Friday, April 21, 2006

Wait to Bomb Iran

Edward Luttwack has an informative piece in Commentary on the current huff with Iran. He is essentially saying that Iran does not yet have the technological capacity or infrastructure to produce a nuclear weapon. We should therefore wait to take action in the hopes that the regime will fall on its own.

"Organization is indeed Iran’s weakest point, with weighty consequences: after a century of oil drilling, for example, the state oil company still cannot drill exploratory wells without foreign assistance. In another example, even though the U.S. embargo was imposed almost 25 years ago, local industry cannot reverse-engineer spare parts of adequate quality for U.S.-made aircraft, which must therefore remain grounded or fly at great peril—there have been many crashes. Similarly, after more than sixty years of experience with oil refining at Abadan, existing capacity still cannot be increased without the aid of foreign engineering contractors, while the building of new refineries with local talent alone is deemed quite impossible. Iran must import one third of the gasoline it consumes because it cannot be refined at home.

In sum, there is no need to bomb Iran’s nuclear installations at this time. The regime certainly cannot produce nuclear weapons in less than three years, and may not be able to do so even then because of the many technical difficulties not yet overcome."

But, what he also maintains, as do many others, is that a nuclear armed Iran under the current leadership is not acceptable.

"By the same token, however, it is irresponsible to argue for coexistence with a future nuclear-armed Iran on the basis of a shared faith in mutual deterrence. How indeed could deterrence work against those who believe in the return of the twelfth imam and the end of life on earth, and who additionally believe that this redeemer may be forced to reveal himself by provoking a nuclear catastrophe?"

It's a longish article, but it has good information on the history of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran has essentially been working on a bomb for 30 years and almost all of the significant advances they have made were purchased from Pakistan's A.Q. Khan, the infamous nuclear secrets smuggler (who stole his secrets from Europe). Read it if you have the time.

I think I lean more towards this view than Mark Steyn's behead-the-regime-now view.



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