Is the Middle East on the brink of Nuclear War?

Recent news reports indicate that Saudi Arabia has obtained nuclear weapons.  If Iran’s 2016 testing of long range nuclear warhead capable missiles is an indicator, does this mean Iran was able to “beat the clock” in Uranium 235 enrichment before the treaty was signed?  If so, Iran may already have nuclear bombs.

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) – “Yes, we have a nuclear bomb,” said Saudi political analyst Dahham Al-`Anzi.  “We have said before that if Iran were to impudently announce a nuclear test, Saudi Arabia would announce one too. No problem” as stated in a March 2016 news interview.  Although Saudi Arabia signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty in 1988, why would they feel it necessary to violate this treaty?  The reason may be found by the deepening enmity in foreign relations with Iran.  Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a virtual proxy war in Yemen that some say may lead to a “regional showdown”.  Sparked by a concern of Iran having nuclear weapons would be a prime motivation for Saudi Arabia to acquire their own.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign minister Abel Al-Jubeir states, from an RT interview, “Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir responded by saying his country “is committed to two things. I always say two things we do not negotiate over, our faith and our security. Saudi Arabia will do whatever it takes in order to protect our nation and our people from any harm. And I will leave it at that.”

Iran has been accused, by Saudi Arabia, of funding rebel and terrorist factions in the Yemeni region, which is on Saudi Arabia’s southern border.
Fox news business channel reports that “Al-‘Anzi’s claim of Saudi nukes was confirmed by the founding director of the CIA’s Counter-terrorism sector, Duane Clarridge, who said the country has between 4-7 nuclear weapons that can be delivered by either F-15 planes or a recently-purchased Chinese missile system.”

“Clarridge could not say if the Saudis have physical possession of the nuclear weapons, or if they are in Pakistan. He did leave open the possibility that the Saudis could use the nukes in a pre-emptive strike against Iranian military positions.”

With a dramatic escalation to obtaining nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia must believe there is a real threat to their nation.  Iran’s repeated launching of long range missiles, in violation of UN Security Council’s resolution 2231, on the negotiated Iran nuclear agreement, is interpreted by Iran as a non-violation since Iran states they have no nuclear weapons.  In essence, Iran is employing “semantic word lawyering” to skirt the resolution.

So why is Iran engaging in a series of missile tests just after the Iran nuclear deal was enacted?  Clearly Iran would know international tensions would result, and possible new sanctions, as Resolution 2231 had provisions prohibiting long range missile testing.  New York Times reports “The critics, including members of Congress from both parties and the Republican presidential candidates, say the Obama administration was naďve in asserting that the nuclear deal would lead to a more amicable atmosphere with Iran after more than three decades of enmity.”

More concerning about the testing is the missile’s nuclear warhead capability. As reported again in the New York Times, “Asked what action the United States might seek, Ms. Power did not specify, but said it would continue pressing at the Security Council and would show that the Iranian missiles, by Iran’s own technical disclosures, “were inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons and thus inherently defying Resolution 2231.”

“Matthew Rycroft, Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters before the meeting that his government believed that “Iran is in blatant disregard of Resolution 2231, and we will be formally asking the Secretariat to report on the missile launches.”

REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

Adding all of this together, the question arises, did Iran “beat-the-clock” to purify enough “fast fissile” U-235 nuclear fuel bomb material before the heralded signing of the “Iran Nuclear Deal” last summer?

The answer, unfortunately, may be yes.

The Bush Administration initiated a Cyber Warfare operation intended to interfere with the nuclear fuel purifying process in the machines within the underground Iranian facilities at Natanz.  Enter the clandestine “Stuxnet” virus.  Secret US testing of the virus, on similar centrifuges from when Qaddafi gave up his nuclear program in 2003, finally yielded a “shattered” centrifuge.  Later, when Bush was leaving office, he recommended to Obama that this program continue, Obama agreed.  The strategy of using a Cyber Warfare program was in lieu of a military strike, using deep bunker busting bombs, as it had been assessed that such a strike would only further inflame a region already at war.

Ralph Langner, from the Langner group, published an extensive report, “To Kill a Centrifuge – A technical Analysis of What Stuxnet’s Creators Tried to Achieve” in Nov 2013.  This report extensively details how and to what extent a Cyber Warfare operation, named “Operation Olympic Games” – which is based on the Stuxnet virus – was created to damage or destroy the Iranian U-235 nuclear fuel making centrifuges.

Thousands of operating cascading centrifuges are necessary to efficiently isolate the very rare bomb grade U-235 isotope from the dominant U-238 uranium isotope.  The Stuxnet virus was clandestinely introduced into the centrifuge computers, created by US intelligence agencies and in conjunction with Israel.  The virus spread to the motor speed controllers of the nuclear processing centrifuges and would overspeed then underspeed the centrifuge to cause it to damage the centrifuge rotor.  Any gas centrifuge design requires extremely precise bearing components, motor drives, and gas-wall pressure feedback systems to handle the optimal 63,000 rpm supersonic rotational target speed.  Stuxnet would cause a stealthy overspeed to stress this “supercritical” centrifuge system in reaching a vibrational stress resonance at a 84,600 rpm for fifteen minutes.

