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The End of Obama’s Vision of a Nuke-Free World

Posted on Feb 16, 2010
White House / Pete Souza

By Scott Ritter

(Page 2)

For Iran, the swap was always about acquiring the needed nuclear fuel rods, manufactured from 19.5 percent enriched uranium, in order to continue operation of its research reactor in Tehran, which produces much-needed nuclear isotopes for medical purposes. The main attraction for the Iranians for such a deal, beyond acquiring the fuel rods, was that they would not need to produce any 19.5 percent enriched uranium itself, and thus not have to reconfigure their current centrifuge-based enrichment infrastructure to operate beyond its 3.5 percent enrichment threshold. Iran has consistently maintained that it neither requires, nor desires, any capability to enrich uranium beyond the 3.5 percent level needed to manufacture nuclear fuel rods for its own nuclear power reactors. Having its uranium enrichment infrastructure locked in at 3.5 percent simplified not only Iran’s own operations, but also the safeguard monitoring and inspection requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency, charged with verifying Iran’s compliance with the terms of the NPT. Iran viewed the fuel swap as a means of facilitating international acceptance of its uranium enrichment program, a point of view that was in fundamental opposition to that of the United States and Europe.

No amount of finessing the specifics of a fuel swap, whether it be done in stages, managed by a neutral third party, or carried out over the course of several months or several years, could reconcile the Iranian position with that of the U.S. and Europe. At the center of this problem is the Iranian uranium enrichment program itself. Any fuel swap deal is little more than window dressing to the larger issue of whether or not Iran will be permitted by the international community to enrich uranium. To the U.S. and Europe, finer points such as whether such enrichment would be capped at 3.5 percent, or diversified to include 19.5 percent, remain irrelevant, since their unified policy approach is to suspend all uranium enrichment activities inside Iran.

The fatal flaw in the Obama fuel swap proposal, when it was broached in October 2009, was that it failed to explicitly state that any fuel swap had to be linked to Iran’s suspension of its uranium enrichment program. While policy wonks in and out of the Obama administration can argue that such a position was more than implied, given the existence of U.N. Security Council resolutions that explicitly call for suspension, any deal that introduces Iran’s stocks of low-enriched uranium as a legitimate commodity provides de facto legitimization of the processes that produced that commodity. Since Iran has consistently refused to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, it had every reason to treat the proposed fuel swap as a stand-alone deal that focused on a short-term problem, and not as part of the larger U.S.-driven demands for enrichment suspension.

The U.S. policy objective was never to provide Iran with 19.5 percent enriched uranium fuel rods, or to lock Iran in at a 3.5 percent enrichment threshold, but rather to get the majority of Iran’s existing stocks of 3.5 percent enriched uranium out of the country, thereby eliminating any scenario that had Iran using this low-enriched uranium as feedstock for any breakout nuclear weapons production capability, no matter how farfetched such a scenario might be. This is why the Obama administration never paid much attention to the details of such a swap, since these details simply didn’t matter. The U.S. approach was never about facilitating a swap so much as it was about facilitating a kidnapping. The policy objective was to get the majority of Iran’s enriched uranium stocks under international control. Once Iran no longer had access to 1,600 kilograms of its 1,800-kilogram stockpile of low-enriched uranium, the Obama administration could blunt the fear-driven concerns over the immediacy of any Iranian nuclear capability. It would take Iran several months to reconstitute its low-enriched uranium stocks to the level needed to produce its hypothetical nuclear bomb. During this period, the U.S. would redouble its demands for suspension of uranium enrichment and develop a comprehensive package of stringent economic sanctions that would be imposed on Iran should it fail to cooperate.


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The fatal flaw in the U.S. approach was that it failed to recognize that such policy formulations may work on paper but in the real world things are far more complicated. The Obama administration had hoped for immediate Iranian agreement to the fuel swap. Once Iran’s enriched uranium was safely out of Iran, the U.S. would then redouble its diplomatic pressure to suspend enrichment activities while simultaneously pressing for international consensus on sanctions. U.S. policy formulators envisioned a seamless transition between these various stages of policy implementation. But Iran, by agreeing in principle to a fuel swap, but demanding closer scrutiny of the details inherent in any such deal, complicated implementation of the U.S. plan.

By December 2009, a point at which the U.S. had hoped to have the Iranian uranium under its control and a sanctions campaign under way, Iran had yet to agree to the specifics of any fuel swap but at the same time publically remained committed to the concept. That approach paralyzed the U.S.-led effort to rally support behind sanctions since most nations did not want to do anything that would threaten the fuel swap negotiations. As 2010 rolled around, the Iranian delay tactics forced the U.S. to shed all pretenses around the fuel swap. While Iranian negotiators spoke of a potential swap formula that could unfold over the course of several months, the U.S. spoke of a swap timetable stretching out several years, making such a swap useless for the purpose it was ostensibly being instituted for—the Iranian nuclear research reactor and the manufacture of medical isotopes.

