About that Iranian nuclear threat

AP has a big, exclusive story based on a graph of a simulation leaked by they’re-not-saying-who from they’re-not-saying-where. This is Proof the Iranians are working on a big bad nuke.

Glenn Greenwald seems to be getting exasperated at the silliness of such setups:

even if one assumes that this graph is something other than a fraud, the very idea that computer simulations constitute “evidence” that Iran is working toward a nuclear weapon is self-evidently inane.

Well, yes, there is that.

But there’s one even bigger piece of evidence suggesting that the Iranians aren’t doing much, and for some reason that’s not being mentioned. They have a border with a huge and powerful country. Russia has zero reason to want powerful Islamic fundamentalists right on its southern border who might encourage friction in other Central Asian majority-Islamic countries.

If the Iranians were really that close to useful nukes, you can bet your Sunday bonnet the Russians would be making noise about it and/or doing something about it.

Crossposted from Acid Test

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16 Comments on “About that Iranian nuclear threat”

  1. HT says:

    If the Russians felt danger, Iran would be totally cut off. If Iran was really pursuing nuclear weapons instead of nuclear power, how many people could condem then knowing the the U.S. has been rattling the saber about attack for the last 12 years? I don’t like the Iranian government (neither do the Persians I know) however let the Persians sort it out without outside threat – I honestly believe that without U.S. and Russian interference, the Persians would have sorted this all out many years ago. One major thing here, while the majority of Persians (according to my neighbor and his friends) don’t like the government or the clerical structure that controls government, they are a people that have very deep, very ancient feelings about their country, and if any other country tries to invade, they will fight. It would behoove other countries who have thoughts about invasion that the Persians were around before most of these “other” countries were civilized. They know a thing or two about fighting back. Thanks Quixote for posting on this.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    The endless efforts of the media and politicians to build up fear about imaginary Iranian nukes is even more ridiculous and despicable than the media and Republicans who are attacking Susan Rice over the Benghazi attacks.

    • NW Luna says:

      And it’s damn time they quite chasing a Benghazi snipe or graphs leaked by a-nearby-country-worried-about-the-Iran-threat, now who in the world would that be? We just have nooooooo idea, do we? (rhetorical questions; snark).

      It’s like that Rorsach test cartoon that JJ posted the other day — Show ‘em anything from Iran and they’re convinced its radioactive.

      Meanwhile, there are plenty of important things for diplomacy and Congress to work on.

  3. hyperjoy says:

    How irresponsible of the AP to run such a poorly sourced story.

  4. quixote says:

    The thing that gets me about the Russian angle is that should be plenty to shut down all the vaporing. I mean, it’s like the media are geared up to follow a massive murder investigation, but the victim shows up alive and well in LA. If the Iranians were an actual threat to anybody, you’d think their closest neighbors would be the ones worrying about it. They’re not, so the Iranians aren’t. End of story, no?

    (To be absolutely precise, it’s Azerbaijan that shares a border, but Russia is all of some 200 miles away. Much closer than Israel.)

    • HT says:

      quixote, I’m probably senile, but this whole ME policy stinks to high jupiter, or pluto. Russia could vaporise the ME. I know there were all those stories about the russian nukes being too old or degraded, but do you actually believe Russia allowed that to happen without an alternate plan and that they haven’t developed more effective weapons – carrot meet stick. To be totally honest, I think Putin would be absolutely delighted if there was an attack on Teheran or anyplace in Iran that could be blamed on the U.S. He could mount his stallion (he wouldn’t ride anything else, which raises another question) rattle his weapon of choice and remind the remnants of the Soviet Union about the invasion of Hitler’s armies and Luftewaffe. That would be for PR purposes. Then he would send mega billions to Iran – and would fund multiple millions of bloggers to propagandize. Then he would forge iron clad treaties (which so far the Iranians have been reluctant to do. Then Putin would bleed the middle east dry, all the time blaming U.S. policies for the decline of the people’s standard of living in the ME. Sound familiar? The U.S. has in the past employed these very tactics in South America.

      • quixote says:

        The Russians have plenty of nukes. Not enough to fry the world thirty times over, like in the bad old days, but plenty.

        I’m sure you’re right that they love having Iran as a gadfly against the US. I’m also sure that they’d have no sense of humor if Iran gadflied Russia. Currently it can’t. They’d do their best to swat Iran back down if it looked like there was any chance of alterations in the balance of power.

        I can’t say I see the possibility of a Russian Middle Eastern empire quite the way you do. Russians have a long history with the Middle Easterners, so they tend not to mess with them unlesss they have to. Or unless they make the occasional mistake, like Chechnya and Afghanistan.

