Russia and the Iranian Bomb

The Times of London reports:

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has handed the Kremlin a list of Russian scientists believed by the Israelis to be helping Iran to develop a nuclear warhead. He is said to have delivered the list during a mysterious visit to Moscow.

Netanyahu flew to the Russian capital with Uzi Arad, his national security adviser, last month in a private jet.  His office claimed he was in Israel, visiting a secret military establishment at the time. It later emerged that he was holding talks with Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, and President Dmitry Medvedev.  “We have heard that Netanyahu came with a list and concrete evidence showing that Russians are helping the Iranians to develop a bomb,” said a source close to the Russian defence minister last week.

“That is why it was kept secret. The point is not to embarrass Moscow, rather to spur it into action.”

Israeli sources said it was a short, tense meeting at which Netanyahu named the Russian experts said to be assisting Iran in its nuclear programme.

In western capitals the latest claims were treated with caution. American and British officials argued that the involvement of freelance Russian scientists belonged to the past.

American officials said concern about Russian experts acting without official approval, had been raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a report more than a year ago.

“There has been Russian help. It is not the government, it is individuals, at least one helping Iran on weaponisation activities and it is worrisome,” said David Albright, a former weapons inspector who is president of the Institute for Science and International Security.

However, Israeli officials insist that any Russian scientists working in Iran could do so only with official approval.

Robert Einhorn, the special adviser for non-proliferation and arms control to Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, is understood to believe that Russian companies have also supplied material that has been used by Iran in the production of ballistic missiles.

The disclosures came as Iran agreed at talks in Geneva to submit to IAEA inspections of its newly disclosed enrichment plant, which is being built under a mountain on a military base at Qom. Iran revealed the plant to the IAEA to pre-empt being caught out by an imminent announcement from western governments, which had discovered its existence.

The West says the plant is tailor-made for a secret weapons programme and proves Iran’s claim that its nuclear programme is intended only for peaceful purposes is a lie. The plant is designed to hold 3,000 centrifuges — enough to produce the material needed for one bomb a year.

Iran’s conduct over the next few weeks will determine whether the West continues its new dialogue or is compelled to increase pressure with tougher United Nations and other sanctions.

Ephraim Sneh, a former Israeli deputy defence minister, warned that time was running out for action to stop the programme. “If no crippling sanctions are introduced by Christmas, Israel will strike,” he said. “If we are left alone, we will act alone.”

A key test for the West will be whether Iran allows IAEA inspectors unfettered access to the Qom plant. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, was in Tehran this weekend to discuss this and Iran’s agreement, in principle, to ship most of its current stocks of low-enriched uranium to Russia so it can be used in medical research. President Barack Obama has told Iran he wants to see concrete results within two weeks.

While there is consensus in the West that Iran is trying to acquire the capability to build a weapon, the progress of its weaponisation programme is a matter of fierce debate among intelligence agencies.

The Americans believe secret work to develop a nuclear warhead stopped in 2003. British, French and German intelligence believe it was either continuing or has restarted. The Israelis believe the Iranians have “cold-tested” a nuclear warhead, without fissile material, for its Shahab-3B and Sejjil-2 rockets at Parchin, a top-secret military complex southeast of Tehran.

The vast site is officially dedicated to the research, development and production of ammunition, rockets and explosives. Satellite imagery as early as 2003 has shown Parchin to be suitable for research into the development of a nuclear weapon, say western experts.

The Shahab-3B, which the Iranians test-fired last Monday, is capable of carrying a 2,200lb warhead. Its 1,250-mile range puts parts of Europe, Israel and US bases in the Middle East within its reach.

According to the Israelis, Russian scientists may have been responsible for the nuclear warhead design. But western experts have also pointed the finger at North Korea.

19 responses to “Russia and the Iranian Bomb

  1. “…it is not the government, it is individuals…”

    Oh puleezzze! Considering how things are run in Russia, I would be hard pressed to believe that the Kremlin doesn’t even know when one of these nuclear brainiacs belches. And knowing what that dunderhead in Iran thinks of Israel, and has threatened Israel with, simple source of energy for Iran doesn’t cut the mustard. Good thing there is at least one grown up on the world stage these days…good job Mr. Netanyahu. Tho he may need to grab Pres. BO by the ears and give him a good shake.

  2. Pingback: Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has handed the Kremlin a list of Russian scientists believed by the Israelis to be helping Iran to develop a nuclear warhead. He is said to have delivered the list during a mysterious visit to Moscow. | eChur

  3. We don`t f****** care about Israel and Iran!
    Why should this be our business,if they wanna go to war ,let em have it…
    You cannot indiscriminately bomb Lebanon,Siria the Palestinians,attack each and everyone in your neighbourhood and expect the Iranians not to arm themselves…
    Hope they get the nuke,the Middle East will be more stable if Israel is checked by another regional force…

  4. We don`t f****** care about Israel and Iran!

    We do care about Israel and the people of Iran.
    Israel is the only Democracy in the ME, save Iraq. Israel is a good friend of America.
    The Iranian people are good. Their leaders are bad. Would you also f’ hostages in a kidnapping situation? No.

    • Actually the Israeli-US relationship is pretty one-sided (Israel hardly does anything in return).

      But the US aid (diplomatic, humanitarian, once even the US Navy evacuated their army when they were trapped by the IDF in Beirut) for the Palestinians is even more senseless – and ignored by everybody (especially by the Palestinian public, as an average Palestinian hates America with passion – “death to America” kind of hate).

