub:

    Nuclear ‘breeder reactors’ are made with plutonium only. They are called ‘Breeder reactors’ because you start with 2% enriched plutonium and end with 4% enriched plutonium, energy output, and radiation. (This is a big simplification.) You then reprocess the fuel to take out some of the enriched plutonium; lather, rinse, repeat.

    Some countries don’t build breeder reactors because they are a proliferation risk – they create more of the kind of plutonium that is the easiest to process and use for nuclear bombs. Also, non-breeding reactors seem to be cheaper at the moment.

    (While all reactors ‘breed’ fuel in this way, the design of the reaction can be managed as to how much fuel you want to ‘breed’ and how much to ‘burn’ with a variety of tradeoffs involved.)

    luagha (3aad7c)

  7. “As long as Iran lacks a reliable, long-range delivery method for 100’s of nukes, it doesn’t have any real deterrant to US actions.”

    All they need is a truck or boat. Actually attacking the US itself probably isn’t in the cards. Having the means to shut down the oil fields or shipping is probably all they need.

    buzz (e09efa)

  8. This seems a more plausible excuse then the previous one, where the Buenos Aires bombingswere attributed to revenge for Argentina’s support of the Gulf War (which was against Baathist Iraq)or for the targeted killing of Hussein Mussawi in 1989 in Southern Lebanon. Not surprising, the Iranian’moderate’Hashemi Rafsanjani from a pistaccio dynasty whose statements in the past have made it plain his desire to nuke Israel along with high IRGC officials like Mohsen Rezai and Arvid Vahidi are on the indictment sheet. As a careful examination of the details of the Vienna (home of the IAEA) hit on Kurdish exile Quassemlou would reveal a similar pattern leading
    to Ahmadinejad

    narciso (d671ab)

  9. That’s right, it’s belivied here in Argentina that the mullahs take a “revenge” for our negative to continue with the collaboration on the nuclear issue. It was our president Carlos Menem who decide that, after the shameful attitude of our country in the previous years towards the international community.

    Some very narrow minded people here, still believes we receive the bombs because of the involvement in the First Iraq War. In spite of being Iran the first enemy of Iraq…

    We give a little help to you americans in that war…yeah, that were great times!!

    Iván (e5e00b)

  10. Thanks for visiting, Ivan, and for your country’s assistance in Desert Storm.

    DRJ (09f144)

  11. Believe me, I’d love to be in Buenos Aries right now. MA is way too frickin cold

    Techie (ed20d9)

  12. Why have there been no major terrorist attacks on US soil since 9-11? Cuz the presence of US troops on their borders is intimidating the terror-sponsoring states. That’s why the mullahs hit Argentina instead of hitting the US. Bringing those same troops home too soon would end that deterrent.

    ras (fc54bb)

  13. A bombing in the early 1990s doesn’t do much to disprove an end to a weapon program in 2003. But I agree with your conclusion for another reason.

    It is, I believe, uncontested that Iran is using centrifuges to enrich uranium. This uranium can either be used to fuel electric-generating reactors, or to make nuclear weapons. Iran would have no problem obtaining reactor fuel (low-enriched uranium, LEU) from Russia, among other sources. This LEU is all that is needed for electricity generation, but is worthless for weapons unless one has centrifuges or another such technology to further enrich it.

    Electricity generation is an economic activity. Russia could provide LEU for less money than Iran can make its own, and so Iran has economic incentive to purchase Russian LEU. Giving up the enrichment cycle would also end the military/treaty problems Iran has with the rest of the world due to its enrichment and related processes. There is no economic or political upside for Iran to perform its own enrichment, if its goal is electricity generation.

    Therefore, Iran is aiming to build nuclear weapons, or at least is aiming to have other nations think that it is aiming to build nuclear weapons. (Perhaps, like Saddam in his last years, they want their regional enemies to fear they have such weapons, and so they effectively frame themselves for the “crime” or treaty violation to the extent they think the great powers will allow them.)

    Even in the latter case, I don’t see how anyone could conclude that their activities are more likely innocent than not (they did after all pursue uranium enrichment in secret, despite being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and their program still lacks transparency), and I don’t see how we can be expected to know when they have stopped pretending to have a bomb program, and started to actually have one.

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

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