Iran: High stakes nuclear poker game?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear site
August 9th, 2012
07:31 PM ET

Iran: High stakes nuclear poker game?

By Elise Labott

There is a cartoon in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that pretty well sums up the nail-biting showdown facing the United States and Israel when it comes to Iran's nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are sitting at a table playing poker, sweating and looking at one another, with a nuclear weapon as a big pot in the middle.

Who is bluffing? Will Ahmadinejad go for the bomb? Will Netanyahu take out the Iranian nuclear program before that happens? Will Obama save the day? When it comes to high-stakes nuclear poker, everyone is trying to outsmart the other.

Israeli officials say a new U.S. intelligence assessment on Iran's nuclear program that Americans shared with them moves the two countries even closer to an understanding on the scope and pace of the development of the program.

The analysis, the officials say, shows the Iranians continue to make progress on all aspects of its nuclear program. While the international community has a great deal of knowledge of Iran's uranium enrichment, the sources said the new assessment shows further progress on the two other critical areas: efforts to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to fit on a missile, called "weaponization," and developing the delivery systems to launch a weapon, such as long-range missiles.

The sources said the information in the new analysis doesn't come as a big surprise in Israel because the two governments already have an extremely close relationship when it comes to intelligence sharing.

On Thursday White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not discuss whether the president had received a new NIE (National Intelligence Estimates) and would only say President Obama "remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."

But does this new intelligence assessment change the calculus about when military action would be required to take out the nuclear program before it is too late?

It doesn't seem so because the differences between their government and Washington are not about intelligence assessments, the Israeli officials say, but about policy.

The debate between the two countries centers around a decision by Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb versus its "breakout capacity" to do so, what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak refers to as the "zone of immunity."

Israel worries that Iran's nuclear developments will progress past a point where the Israelis can stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon by themselves. And the Israelis feel they can't put their security in the hands of another country, even an ally as close as Washington, when it comes to what Israel considers an existential threat.

This month Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CNN the United States had no intelligence to indicate a decision by Iran to go after the bomb. But Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Barak and others argue Iran can continue to develop the expertise and technology needed to make a bomb and gain this breakout capacity without having made an official "decision."

In this scenario Israel's greatest fear is Iran will have all of its ducks in a row and can quickly assemble a nuclear weapon after a decision is made. Panetta told CNN once Iran has made the decision to build a bomb, the United States believes it would take Iran "about a year" to complete the required work to finish it. Israel argues it could take as little as a few months.

With Iran's program continuing to progress, nuclear talks having failed to produce an agreement for Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions and sanctions that are slow to bite Iran enough to change its calculus, Israel is feeling a greater sense of urgency.

That concern is clearly felt in Washington as well, as evident by a wave of visits to Israel by several top U.S. officials over the past month, including Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and National Security Adviser Tom Donolon in what has been dubbed by many Iran watchers as the "Please Don't Bomb Iran Tour" of summer 2012.

But those visits don't assure Netanyahu that when the time comes President Obama will, in his own words "have Israel's back." Indeed, with an American election approaching, Israeli officials don't view the Obama administration as seriously considering any action in the next few months.

No one is showing his hand in this high stakes game of nuclear poker, but as one Israeli official summed it up, "the mood is not good."

soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Gage

    What is certain, hvweoer, is that the letter-to-the-editor writer/mass emailer sent out an email that, while privately derided by “leaders”, may have contributed to a climate that ended up libelling people and organisations and shut down debate M/s Fein.============================================================Some one sent me a link to comments [ above] you have made on your blog site about my opposition and emails relating to the visit of left wing activist Naomi Chazan. I am flattered you read my letters to the Ed, which are mainly in response to the daily anti- Zionist propaganda that appear in our media. It appears by your condescending remarks that you think only the left & opponents of Israel should write letters and unopposed. I would like to respond to some of your remarks, this will be my only response if I had to respond to all the Israel /Jewish community bashing bloggers I would have no time for my others pleasures in life.Firstly I do agree with your above point there would be leaders of Jewish organizations and groups that may have derided my emails exposing Chazan and the NIF as supporting the Palestinian /Arab campaign to demonize Israel and her fellow Israeli Jews. The leaders of say AJDS, IAJV, UIA Progressive Trust, TBI, Shira Synagogue , Academics at ACJC/ Monash would all have derided my emails hvweoer why you say ‘privately’ that puzzles me?It is obvious the leaders of the mainstream Jewish community those leaders which count for the majority of Australian Jews not the small fringe agreed with my views and that’s why after reading all the material and hearing complaints from the majority of Jews they ended up canceling their sponsorship of Chazans visit. I wonder how many Anti -Palestinian activists have been invited by lobby group Australians For Palestine as guest speakers m/s Fein? Any way Some how I doubt the fringe Jews the ones that make all the noise would contribute to any Zionist causes so If they want to hear Chazan, Harper, Chomsky, Finkelstein who ever why don't they pay for their airfares and not try to bludge on other Jews who are just not interested in listening to peddlers of hate and prejudice.It puzzles me why Jews that advocate for Israel are demonized by the left yet there are so many Palestinian Lobby groups, support groups, Left wing anti Zionist activists far too many to list that do exactly what Israel advocates do but they root for the Palestinians ‘’ no matter what”Have we ever read a letter , Op- ed by Sonja Karkar, Moamar Mashni, Michael Shaik, Maher Muhgrabi, Loewenstein, Brull etc unreservedly criticize the Palestinians or Arabs of course not they stand up for the Palestinians right or wrong, that’s what advocate’s do.Yet the left believe they have the moral authority and only they can have a opinion and their opinion is what counts, God forbid if any one like this letter writer dares to express his views.Ha s any one ever wondered why there isn’t any Palestinian ‘Loewensteins’ or Palestinian ‘AJDS’ imagine a Palestinian claiming he has been fighting for Israeli rights for 35 years { Sol Salbe’s claim to fame he has been fighting for Palestinian rights for 35 years according to the Web sites ] .Are there any Palestinian peace groups like Peace Now, Gish Shalom etc unlikely , if there are no body has ever heard of them and they are certainly not quoted on a daily basis in the media. There are certainly no local Palestinian/Arab/ Muslim blog sites set up specially to criticize the local Palestinian/ Arab/ Muslim leadership and its community.There are Israeli lobby groups and there are very hard working Palestinian Lobby groups who write letters to the editors, letters to our Politicians on a daily basis, they hold demonstrations like the Israel Apartheid Forum with the help of many Jews, so why is it the left don’t have a problem with their Lobbying and only object to Israeli lobbying?The Palestinians in Australia have it pretty good they have the Socialists, media, Trade Unions and Academia many of them Jews on side working hand in hand for their cause, it’s a bit rough calling the Palestinians the underdogs.Support this comment 0

