Monday, November 25, 2013

If Harper Wants To Be Skeptical About Iran ...

Baird's comments about the deal reached with Iran yesterday which theoretically is intended to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capability are somewhat laughable.

"We're deeply skeptical of Iran and its ability to honour its obligations," he said. 
Baird added that Canada believes "every diplomatic measure" should be taken to ensure that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. 
"A nuclear Iran is not just a threat to Canada, or its allies," he said. "It would also seriously damage the integrity of decades of work for nuclear non-proliferation. It would provoke other neighbouring states to develop their own nuclear deterrent."
The supposition that Iran does not have nuclear weapons capability already is something of a bad joke, in my opinion.  While the western powers have been "boycotting" Iran for years, it has retained close ties with both China and Russia, and there has been significant trade in both weapons technology and intellectual scholarship between those nations.

At the very least, I would suspect that Iran has acquired a nuclear arsenal through trade with either China or Russia over the last thirty years.   They may well have it as a well guarded secret, but it certainly would not surprise me.
"Effective sanctions have brought the regime to present a more moderate front and open the door to negotiations," he said. "The Iranian people deserve the freedom and prosperity that they have been denied for all too long by the regime's nuclear ambitions. Until then Canadian sanctions will remain tough and will remain in full force."
I do not think that sanctions have ever significantly caused any regime to change its stripes.  What has more likely happened in Iran is that the power structure has gotten comfortable over the last couple of decades and no longer feels the need to be quite as bellicose as they were in the days following the revolution of 1979.  In other words, it has moderated not because of the sanctions, but in spite of them.

If Iran is in fact pursuing a program of developing nuclear weapons, I suspect strongly that the program  is already at the point where Iran has decoupled its civilian and military programs from each other - and hidden the military programs well out of the way.   Iran is a mountainous country, I do not doubt that they have quietly built plenty of facilities in strategic locations that would not be entirely obvious at the outset - even in this era of satellite surveillance.

Iran has made the commitments in this agreement now because they believe they can meet them without compromising their existing programs and plans.  Not because any amount of pressure from western powers is going to make them stop those programs.

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