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The top ten things you didn't know about Iran

The assumptions most Americans hold about Iran and its policies are wrong

By Juan Cole

 

Oct. 1, 2009 | Thursday is a fateful day for the world, as the U.S., other members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany meet in Geneva with Iran in a bid to resolve outstanding issues. Although Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had earlier attempted to put the nuclear issue off the bargaining table, this rhetorical flourish was a mere opening gambit and nuclear issues will certainly dominate the talks. As Henry Kissinger pointed out, these talks are just beginning and there are highly unlikely to be any breakthroughs for a very long time. Diplomacy is a marathon, not a sprint.

 

But on this occasion, I thought I'd take the opportunity to list some things that people tend to think they know about Iran, but for which the evidence is shaky.

 

Belief: Iran is aggressive and has threatened to attack Israel, its neighbors or the U.S.

Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war in modern history (unlike the U.S. or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of "no first strike." This is true of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as of Revolutionary Guards commanders.

 

 

Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.

Reality: Iran's military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others, since they are much smaller countries with regard to population. Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates.

 

 

Belief: Iran has threatened to attack Israel militarily and to "wipe it off the map."

Reality: No Iranian leader in the executive has threatened an aggressive act of war on Israel, since this would contradict the doctrine of 'no first strike' to which the country has adhered. The Iranian president has explicitly said that Iran is not a threat to any country, including Israel.

 

 

Belief: But didn't President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to "wipe Israel off the map?"

Reality: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did quote Ayatollah Khomeini to the effect that "this Occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" (in rezhim-e eshghalgar-i Qods bayad as safheh-e ruzgar mahv shavad). This was not a pledge to roll tanks and invade or to launch missiles, however. It is the expression of a hope that the regime will collapse, just as the Soviet Union did. It is not a threat to kill anyone at all.

 

 

Belief: But aren't Iranians Holocaust deniers?

Reality: Some are, some aren't. Former president Mohammad Khatami has castigated Ahmadinejad for questioning the full extent of the Holocaust, which he called "the crime of Nazism." Many educated Iranians in the regime are perfectly aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. In any case, despite what propagandists imply, neither Holocaust denial (as wicked as that is) nor calling Israel names is the same thing as pledging to attack it militarily.

 

 

Belief: Iran is like North Korea in having an active nuclear weapons program, and is the same sort of threat to the world.

Reality: Iran has a nuclear enrichment site at Natanz near Isfahan where it says it is trying to produce fuel for future civilian nuclear reactors to generate electricity. All Iranian leaders deny that this site is for weapons production, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly inspected it and found no weapons program. Iran is not being completely transparent, generating some doubts, but all the evidence the IAEA and the CIA can gather points to there not being a weapons program. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to U.S. signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the U.K. intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.

 

 

Belief: The West recently discovered a secret Iranian nuclear weapons plant in a mountain near Qom.

Reality: Iran announced Monday a week ago to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had begun work on a second, civilian nuclear enrichment facility near Qom. There are no nuclear materials at the site and it has not gone hot, so technically Iran is not in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, though it did break its word to the IAEA that it would immediately inform the UN of any work on a new facility. Iran has pledged to allow the site to be inspected regularly by the IAEA, and if it honors the pledge, as it largely has at the Natanz plant, then Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons at the site, since that would be detected by the inspectors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted on Sunday that Iran could not produce nuclear weapons at Natanz precisely because it is being inspected. Yet American hawks have repeatedly demanded a strike on Natanz.

 

 

Belief: The world should sanction Iran not only because of its nuclear enrichment research program but also because the current regime stole June's presidential election and brutally repressed the subsequent demonstrations.

Reality: Iran's reform movement is dead set against increased sanctions on Iran, which likely would not affect the regime, and would harm ordinary Iranians.

 

 

Belief: Isn't the Iranian regime irrational and crazed, so that a doctrine of mutally assured destruction just would not work with them?