With the true U.S. policy objective thus exposed, Iran last week announced that it would carry out its own indigenous enrichment of uranium to the 19.5 percent needed to fuel the research reactor. Whether Iran has the technical or practical capabilities necessary to bring such a plan to fruition is debatable. While reconfiguring its existing centrifuge cascades to produce 19.5 percent enriched uranium is not impossible, Iran has never before attempted to process enriched uranium into nuclear fuel rods. Likewise, there is a question about the viability of Iran’s feedstock of uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the gaseous material that is fed into the centrifuges for the purpose of enriching uranium.

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By tiraniyaya son, February 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t get why some people are so obsessively against nuclear energy. It seems to me, that in the constant presence of a nuclear holocaust risk, the threat of nuclear plants is unimportant. It is like worrying about catching cold when you have unprotected sex with an AIDS patient. Or worrying about not getting a good night sleep when you sleep on an edge of a cliff. Moreover, nuclear weapons don’t seem to get half the protester attention that nuclear plants get.
There are around 400 nuclear plants in the world, all designed with some degree of security in mind. There are thousands of nuclear weapons each designed to destroy. Of course it is not right to compare the risk of a nuclear weapon with a complex nuclear plant. But historically nuclear plants have been one of the safest forms of energy. If you compare fatalities per Watts produced, nuclear energy is safer than gas and wind, probably second only to solar (depends on whether you count those who fall from the roof trying to install low capacity solar panels). And nuclear plants are getting safer. The worst nuclear energy accident was Chernobyl, it killed 50 people initially and caused a few thousands to die from cancer.
Nuclear weapons, on the other hand, has been used in war at least twice,  causing hundreds of thousands of deaths. They are routinely tested, and test can go bad too, sometimes without being reported. Nuclear weapons can get lost and they do.
Many countries now see nuclear energy as a way to energy security.
And it doesn’t seem that energy lobbies are trying to do anything to promote nuclear energy. It doesn’t go well anywhere. They seem to concentrate their efforts on coal, because that is their current choice of energy production. Nuclear plants need large initial investments and are unpopular with the public. Even coal is easier to sell to the public, because it is American and produces many jobs.
But if we to put tax on CO2 then coal becomes much less viable. And if we want to provide the increasing world population with the similar life standards that Westerners enjoy today, the only real long-term alternative is nuclear energy. Check “Sustainable Energy — without the hot air” by David JC MacKay.

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By D Waters, February 21, 2010 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m glad Scott Ritter is still here.

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By prosefights, February 18, 2010 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

Dealing with the liberal arts educated is usually unpleasant.

Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 1:34 PM
Subject: Joe’s Letter to us
Austin makes the national news!

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

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By Claus Eric Hamle, February 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to former Trident missile engineer Bob Pentagon aims to achieve a disarming and unanswerable first-strike capability. Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 D5 linked to GPS obtain a CEP (Circular Error Probability - - the radius centered on the target in which half the warheads are expected to hit)of 30 meters or less, enough to destroy any hard target. And according to Bob Aldridge the US Navy can track and destroy all enemy submarines simultaneously. Please see Robert C. Aldridge: Nuclear Empire, ch. 9. Even if the Pentagon´s First-Strike Capability is only for blackmail, the Russians may have no choice but implementing Launch On Warning. Bob Aldridge resigned because a disarming and unanswerable first-strike capability is suicidal.
I hope you agree that the Pentagon´s First-Strike Capability is the most urgent problem because it inevitably leads to Launch On Warning.
The missiles to be deployed in Romania and Poland by 2015 are part of a first strike force - - to shoot down surviving Russian missiles which are launched in retaliation, according to Bob Aldridge.
And that makes perfect sense as a study by Uni of Colorado concluded that 100 warheads Hiroshima-size are enough for Nuclear Winter.
Please help by sending this message to Congressmen, Senators, the Media. Former Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge (author of The Counterforce Syndrome, First Strike! The Pentagon´s Strategy For Nuclear War, Nuclear Empire and now America in Peril) is 100 % right in everything.

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By TAO Walker, February 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

The real “dirty little secret,” revealed between-the-lines here, is that the “civilization” CONtraption itself has now run completely out-of-CONtrol, and there is nothing whatsoever going to prevent its catastrophic collision with its own inherent CONtradictions.  That’s why there has for awhile now been a clandestine crash-program worldwide to build ‘shelters’ for the self-selected ‘elite’ and their ‘essential technical support’ retainers.  One of these hidey-holes is in the old Hearst gold-mine complex around Lead and Deadwood, S.D., in the Paha Sapa Wakan.