    October 11, 2012 at 2:24 am | Reply
  2. dmx simmons

    Even as a muslim i and all find that they should not get nuclear tech it unless they ah responsible enough for it,just think what will happen if u give hamas or any other radical group a bomb?just think about it and u all wont be talking all that crap unless u'll just like them.

    September 7, 2012 at 9:56 am | Reply
  3. dmx simmons

    I find that thinker23 is on point and if u all believe that nothing will happen if they get the bomb then when they do and use it either in the middle east or in NYC,i hope u all don't complain after and say isreal or usa stayed to long to act.

    September 7, 2012 at 9:36 am | Reply
  4. John

    This is not a poker game. Iran is playing Black Jack. A jack (ayatollah) and an ace (nuclear bomb) wins the game. What do you do with the dealer (Iran) when you find out he's cheating? We all know the answer.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:02 am | Reply
  5. easyrhino

    Google: Dr. Alan Sabrosky 9/11

    August 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Did this "Dr" explain how will Iran possibly use hundreds of those nuclear capable ballistic missiles it acquired during the last several years, Rhino? I've asked you this question some time ago but you've probably missed it...

      August 15, 2012 at 5:50 am | Reply
  6. elle909

    today 8/13/12 al-jazeerah report's:

    A series of clandestine messages relayed by both Republican and Democratic officials suggest that U.S. President Barack Obama would be forced to join Israel if it were to launch a military operation against Iran prior to the U.S. presidential election in November, Ma'ariv said.

    August 14, 2012 at 1:13 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      One does not need "clandestine messages" to realize that the US will join Israel in case there will be no other way than using force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Elementary common sense tells us that if Israel will have to act alone it will have to use all means available to prevent Iran from launching a counter-attack against Israel. Considering that Israel has no strategic bombers, aircraft carriers or millions of troops this means that Israeli options are rather limited. It is in the utmost interest of the US and the rest of the world to prevent the possibility of turning the largest oil fields on the planet into radioactive wasteland.

      August 14, 2012 at 6:34 am | Reply
  7. elle909

    on 8/12/12 a news bulletin was posted on israel channel 2 web news.
    quoting maariv daily news paper. the US will join israel in the attack on iran's new clear installations , to get The best result possible,and help in israel's defense.
    the message came both from democrats and republicans and it seems both president Barak Obama and Mr Mitt Romney are aware of it.the message was relayed to israel's ambassador to the US,and to israel's government.

    to day,813/12 al- jazeerah is reporting:

    a series of clandestine messages relayed by both republican and democrat officials suggest that U.S president barrack obama would be forced join israel if it were to launch a military operation against iran prior to the U.S. president elections in november,ma'ariv said.

    August 14, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
  8. elle909

    on 8/12/12 a news bulletin was posted on israel channel 2 web news.
    quoting maariv daily news paper. the US will join israel in the attack on iran's new clear installations , to get The best result possible,and help in israel's defense.
    the message came both from democrats and republicans and it seems both president Barak Obama and Mr Mitt Romney are aware of it.the message was relayed to israel's ambassador to the US,and to israel's government.
    as of today 8/13/12 al-gazzeerah has been reporting :

    A series of clandestine messages relayed by both Republican and Democratic officials suggest that U.S. President Barack Obama would be forced to join Israel if it were to launch a military operation against Iran prior to the U.S. presidential election in November, Ma'ariv said.
    August 14, 2012 at 12:57 am |

    August 14, 2012 at 1:04 am | Reply
  9. did u forget

    ISRAEL IS A NUCLEAR STATE>>

    August 13, 2012 at 4:43 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Yes it is. If the Arab and Iranian leaders were assured that Israel WAS NOT a nuclear state they would try to destroy Israel again... as they've done in 1948, 1967 and 1973. The resulting war would claim hundreds of thousands or even millions of Muslim lives meaning that Israeli nukes save millions of Muslim lives.