Out of the full production operation of Iran’s assumed four thousand centrifuges, it is estimated that around one thousand were partially or successfully damaged.  Moreover, this sophisticated virus drove the Iranian engineers batty trying to figure out the root cause of the random malfunctions, to the point where they may ultimately endured total frustration about their expertise in getting a stolen plant design from the 1970’s running.

However, Iran’s production kept up to five thousand replacement IR-1 centrifuges in stock.  Iranian engineers originally struggled with the pervasiveness of the Stuxnet virus and its stealthy ability to replicate and modify its behavior via remote internet server links.  Iran finally blocked its internet link from its national telecommunications provider to prevent any suspected further external modification of the remote command and control of the virus. Then a simple file search for the presence of the malicious file (s7otbxsx.dll) using a filename search allowed identification of a “clean” or “infected” computer controller.

The last step for Iran would be to complete its long range missile system development, even at the risk of sanctions from the international community.  The final “warning” to the Iranians having  “the bomb” would be a test detonation.  Intelligence agencies should be on guard for such a test detonation, that may be well outside of Iran, possibly within an ally regime, which would mask the existence of Iran having nuclear weapons.

When or If such a “test detonation” occurs, Israel and Saudi Arabia will not remain idle.  With Saudi’s stating “Saudi Arabia will do whatever it takes in order to protect our nation and our people from any harm.”, the risk becomes a decision on either a defensive or offensive stance.  Israel has already stated that they will not tolerate a nuclear Iran.

Perhaps the biggest failure would lay at the feet of those who were passive or ineffective in foreign policy if Iran was successful in delaying, thwarting, and dragging out the diplomatic negotiation process to achieve their ultimate goal of having “the bomb”.  Perhaps there wasn’t much an administration could do, via sanctions, once the Cyber Warfare option was discovered and overcome.

With this history of events, the pattern of developments, putting the pieces together creates substantial potential uncertainties, all of which points to Iran having achieved its goal.

Regardless of the uncertainties, We should turn to Our Divine Heavenly Father in prayer to ask for the protection of His children on earth from any nuclear war or conflict, and may the wisdom of leaders, through the grace of God, prevail in these times.

“This site must be inspected,” declared Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the NCRI’s Washington, D.C., office.

“There is no way in the world you can assure Tehran is not developing nuclear weapons if you can’t inspect those sites, especially if you are talking about a regime that has over two decades of a track record of lying and cheating and deceiving the whole world,” he charged.

The NCRI describes the underground complex as having an elevator that “descends several stories, deep underground, and opens into a 650-foot tunnel, which leads to four parallel halls. Because the ground is inclined, the halls are deeper underground,” by as much as 164 feet below the surface.

The NCRI also says it smuggled out a photograph showing a 1-foot thick lead-lined door that shields the complex from radiation, and that the secret rooms and hallways are insulated for sound and radiation leaks so that they would remain undetected.

Secret underground complex, called Lavizan-3, right outside Tehran, "buried deep underground in tunnels and underground facilities" with "radiation-proof doors" to prevent any leaks that could be detected by the United Nations International Energy Agency inspectors. The revelations were unveiled during a Washington, D.C., news conference by the NCRI, which first exposed elements of Iran

Secret underground complex, called Lavizan-3, right outside Tehran, "buried deep underground in tunnels and underground facilities" with "radiation-proof doors" to prevent any leaks that could be detected by the United Nations International Energy Agency inspectors. The revelations were unveiled during a Washington, D.C., news conference by the NCRI, which first exposed elements of Iran's covert nuclear program in 2002.

“If the United States is serious about preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons, it must make the continuation of talks conditional on the IAEA immediately inspecting Lavizan-3 site,” demanded Soona Samsami, the NCRI’s United States representative. “Any delay in doing so will enable the Iranian regime to destroy the evidence as it has done in the past.”


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    Interesting article. Persians and Arabs have been going at it for millennia, even before they divided themselves as Shia and Sunni. Sooner or later they are going to war. Right now, with the number of nukes they have, they can largely kill each other off, and the radiation will do a lot of damage as winds carry it to the east, but probably not enough to destroy the entire planet. Maybe better now than later when they have more bombs. China will not be happy, nor northern India, so it seems it would be in their best interests to get involved in trying to prevent a highly probable conflict from turning nuclear.
    I think,what’s important is that the other nuclear powers not take sides. The US in particular should not favor the Saudi’s whose religion is among the most extreme on the planet, over the Iranians. If they want to fight and we can’t stop it, we should back out and prepare for the aftermath. Everybody says their god is on their side. I see no evidence that there are gods on anyone’s side – unless there are competing gods – but perhaps we’ll find out the god(s) aren’t on anyone’s side because they simply don’t exist.
    It’s always a good idea to have enough supplies on hand to “shelter in place” while the radioactive dust is passing overhead. Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.

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