Meantime, of course, to prevent “widespread panic” and the problems it would cause for those with tickets to some “undisclosed location,” The-Show must go on.  Scott Ritter has no doubt called-down upon his own head the wrath of those he’s exposed for their perfidy, but he still serves their main purposes by keeping before “the public” the bogey-man of nuclear disaster.

Here’s the thing, though, tame Sisters and Brothers.  Your tormentors and their two-legged tools are rushing to prepare for every ‘riff’ on the armageddon theme they can think-of….except for the one that’s actually happening right now.  They will disappear underground in-advance-of this that or another ‘worst-case-scenario,’ maybe one they’ll’ve initiated theirownselfs, only to be trapped there in terminal isolation from this Living World they tried to destroy.

Those of us “left behind,” including the vast majority of “....your huddled masses,” will wake-up one fine Day free of those globe-girdling machinations presently ratchetting-up the perennial rule-of-fear into another outright reign-of-terror.  Let the damned fools go, Friends….and their false eCONomy ‘operating system’ along with ‘em.

We still have The Tiyoshpaye Way.


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By Blackspeare, February 18, 2010 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

Possession of a nuclear weapon(s) gives a country more bargaining power vis-a-vis North and South Korea.  It also in a way levels the playing field vis-a-vis Israel and Iran.  Or it provides a measure of detente vis-a-vis the cold war.  However, there is one danger with the proliferation of nuclear weapons when a country is rules by fatalistic leaders such as the famous one, Hitler who would have surely used such a weapon.  The USSR, being an atheistic country, were not fatalists looking for the return of a messiah, they were pragmatist as the eventual outcome proves.  The same goes for North Korea.  On the other hand, Iran, a state ruled by Mullahs may believe in the Mahdi and if they do——watch out.  However, the real power is within the Revolutionary Guard who are probably a bit more pragmatic than the Mullahs——so it’s back to detente.

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By tiraniyaya son, February 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I used to get frustrated a lot by Obama also. But I feel that on most issues he is doing whatever his advisers tell him. And on the issues where opinions strongly diverge he does what would go well with the public, that would be considered democratic, right. The advisors seem to be either his friends or candidates presented by the Democratic Party establishment, but he did keep the secretary of defense. It is hard to blame him for listening to advisors. After all, we all complained that the previous “decider” just followed his established agenda no matter what the advisors, the public or the world would think. Obama is much more open-minded, and in that sense, he is in direct contrast to Bush. But the president should be a decider at some point. He should listen to differing opinions and choose, on our behalf, the most convincing option. But going against status quo is a big political risk. Which can be seen in the way that health reform went. Health reform is his biggest agenda and something he has a strong opinion about and his main goal. Probably justifiably so, since healthcare is of USA economy and expected to grow more. All other goals seem to be secondary. That is why I don’t expect him to go outside of status quo on other, even insignificant issues, until the health reform is through. He doesn’t want to loose any political capital until health care reform is done. I guess the problem is that initially he concentrated on the financial crisis and that took him too long. Once healthcare reform is done there is a good chance that Obama starts listening to differing voices on other issues too. And since democrats are more open-minded I believe there is a chance of change on foreign policy.

Another problem might be that there is too much pressure on Obama, to not make a mistake. He might see himself a representative of black people (even though technically he is not exactly black.) and does not want to screw up. That would prevent him from making bold decisions.

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By Don McNeill, February 18, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Scott Ritter for reminding us once again, of just how phony the US approach to nuclear arms control is. The underlying US policy is, and always has been, to control others, not get rid of or limit nuclear weapons, their danger to the world aside.

Obama’s mind games in Prague, in Oslo, at the UN, and so on, are fully part of the 65 year tradition of driving for a nuclear monopoly by the US.  That policy began in 1945 and, with very few exceptions, has never ceased. Nonproliferation fails because the major proliferator (the US) is so obvious in its grasping for control - of all but itself.

Under the nonproliferation treaty the US and other nuclear powers are obligated to cut back their arsenals and move toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.  This never happens.  North Korea got respect from the Americans once it exploded a nuclear weapon, however small. Iraq didn’t have any nuclear weapons in 2003. Every country can see what this means. No effort is being made by the current US administration to ratify the comprehensive test ban treaty, new nuclear weapons production facilities are being proposed, and nuclear weapons will almost certainly remain the cornerstone of US “security” after the upcoming, widely advertised Nuclear Weapons Policy Review.

US leadership of a kind that is not being provided by our president is desperately needed to eliminate the danger of nuclear weapons, especially those in the hands of “state” actors.