      August 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  10. Matt

    Both the US and Israel are preparing for the day after, either a strike or a nuclear Iran. Either way it is going to result in irreconcilable difference in the alliance. If the Israeli's strike the US will be upset, if Iran becomes nuclear then all the promises to Israel have been lies. So both countries have to prepare for a decoupling of the alliance, both have been laying the foundation for this post period regardless of the outcome. Issues like this on both sides changes a relationship fundamentally and changes of Administrations in both countries will not be able to bridge the divided.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:42 am | Reply
    • elle909

      its not the US,its obama.when he is out of office, all things go back to normal.
      if israel attacks before november,the US will have to intervene.or not intervene.
      in both cases obama is on the hook,on one side from the jewish community,and the other from the far left.
      in both cases obama is going to loose the elections.
      and Romany is going to be president.
      best friends with bibi.
      i think that says it all.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:32 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      It is pretty naive to assume that after an Israeli "strike" Iran will cease trying to acquire nukes. After Israel destroyed nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria the Iranians must be incredibly stupid to allow this to happen to them as well. Iran has hundreds of facilities throughout the country, some secret, some not that secret, to take over if necessary. Further, it is pretty naive to assume that Israel will "strike" and then wait fot Iranian retaliation. Israelis are not suicidal. If they will decide to use force they will have to assure that Iran will not be able to fight back. Finally, it is extremely naive to assume that Israeli actions against Iran will somehow be correlated with elections in the US.

      August 11, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply
  11. easyrhino

    More propoganda!

    It is the unanimous judgment of the U.S. intelligence community, declared in 2007 and affirmed in 2011, that Iran has abandoned any program to build nuclear weapons.

    Is the entire U.S. intel community wrong?

    August 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      For starters, the U.S. intelligence community never had a "unanimous judgment" on anything. Further, if the "unanimous judgment" you've presented above was NOT wrong you would be able to explain how would Iran possibly use hundreds of its nuclear capable ballistic missiles that cost at least $3 million each but are virtually harmless without proper warheads.

      August 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  12. karbvi

    Everett Wallace.......if Jesus was black why did he make most of them crack addicts and lazy.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • dmx simmons

      U had to make a rasicts comment when it is no matter the colour that the world belongs to us all.

      September 7, 2012 at 8:57 am | Reply
  13. Aaron Chaney

    ANTAKYA (AP) – Turkish MP: The Government In Turkey Protects Terrorist Movement Across The Turkey-Syrian Borders

    MP of the Republican People's Party in Turkey, Mevlüt Dudu has alleged that Turkish ambulances entering Syrian territory under the guise of rescuing injured people are actually transporting weapons to armed terrorist groups and taking injured terrorists back to Turkey for treatment.

    After touring a number of border regions in Antakya, Dudu said armed groups have secretly used houses situated along the Syrian-Turkish divide as a base to map out terrorist strategy sessions and their members move about freely in the region and cross the borders with assistance from Turkish intelligence in direct violation of international law.

    The Turkish MP called on Prime Minister Recep to desist Turkey's role in this regard saying... 'the people of Syria have the right to be free from armed hooligans and their terrorist activities which often has Turkish affiliation as it involves illegal cross border incursions.'

    Additionally the MP went on to say, '...the Turkish government's covert assistance interferes in the internal affairs of a sovereign country and the appeasement of this terrorist agenda should be halted at once.'

    August 10, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • Gallyz

      Well, as I'm one of the two people named as anti-Zionists, I thhuogt I might compare your claims to reality (bearing also in mind your previous charming claim: anti-Zionists have an indifference to Israeli civilian suffering ). You write: There is a sameness to the language, tone, and cadence of everything that is written or said publicly. There is a single line from which there is absolutely no deviation and certainly never any originality of thhuogt. If ever there were an example of group-think – Australian anti-Zionism is a singular example. Well, I've written an article on newmatilda disagreeing with Antony Loewenstein on Salam Fayyad (incidentally, also revealing your connection with reality on the subject of anti-Zionist admiration for Palestinian leadership). Who's disregarding relevant evidence, Ms Fein?Another article disagreeing with anti-Zionists on some issues is forthcoming. These sentiments can also be found on my blog, where I've repeatedly opposed the blanket BDS campaign, and support an end to the occupation (ie, a two state agreement). Have you noticed attacks on me by the anti-Zionist left? As opposed to say the responses I've received from AIJAC's Bren Carlill (a Christian who compared my opposition to settlements to Nazism), Michael Danby and the ADC (who called me anti-Semitic).There is much else that could be noted such as the obvious fact that the anti-Zionist left welcomed the Goldstone Report (I've written about it extensively), which condemned human rights violations by Israel, Hamas AND Fatah. Who condemned it? Yet for some people, evidence is plainly irrelevant when holy truths are at stake.Support this comment 0