  5. List of X says:

    Russians don’t really care if Iran gets a nuclear bomb. They don’t see Iran as a threat, and even if they do, as a likely enemy, Iran comes way after USA and China which both have much more advanced nuclear arsenals. Of course, Russians don’t think that USA or China will actually attack anytime soon, but they are still perceived as more likely enemies. There is another thing: as a former superpower, and even now still one of the top world powers, Russia probably does not consider a Third World Iran as a worthy adversary. Of course, if it were a stand-alone issue whether Iran should have nuclear weapons, Russia would most certainly not want any other countries have a nuclear leverage. But this is not a stand-alone issue. Iran is a very valuable thorn in the US backside, and supporting Iran is a position for which Russia could get a lot of concessions from either USA or Iran.

    • quixote says:

      I guess I already touched on some of this in my comment to HT. I think Russia would care a lot if Iran had effective nukes. It would go from a nobody who could safely be mostly ignored to somebody. Not somebody much, but still somebody. No superpower stands for that if they don’t have to.

      (Although Bush did pretty much sit by while the North Koreans got their six fizzling nukes. I doubt even he would have been that calm about it had the country been Cuba.)

      • List of X says:

        Iran is not going to gadfly Russia unless it has a strong enabler behind it’s back – right now it can irritate US because Russia and China will veto any serious sanctions against Iran. But to turn against Russia Iran would have to count on China alone, since US is not going to support Iran anytime soon. Now Iran may theoretically go off it’s rocker and start a global nuclear jihad (since that seems to be the concern), but it would begin with Israel and Western Europe – and because Israel and Europe have nukes too, that’s when it would end, too. That’s not an optimal scenario for Russia, because Europe is where Russian elite keeps their money (and of course because of the nuclear fallout and so on), but Russians have every expectation to not be attacked directly.

      • quixote says:

        You’re seeing this differently than I do. You’re saying Russia cares about Iran’s intentions. They do, of course. It would be even worse if Iran was directly hostile. But I’m saying that more-powerful countries don’t tolerate any perceived increase in power, even very small, where it wasn’t a factor before. It doesn’t matter what the small country in question says its intentions are. Just picture the US reaction to nukes in Cuba. The US would have a fit, even if they were all pointed at Venezuela.

  6. RalphB says:

    Foreign Policy: Chuck Hagel being vetted for national security post

    Former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is being vetted for a possible top national security post in the Obama administration, multiple sources told The Cable.

    Hagel, who co-chairs President Barack Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board, which provides independent advice on the effectiveness of the intelligence community, could be in contention for either secretary of state or secretary of defense, people familiar with the vetting process say.

    Hagel, a moderate realist on foreign policy, would be a comfortable ideological fit for the president. He has publicly supported many of the administration’s foreign-policy moves from his perch at Georgetown University, while often excoriating the GOP for what he sees as a takeover by “the extreme right.”

    Hagel was a harsh critic of George W. Bush’s foreign policy, especially his decision to invade and occupy Iraq, which he once called “an absolute replay of Vietnam.”

    In the years since, he’s remained a strong critic of Republicans in Congress.
    [...]
    Both Hagel’s office and the White House declined to comment on Hagel’s potential nomination.

    But former Senate staffer Steve Clemons, now editor-at-large at the Atlantic, said that Obama would be smart to pick Hagel.

    “Hagel hides his keen understanding of complex strategic realities beneath an every-guy, aw-shucks veneer. He is one of the shrewdest, most well-informed, experienced national security hands who has served as a major force in GOP land in the legislative branch,” Clemons said. “Hagel has been feeding tough-love messages to Obama for some time on the Middle East, on Russia, on China, on the design and missions of the armed forces and the intelligence ecosystem surrounding them.”

    Chuck Hagel would also not be pushed around by the usual beltway assholes.

  7. RalphB says:

    Obama campaign: ‘There’s more to come’

    More than a million people responded to Obama for America’s survey about the group’s direction and the vast majority said they are interested in volunteering in support of the president’s agenda.

    In an email sent Wednesday to survey participants, Jeremy Bird, the campaign’s national field director, said that President Obama’s vaunted field operation will continue to function in support of Obama. “Our work is far from done — you helped make sure of that. President Obama, as always, is counting on us to help pass his agenda and continue to make this country a better place for every American,” Bird said. “There’s more to come.”

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Glenn Greenwald ‏@ggreenwald
    Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: AP graph on Iran is “either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax” http://is.gd/IeEQAJ