Reality: Iranian politicians are rational actors. If they were madmen, why haven't they invaded any of their neighbors? Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded both Iran and Kuwait. Israel invaded its neighbors more than once. In contrast, Iran has not started any wars. Demonizing people by calling them unbalanced is an old propaganda trick. The U.S. elite was once unalterably opposed to China having nuclear science because they believed the Chinese are intrinsically irrational. This kind of talk is a form of racism.

 

 

Belief: The international community would not have put sanctions on Iran, and would not be so worried, if it were not a gathering nuclear threat.

Reality: The centrifuge technology that Iran is using to enrich uranium is open-ended. In the old days, you could tell which countries might want a nuclear bomb by whether they were building light water reactors (unsuitable for bomb-making) or heavy-water reactors (could be used to make a bomb). But with centrifuges, once you can enrich to 5% to fuel a civilian reactor, you could theoretically feed the material back through many times and enrich to 90% for a bomb. However, as long as centrifuge plants are being actively inspected, they cannot be used to make a bomb. The two danger signals would be if Iran threw out the inspectors or if it found a way to create a secret facility. The latter task would be extremely difficult, however, as demonstrated by the CIA's discovery of the Qom facility construction in 2006 from satellite photos. Nuclear installations, especially centrifuge ones, consume a great deal of water, construction materiel, and so forth, so that constructing one in secret is a tall order. In any case, you can't attack and destroy a country because you have an intuition that they might be doing something illegal. You need some kind of proof. Moreover, Israel, Pakistan and India are all much worse citizens of the globe than Iran, since they refused to sign the NPT and then went for broke to get a bomb; and nothing at all has been done to any of them by the UNSC.

 

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Your sources get better and better. :D

 

 

FFS you are KNOB....why not look into who wrote the article instead of where it was written.......author Juan Cole

 

Cole was awarded Fulbright-Hays fellowships to India (1982) and to Egypt (1985-1986). From 1999 until 2004, Juan Cole was the editor of The International Journal of Middle East Studies. He has served in professional offices for the American Institute of Iranian Studies.[6] He was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in November 2004.[7] In 2006, he received the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism administered by Hunter College.[8]

 

1975 B.A. History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University

1978 M.A. Arabic Studies/History, American University in Cairo

1984 Ph.D. Islamic Studies, University of California Los Angeles

1984-1990 Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan

1990-1995 Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan

1992-1995 Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan

1995- Professor of History, University of Michigan

 

(from Wiki......hope thats acceptable)

 

hmmmm sounds like a fairly itk guy, what exactly are your qualifications again Fop?

PhD in smiley face usage?.........M.Sc. in third person self reference?

Edited by tooner
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hmmmm sounds like a fairly itk guy, what exactly are your qualifications again Fop?

PhD in smiley face usage?.........M.Sc. in third person self reference?

 

:D oh no, he di-int

 

 

:icon_lol:

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Your sources get better and better. :icon_lol:

 

 

FFS you are KNOB....why not look into who wrote the article instead of where it was written.......author Juan Cole

 

Cole was awarded Fulbright-Hays fellowships to India (1982) and to Egypt (1985-1986). From 1999 until 2004, Juan Cole was the editor of The International Journal of Middle East Studies. He has served in professional offices for the American Institute of Iranian Studies.[6] He was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in November 2004.[7] In 2006, he received the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism administered by Hunter College.[8]

 

1975 B.A. History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University

1978 M.A. Arabic Studies/History, American University in Cairo

1984 Ph.D. Islamic Studies, University of California Los Angeles

1984-1990 Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan

1990-1995 Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan

1992-1995 Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan

1995- Professor of History, University of Michigan

 

(from Wiki......hope thats acceptable)

 

hmmmm sounds like a fairly itk guy, what exactly are your qualifications again Fop?

PhD in smiley face usage?.........M.Sc. in third person self reference?

 

 

History, literature and Islamic studies?