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By t33jet, February 18, 2010 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Nuclear power plant approved by Obama for Georgia!  Remember the coca cola can in Detroit plant, Brown’s Ferry in Alabama [the core within one foot exposed until the fire chief prevailed and was allowed to pour water on it], Three Mile Island, and Chernobyl in the USSR. There are more, but this is a sample.  Obama forget my vote in 2012, but then if you are a calculating person, you have written off the anti-nuclear people.  Damn, where is my anti-gravity car?

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By Marshall, February 18, 2010 at 2:15 am Link to this comment

By glider, February 17 at 1:33 am #

“Ask yourself what chance, or even what mechanism, a demand by an alliance of
all the nations of the world would have in allowing for timely unannounced
unlimited inspections of any U.S. Military site”

Ask yourself whether your statement makes any sense at all.  The U.S. ratified the
Additional Protocol in 1998, and being that it already possesses nuclear weapons,
there would be little point in inspections to ascertain this.  The US does indeed
routinely cooperate with IAEA safeguards inspectors.  Numerous other emerging
non-weapon nuclear powers are signatories to the AP.  There is absolutely no
reason Iran would not ratify it as well.

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By Rob Michaud, February 17, 2010 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To John Ellis: ...........What?................

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By J.J.S., February 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Scott Ritter,
Back before Gulf Slaughter II you warned the world as best you could that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.  People (I use that term loosely) who wanted war ignored you, and when you didn’t go away they opposed you, vilified you, and apparently tried the old sex charge thing to discredit you. 
[Americans and sex…sheesh, what hypocritical infants!]  You turned out to be right; there were no WMDs.  The attack and occupation of Iraq is one huge war crime.
Here we go again, on the propaganda road to devastating, baby-eating sanctions that’ll kill thousands of the weak, old and sick, and maybe a war that’ll just kill and kill and kill.  And here you are, again, warning that the emperor has no clothes.  Out come the cointelpro snakes to attack you.  The snakes count on the American dunderheads’ inability to think for themselves
backed by a predilection for sex sandal.  Stay away from aircraft and check your brake lines before that long mountain drive.  CIA-Mossad has long arms.
Oh, and Obama hasn’t failed, really.  He lied his way into office—what a nice ‘change’ to have a clever liar instead of a dumb liar—as front man for the financial looters and war mongers. Now it’s full steam ahead to WWIII, with figurehead Pinnochiobama’s long, long nose pointing the way.
Thanks again for your work, Scott Ritter.

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By prosefights, February 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
To: “Bob Collins” <>
Cc: “John/Catherine Alsip” <>, “Melvin Davidson” <>, “brian dohe” <>, “Fred Fair” <>, “Cargill Hall” <>, “maureen adkison” <>, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:33:42 AM GMT -07:00 US/Canada Mountain
Subject: Any ideas?

Hello Bob,

Got any ideas on how to get our Whitman College liberal arts educated into gear to help get these unfortunate matters settled?

Response, or lack thereof, from the Whitman educated is not doing Whitman College, in particular, and liberal arts college education, in general any good.

Increase in gasoline prices as a result of an attack on Iran or even possibly WWIII might do bad things to our retirment lives.


However, I say that current liberal arts majors, in general, are not capable of logical thinking since they have been brainwashed by our education system which discourages inquiry, critical thinking, and the ability to synthesise solutions based on facts. John.

John is one of my former computer science phds.

Yep, IMO first hand.

I’m a 1959 graduate of Whitman College - math.  But then got a ms and phd at Purdue and my mind straightened out.

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By Virginia777, February 17, 2010 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Gosh, U.S. and Europe, why in the heck are you focusing on Iran’s nuclear “capability”?

and not Israel’s.

hmmmm, I wonder why.

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By prosefights, February 17, 2010 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

‘My guess is that neither the US nor Israel will attempt to take out their facilities in the year ahead. If Iran used a nuclear device against Israel, or anybody else, they would be asking to become, in turn, the world’s largest ashtray. ...

James Howard Kunstler’

Electricity consumption is increasing.
World electricity shortages loom.
Iran needs nuclear generated electricity ... and not another war.

Ambassador Ryan Crocker who may have been involved in inciting Saddam Hussein to attack Iran in 1980, will be at Whitman reception for Ryan Crocker, former Ambassador to Iraq, at 806 Crest Drive, Yakima, WA on Wednesday February 17, 2010 at 6:00 PM.

Crocker is a 1971 graduate of Whitman College with a major in English.

Google ‘nojeh nsa lawsuit the investigation’ to read some of our efforts to get Crocker to come clean regarding US involvment in start of the Iraq/Iran war.