      November 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  14. Everett Wallace

    okay cat and mouse iran we know you have nukes which can reach any where on the planet so fire the mf if you dare you big chickens, I am ready to use some more of my special GIFTS from HEAVEN on you D-E-V-I-L-S and isreal tell the world the truth about the nuke that was dropped on you a few month ago benjamin netenyahu or however you jew mf spell do you read and write from left to right or from right to left and the torah is just what it is bull sht. Holy Bible (new international version) zondervan edition is the only truth about the BLACK JESUS and joshua (jesus) was black too

    August 10, 2012 at 9:42 am | Reply
  15. Jim

     I hate to burst your bubble but Iran already has the bomb and acquired it and the technology during the Soviet break up. Iran has also launched a satellite into space which tells me they have the lift technology to probably hit anyone. Its a fear game the media is playing. As far as intelligence sharing look what the intelligence gave us on Iraq, those WMD's are buried somewhere right? I dont care if Iran gets the bomb and while they might have some legitimate reasons for using it they are a smart people and would not. I truly wonder at times if the U.S. had backed a tyrant in Israel and the Israeli people rebelled finally ousting him, how the people of Isreal would feel towards America. It is almost an insult to Democracy that after backing the Shaw, we sanction the country. After putting Saddame in power we then egg him on to war with Iran only to sell weapons to Iran to beat back our supposed ally. This is American History and as an American it is just wrong.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:40 am | Reply
    • Everett Wallace

      true about the bomb false about the space tech. though

      August 10, 2012 at 9:43 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Jim... "I dont care if Iran gets the bomb and while they might have some legitimate reasons for using it they are a smart people and would not."

      So you're willing to bet YOUR life and the lives of YOUR family members that the Iranians are smart enough to not use their nukes against YOU?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • Mark

      Fiorangela, In other words, when Iran says its nuclear prcejot is for energy, what I have seen causes me to give them at least the benefit of the doubt. Your description of far-sighted infrastructure development that makes sense if and only if some source of inexpensive energy will eventually be plugged in (i.e. nuclear energy) makes it even more clear to me that Iran would be well-served by some good public relations advice. Just send a video team to Natanz to film and comment on the very things you describe. Let viewers see it all and ask themselves whether this doesn't make Iran's peaceful energy claims sound plausible after all.Maybe you could hire on as the narrator, Fiorangela.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:19 am | Reply
  16. JohnWV

    An Iran with nukes and allied with Syria would disrupt Israel's cruel and outrageously exercised Mideast hegemony. Israel has ICBM nukes and threatens Iran's very existence, actually campaigns for war against Iran. We must withdraw all sanctions and compensate Iran for damages from the $$ Billions we will no longer be giving Israel annually. American foreign policy must again serve American interests, not AIPAC or the Jewish state's paranoid pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and apartheid empire in, and beyond, the Mideast.

    August 10, 2012 at 5:30 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      If you think that Israel threatens Iran you should have no troubles to explain the benefints Israel will gain from a war with Iran, a country having TEN TIMES GREATER population than Israel and EIGHTY TIMES LARGER territory than Israel which is located THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY from Israel. It will be helpful if you were able to SHOW THE DECLARATIONS Israel made claiming that the Persian state or the "regime in Tehran" had no right to exist and had to be eliminated. Thank you...

      August 10, 2012 at 8:21 am | Reply
  17. Basman

    the entire policy towards Iran on the part of america and israel is base is based purely on speculation over their supposed intentions with regards to their nuclear program. That's it! Nothing more. No hard evidence has ever been produce that they are actually trying to build a bomb, none. No one seems to have thought this through at all...Even if they were developing a bomb it's not like they can test, if they did the day after they would be at war with israel and america. Say they do develop the bomb and manage to produce a dozen or so what then? Israel still out guns them on the nulcear scale by a factor of twenty and has better missiles and missile defense to protect themselves. No one wants to see Iran get the bomb but there has to be a space between them having the bomb and having no civilian nuclear program at all, if it's no nuclear program no matter what then war is inevitable and we should just get on with it.

    August 10, 2012 at 5:25 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Basman... If you believe that Iran has no intentions to develop nuclear weapons can you please explain how will Iran possibly use hundreds of its internadiate- and long range nuclear capable ballistic missiles that cost at least $3 million each but are virtually harmless without proper warheads?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply
  18. easyrhino

    Looking ahead to the news headlines out of Israel in the year 4789:

    "Iran Only Months Away From Building Nuclear Weapons"

    August 10, 2012 at 3:52 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Rhino... It took less than three years to the US to build, test and use atomic bombs from scratch using the technology of the 1940s. When makes you think that it should take more than that to the Iranians who are using the technology of the 21st century?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:31 am | Reply
  19. Alexander sasin

    It seems that the Jewish nation is fated the same as the Jews were in the holocast They have been persecuted yet remain above and survive. But again there is symilarities the pending want of destruction by Iran is no different to that of Hitler's wishes and as of then world leaders turned a blind eye then as they do now.. As did pretend that all was unaware of the systematic ethnic cleansing by the Nazis so they now pretend to be unaware of the Islamic countries preparing to wipe Israel out again only after will they pretend to realise what happened.
    What are the true motives.. Isreal must without strike and defend itself against these evil regimes its not a card game but one of survival.
    Alexander.