 

 

Aye perfectly qualified for talking about nuclear programs and nuclear proliferation. :icon_lol:

 

 

But if number of general "qualifications = right" then Fop could post "bombshells" that would (going by the 2 x 60kg dumbbell thread) make Toontastic meltdown. :D

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Your sources get better and better. :D

 

 

FFS you are KNOB....why not look into who wrote the article instead of where it was written.......author Juan Cole

 

Cole was awarded Fulbright-Hays fellowships to India (1982) and to Egypt (1985-1986). From 1999 until 2004, Juan Cole was the editor of The International Journal of Middle East Studies. He has served in professional offices for the American Institute of Iranian Studies.[6] He was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in November 2004.[7] In 2006, he received the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism administered by Hunter College.[8]

 

1975 B.A. History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University

1978 M.A. Arabic Studies/History, American University in Cairo

1984 Ph.D. Islamic Studies, University of California Los Angeles

1984-1990 Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan

1990-1995 Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan

1992-1995 Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan

1995- Professor of History, University of Michigan

 

(from Wiki......hope thats acceptable)

 

hmmmm sounds like a fairly itk guy, what exactly are your qualifications again Fop?

PhD in smiley face usage?.........M.Sc. in third person self reference?

 

 

History, literature and Islamic studies?

 

 

Aye perfectly qualified for talking about nuclear programs and nuclear proliferation. :icon_lol:

 

 

That's not what he's talking about.

 

Where do you disagree with him btw?

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Your sources get better and better. :icon_lol:

 

 

FFS you are KNOB....why not look into who wrote the article instead of where it was written.......author Juan Cole

 

Cole was awarded Fulbright-Hays fellowships to India (1982) and to Egypt (1985-1986). From 1999 until 2004, Juan Cole was the editor of The International Journal of Middle East Studies. He has served in professional offices for the American Institute of Iranian Studies.[6] He was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in November 2004.[7] In 2006, he received the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism administered by Hunter College.[8]

 

1975 B.A. History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University

1978 M.A. Arabic Studies/History, American University in Cairo

1984 Ph.D. Islamic Studies, University of California Los Angeles

1984-1990 Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan

1990-1995 Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan

1992-1995 Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan

1995- Professor of History, University of Michigan

 

(from Wiki......hope thats acceptable)

 

hmmmm sounds like a fairly itk guy, what exactly are your qualifications again Fop?

PhD in smiley face usage?.........M.Sc. in third person self reference?

 

 

History, literature and Islamic studies?

 

 

Aye perfectly qualified for talking about nuclear programs and nuclear proliferation. :icon_lol:

 

 

That's not what he's talking about.

 

Where do you disagree with him btw?

 

 

It's not Fop, it's the Brownies, and this time they are serious (after they were stung by their Iraqi WMD report)

 

The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to U.S. signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the U.K. intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.

 

Is he right or are you right? :D

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Your sources get better and better. :icon_lol:

 

 

FFS you are KNOB....why not look into who wrote the article instead of where it was written.......author Juan Cole

 

Cole was awarded Fulbright-Hays fellowships to India (1982) and to Egypt (1985-1986). From 1999 until 2004, Juan Cole was the editor of The International Journal of Middle East Studies. He has served in professional offices for the American Institute of Iranian Studies.[6] He was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in November 2004.[7] In 2006, he received the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism administered by Hunter College.[8]

 

1975 B.A. History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University

1978 M.A. Arabic Studies/History, American University in Cairo

1984 Ph.D. Islamic Studies, University of California Los Angeles

1984-1990 Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan

1990-1995 Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan

1992-1995 Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan

1995- Professor of History, University of Michigan

 

(from Wiki......hope thats acceptable)

 

hmmmm sounds like a fairly itk guy, what exactly are your qualifications again Fop?

PhD in smiley face usage?.........M.Sc. in third person self reference?

 

 

History, literature and Islamic studies?

 

 

Aye perfectly qualified for talking about nuclear programs and nuclear proliferation. :icon_lol:

 

 

But if number of general "qualifications = right" then Fop could post "bombshells" that would (going by the 2 x 60kg dumbbell thread) make Toontastic meltdown. :D

 

 

further proof you never even read the article by Mr. Cole......as it had nothing to do with nuclear proliferation, it was an article about the misconception in the western media about Iran's foreign policy

 

it's ok there weren't even any smiley faces in it so I understand why you didn't read it.

