Iran has secretly extended the uranium enrichment plant at the centre of the international controversy over its resumption of banned nuclear research earlier this month, satellite imagery has revealed. . . .
Western intelligence agencies are focusing on alarming similarities in satellite imagery of Iran’s nuclear sites, which the regime claims are for civilian purposes, and atomic facilities in Pakistan used to make the raw materials for nuclear weapons, as they try to identify the purpose of the Natanz construction spree.
Oil prices are going up, and stock markets are going down.
Glenn Reynolds wonders out loud if all of these events are being orchestrated:
[I]f you put this together with trouble in Iran, and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, it almost looks as if somebody is trying to put a lot of oil sources under pressure simultaneously. . . .
I doubt that such a plan would succeed, but that’s not the same as saying that there’s no such plan. I don’t know enough to say, but I hope that someone’s paying attention.
Iran certainly knows they can easily cripple the West by driving oil prices to $100 a barrel — especially when more and more sources of oil are being manipulated.
Our lives will become very uncomfortable very quickly if either Israel or we must destroy Iranian nuclear faciliities and Iran then effectively shuts down the Straits of Hormuz while, simultaneously, oil supplies from Venezuela and Nigeria are controlled by Islamofascists or their friends.
Oh, and add a pandemic on top of that to make life even more exciting, and we will all be eating beans for awhile.
Overall, Iran is probably a little less than a decade away from developing a nuclear weapon. The key question here is how long it will take Iran to enrich a few tens of kilograms of uranium to more than 90 percent U-235.
Dafna Linzer reported that the US Intelligence Community does not believe that Iran could do so before “early to mid next decade”—a revision of previous assessments that Iran would “have the ability to produce nuclear weapons early in the next decade.”
Why so long? The answer is that Iran still has to build, install and operate its centrifuges to enrich uranium. . . .
Most references to Iran being “months” away from a bomb are really statements about how close Iran will be once it completes the FEP—something, as you will soon see, that will take a few years.
But, is this the same intelligence community who said Saddam was dripping with all sorts of weapons of mass destruction?
Since Frank Church neutered our human intelligence capabilities long ago, I’m not willing to bet my family and nation on satellite photos and a CIA motivated more to topple their Commander-In-Chief than deal with threats.
More encouraging news?
Both Roger Simon and Glenn Reynolds note this article by Roger Stern of the Johns Hopkins University Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering.
Summary from Science News Daily:
In a peer-reviewed journal article, Roger J. Stern argues that the decades-old belief that petroleum-rich Persian Gulf nations must be appeased to keep oil flowing is imaginary, and the threat of deployment of an “oil weapon” is toothless. His review of economic and historical data also shows that untapped oil supplies are abundant, not scarce.
Stern’s analysis, titled “Oil market power and United States national security,” appears in the Jan. 16-20 online Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the article Stern argues that the longstanding U.S. security concern that our oil supply could be threatened is wrong.
Do we and Israel know this, and are preparing to attack?