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By Film, February 17, 2010 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott Ritter might be not correct. You can’t reach a nuke free world in a couple of years. It takes years and a lot of work and diplomacy to reach this goal. Iran might be the biggest obstacle but these kind of regimes will fall sooner or later. Their only option to keep the population silent and to continue their nuclear program is violence. And violence will bring that crazy president down one day.

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By marta, February 17, 2010 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Most all countries have or tried invading Iran for one reason or another. Bush # 1 made threats as well as the 8 years that Israel threatened to nuke them with the help of Bush # 2, and when Iran decides to defend themselves, we put sanction on the country. Iran doesn’t want to be forced into cowering to the US, neither did Saddam after awhile, and cost him his life. Saddam was Bush Sr. friend as long as he played the puppet. Iran had a democracy until the US took it away in 1953.

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By glider, February 17, 2010 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

Scott Ritter deserves a great deal of respect.  Charges without a completed due process and conviction, particularly in the case of someone intelligently standing up against the MIC machine mean nothing.  The people posting these distractions are guilty of defamation of character for the purpose of political gain and deserve disrespect.  They are IMO the scumbags.  Beyond that, bad behavior outside of one’s profession is unrelated and does not logically nullify an individuals opinions.  Additionally, be aware that very brave people going against the elite establishment are going to be subject to a severe probing that most individuals probably can not withstand looking for a vulnerability to discredit them.  Which plays very well with the Christian Right types in this country.  Elliot Spitzer running up against the Banksters comes to mind.  His loss was not a benefit to this country.

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By Don, February 16, 2010 at 11:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The sex charges against Ritter are likely the government’s way to silence him.  Look at what happened to Bernie Ward.  Ritter is lucky he doesn’t pilot a small plane or an “accident” would have been his fate.  I put nothing past the right-wing cabal that runs the US government.

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By glider, February 16, 2010 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment


“Iran has rejected the Additional Protocol which would allow inspectors to make the kinds of surprise visits necessary to confirm its compliance with NNPT”

A standard ploy for demonizing an adversary is to make unreasonable demands, calculated to be rejected or met with sufficient stalling, to then allow a media campaign to justify military action.  Ask yourself what chance, or even what mechanism, a demand by an alliance of all the nations of the world would have in allowing for timely unannounced unlimited inspections of any U.S. Military site or “suspected site”?  This is nothing more than a perfect strategy for engaging in wars and regime changes at the whim of the U.S.A..  It is might makes right, plain and simple.

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By Tom, February 16, 2010 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another great analysis by Mr Ritter. Thank you sir.

I agree with Ed Harges. This whole “threat” is manufactured by AIPAC and some “Americans” with dual loyalties.

United States government should decide once and for all whether they care about American interests or Israel. Israel has become an unsustainable and expensive liability for the United States. Israel is a country that is continually engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity. An outlaw state that has violated more international laws than all the UN members combined.

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By Ed Harges, February 16, 2010 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

This anti-Iran hysteria is 100% Israeli-driven. It serves no American interest
whatsoever - unless it be the ideological interests of those “Americans” who are
so passionately devoted to Israel that they care not what happens to the USA or to
the rest of the world, so long as Israel’s megalomaniacal agenda is advanced.

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By Marshall, February 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

By Scott Ritter, February 16 at 10:45 am #?(Unregistered commenter)

The reason the 2007 NIE “provided no factual evidence” is because it was never
declassified; only the key judgments were made public and have been officially
reaffirmed since its release.  We do know that the primary evidence behind its
high confidence level did not consist simply of an assumption based on Iran’s
decision to enrich, and that the program was halted likely due to international
pressure; something Obama gives only lip service to.

The evidence for and against a current Iranian nuke program is an endless
discussion which few of us can resolve since we haven’t got the clearance for it. 
But the simple fact remains: Iran has rejected the Additional Protocol which
would allow inspectors to make the kinds of surprise visits necessary to
confirm its compliance with NNPT.  It has also rejected what will certainly be
the final opportunity posed by Obama’s conciliatory tone over the last year. 
This and the cumulative circumstantial evidence of Iran’s intentions, its past
deceptions along with its contradictory and inflammatory public statements and
the ascension of its hard line political/military wing casts a large shadow of
suspicion and sends the message that it isn’t interested in allaying the global
community’s concerns despite the high expenses and clear risks involved.

The UAE’s nascent nuclear energy program along with the announced similar
intentions of other regional states are partly a reaction to Iran’s progress and
do increase the potential for the very proliferation outcome you worked so
hard to prevent.  But unlike Iran, UAE is working cooperatively and
transparently.  Given the dangerous implications of secret nuclear ambitions,
it’s odd that you don’t require the same from Iran.

