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End Of The Line For Iran Nuclear Crisis-Business

Politics / Nuclear Weapons Nov 08, 2013 - 10:29 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


World news media reported, November 7, that epic change could soon be coming to the seemingly endless – and dangerous – business of goading Iran and trying to spark a nuclear war in the Middle East, only to please Israel and Saudi Arabia.

'Wall Street Journal', November 7, ran this headline: “Geneva—Iran and world powers expect to announce an initial deal as early as Friday to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions, a step that would mark the first breakthrough in a decade to blunt the threat of Tehran developing nuclear weapons”.

Not so long ago however, Iran nuclear crisis business was still humming. Also carried by 'Wall St Journal', on October 15, the former Paris-based editor of 'International Herald Tribune', John Vinocur lauded France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for “discovering the real nature of the Iranian threat”. Vinocur said that Fabius has seen through Obama's “pastels-and-wispy-brushstrokes rendering of reality” on Iran's threat. In a series of interviews France's crop of government-friendly (and of course its government-owned) radio stations, Fabius drew a dark and very scary picture. "As we speak," he said, “Iran keeps the centrifuges turning that are needed to make enriched uranium for nuclear bombs. But Iran is also pursuing a second, separate track toward atomic weapons with the construction, at Arak, of a heavy water reactor producing plutonium”.

Little Laurent let us all know about the all-new Iranian heavy water threat to the International Community, and we almost never heard of heavier-than-Perrier water, did we?

In 1964 the Canadian government's international aid and development agency, CIDA, agreed with other government agencies to fund $51 million of the total $63 million cost of the 137 megawatt Karachi KANUPP heavy water reactor using Canada's CANDU technology. Much of the aid financing was at interest rates below 1% a year, with an initial 10-year grace period before repayments became due, and a 50-year-long loan repayment schedule after that. Training and other support was provided free. Pakistan has never signed the nuclear anti-proliferation treaty (NPT), and in 1977 Canada ended its formal nuclear cooperation with Pakistan due to it refusing to join the NPT, but maintained technical aid and support, including repairs and equipment for the KANUPP reactor until the mid-1990s.

Yes indeed, Pakistan made its own bombs and today will provide them instantly to Saudi Arabia whenever the Wahabite Kingdom feels sufficiently paranoid or aggressive. It has lots of petrodollars. But if Iran made its own bombs, also, that would literally be the end of the world. Baloney.

Claims and counterclaims on whether heavy water reactors are, or aren't the easiest route to producing nuclear weapons are rife, but in November 1942, a pair of Royal Air Force Halifax bombers lumbered their way through thick winter clouds over Norway with troop-carrying assault gliders in tow. Inside the gliders were professional saboteurs from the 1st British Airborne Division on their way to land at the frozen lake of Møsvatn. With Norwegian resistance commandos, the joint mission then set out to penetrate and destroy the Vemork hydroelectric plant, a fortified Nazi facility nestled high in the mountains. The hydropower plant was originally built to produce electricity and fertilizers, but the occupying Germans' goal was to produce 12 tons of heavy water per year -- a key ingredient in the Nazi effort to develop an atom bomb before the USA.

:Like the Pakistanis and Indians, who both used the “heavy water route' to produce atomic weapons, the Nazi bomb plan was based on simple physics. German military scientists working under Nobel physics prizewinner Werner Heisenberg intended using heavy water as the moderator in their small heavy water reactor, yielding a sustained reaction in the painstakingly amassed store of enriched uranium-235 they had separated. They could then expose nuggets of the much more common U-238 to the neutrons spewing out of their heavy water reactor. This enables the very rare unstable isotope U-239 to be produced. By beta decay this breaks down to form stable weapons-grade plutonium-239.

Some controversial reports claim the Nazis did manage to build and test a small nuclear device just before their war ended in April 1945. It was at best a very crude design far inferior to the bombs designed by Heisenberg's rival, Enrico Fermi, and dropped on Japan a few months later by the US.

Not worried by public opinion scores even lower than those of his boss Francois Hollande, well below 30% favorable, Fabius has played the loyal partner of America “waking the world to Iran's new threat”. Unfortunately for him, his line of business could be winding down, real soon.