    August 10, 2012 at 3:39 am | Reply
  20. gazza

    Israel is understandably worried not having any nukes itself and being a peace loving country that would never attack anyone.

    August 10, 2012 at 3:23 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      It is true that Israel never attacked anyone without being attacked first. It is, probably, not true that Israel does not have any nukes itself. If the neighboring Arab states and Iran were assured that Israel did not have any nukes they would try to destroy Israel again as they've done in 1948, 1967 and 1973. The resulting war would cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of Arab lives meaning that Israeli nukes save these millions of Arab lives.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:27 am | Reply
    • bricks

      Do you read? Israel has 100's of nukes never had to face any of the scrutiny Iran has. Israel also has attempted to sell their nukes to South Africa in the 70's not signing the NOT. Israel is getting a free ride. Iran on the other hand is once again being singled out as an enemy for ? You tell me.

      August 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
      • Thinker23

        It's not HAVING a weapon that is the problem but the willing ness o USE it. Did you read that te United States, Britain, France, Russia, China had nukes as well? and if you're asking me to tell you who the enemy is I will. It's the country declaring that another sovereign state does not have a right to exist and should be destroyed.

        August 14, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  21. Mr. Sanchez

    All im going to say remember IRAQ....If IRAN is getting nukes...well get in line people cause there a whole lot of countries who never singed the NPT for example...Israel...India and Pakistan...And we are suppose to be getting ride of our nukes along with Russia why havent we dont that?

    August 10, 2012 at 1:35 am | Reply
  22. LeeAT

    Does anyone remember the intelligence that positively identified weapons of mass destruction that Iraq had? Rest assured, Obama will not make a military move on Iran without concrete intelligence. Romney will move in a heartbeat, because war is profitable to profiteers; it's only detrimental to taxpayers.

    August 10, 2012 at 12:57 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      I remember that Saddam not only had but USED weapons of mass destruction killing some 60,000 Iraqi civilians...

      August 10, 2012 at 8:33 am | Reply
  23. rob

    To the Government of Iran: Please, please, please ignore the legitimate demands of the rest of the world and continue on your present obstinate course regarding your nuclear program. That way the world will have a good excuse to attack you, overthrow your disgusting regime, and free the Iranian people and the rest of the world from your fanaticism and tyranny.
    To the People of Iran: as an American I can honestly tell you that I myself, nor anyone I personally know, have any ill-will toward you (except for the psychopaths that chant slogans like "Death to America", "Death to Britain", "Death to Israel", or the like). We're all human beings, we all share this one planet, and none of us is going anywhere, so we might as well all learn to get along and enjoy the ride together. Please support the brave members of your Green movement and their leaders, so that you can achieve a government that is more deserving of you and your long, esteemed heritage. And please take any actions necessary to pressure your government to listen to the pleas of the rest of the world to suspend your nuclear program until the IAEA can certify that the program is strictly for peaceful purposes, so that the other countries of the world have no reason to continue to sanction you, eventually attack you, and cause you more unnecessary misery. When a new, more reasonable government takes over in Iran, I'm sure the United States, and the rest of the world, can work with Iran to settle the issues we disagree on, so that our world can be a little more peaceful. And for the issues we all can't settle, maybe we can agree to disagree, and be just a little friendlier.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  24. Jane

    Danny... please ignore my mistake in spelling "scientific" Thank you.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  25. Ted Dainer

    Iran will be Obama's dumb war. Or Romney's.

    It's a shame that we didn't learn the lesson about "preemptive" war with Iraq. Now we're getting ready to shoot ourselves in the other foot.

    The U.S. and U.S.S.R. survived for decades with nuclear missiles pointed at each other. Part of living in the real world is living with existential threats. Israel is acting like a spoiled brat.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • elle909

      Israel is not the US,and Iran is not the U.S.S.R.
      The day Iran gets one nuke all bets are of.
      One gives Iran the deuterons to keep on building bombs
      by the dozen .need i say more?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
      • Jim

        I hate to burst your bubble but Iran already has the bomb and acquired it and the technology during the Soviet break up. Iran has also launched a satelite into space which tells me they have the lift technology to probably hit anyone. Its a fear game the media is playing. As far as intelligence sharing look what the intelligence gave us on Iraq, those WMD's are buried somewhere right? I dont care if Iran gets the bomb and while they might have some legitmate reasons for using it they are a smart people and would not. I truelu wonder at times if the U.S. had backed a tyrant in Isreal and the Ireali poeple rebelled finally ousting him, how would the people of Isreal feel towards America. It is almost an insult to Democracy that after backing the Shaw, we sanction the country. After putting Saddame in power we then egg him on to war with Iran only to sell weapons to Iran to beat back our supposed ally. This is American History and as an American it is just wrong.