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By tiraniyaya son, February 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is nice to see that Scott Ritter writes at this time when his analysis is very needed.
His analysis helps to make sense of all the news on Iran that come out in the media.
One does not need to “trust” Ritter to consider his analysis, as most of the facts he provided are easily verifiable and are available in media. In any case, he provides very interesting discussing points.
Even if his analysis is totally wrong, it is still valuable because it provides an alternative opinion and because Ritter is knowledgeable enough to defend his positions. Iran should be presumed innocent and its defense on the issue should be heard and Ritter does a good job of explaining Iranian rhetoric. If you only listen to prosecution the defendant is always guilty.

As Scott Ritter noted himself it should be fact-based analysis. Not faith-based analysis where we believe everything a certain person says. We don’t need to trust a person to listen to him and evaluate what he has to say.

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By miller, February 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

Shame on you for publishing Ritter.  He is now charged
a second time regarding sex and minor children.  He has
no credibility with me nor should he have any with you.

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By liecatcher, February 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Scott Ritter’s Columns
“The End of Obama’s Vision of a Nuke-Free World”

The real story, the one that affects we the people,
is not the red herring about Iran, but rather Bush3
lobbyists & giving away taxpayer money for nuclear
During Bush one’s reign of terror while sharing the
Reagan W.H. as nominal V.P., but de facto POTUS,
puppet Ronald Reagan was given a second chance
after his gunshot warning to tow the fascist agenda
or die. Now, an effigy of Obama was hung in Plains
Georgia, Jimmy Carter’s home town, on January 2,2010,
as warning to the current W.H. puppet to stick to the
script or face the consequences. Ergo, after many
green speeches about renewable energy creating jobs,
Bush3 has come out strong to give $54 billion of
money to build nuclear reactors starting in GEORGIA.

See articles from DEMOCRACY NOW,2-16-10 listed below:

US to Give Loan Guarantees to Build New Nuclear

President Obama is expected to announce today the
federal government will give over $8 billion in loan
guarantees to help build the nation’s first new
nuclear reactors in three decades. The loans will
help the Atlanta-based Southern Company build two
more nuclear reactors in Burke County, Georgia near
the city of Augusta. The loan guarantees will cover
up to 70 percent of the company’s portion of the
project’s costs. The Energy Policy Act of 2005
authorized the Department of Energy to issue up to
$18.5 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear
plants and other energy projects. President Obama
wants to triple the size of the loan guarantees to
$54 billion.
26 Arrested at Anti-Nuke Protest in Britain

In Britain, police arrested twenty-six people on
Monday during a protest at a nuclear arms site where
warheads for Trident submarines are made. Organizers
said over 800 people took part in a blockade of the
Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston.
Protesters included Nobel Peace Prize winners Jody
Williams and Mairead Maguire. The Campaign for
Nuclear Disarmament said the action was the biggest
blockade of a nuclear arms site in Britain in many

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By Iranian, February 16, 2010 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As far as US policy goes, international community consists of US + Israel. The heck with the rest of the world which by the way fully support Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

Now, as an Iranian I urge president Ahmadjinejad to go all the way i.e. producing full blown nuclear weapons. We can’t allow a rogue apartheid state like Israel constantly threatning us. ‘Nuff already.

We should make it clear to the Israelis that a tiny bit of aggression from would result in a dropping of 15 mega ton nuclear bomb on Tel Aviv.

Now THAT is what I call a real deterrence.

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By Norm Drabble, February 16, 2010 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Scott Ritter is convicted of the recent charge that he masturbated before his webcam thinking that a 15 year old girl was watching will Truthdig still publish him?

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By Samson, February 16, 2010 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

When watching a powerful empire at work, foreign policy rarely has anything to do with the foreign strategic situation.

Powerful empires believe that they can not be challenged.  Thus, they really don’t care all that much about the strategic situation in some part of the world.  Instead, what appear to be foreign policies are instead dictated by domestic concerns.

Fear mongering about Iran, and the US actions towards Iran have several causes.

1)  Domestic political power.  The politicians believe that attacking Iran, at least rhetorically and economically is the way to domestic political victory.  So, these policies become a chit in the game in maintaining domestic political power.

2)  Money for friends and allies.  This constant fear mongering about Iran is an underpinning for massive defense budgets.  It creates the climate of fear that seems to justify the US ever increasing the amount of our tax dollars we waste on ‘defense’ every year, despite the fact that we spend more on ‘defense’ than the rest of the world combined.

3)  Of course, not only is there the general boondoggle of spending more and more defending ourselves from non-existent enemies, but specific projects like star-wars missile defense and our bloated intelligence budgets depend specifically on Iran being viewed as a threat.

To understand US policy towards Iran, you have to look at the home front.  When looking at the foreign arena, and then in thinking about sensible policies to follow there, it just won’t make any sense.  That’s because the important policy goals of this policy are on the home front, not abroad.