Fabius said the Iranian heavy water project might take "around a year" to complete. And "if it is completed, you won't be able to destroy it," he said, "because if you bomb plutonium, it will leak." Fabius didn't talk about leaking uranium, zirconium, strontium, cesium, yttrium and plenty other boring things like that, when “we” bomb any nuclear facility that holds highly radioactive materials. This would be the inevitable result of bombing Iran's mix-and-mingle of civil and other nuclear facilities.

Making it hard to quickly occupy the devastated country, Iraq war style, with the troops “we” send in.

Monsieur Fabius did not say what he really wants - simply blow up Iran's giant-sized Bushehr reactor. Who cares if its a civil reactor. The operation will be child's play using Israeli plutonium bombs or Pakistan-supplied plutonium bombs owned by the Wahabites. All of these bombs, mais ca va de soi Monsieur Fabius, were produced outside the NPT! As we know, Israel has never signed the NPT because Israel “does not possess” nuclear weapons. Baloney, encore.

Almost ever year, whether it was 2000, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011 government-friendly media of Western nations regularly covers “potential or imminent” attacks on Iran. Through 2012 and to date in 2013, the music continued – making it a cinch to park up the scale model Iran-bombing atom site layouts in the TV studios for those production line “Iran war specials” that the braindead public gawps at, in between the car ads, the celebs and the football news.

Laurent Fabius, as smart as a shiny button or his bald head, of course cited the Iranian threat to close the Straits of Hormuz through which about 35% of the world's daily sea-borne oil passes, and of course he told the French public that oil prices will spike.

French government-friendly media so-obediently wheeled on word-perfect talking head “experts” to explain to the braindead public that the coming oil price spike would push the world's teetering economy over the cliff – unless of course the US Fed, the ECB, the Bank of Japan or Mr Obama beat the Iranians to the wire – which the word perfect talking heads didn't add. Fabius however did add what French call culot – plain arrogance – saying that after being bombed, Iran would probably produce a lot less oil or even no oil at all. It might even “withold oil”, after being bombed – which is absolutely not fairplay, and could mean “we” have bomb Iran a little more, or a lot more.

Fabius told the French public that Iran is still OPEC's third biggest oil producer, despite sanctions, so even when “we” reopen the Straits of Hormuz oil prices must stay high and France will have to get more oil from Saudi Arabia. From Saudi Arabia that shouldn't be a problem, because they will be paying France in an oil-for-bombing deal.

But Fabius didn't say that on French radio, back in October, when Iran bombing-bizniss was still great stuff for Fabius and similar bomb crazed shakers and fakers.

Why would 'Wall Street Journal' carry junk news about or from Laurent Fabius? The logic of France's failed economic recovery, or its failed upturn, which is now wall-to-wall evident in France - even its official data and its government-friendly media are occasionally forced to bleat the truth – means that the timing of the “new” Iranian threat was not haphazard. Bombs and circuses underline we are at a critical moment of economic weakness in Fabius Land.

Right now, the very last thing the world economy needs is a vastly increased price for oil, which is precisely what a war with Iran will deliver. That penny has dropped in Obama's Washington even if primitive minded Europeans, like Fabius, soldier on with their attempt to please Riyadh and Jerusalem. An oil price spike, for them, would be a nice excuse for the economic implosion and slump which is all their own fault. For government-owned and government-friendly media, the new slump will be the fault of the Iranians - not the fault of low to average-grade politicians like Laurent Fabius.

Fabius was chiding Obama for lack of grit, but the story has moved on. The US has already committed acts of war against Iran, for example drone overflights, naval duels in the Gulf, and assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists as well as Iranian politicians. To be sure, no formal declaration of war has ever been made.

US and European sanctions war against Iran was longstanding. In particular the Iranian rial was attacked and undermined, to drive up inflation inside Iran. Each time the US and Europe engaged particularly aggressive new banking, finance and trade measures against Iran, as in January 2012 and January 2013, the rial could plunge 50% against the dollar and euro on FX markets in a few hours. Tehran had to call a halt to all exchange operations and freeze trading, each time, and to stop merchandise imports of key goods like medecines, food, raw materials and spare parts.

On an almost clockwork predictable basis, the UN IAEA nuclear agency released reports on Iran's nuclear program that alternated hot-and-cold, hawk-and-dove but the reports always ended by saying its inspectors are “struggling to pierce the secrecy surrounding the Iranian program”. How are they getting on in Israel or Pakistan? Or in India and North Korea?