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Your sources get better and better. :rolleyes:

 

 

FFS you are KNOB....why not look into who wrote the article instead of where it was written.......author Juan Cole

 

Cole was awarded Fulbright-Hays fellowships to India (1982) and to Egypt (1985-1986). From 1999 until 2004, Juan Cole was the editor of The International Journal of Middle East Studies. He has served in professional offices for the American Institute of Iranian Studies.[6] He was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in November 2004.[7] In 2006, he received the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism administered by Hunter College.[8]

 

1975 B.A. History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University

1978 M.A. Arabic Studies/History, American University in Cairo

1984 Ph.D. Islamic Studies, University of California Los Angeles

1984-1990 Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan

1990-1995 Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan

1992-1995 Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan

1995- Professor of History, University of Michigan

 

(from Wiki......hope thats acceptable)

 

hmmmm sounds like a fairly itk guy, what exactly are your qualifications again Fop?

PhD in smiley face usage?.........M.Sc. in third person self reference?

 

 

History, literature and Islamic studies?

 

 

Aye perfectly qualified for talking about nuclear programs and nuclear proliferation. :lol:

 

 

But if number of general "qualifications = right" then Fop could post "bombshells" that would (going by the 2 x 60kg dumbbell thread) make Toontastic meltdown. :D

 

 

further proof you never even read the article by Mr. Cole......as it had nothing to do with nuclear proliferation, it was an article about the misconception in the western media about Iran's foreign policy

 

it's ok there weren't even any smiley faces in it so I understand why you didn't read it.

 

 

It has everything to do with Iran's nuclear program and development (and indeed it talks about nuclear proliferation quite a bit too) - have you read it? :icon_lol:

 

It is a apologist propaganda piece from a propaganda site trying to "calm" fears about Iran's nuclear intentions (and ironically it actually disagrees with Chris in several respects).

 

It's nothing that anyone with any basic knowledge of Iran or what they are doing should already know...... so it's just some facts with the most pro-Iranian spin possible and a lot of opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And like Fop said qualifications or chairs in History, literature (although his English and grammar should be better, eh alex?) nor Islamic studies makes him qualified judge Iran's nuclear capabilities (present or future).

 

As Fop said if it's just down to random (or even relevant) qualifications, then by your own logic you're wrong already. :icon_lol:

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200 or 80 nukes in Israel, seriously, who gives a shit?

 

 

Or none. :icon_lol:

 

 

Now that Chris has stopped using eco-pressure groups for baseless estimates, he's stepped up a gear and is using the same people that got Saddam's WMD stockpile so bang on right as "sources". :ninja:

 

I'd love to see those reports if you have them.

 

Colin Powell got up in the UN took his dick out and said here's your evidence.

 

..and the media ate it up.

 

 

And again where is the substantiated evidence for Israel having nukes? :)

 

 

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/

 

or try the CIA sites, or several published books

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200 or 80 nukes in Israel, seriously, who gives a shit?

 

 

Or none. :icon_lol:

 

 

Now that Chris has stopped using eco-pressure groups for baseless estimates, he's stepped up a gear and is using the same people that got Saddam's WMD stockpile so bang on right as "sources". :ninja:

 

I'd love to see those reports if you have them.

 

Colin Powell got up in the UN took his dick out and said here's your evidence.

 

..and the media ate it up.

 

 

And again where is the substantiated evidence for Israel having nukes? :)

 

 

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/

 

or try the CIA sites, or several published books

 

That's the link I posted earlier.

 

Not good enough for Fop though.

 

Perhaps a link to youtube of another country's stockpile would convince him.

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The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to U.S. signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the U.K. intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.

 

Is he right or are you right? :ninja:

 

 

You'll have to be more clear about why we can't both be right.

 

Where have I said anything about German, Israeli or UK Intelligence?

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The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to U.S. signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the U.K. intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.

 

Is he right or are you right? :ninja:

 

 

You'll have to be more clear about why we can't both be right.

 

Where have I said anything about German, Israeli or UK Intelligence?

