Thursday, August 12, 2004

Iran Again

Ideofact points to this article by NY Times columnist Nick Kristof. In it he worries about the possibility of a nuclear device being detonated inside the US within the next 10 years. Such fears are fairly common among various bloggers, but it is rare to see such a frank discussion of them in public, let alone in the world's most read newspaper. With the spread of nuclear materials becoming more and more common place and know-how being disseminated down, you don't have to be a Los Alamos scientist to make a crude nuclear weapon.

A nuclear armed Iran poses not only a geopolitical threat to the region, but also a danger that they might let "slip" a weapon to al Qaeda or Hezbollah to use against America or Israel, respectively. This was a common argument used when talking about the North Korea nuclear program due to how cash straped they are. But it takes on an entirely new siginificance in the case of Iran, who is currently harboring a lot of the remaining leadership of al Qaeda (including military commander Saif al-Adel in Tehran itself). Not to mention, their control over Hezbollah and their expressed intent to nuke Israel no matter if they get nuked in retaliation (for Israel would be destroyed and the Muslim world would still be standing):
"If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world", Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani [former President of the Islamic Republic]
Now, that is a scary quote by itself and it's even scarier because Rafsanjani is still one of the most powerful people in Iran.

Also: Siddharth Mohandas (filling in for Dan Drezner this week) writes about what the real options regarding Iran actually are. Matt Yglesias also weighs in with thoughts of his own.