By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Iran, nukes, and fear: A potent op-ed combo platter

Compare and contrast. In the New York Times, Senator Ted Cruz whips up the fear regarding the nuclear deal between the United States and Iran:

The mullahs’ policy is, by their own admission, unchanged. It is the same one that inspired the so-called revolutionaries of 1979 to take 52 Americans as hostages for 444 days, and motivated murderous attacks on Israelis and Americans from Buenos Aires to Beirut to Baghdad over the subsequent decades. The only thing that is changing now is the potential scale of this violence, as they seek to replace truck bombs and roadside explosive devices with the most destructive weapons on the planet and the means to deliver them.

In the Boston Globe, Stephen Kinzer writes that what hardliners in both countries really fear is that the nuclear deal might actually work:

Extremists in the United States and Iran have joined to derail this 10-month-old deal. They share a horror scenario: an Iran that is successfully integrated into the Middle East and the wider world, increasingly free at home and responsible in its neighborhood. Militants in Washington fear that this would give Iran a regional role commensurate with its history, size, and power, while they wish to see it tied down forever. Militants in Tehran fear that cooperating with the outside world will erode their authority and possibly lead to collapse of the Islamic Republic. These are reasonable fears.

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  1. It is part of the Republican mythos that Obama’s policies, both home and abroad, have been a disaster. No matter what the actual facts are, they have to “make America great again.” A muscular, interventionist foreign policy is part and parcel of it. Never mind when President Hillary Clinton does it, they will hate every minute of it.

    One great aspect of Obama’s foreign policy is not tilting to every Saudi whim. The Saudis have not been our friends; it’s time we stopped treating them as such.

    What are the figures on how many centrifuges Iran had in 2009 vs today? How much enriched uranium does Iran have now vs 2009?

    • Iran had about 19,000 centrifuges at its Natanz and Fordow sites, as well as approximately 10 tons of low-enriched uranium (LEU) that had been produced there. Experts concluded that this enrichment capability and LEU stockpile would allow Iran to produce around 25 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium, sufficient for a single nuclear weapon, within two to three months after the respective political decision was made.

      The 2015 agreement directs Iran to reduce its Natanz enrichment capacities to a maximum level of 6,104 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, of which no more than 5,060 can enrich uranium during the first ten years.

      For the next fifteen years, Natanz will be Iran’s only uranium enrichment site; Iran is prohibited from constructing other enrichment facilities or enriching uranium over 3.67 percent. Its low-enriched uranium stockpiles should not exceed 300 kilograms.

      So from 19,000 to 5,000 centrifuges and from over 10 tons to 0.33 tons.

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