Iran Nuclear Scare Timeline Update XLII:
So, after nearly three decades of false allegations about the Iranian nuclear program and hysterical warnings about how close the Islamic Republic is to building or acquiring an operational nuclear device, RAND researcher Gregory S. Jones has a new prediction. And it's a doozy.
According to the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Jones has written a paper based on the most recent IAEA Safeguards Report on Iran and has come to the following conclusion:
"At its current rate of uranium enrichment, Tehran could have enough for its first bomb within eight weeks."Eight weeks?! Alarmism doesn't get any better than this. Apparently, Iran can make a nuclear bomb faster than Gregory Jones can re-tile his own bathroom and sooner than it takes Amazon to ship a 2008 pamphlet co-authored by Jones entitled "Enhancement by Enlargement: The Proliferation Security Initiative." (And no, that's not a prescient biography of Anthony Weiner.)
The best part of Jones' prediction is the reason he gives for the 56-day timeframe:
"Making the bomb will take around two months, he says, because constructing a nuclear warhead, is a complicated step in the process."Yes, making a nuclear warhead is so complicated, according to Jones, that it will take Iran less time to manufacture one than it'll take Jones to build that backyard treehouse he's has been meaning to get to for a while now. By Jones' measure, Iran will have a nuclear bomb sooner than it takes to air cure pancetta (not that Iran would be interested in doing that).
Jones also states that, at this point in Iran's progress towards a nuclear bomb, "there is nothing the US can do to stop Tehran, short of military occupation," stressing that "stopping Iran will require deploying forces on the ground, because airstrikes are no longer sufficient." He laments that "the reality is that the US and Israel have failed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear warhead whenever it wants."
The dire warning delivered by Jones was echoed this weekend by Israel's Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Danny Danon during an interview with ThinkProgress' Travis Waldron. Danon, speaking with Waldron during the "Faith and Freedom Conference" in Washington D.C. on Saturday, said that the Iranian drive to develop nuclear weapons (which doesn't exist) can not be ignored for long and that military action must be considered, equating Iran to Iraq and Ahmadinejad to Saddam Hussein. After Waldron asked whether the United States should "take preemptive military action against the Iranians," Danon responded this way:
I think it should not be only the burden of the U.S. But the Western society must come and put a timeline to Ahmadinejad. If you don’t finish by this date, we will knock you down. The same way we did with the Iraqi leader, we should do with the Iranian leader. You cannot ignore it. [...]Needless to say, the Iraq analogy is unconvincing considering Iraq had no nuclear weapons when it was illegally invaded and occupied by the United States eight years ago.
I think if the American people would realize that there is a force that is gaining in momentum and is coming after them, they will be able to fight. Today because it is so far away, so remote, people say, ‘Well we see what is happening in Afghanistan, in Iraq, we don’t want to go into another adventure.’ But Iran is different, because Iranian leadership speaks directly against the American people. You will be able to ignore it for a short while, but in the long term, you will have to face it.
And so, the Iran Nuclear Scare Timeline™ has been updated once again. And this time, Iran is set to establish a nuclear arsenal before Gregory S. Jones will even receive the first issue of his new MAD Magazine subscription.
Thanks to Cyrus Safdari of IranAffairs for the tip.
June 9, 2011 - According to the Washington Post's ThinkTanked blog, the RAND Corporation is now "distancing itself" from Jones' report on Iran. Allen McDuffee reports:
The report was produced by RAND adjunct staff member Gregory S. Jones, but not under the think tank’s auspices, as many media outlets have erroneously reported. The paper was published by the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. In a release, RAND said the paper “was not related to a RAND project and not reviewed for quality and objectivity by RAND.”Seems like you can't even warmonger in peace anymore.
RAND is clearly concerned about the potential repercussions of the report.Some media outlets have gone so far as to suggest that RAND, via the paper, advocated an attack on Iran to halt its development of nuclear materials. RAND has done no such thing. RAND is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to rigorous research and analysis, and we believe it is important to correct such errors in coverage.RAND recently produced a major report by Lynn E. Davis on U.S. policy options for deterring Iran.