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Citizen-Times Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

Citizen-Times Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

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Asheville Citizen-Times July 31, 2005 -- "Iran's nuclear ambitions have U.S. reviewing controversial options"
Asheville Citizen-Times July 31, 2005 -- "Iran's nuclear ambitions have U.S. reviewing controversial options"

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Iran\u2019s nuclear ambitions have U.S. reviewing controversial options
By Jason Lauritzen
July 31, 2005 6:00 am
In his 2002 State of the Union speech President Bush labeled Iran as one of the members of the
\u201caxis of evil.\u201d Pressure has been building for action to be taken against the Islamic republic.

\u201cIran is engaged in a clandestine nuclear weapons program,\u201d said Adam Ereli, the deputy
spokesman at the State Department, in August 2004. \u201cThis program is a matter of concern to the
international community.\u201d

Undersecretary of State John Bolton echoed Ereli\u2019s concerns and said more than a half-dozen
activities, such as uranium enrichment and plutonium programs, are a sign of a nuclear weapons

Iran is a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and claims it is only pursuing nuclear
technology for energy purposes. Critics say there is more to the program and that the real
purpose of Iran\u2019s nuclear energy program is to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran\u2019s Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, addressed accusations of a nuclear weapons program in
March: \u201cI declare for the umpteenth time that there is no room for nuclear weapons in Iran\u2019s
defense policy. What is more, we consider them to be a serious threat to our own security.
Therefore, being a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, Iran insists on getting nuclear
technologies for peaceful purposes.\u201d

The European Union (EU) has offered economic, political and technological incentives to stop
Iran from enriching uranium. Enriched uranium could be used to develop a nuclear weapon, but
could also be used for nuclear energy. In November 2004, Iran suspended enrichment activities,
but on July 27 Iran announced it would restart enrichment, which would violate a November
agreement with the EU.

Robert Litwak, Director of International Security Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said in an interview earlier this month Iran would continue to insist that it is entitled to produce enriched uranium under Article IV of the NPT.

Article IV specifically addresses the right to pursue nuclear energy: \u201cNothing in this Treaty shall
be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop
research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and
in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.\u201d

The real problem with Iran\u2019s nuclear program arises from a lack of transparent debate, said
Litwak. The Bush administration insists that Iran is pursuing more than nuclear energy and Iran
insists that it needs nuclear energy not only to be a modern state, but also to have a secure
secondary source of energy since oil is a finite resource.

Officials in the Bush administration are not buying the Iranian rationale for a nuclear program. Vice President Dick Cheney described a broad opinion within the administration when he said, \u201cThey\u2019re already sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas. Nobody can figure out why they need nuclear as well to generate energy.\u201d

Vice President Cheney\u2019s rationale, however, contradicts a position he and several others formed
over 30 years ago when heading national security posts in the Ford administration.

In 1976 Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Henry Kissinger
endorsed plans for Iran to start a nuclear energy program. The deal with Iran was for \u201creactors
powered by and regenerating fissile materials on a self-sustaining basis,\u201d according to
declassified documents reviewed by The Washington Post.

Several other declassified documents, from the Ford Presidential Library, show that the National
Security Council encouraged Iran to pursue a nuclear energy program.

Gary Sick, who dealt with nonproliferation issues under Ford, said, \u201cThe Shah made a big
convincing case that Iran was going to run out of gas and oil and they had a growing population
and a rapidly increasing demand for energy. The mullahs make the same argument today, but we
don\u2019t trust them.\u201d

\u201cIran is one of the major oil producers \u2026 but then again, so is the U.S., which has a nuclear
energy program, so Cheney\u2019s argument doesn\u2019t hold up,\u201d said Dr. Curtis Ryan, assistant
professor of political science at Appalachian State University. \u201cAnd Iran has been mindful for
years of not counting solely on oil to survive. Saudi Arabia counts solely on oil and the Iranians
think this is short-sighted.\u201d

Pressure for action against Iran not only arises from the Bush administration, but also from
Israel. Senior Israeli officials have visited Washington and said that if the nuclear problem with
Iran is not resolved, Israel may be left with no option but to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities,
according to The Washington Times.

Israel developed options for bombing Iran\u2019s nuclear sites in 2003. Israel has a nuclear arsenal of
85 warheads, according to a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report. Israeli officials said
President Bush is on a course to take military action against Iran before he leaves office in 2009,
according to The Washington Times.

The bombing of Iranian nuclear sites would almost certainly not have a positive effect. When Israel bombed the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981, it drove the Iraqis to hasten development of a nuclear weapon. If Israel used the same tactic against Iran it would have a similar effect. \u201cIt

would create an incentive to reconstitute a program,\u201d said Litwak.

Concerns from Israel drove the Bush administration to stepping up intelligence collection efforts
on Iran. For the past year flying surveillance drones have been sent to Iran from Iraq. Iraq has
become a base for spying on Iran, said a former U.S. official, according to a report in The
Washington Post.

The drones are pilotless and use radar, video, still photography and air filters to pick up traces of
nuclear activity. The tactic is a form of aerial espionage. It is commonly used as a tool of
intimidation and can be a sign of military preparation for an eventual air attack.

An Iranian official believes that the drones were also sent to coax the Iranians into turning on their radar system. If the Iranians turn on their radar the U.S. could learn about their defense systems, defense frequencies, the range of their radar and where potential weaknesses lie, said Thomas Keaney, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and executive director of the Foreign Policy Institute at John Hopkins University.

However, Iran is not falling for the strategy. Iran\u2019s national security officials ordered forces not
to turn on radar or engage the drones. \u201cOur decision was: Don\u2019t engage,\u201d an Iranian official said.

One person who is not surprised by the recent rise in covert activity and anti-Iran rhetoric is Sam Gardiner. Gardiner has taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, Air War College, and Naval War College. He helped organize a war game scenario against Iran for The Atlantic Monthly magazine prior to the 2004 presidential election.

\u201cWe thought this would be the policy question either Bush or Kerry would have to deal with,\u201d said James Fallows, a writer for The Atlantic. The war game centered on how an administration would deal with the unknown nature of Iran\u2019s nuclear program.

Intelligence estimates, based on unknown information, range anywhere from two to five years before Iran could have a nuclear weapon. \u201cTheir program is not as far along as North Korea,\u201d said Litwak.

What makes Gardiner\u2019s war game scenario against Iran so significant is that, starting in 1989, Gardiner developed over 50 exercises involving an attack on Iraq. The light force strategy that General Tommy Franks used to take Baghdad surfaced in a war game Gardiner designed.

For the war game, Gardiner produced a power point presentation and assembled a group of
experienced people to play the parts of key senior national-security officials such the CIA
Director, the Secretary of State, the White House Chief of Staff and the Secretary of Defense.
The goal was to see how these people would respond to information and potential military
options related to Iran.

Three options were offered: Use a strategic strike to punish Iran for involvement in Iraq and
supporting terrorism; set back Iran\u2019s nuclear programs with cruise missile and land and sea based

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