The sad thing is that this is when wars become long and dangerous and deadly to the citizens of the empire.  Since the wars have no real foreign objectives, they go on and on and on as long as it suits the domestic agenda’s of the powerful.  Its more important to not look weak at home than it is to accomplish anything meaningful abroad.  Thus, billions are wasted/stolen and our citizens keep dying.

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By Samson, February 16, 2010 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

“When one looks past the grand statements of the president for policy implementation that supports the rhetoric, one is left empty-handed.”

That’s the trademark of an Obama speech.  He always has a ‘feel your pain’ section. He always has a bunch of easy applause lines about change and hope.  He always has some grand rhetoric.

But if you listen closely, Obama is always short on the details of how he’s going to do it.  And that’s the tip-off that the whole thing is a con.  His speeches are a lot of hot air that signify nothing.  The lack of details on just how he is going to do what he says is always the tipoff that he really doesn’t plan to do what he says.  In other words, he’s lying.

What amazes me is how many people on the left fall for this con over and over and over and over.  After all, its pretty much the same con that Clinton ran in the 90’s.  When will people learn?

Please stop voting Democrat.

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By bozh, February 16, 2010 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

A prez can say anything he wants. He can make oodles of tacit and explicit promises. However, being a mere manager [to me, anyway]of ruling class’ property, i expect nada from any prez.

A talk by a priest or pol comprises mostly promises, finger pointing, evocation of catastrophies if he wld not be elected or allowed to do what he promises, selflaudation, etc.

Since i evaluate all promises as lies,i am never shocked when they don’t get fulfilled. tnx

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By Esther Haman, February 16, 2010 at 8:33 am Link to this comment
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We can dish it out, but we can’t take it. The Iranian policies and politic has checkmated us each time. You know why? Because they have played by the rules. The rules that we have put in the place and we ourselves don’t abide by them. We allow rouge states such as the Zionist state to develop over 200 A-bombs and we turn our head when the “Goldstone” report by the UN comes out. We don’t talk about sanctions and invasion or bombing or even a slap on the wrist, because they own us. We allow them to expand into the Arab and the Palestinian lands without impunity.
Iran nuclear program and LEU are controlled and monitored by the IAEA and they are investigated for the last 10 years and no smoking gun has ever been found. Even our own Intelligence has said so. They are a signatory to the NPT, which is more than what we can say about the rouge Zionist state and their Demona nuclear site.
By the way, why should the Islamic world live under the mercy/threat of the 200+ A-bombs of the Zionists??!  There are 75 Million Iranians and they have the right to defend themselves and NO 5 Million Zionist can dictate to them as how to do that. They been there for over 3000 years and they will be there for lot longer. So, get use to it.

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By Tim Kelly, February 16, 2010 at 7:17 am Link to this comment
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Why does Truthdig keep giving Scott Ritter a platform?  At the very least, Truthdig should decline to publish his columns while he deals with his latest (Jan 14) arrest for internet luring of underage girls:

I bought his argument that the first time it was some sort of plot to silence his criticism.  What’s his excuse this time?

The simple truth is that Scott Ritter fails to have a position of moral authority, and yes, I am one of those far-left wingnuts that believes leaders lead in all areas, and never fails in any.

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By FRTothus, February 16, 2010 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

“The U.S. is a signatory to nine multilateral treaties that it has either blatantly violated or gradually subverted [and] is now outright rejecting a number of those treaties, and in doing so, places global security in jeopardy, as other nations feel entitled to do the same. The rejected treaties include: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty Banning Antipersonnel Mines, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), a protocol to create a compliance regime for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). The U.S. is also not complying with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Commission (CWC), the BWC, and the U.N. framework Convention on Climate Change.”
(Project Censored)

“Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear - kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor - with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it ...”
(US General Douglas MacArthur)

“If an American is concerned only about his nation, he will not be concerned about the peoples of Asia, Africa, or South America. Is this not why nations engage in the madness of war without the slightest sense of penitence? Is this not why the murder of a citizen of your own nation is a crime, but the murder of citizens of another nation in war is an act of heroic virtue?”
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

“It is the function of the CIA to keep the world unstable, and to propagandize and teach the American people to hate, so we will let the Establishment spend any amount of money on arms.”
(John Stockwell, former CIA official, author)

“Americans cannot escape a certain responsibility for what is done in our name around the world. In a democracy, even one as corrupted as ours, ultimate authority rests with the people. We empower the government with our votes, finance it with our taxes, bolster it with our silent acquiescence. If we are passive in the face of America’s official actions overseas, we in effect endorse them.”
(Mark Hertzgaard)