        August 10, 2012 at 8:37 am |
      • elle909

        i have to admit that the thought has frequently crossed my mind.
        the thought is horrifying.i would think it that was a given like you say
        some information would have liked to the media,some reporter
        would have at list suggested of such a possibility.this is big news
        it is hard to believe that any reporter with this story will sit tight
        and not expose it in an article,i have yet to read something in that sense.

        August 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  26. Jane

    Nikol...China is not "giving" us money, They bought our Treasury Bills and are receiving interest on same. If they do not want to invest in the USA that's there call. They get all of their principle back with interest any time their bills mature and they do not have to reinvest with USA.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  27. elle909

    the US government's declared position is that it would not let iran get a nuclear weapon,period.
    That stated policy is a little vega and inconclusive.At what point dose the US define what a nuclear weapon is?
    If Iran has the uranium sphere ready , the explosives to implode the sphere ready, the trigger mechanism ready
    The casing to feet all components ready,a missile that can carry all the above ready.All necessary components
    for a nuclear delivery system complete. Assuming there is sufficient and reliable intelligence at this point,that can
    Identify all of the parts that are ready but not assembled ,is that the point,Where the US is about to intervene?
    Assuming the intelligence is correct,and in time dose the US wait for all components To be assembled ?
    At what point dose the US define what a nuclear weapon is?
    For the state of Israel or any other country in the person golf that is threatened by Iran's nuclear program
    That dose not sound like a very viable option.There might come a point where one or more of this
    Country's might decide not to wait…..

    August 9, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
    • OffTheWorldPolitics

      Its a nuclear weapon right before Ali Khamenei pushed the launch button. The U.S. does not want another Iraq incident that will allow the regime to pack everything up and ship it over a border. This time a bomb needs to almost go off for the American public to believe that one exists... It's all a little ridiculous if you asked me.

      August 9, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      It's up tothe US to decide what an Iranian nuclear weapon is... and it's up to Israel to decide when there is no other way but using force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:37 am | Reply
      • elle909

        sure its up to the US to decide,the question is not the decision
        but what to decide on.

        August 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
      • Thinker23

        elle... Read my message again please. Slower this time.

        August 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
      • elle909

        (It's up tothe US to decide what an Iranian nuclear weapon is... and it's up to Israel to decide when there is no other way but using force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.)
        ok what am i missing?

        August 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Elle... I'm not sure what you're missing but I've said that it was up to the U.S to decide what an Iranian nuclear weapon is... and it's up to Israel to decide when there is no other way but using force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. This means that when the U.S will conclude that Iran had nuclear weapons the U.S. will act according to the plans defining the U.S. actions in case Iran would have nuclear weapons. Further, this means that when Israel will conclude that nothing but force will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons Israel WILL use force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

        August 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  28. Aarky

    This propaganda piece for the Likkudniks of Israel and the Israel Firsters in the US Congress is one more example of faith based facts rather than reality based facts. A number of months ago, the Warmongers(Netanyahu, Leiberman, and Barack) were voted down by the intell and military side of Israel on a proposed attack against Iran. That's why the price of crude oil dropped from $110 per barrel down to $77 per barrel. The insiders such as Ehud Barack has a side job as a consultant to a hedge fund and is now a millionaire. Tamir Pardo, head of the Mossad, in an address to a group of Israeli Ambassadors last year, "Iran, even with nuclear weapons, is not an existential threat to Israel". Meir Dagan, the past head of the Mossad, "An attack against Iran would be the stupidest thing I can think of". General Benni Ganz, head of the IDF, "Iran has rational leaders and we can talk to them". The military and intell side know that Iran is not working on nuclear weapons, so they have managed to hold back the warmongers on the political side.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Reply
    • elle909

      you can choose to believe whom ever you want,
      or what ever you want,usually what you believe fits your political believes.
      a word of advice,all that is out in the media not matter from whom the information comes.
      is all smoke and mirrors.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:53 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      I can assure you that Israel will not use force against Iran unless as a last resort in case there will be no other way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. If it happens, however, Israel will not ask for anyone's permission to defend itself.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
      • elle909

        that is a given,or else israel would have attacked long ago.

        August 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Elle... Sometimes (or even most of the time) we have to explain the OBVIOUS (given) things to our opponents.

        August 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  29. jona whale

    this is a test
    will this post?

    August 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  30. M Z

    The game is wait and see. Israel is betting on delay and regime change. Iran is trying to build up enough uranium processing in enough locations that a first strike won't matter. that is there strategy.

    for the rest of the world, it is likely a lose lose.

    When this goes down, and it will, it will have disasterous effects on the world economy, price of oil, economic climate and result in the deaths of many innocent people.

    That said, we should not be surprised. This is the history of th world going back as far as we can see. Technology just makes us more efficient in enabling the few to reach out and harm the many.

