Iran: April 30, 2004

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Despite promises to halt nuclear weapons development, Iran's Islamic conservatives are moving ahead secretly, attempting to develop a working nuclear bomb as quickly as possible. With what is now known of Pakistani weapons experts secretly selling nuclear weapons technology to countries like Iran, it's quite possible that Iran will have an atomic bomb within a year, if not a few months. It is not known which atomic bomb designs Pakistan sold to Iran, but it was probably the more primitive ones. That means Irans first nuclear weapons would be  rather large and bulky. This would not be suitable for use on a long range missile, but could be carried by an aircraft, or put in a shipping container. Millions of these seagoing shipping containers enter the United States each year. And Iranian Islamic conservatives still consider America the "Great Satan."

While much of the world's attention has been focused on Sunni Moslem terrorists, we forget that there is a separate group of Shia Moslem terrorists operating as well. Because of the ancient hostility between Shia and Sunni (it's a theology and ethnic thing, as most Shia are Iranians, who are not Arabs, but an Indo-European people), the larger number of al Qaeda terrorists have grabbed all the headlines for the last three years. There are still plenty of Shia terrorists out there, but most of them are in Lebanon, where most belong to the Hizbollah organization. Hizbollah has been observing a truce of sorts along the Lebanese border with Israel. However, time has caught up with most of the Shia firebrands of the late '70s and early '80s. The original ones, that are still alive, are middle aged and somewhat mellowed. Those in Iran have their hands full dealing with the majority of Iranians who no longer believe in the revolution. In Lebanon, there is also local politics to deal with, mainly in the form of many Lebanese who no longer want to play host to Iranian terrorists. But the Islamic conservative leadership in Iran, who still have veto power over the government, access to billions in cash, and control of the armed forces, still believe in exporting the (Shia) Islamic Revolution. It's an export that no one wants, and the Sunni Moslems will actively resist. But there's always the "Great Satan." Sending a nuclear weapon to the United States, and setting it off there, would be suicidal (analysis of the debris would likely identify its origins) because of American nuclear retaliation. Alas, there are still some really fanatical Shia clergy in the senior ranks of the Iranian government, who believe they are on a mission from God, and are willing to go to

 

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