 

What I find hard to fathom is, why you would be so very serious with a dweeb likeflop????

 

The guy's a fucking gonad. Do you feel disheartened when he responds back to you saying you don't have a clue with :) and attached to his comments???

 

For fucks sake.

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The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to U.S. signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the U.K. intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.

 

Is he right or are you right? :ninja:

 

 

You'll have to be more clear about why we can't both be right.

 

Where have I said anything about German, Israeli or UK Intelligence?

 

What I find hard to fathom is, why you would be so very serious with a dweeb likeflop????

 

The guy's a fucking gonad. Do you feel disheartened when he responds back to you saying you don't have a clue with :) and attached to his comments???

 

For fucks sake.

 

It's like I'm holding a big magnifying glass in the sun and he's an ant. I know I shouldn't, but I entertain myself burning him. It's a morbid fascination to see him run around in increasingly desparate circles.

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So Iran are a dangerous rogue state for co-operating and being completely transparent while Israel are only protecting themself from the loons and are within their right to flaunt international resolutions to keep their nuclear program secret.

 

Honestly, if the mainstream reporting of this wasn't so frighteningly supportive of the war mongering states it would be funnier than viz.

 

 

Thing is Isreal could currently forge themselves a serious empire in the area, as things stand.

 

Now reverse the roles and put Iran in that position..... would Israel then even exist?

 

Again, you keep going into unknowns and what if's. Israel are the major force and with every action they take in the Gaza Strip they are wiping out it's inhabitants....but your fear is that Iran might possibly take retribution if we allow them to get strong enough to make Israel think twice about it's apartheid regime.

 

Back in reality Iran has been heavily chastised for following the rules and virtually nothing has been said about the Israeli refusal to abide by exactly the same rules. We continue to support the occupying army that flaunts international law and kills thousands of innocent people.

 

 

Israel acquired it's nuclear technology in the 60s didn't it? Sorry like, the same rules don't apply to Israel now as they do for Iran. Also I might add that so far Israel has remained a responsible nuclear power, I simply don't have that level of trust regarding the Iranian fundamentalists. I'm not saying Israel is without blame in this and it's very complicated, but I don't have any fears they're about to nuke Tehran. I'm not so sure I'd have confidence if it was the other way round though.

 

1979 is the reported date Israel began testing.

 

The same rules don't apply for Israel only because of the US backing they get in the UN as one of their biggest customers.

 

Israel is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to officially confirm or deny having a nuclear arsenal, or having developed nuclear weapons, or even having a nuclear weapons program. Israel has pledged not to be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the region, but is also pursuing a policy of strategic ambiguity with regard to their possession.

 

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federation of American Scientists, Israel possesses around 75–200 weapons.

 

I'm sure Iran would love to be able to bring some parity, but there's no suggestion they've attempted to yet.

 

Erm......

 

I think it's safe to say there's some suggestion HF. If not, then there's no issue any way. Hurray!

 

:ninja:

 

The issue is the propaganda spread by the western media that Iran are about ready to let off a nuclear strike and will continue to plague the region unless action is taken. It's the total opposite of reality and similar to the lies used to justify war in Iraq.

 

 

In a nutshell. debate won!

 

I'm sure you are right, in your ignorant blissful world, that they are no threat whatsoever to anybody and will behave like good little boys if they develop this technology further

 

And in your bunker are they more of a threat to english men and women than America?

 

You should take your tin hat off , pop into the real world, read some of the debate in this thread and try and the see things how they are, not how the politicians tell you they are.

 

tate_dads_army.jpg

 

I don't need anybody to tell me the reality

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The israelis have enough nukes to take out most of the Middle East - using them is pretty much a last option of course

 

tho I have a terrible feeling that if they dropped one on Tehran the Yanks and a load of apologists in this country would carry on as if nothing had happened..............

 

oh dear

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Israel has more nukes than UK and France combined.

 

 

I think Israel also has more strike aircraft than the UK & Jormany combined

 

Yup.

 

They regularly do drills and roleplay with 300 odd planes in the sky.

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