    Sorry but I'm a realist.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Reply
    • Aarky

      The Israelis have been pulling this for over 25 years, "The Sky is Falling", "Iran is building Nukews", "Let's Attack Now", "Hold Us Back", "How Much Will you Give us not to Attack" The insiders have made billions from their manipulation of the oil prices on commodities markets. All they have to do is tip their buddies to buy long and then rattle the saber. The US military has unwittingly played it's part in this very dangerous Kabuki Theater. The US defense industries have made dozens of billions by selling anti missile systems to the Gulf countries. Potential war makes lots of profits for the oil speculators and US defense industries. Ain't war wonderful?

      August 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Reply
    • OffTheWorldPolitics

      Then the realistic solution is preemptive action. I don't for Netanyahu's "duck" analogy, but he has a point. If someone robs a bank with a snickers bar in his pocket and gets himself killed are we to blame to bank, Mars candy company, and society in general? Those people in Iran need to take responsibility for the actions of their government soon...

      August 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  31. Greg Wilson

    Release the HOUNDS Smithers!

    August 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  32. Ken

    I just dont understand this issue. Why do we care if these Habibs get nuclear weapons? If they use them we just make sure Iran gos away. Make the retribution threat strong and their is no problem. Look at Pakistan, what a bunch of unstable morons, and they have 'the bomb'. They wouldn't dare use and Iran won't either.

    August 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Reply
    • bricks

      Which is the only country on the planet ever to use nuclear weapons? and who made them go away? Iran has never threatened anyone, just look at their history, look at Israel's history, who appears to be the aggressor?

      August 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply
      • Thinker23

        The aggressor, by definition, is THE SIDE THAT ATTACKS FIRST. Israel NEVER attacked anyone without being attacked first. If you believe that Israel is the aggressor because it dared to fight back after being attacked by one or more of its enemies then Iran is an aggressor as well... especially considering that the number of Muslims killed in the Iran-Iraq war was FIFTY TIMES higher than the number of Arabs killed in all Israeli wars combined.

        August 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  33. Profbam

    If Israel or the US drop a few bombs on Iran, then what? The Iranis have their proxies Hezbollah and Hamas launch a 1000 missiles into Israel and close the Strait of Hormuz. And then we do what? Throw 350000 ground troops and $3.5 trillion into an invasion? All routes lead to an invasion of a country 3X the size of Iraq. Lunacy!

    August 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Reply
    • Ken

      You seek retribution from a submarine that delivers much punishment and never has to surface.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Profbam... Do you REALLY belive that the Israelis are suicidal to "drop a few bombs on Iran" and then wait for retaliation? You're perfectly right that doing so would be a "lunacy", however.

      August 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  34. OffTheWorldPolitics

    The Iranian regime is needlessly provoking this. They benefited from trade with the west since the end of the Soviet Union. The west offered to provide alternative forms of nuclear energy for medical research. However, the regime is suddenly relinquishing any benefits they gained from the west despite the opportunity of benefiting from both trade and nuclear energy for medical research. The Iranian regime would rather give up a win win situation for a win lose at the expense of its people. Why?

    August 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • steve13565

      How do you know that it isn't the USA and Israel that are needlessly provoking this?

      You don't suppose that it is possible that the links you are getting from your USA news sources are the ones that are inaccurate? You do remember how sure our leakers were sure that Iraq conspired with Al Qaeda and that Iraq had WMD? You do remember that these leaks were bald faced lies?

      August 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
      • Thinker23

        I DO remember that Saddam USED WMDs killing some 60,000 Iraqi civilians. The fact that he USED these weapons is a pretty strong evidence that he HAD them. Further, no one ever suggested that "Iraq conspired with Al Qaeda". The fact, however, is that Al Qaeda is not the only Arab terrorist organization and that Iraq supported several Arab terrorist organizations.

        August 10, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Aarky

      The US and Israel deliberately sabotaged all efforts by Iran to obtain 20% enriched fuel rods for a medical reactor. When Iran started enriching U-235 to 20% the US and Israel started their usual screeching,"Iran is building Nukes". This article should be just as suspect as the articles that were planted in the New York Times before the attack against Iraq. They were lies then and the wild charges in this article are lies on behalf of the warmongers in the political side of the Israeli government.

      August 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Reply
      • Thinker23

        Well, if you believe that Iran DOES NOT have any plans to obtain nuclear weapons you should have no troubles to explain how will Iran possibly use hundreds of those nuclear capable long- and intermediate range ballistic missiles it acquired during the last several years? You may consider that these missiles cost at least $3 million each and that they are virtually harmless without proper warheads.

        August 10, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • OffTheWorldPolitics

      It is so much more convenient to peddle off multiple sources (including this cite) as "liars" . Of course the NYT planted the story, of course the IAEA is lying about finding 40% enriched particles, of course the Theocratic Iranian dictatorship is a wholesome regime. The U.S. and Israel (and most of the world) does not want an known violent, criminal organization (Iran& Hezbollah) to possess a nuclear capability. I don't find that unreasonable.