    • > Israel is the only Democracy in the ME, save Iraq.

      I love this. It reminds me of the notorious Bush/Putin press conference:


      George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin Press Conference

      July 15, 2006

      PRESIDENT BUSH: It’s not the first time that Vladimir and I discussed our governing philosophies. And I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there’s a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same thing . . .

      PRESIDENT PUTIN: We certainly would not want to get the same kind of “democracy” as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly. (Laughter in the press audience)

      PRESIDENT BUSH (shouting): Just wait!


      Yes, just wait. Or, if you don’t want to wait to become another Iraq – prepare to defend yourself. Not just Russia, but all countries that have a lot of oil or other natural resources that the American corporations crave.

      • PRESIDENT PUTIN: We certainly would not want to get the same kind of “democracy” as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly. We prefer the kind of “democracy” as they have in Chechnya. (Read: Totalitarian regime.)

        • PRESIDENT BUSH (shouting): Just wait! We’ll turn Russia into another Iraq! In the name of democracy, give Exxon and BP all your oil or else!

          • PRESIDENT PUTIN (silent, looking sideways glassy-eyed, while open-mouthed Ramzan stands under his giant head)

            PRESIDENT KADYROV (thinking aloud): Damn, next time I’ve got to make my head bigger than Vlad’s.

            PRESIDENT PUTIN (holding a phallic model of peace-loving nuclear missile): Whatever bro.

            • PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI on BBC: No, I am not insane. To prove it, I will eat my tie in front of the camera;

              Saakashvili eats his own tie on air – BBC

              • PRESIDENT PUTIN: What you mean, he didn’t actually didn’t “eat” his tie? Whatever, I’m going to hang him by his balls anyway. And to prove I’m not insane, I’ll suddenly kneel and kiss a random boy on his barea stomach on the camera.

                PRESIDENT KOKOITY: I’m not a wild bandit warlord leading a gang of randomly-dressed looters and arsonists. No, I’m really not. I’m a victim of genocide and they’re South Ossetia’s armed forces.

  5. Why Russia wants Iran to have the bomb? It unsettles the West. As long as Iran can terrorize America and Western Europe, it is a good thing. Also, Russia wants to control the majority of the world’s oil supply. If Russia controls oil, then it controls the world. Iran is a key player. If Russia can control Iran and Venezuela’ s oil production, then they would control nearly half of the exportable oil production in the world.

  6. Umm, I’ll take Iraqi’s current government than Syria’s dictatorship. No doubt Iraq ain’t perfect, but they are further along than nearly every other country in the Middle East save Israel.
    You really want Iran to have the bomb? Hmm.
    Israel by the way is an Ally. I am not too worried about Israeli suicide bombers. Nor I am I concerned about Israelis joining the Taleban or financing the Taleban. Israel besides being a friend provides the US with a secure outpost in the region of the world that is strategically important and that is rather hostile to Western Civilization’s values and culture.

    • Nah, Israel ain’t an American ally. Did you ever heard of Israeli soldiers serving alongside the American ones in any conflict ince 1948? I didn’t it (they had one war together with the French and Brits, but never Americans). They’re not even in NATO. They trade American military secrets with the Chinese (oh, and they do spy on America), while they once shot the hell out of US intelligence ship near them (mistake or not, American never did this to them, besides jailing their spies that is).

      During Yom Kippur or the Six-Day War (I don’t remember which one) the Americans actually even issued them an ultimatum threatening the Israelis to stop their advance or else the USN aircraft would bomb the IDF forces (an alternative to this was a Soviet intervention on the Arab side and possibly a world-wide nuclear disaster).

      • > Israel ain’t an American ally

        You are as smart as ever

        • Israel is often sponsored by the US, but will make its own moves. There has been a Cabala in the white house for some time.

          Nobody can count on the US as an ally. Henry Kissinger once stated that it is even more dangerous to be a friend of the US.

          Israel is doing exactly what anyone else in their position would attempt if they could get away with it. Human evolution and survival sorry to say.

          The idea of basing Nukes on German Subs of late is ingenious. Just like the “Great Powers”.
          The nukes were not “homegrown” either.

        • And in case if you won’t guess this from the above, I’m a sort of a huge fan of Israel, all things considered. They’re just not ally of the USA in the military sense, or at least this relationship is a one-way only.

          I also believe all the US state support and aid to both Israel and the Palestinians should cease immediately. The Israelis (who yes, have never earned this) should manage without this just alright, while the Palestinians on the other hand might then try and eat their large supply of US flags they love to burn so much.

          • Exactly right Robert.

            The US is an ally of Israel, but Israel does not reciprocate in terms of supporting the US militarily.

            And you are quite correct about the Palestinians, the only reason most of them have anything to eat is US aid.

  7. Iran wins six-power legitimacy for uranium enrichment – contrary to UN resolutions.

    Actually the spread of Nuclear Weapons is not encouraging, but no progress in dismantlement. The nuclear clock is loosing time. Moscow is just doing what the West, did by Proliferating Nukes to its client states.

    If Moscow really wanted to, all they need do is ship the stuff directly to Iran on the Caspian. Instead they are only upgrading Iranian plutonium from 3% to 19% of weapons grade. Just to move things along.

    Not exactly the outcome we would like but, countries have no morals. Wait till the war over water starts. Anyway none of us will leave this planet alive so why not Armageddon?

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