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Iran and the Bomb -  Strategic Considerations in the MIddle East - J.E. (Jennifer) Dyer
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Iran and the Bomb - Strategic Considerations in the MIddle East - J.E. (Jennifer) Dyer

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Iran and the Bomb …

Iran and the Bomb

Iran is very close to the point of achieving “breakout”: enriching uranium to weapons-grade purity, and demonstrating the capability to detonate a nuclear warhead.

In each of the elements of a nuclear weapon – fissile material, warhead, and delivery system – Iran has made substantial progress in the last decade. That progress has accelerated since the first UN sanctions were imposed in 2007.

Today, we have reached the critical point at which Iran’s next decision will be the decision to “break out”: begin enriching uranium to the highest, weapons-grade purity. By some calculations, Iran has enough uranium already enriched to a lower level for at least one bomb, and possibly two. Iran is almost ready, as well, to start up her 40-megawatt plutonium reactor at Arak, which would be a source of 1-2 bombs’ worth of plutonium per year. She is pursuing both the uranium and plutonium paths to a nuclear weapon.

Iran performed warhead-related experiments as far back as 2002-2003. She has also improved her missile capability, and today can reach Southeastern Europe and Israel with nuclear-capable missiles. There are strong indications that Iran is developing ICBMs; U.S. intelligence believes Iran will be able to test an ICBM by 2015. Beyond that, Iran is constructing a missile silo complex in the northwestern tip of Venezuela, from which her currently available, nuclear-capable missiles could reach Florida and part of Georgia.

Meanwhile, the likelihood that Iran will continue to engage in deception, in order to play for time, has only grown with the inauguration of Hassan Rouhani as the new president. Rouhani has boasted of the successful deceptions he perpetrated on the IAEA and European nations in the mid-2000s, when he was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.
Assuming there will be no military attack by the United States, what events might require Israel to mount a preemptive attack? Three to consider are an impending warhead test in Iran, the impending start-up of the plutonium reactor at Arak, and the impending operational deployment of the Russian S-300PMU2 air defense system, which would significantly change the anti-air threat posed by Iran.

The geopolitical consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran cannot be overstated. Other nations in the region (like Saudi Arabia, and possibly Egypt and Turkey) will want to acquire nuclear weapons for deterrence. Nuclear material and the requisite weapons technology are now widely available. But a nuclear Iran would also be able to wage proxy wars – e.g., through Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations supported by Tehran – with even more immunity than Iran has today.

Moreover, disarray in the NATO approach to missile defense, caused in large part by the Obama administration’s cancellation of missile-defense plans, will be exacerbated by the growing Iranian threat.

Published in: News & Politics, Technology

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  • http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/regional/middle-east-and-north-africa/irans-centrifuge-plans-would-undermine-us-policy-assumptions/
  • http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/regional/middle-east-and-north-africa/irans-centrifuge-plans-would-undermine-us-policy-assumptions/
  • 1,008 IR-2M installed at Natanz FEP – At PFEP: 14 IR-4; 164 IR-4; 2 IR-2M; 162 IR-2M; ; 1 IR-5; 14 IR-6http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/regional/middle-east-and-north-africa/irans-centrifuge-plans-would-undermine-us-policy-assumptions/
  • 1,008 IR-2M installed at Natanz FEP – At PFEP: 14 IR-4; 164 IR-4; 2 IR-2M; 162 IR-2M; ; 1 IR-5; 14 IR-6http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/regional/middle-east-and-north-africa/irans-centrifuge-plans-would-undermine-us-policy-assumptions/
  • http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/regional/middle-east-and-north-africa/irans-centrifuge-plans-would-undermine-us-policy-assumptions/
  • http://mobile.wnd.com/2012/10/irans-secret-nuclear-bomb-plant-revealed/
  • http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2011/11/113_98613.htmlhttp://pjmedia.com/spengler/2012/03/04/did-iran-test-a-nuclear-bomb-in-north-korea-in-2010/http://www.blackfive.net/main/2013/03/did-north-korea-test-a-bomb-for-the-mullahs.html
  • http://mobile.wnd.com/2012/10/irans-secret-nuclear-bomb-plant-revealed/ -- Najafabadhttp://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R42849.pdf
  • http://blog.usni.org/2010/03/07/irans-long-range-missile-program-new-launch-facility-revealed
  • http://blog.usni.org/2010/03/07/irans-long-range-missile-program-new-launch-facility-revealed
  • Transcript