“The most formidable military machine depends ultimately on the obedience of its soldiers, ... the most powerful corporation becomes helpless when its workers stop working, when its customers refuse to buy its products.
The strike, the boycott, the refusal to serve, the ability to paralyze the functioning of a complex social structure - these remain potent weapons against the most fearsome state or corporate power.”
(Howard Zinn)

“If we who have the time and money to take to the streets don’t do so, then the people are going to think that everything is OK.”
(Peruvian university student protesting Alberto Fujimori’s illegal election victory, April 2000)

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By Scott Ritter, February 16, 2010 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
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As a point of clarification, while the 2007 NIE does claim that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons program prior to 2003, it provided no factual evidence to sustain that argument.  I have written on this very topic numerous times, including devoting an entire book to the subject (Target Iran, Nation Books, 2006).  I don’t presume innocence, I simply go where the facts take me.  The argument that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program for the most part rests on an interpretation of its decision to pursue the enrichment of uranium, noting that there is no viable explanation for this decision other than the desire for nuclear weapons, since Iran is a nation awash in a sea of oil and gas.  The United Arab Emirate’s decision to pursue its own nuclear energy program, made in 2008, was based on the same logic Iran cited, namely the need to develop an alternative source for domestic energy needs to free up oil and gas for the income-generating export market.  I will continue to make the point that simply declaring Iran to have nuclear weapons ambitions void of hard facts to back this assertion up does not constitute sufficient evidence that such a program exists today, or ever existed.

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By ardee, February 16, 2010 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

I fail to understand the logic of ron_woodward, February 16 at 9:29 am comment re: statements from Syria used to criticize Iran.

I will ignore the usual Marshall rant as he appears increasingly out of touch and irrelevent. It is, I think, important to echo the sentiment that Iran has been beset on all sides and then , when forced to a more militant position by such attacks, said militarism is used to further alienate that Indo European nation.

Our entire policy of nuclear disarmament is a fraud and will remain so as long as we ourselves fail to disarm. Thinking we somehow have the right to remain a nation with the most nuclear weaponry while insisting that other nations are unentitled to the same rights as we have.

As Nelson Mandela has noted so aptly our policies regarding nuclear weapons is nothing more and nothing less than “nuclear apartheid”.

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By ron_woodward, February 16, 2010 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

“Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem has issued a threat that in the next war between his country and Israel, Israeli cities will be targeted.” [Carl, Israel Matzav] This coincides with the policies of Hamas and Hezbollah, the well-known launch pads for Iran already targeting Israeli citizens.
Mr. Ritter mocks this eventuality, as he understates the time to complete a nuclear bomb and makes the heroic assumption the Iran regime values the lives of its residents. In regards to these issues, the Israelis developed plans for conventional attacks on the Iranian facilities. Upgrading enrichment to 20% greatly reduces the time Iran needs to reach the 90% enrichment weapons grade level.
Already unpopular, the Iranian regime may choose to provoke a war increasing its chances of survival putting its citizens in harm’s way. President Obama is making a heroic assumption that nuclear annihilation will discourage an attacker. Too many Americans assume they are invulnerable to nuclear destruction. They assume safety from wars fought on the other side of the world.
It has been estimated that as few as 50 nuclear detonations would punch holes in the ionosphere thus inducing a planet-ending nuclear winter. While scientific opinions will vary, I am sure the pundits will be busy assigning blame until the Earth freezes over.

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By GoyToy, February 16, 2010 at 4:09 am Link to this comment


Even if we assume Iran has a covert nuclear weapons program, can you blame Iran? Did we overthrow Iran’s democratically elected government or did it overthrow ours? And suppose Iran had nukes, who would it use them against? Iran is a signatory to the NPT, our “pals” Israel, India and Pakistan, who have nukes are not. Is not we and Israel who are threatening Iran or is Iran threatening us (and please don’t give me that incorrect translation of Ahmedinejad’s comment about Israel)?

I those are reasonable questions and I await a reasonable response—please, something more than simply referencing an NIE assessment or alluding to IAEA “warnings.”

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By Marshall, February 16, 2010 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

As usual, Ritter absolves Iran from all responsibility for its own actions and the
perceptions of others.  The US bears the blame in Ritter’s world (just like in the
world of janeane garofalo who could be his hollywood twin) with the reasoning
that whatever Iran decides to do, the Great Satan made him do it.

The 2007 NIE stated that Iran had a nuclear weapons program until 2003.  While it
may not have one now, Ritter ignores the high confidence assessment along with
numerous IAEA warnings about its inability to properly monitor Iran’s nuclear
program due to Iran’s failure to accept the additional protocol.  But again, its not
Iran’s fault in Ritter’s world because he presumes innocence from the get go.

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