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Administration’s Nuclear Saber Rattling on Iran Threatens Global Security

concerned scientists
User ID: 79718
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04/28/2006 09:20 AM
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Administration’s Nuclear Saber Rattling on Iran Threatens Global Security
Administration’s Nuclear Saber Rattling on Iran Threatens Global Security

Statement by Dr. Kurt Gottfried, Chairman, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Emeritus Professor of Physics, Cornell University

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"Recent reports suggest that the Bush administration is considering using nuclear weapons against Iran. The very fact that nuclear weapon use is being discussed as an option—against a state that does not have nuclear weapons and does not represent a direct or imminent threat to the United States—illustrates the extent to which the Bush administration has changed U.S. nuclear weapons policy.

"The Bush administration has explicitly rejected the basic precept that the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons should be to deter the use of nuclear weapons. It has assigned a new, and provocative, mission to U.S. nuclear weapons: to dissuade or prevent other countries from undertaking military programs that could threaten U.S. interests in the future. A 'preventive' nuclear attack on Iran would fall into this category. It has also blurred the line between nuclear and conventional weapons by declaring that nuclear weapons can be used as part of military operations.

"This nuclear policy increases the likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used, and ultimately decreases U.S. as well as international security. Instead, the United States should commit itself to strengthen the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons that has developed over the past 60 years.

"Plans to use nuclear weapons against Iran also fail to recognize the immediate dangers inherent in the use of nuclear weapons. The administration is reportedly considering using the B61-11 nuclear 'bunker buster' against an underground facility near Natanz, Iran. The use of such a weapon would create massive clouds of radioactive fallout that could spread far from the site of the attack, including to other nations. Even if used in remote, lightly populated areas, the number of casualties could range up to more than a hundred thousand, depending on the weapon yield and weather conditions.

"Threatening to use nuclear weapons against Iran provides the strongest of incentives for nuclear proliferation, since it would send the message that the only way for a country to deter nuclear attack is to acquire its own nuclear arsenal. The administration cannot have its cake and eat it, too—it cannot have a viable nuclear non-proliferation policy while continually expanding the roles for its own nuclear weapons.""
[link to www.ucsusa.org]
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2006 09:24 AM
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Re: Administration’s Nuclear Saber Rattling on Iran Threatens Global Security
Russia and China warn UN not to antagonise Iran
By Daniel Dombey in Sofia
Published: April 27 2006 17:45 | Last updated: April 27 2006 17:45

Russia and China on Thursday warned against escalating the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme. The call came on the eve of an eagerly awaited report on whether the country has met United Nations demands.

The US and the European Union believe Friday’s report by Mohamed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will set the stage for a UN Security Council resolution, since there is little chance that Tehran will meet the council’s demand for “full and sustained suspension” of uranium enrichment, which can produce weapons-grade material.

But on Thursday Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, warned against too great an intervention by the Security Council – a path Moscow feels could lead to confrontation.

“We think that the IAEA must continue to play a key role and it must not shrug off its responsibilities to resolve such questions and shift them on to the UN Security Council,” he said at a summit with Angela Merkel, German chancellor.

European officials argue that, far from sidelining the IAEA, any action by the council would seek to bolster its authority.

The Chinese government also called for restraint. Moscow and Beijing, which have growing energy and economic links with Iran, fear that a UN resolution might be used to justify military action at a later stage.

The US has stepped up efforts to assuage such concerns. “Forcible change of the Iranian regime is not the objective of American policy,” Philip Zelikow, a top adviser to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, told the Financial Times.

“Right now, we haven’t completed implementing a diplomatic strategy. That diplomatic strategy involves underscoring to the Iranian regime the costs of its behaviour.”

US and EU diplomats hope to win Security Council backing for a resolution on Iran by mid-June. Such a resolution would not involve sanctions but would probably set out a new deadline for Iran to halt nuclear enrichment.

Mr ElBaradei has been pushing Iran for a “technical break” in uranium enrichment to allow negotiations over the nuclear programme to resume.
[link to news.ft.com]