    • 1. Iran and the Bomb J.E. Dyer For Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors 18 November 2013
    • 2. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Fissile material Warhead device Delivery system
    • 3. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Fissile material Enough HEU (U-235) for a warhead test PressTV image IAEA report: Figures as of 5 November 2013 Natanz 10,357kg LEU (3.5%) Natanz + Fordo 196kg “MEU” (19.75%) Natanz + Fordo + ? ?? Kg HEU (93.5%)
    • 4. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Fissile material “2 weeks from decision to break-out” Reuters image IAEA report: Figures as of 5 November 2013 Natanz + Fordo 196kg “MEU” (19.75%) Natanz + Fordo + ? ?? Kg HEU (93.5%)
    • 5. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Fissile material “2 weeks from decision to break-out” Reuters image Newer centrifuges = dramatic acceleration IAEA report: near-suspension of installations 14 November 2013
    • 6. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Fissile material Mainstream media conclusion: Iranians making “concessions” to further negotiations Worst case: The “move after next” will be the breakout decision Test the new centrifuges Proceed to high enrichment
    • 7. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Fissile material Plutonium-239 from IR-40 heavy-water reactor “Fat man” type bomb 1-2 bombs’ worth of P-239 per year
    • 8. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Warhead device Parchin * Lavizan-Shian * Najafabad? Suspected detonator testing sites U.S., Western intelligence Credible Iranian sources  * Sites razed, “sanitized”
    • 9. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Warhead device IAEA concerns: “Possible military dimensions” 18 November 2011 Nuclear explosive device: Procurement Timeframe: 2002-2003 Design Component testing – Detonator development/testing
    • 10. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Warhead device The North Korea connection 18 November 2011 2010 – NK uranium bomb warhead tests? 2011 – Reports of NK nuclear scientists in Iran 2002-07 2013 – Head of Iranian nuke program in NK for third warhead test (RAND: probable uranium bomb test)
    • 11. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Delivery system IAEA: “Possible military dimensions” 18 November 2011 Nuclear payload for Shahab missile: Engineering studies Timeframe: 2002-2003 Prototype components manufactured  Fuzing/arming/firing system
    • 12. Three components of a nuclear weapon: Delivery system UK Intel: Iran tested nuke-capable MRBMs 29 June 2011 Secret testing: Solid-fuel Sejjil: 800km Timeframe: 2010-2011 Shahab, Sejjil tests to 2,000km  US surv. present but no US reporting CRS Report dated 6 December 2012
    • 13. Threat radius: 2,000km
    • 14. Threat radius: 2,000km Silo site: Paraguana Peninsula Reported December 2010
    • 15. Tabriz Semnan? Khorramabad Underground missile silo sites
    • 16. Semnan Rocket Complex Expanded in 2009-10 with North Korean assistance Shahrud New ICBM testing site Reported August 2013 Extending range of Iranian missiles
    • 17. Additional considerations Iranian deception Delayed IAEA recognition Trigger points for Israeli strike Regional reaction
    • 18. Deception: Hassan Rouhani 2003 agreement with EU-3 Violated immediately and continuously Rouhani boasted of it “We did not stop [the enrichment as agreed with the EU-3], we completed the program!”
    • 19. How far behind was IAEA? Graphic: Institute for Science and International Security (Nov 2009)
    • 20. How far behind was IAEA? Rouhani totals 2005 (Installed) AugDec 05 Operational centrifuges
    • 21. Semnan Rocket Complex Shahrud . Qom (Fordo) Najafabad? Tunnels, underground facilities
    • 22. Trigger points for Israeli strike Impending warhead test Arak reactor start-up Similar to Osirak 1981 Installation of S-300 air defense system
    • 23. S-300 changes the game IRIAF air base SA-5 Hawk HQ-2
    • 24. Regional reaction The nuclear picture
    • 25. Regional reaction The nuclear discussion ? ? ? ? ? Missile defense
    • 26. Regional reaction The nuclear discussion Missile defense
    • 27. Regional reaction The nuclear discussion Would have deployed in 2013 Missile defense Meaning/purpose of NATO
    • 28. Regional reaction The nuclear discussion Missile defense Meaning/purpose of NATO Mobile interceptors in design – 2017? Deployments to Romania, Bulgaria? US Army cancels MEADS-Patriot follow-on Turkey ambivalent – turns to China for air defense system?
    • 29. Regional reaction Proxy wars Iran offered “missile umbrella” in 2011 “Extended deterrence” During the Cold War, worked better against United States than against Soviet Union
    • 30. The game will change We can pay now… … or we can pay later.
    • 31. Iran and the Bomb J.E. Dyer For Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors 18 November 2013
    • 32. End of presentation This slide left blank
    • 33. S-300 changes the game
    • 34. Iran Air Bases and Fixed-Site SAM Coverage Tabriz Mehrabad Tehran Hamadan Arak Natanz Esfahan Dezful IRIAF air base SA-5 Hawk HQ-2 Bushehr CIA map/Author graphic depictions
    • 35. Iran Air Bases and Fixed-Site SAM Coverage IRIAF air base SA-5 Hawk HQ-2 CIA map/Author graphic depictions