      Communism might be brutal, but it is not psychotic and irrational. History has proven this. You don't see Chinese people suicide bombing civilians or stoning people to death like we are living in ancient times. The Iranian regime is in a league of its own. Unpredictable, volatile, and primitive. It takes all this oil money and spends it on it's military instead of improving its standards of living. Now the regime wants to further punish its own people by playing nuclear peekaboo..

      August 9, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  35. Divest from War

    As usual, this is about the Israel-first crowd trying to get the US to fight their wars for them.

    And their threat: if you don't do it, we will.

    Let's make sure there is a high cost for them starting Middle East War III. We can do this nonviolently by pledging to BOYCOTT ISRAEL IF IT BOMBS IRAN:

    http://www.divestfromwar.org

    Let's PREVENT the next war, instead of protesting it after the fact!

    August 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
    • DSkoll

      Ah, that strategy worked very well for Mr. Neville Chamberlain.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Reply
    • Jane

      If Israel can not stand up by itself without another country proping it up, than Israel will have to find another way to exist .I do believe that Israel uses the Christian Religion to draw symapthy and concern for its well lbeing; hence all the military equipment and money from America.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
    • Jane

      If Israel can not stand up by itself without another country proping it up, than Israel will have to find another way to exist .I do believe that Israel uses the Christian Religion to draw sympathy and concern for its well lbeing; hence all the military equipment and money from America.

      I am not a practicing Catholic but went to Catholic Schools, and most of our religious teaching was based on Love, not on "An Eye For an Eye" as the Old Testament's message.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
      • Allan

        Love, grow up…look at the history of the church and the love they gave to non-catholics

        August 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
      • Jane

        Allan. No Religion has lived up to the reason it was formed. What the Catholic Church has done over the centuries, is not a reflection of the true meaning of Christianity. There is a book written in the 1920's or before called "The mature Mind' the central theme is that Christianity has never been interpreted correctly. Not today, not ever. Is trying to get America to support the Israeli war machine with its treasure and blood Ok by Israeli Religion?

        August 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Jane... Israel did and does stand for itself. Not a single foreign soldier ever participated in Israeli wars. Iranian nuclear weapons program, however, threatens not only Israel but the entire world because if Iran will be allowed to acquire nukes there will be a nuclear war sooner rather than later in the Middle East. This war will, probably turn the largest oil fields on the planet into radiactive wasteland pushing the world ecomony into a crisis of epic proportions and effectively ending our civilization as we know it.

        August 10, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Jack Smith - USA

      Thank you for being SANE! These handful of Israel Firsters (mainly media, politicians, and the Fundamentalist Nut-jobs) need to go to Israel and fight for them. Enough spilling American blood so they can invade others land, and call it their right! Not in my name! Thank you. You love Israel so much, move there, join their army and fight for them. Leave us alone.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
      • Jane

        Jack Smith you're right on target. I'm not sure, but I believe there were other wars where American Citizens fought for a foreign country in there on right, and not Americans.

        Are the Israeli-Firsters ready to go to Israel and help them fight their wars? Well are they? Let's ask them!

        August 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
      • Nikol

        @ Jack, Question, what American blood has been spilled for Israel and when? @ Jane, we prop up Israel like we prop up many other countries through our money and weapons but other countries prop us up too (i.e. China). Wonder where we would be without the trillions of dollars China has given us. So it works both ways.

        August 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Jane... Are you ready to go to Iran and fight for the Ayatollas?

        August 10, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Danny Williams

      Kill all Muslims and let allah sort them out!

      August 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
      • Jane

        Danny, what is your education level? Do you know History? Do you love the Classics? Do you listen to great music?How's your scientic knowledge?

        Or do you live a life of ignorance. And of course," Ignorance is Bliss".

        August 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Jane... Your tirade about the "Israeli religion" reveals YOUR education level beyond any possible doubts...

        August 10, 2012 at 8:48 am |
      • bricks

        CNN interesting how your moderates work? If this were to state the annihilation of Jews would this post be public?

        August 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
      • elle909

        on 8/12/12 a news bulletin was posted on israel channel 2 web news.
        quoting maariv daily news paper. the US will join israel in the attacks on iran's new clear installations , to get The best result possible,and help in israel's defense.
        the message came both from democrats and republicans and it seems both president Barak Obama and Mr Mitt Romney are aware of it.the message was relayed to israel's ambassador to the US,and to israel's government.

        August 14, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Maurilio

      Israel does not want to atatck Iran. It never did. It wants the US to atatck Iran. As the Leveretts established, Israel initially wanted the US to atatck Iran, not Iraq. Only when Israel was assured that Iran would be next did they come on board for the Iraq war.Cheney got them $30 billion worth of arms sales as a bribe to atatck Iran, because he couldn't get the Pentagon and Bush to go along with it. But the Israelis just took the money and continued to demand that the US do the atatck.Now Israel is upset because Obama is dithering about and isn't willing to atatck Iran, bogged down as he is in Afghanistan because of his incompetence, until he has no other option. Unfortunately, Obama's policies, again as the Leveretts have argued, will eventually end up at that exact point. Either that, or he will fob off the problem on the next administration and if that administration is Republican, war is guaranteed.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:49 am | Reply

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