As a signatory to the NPT, Iran has every legal right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, such as making nuclear fuel rods for research reactors, and Iran claims all its current work is towards this end.

Nothing in the NPT provides for military action to pre-emptively stop any nation-state from carrying out such development work. In fact, if a preemptive strike is carried out without UN Security Council support, it will have to bypass international laws or treaties that could justify the action. We all know this, but Laurent Fabius thought it was just great to give it one more whirl.

Clockwork predictable, we always get back to oil. When it concerns anybody else producing a bomb outside the NPT – Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea – the only single common factor is they don't produce oil. US and European sanctions against Iran tried to stop or limit world buying of Iran's oil but the idea that the world can simply cease buying Iranian oil, like boycotting McDonald's and buying Burger Kings instead - is just ridiculous.

Taking the US Navy's basic workforce destroyers, now in action patrolling the Persian Gulf round the clock, these vessels of the Arleigh Burke class have General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines each generating 27 000 shaft horsepower (20 000 kW). They consume a design standard 18.31 tons of oil (133.6 barrels) per hour, or 3208 barrels per day. Bigger vessels of course consume more.

Winding down the Iran bombing-business is really going to save oil! Iran is going to produce more oil. Prices are going to decline. Bad for Saudi Arabia, of course, but good for the economy.

Apart from US and inevitably Russian naval vessels in the “theater”, other nations which have sent large armed naval vessels to the region include Canada, Britain and France. Other states in the so-called Combined Maritime Task Force of 26 navies under overall US command include countries as disparate as Malaysia, Australia, Korea, Holland, Spain, Singapore and Turkey. All those boats chug around burning oil, so it was useful to know Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE are close by and happy to supply – at a discount against the recent but eroding $100-per-barrel benchmark price fixed and set by Goldman Sachs in New York.

While the US Navcent commander of the task force is not forthcoming on what would happen after the cabinet war rooms in the OECD countries pushed the Go button, the almost sure and certain result would be that any pre-existing plan for the conduct of the Iran war would fall apart on first contact with the enemy. Almost surely, the Iranians would try to drag the war onshore. To what extent and duration they could block the Straits of Hormuz – or further up the Gulf – would be another unknown that would finally get a messy answer. Whatever missile defence and strategic assault assets they had left, after first strike bombing, would surely be utilised by Iran, but against what targets, other than Israel and probably Saudi Arabia, we cannot know.

What we do know is technology development in one area – anti-ship weapons – has been massive for over 30 years since the Argentinian armed forces “stunned” the British, in the Falklands war, using Exocet missiles designed and built by Britain and France, and sold to Argentine. Missiles able to be launched from mobile vehicles as small as a jeep, but with a range of 200 nautical miles, now exist. Due to high mobility, locating and destroying these military assets – even with total air superiority – will not be easy and will take plenty of time. Weapons tech has changed a lot in 30 years.

Listening to Laurent Fabius on French radio was like listening to French politicians at the time of Dien Bien Phu. The pompous politicians were so upbeat and cocky about France's coming, almost instant victory against the yellow races! But the French army was smashed and its ragtag survivors beat a retreat with their tails between their legs.

The Monsieur Fabiuses of the time went off air rather fast. Within two years of this defeat however, the French ganged up with Israel and Britain to seize the Suez canal, in 1956.  This was going to ensure the security of oil shipping to Europe and, yet again, teach inferior races a lesson!

Once again however, regrettably and mysteriously, oil worked its baleful magic. The US was not happy with the Suez Canal seizure by France-Israel-UK and made this known in very clear terms. Today, November 7, the US may at last be starting the move to normalizing relations with Iran, despite decades during which US and European politicians, and the political class of some other OECD countries, and its lapdog media, salivated with desire to Bomb Iran and the fake goal of Protecting Oil by driving its price through the roof.

China and Russia didn't like the Syrian bombing party attempt of Obama and Hollande – they would fume with rage about an Iran bombing party. Fabius and everybody else knows that Iran war would almost certainly and surely result in physical oil rationing in most European and many Asian countries, and oil prices would soar to meaningless extreme high numbers.

If this mega-diversionary act of Elite Schizophrenia was designed to take public attention away from the real culprits and criminals responsible for the bankster-and-national debt crisis, the oil shock would no longer be important. This is because the final crash and slump of the global economy will have happened – whether or not the Iran war happened.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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