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Four Top Experts Declare Iran ‘Nuclear-Ready State’

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Four prominent nuclear experts have determined that Iran is now a “nuclear-ready state” with international ballistic missile capabilities that can reach the U.S. Their article comes as Iran launches a satellite into space; an action often seen as a cover for missile testing. New aerial photos also discovered a long-range missile and launcher in Iran that can threaten Europe.

“The fact of Iran's ICBM capability and their proximity to nuclear weapons necessitates that Iran be regarded as a nuclear missile state — and as a menace to the entire world — right now,” they write.

The four experts are:

  • Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, former director of the Strategic Defense Initiative;
  • Fritz Ermarth, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council;
  • Dr. William Graham, chairman of the Congressional EMP Commission;
  • Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security for the Congressional Caucus on EMP and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum.

The four experts’ article notes that former IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen said on January 20 that Iran can now build a nuclear weapon in as little as two or three weeks. The IAEA states that Iran is still not granting inspectors complete access to suspicious facilities or addressing evidence of secret weapons development.

The agency also admits it cannot be relied upon to guarantee transparency from the Iranians. One of its report says, “The Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Once Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it needs a ballistic missile with an appropriately sized warhead. Iran’s efforts in this regard continue unabated because its missile program is not covered under the interim agreement with the U.S. It also does not address work outsourced to North Korea and Syria.

The experts state that Iran has successfully launched satellites into space that weigh over a ton; the required capability for launching an ICBM tipped with a nuclear warhead. They observe that Iran’s satellites are orbited along the southern path that can evade American missile detection and defense systems.

The satellite launch that took place on January 2 is the first since 2012 and the fourth overall. It was done to commemorate the anniversary of the overthrow of the Shah; a rather tame way of celebrating a victory if the launch is truly only about taking nice pictures.

If Iran has the ability to produce the highly enriched uranium necessary for the “fuel” for a nuclear bomb, as well as the ICBM technology, then what else does it need?

It needs a miniaturized warhead that can fit onto the ICBM. Dr. Peter Vincent Pry told the Clarion Project that we do not know for sure if Iran has accomplished this, but “building a multi-stage missile capable of orbiting satellites that weigh over one ton is a bigger technological challenge than warhead miniaturization.”

Iran has succeeded in making non-nuclear warheads for its other ballistic missiles so the general concepts have been mastered. The IAEA confirms it has solid evidence that Iran has worked on nuclear warheads for its missiles and its denials lack credibility.

Iran has designs for a nuclear warhead and has done related testing. In 2003, Iran conducted at least one large test of explosives necessary for a warhead. Iran is also suspected of researching how to construct the nuclear fuel compartment of a warhead in 2008-2009.

In addition, South Korea believes North Korea has almost mastered the ability to miniaturize nuclear heads; a capability that would inevitably be passed to the Iranians. The commander of U.S. forces in South Korea is of the opinion that North Korea has already completed this step.

Iran also needs to develop the nuclear triggering mechanisms to spark a detonation. The IAEA knows that Iran has been working on nuclear implosion technology, including testing the neutron initiators that kick off an explosion.

Dr. Pry emphasized to the Clarion Project that the U.S. built nuclear weapons relatively quickly over 50 years ago. Iran has likewise been trying to develop nukes for decades and has the advantage of massive amounts of publicly available science, the black market and significant help from nuclear-armed partners.

“Moreover, Reza Kahlili, the only CIA operative who ever penetrated the scientific wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has reported extensively that Iran received tactical nuclear weapons from Russia and that Iran is building nuclear weapons in underground facilities that are inaccessible to the IAEA,” Pry said.

He continued, “Given all this, it seems extremely implausible that Iran has not been able to accomplish in over 20 years what the U.S. achieved during World War Two in merely 3 years. The preponderance of evidence indicates that Iran probably already has nuclear weapons.”

There will be those who downplay the threat by assuming that an Iranian nuclear attack would do very limited damage and is an unlikely event because of America’s retaliatory capacities. Such voices are unfamiliar with what is called “EMP;” the acronym for Electro-Magnetic Pulse.

The nuclear EMP threat is discussed in the Clarion Project’s documentary, Iranium. You can watch the relevant segment from our film below. You also can watch a comprehensive webinar with Dr. Pry here and my written interview with Dr. Pry here.

The basic premise of a nuclear EMP attack is that a country could detonate one or two nuclear weapons somewhere between 25 and 300 miles above the U.S. and throw the country back to the Stone Age overnight by destroying the country's electrical equipment. The government-sanctioned EMP Threat Commission verified the science behind this threat and estimated that a majority of Americans would perish if there was a successful attack.

The Iranian regime has been seen apparently simulating an EMP attack by firing missiles from an average seaborne vessel. And, as the four experts mention, congressional testimony in December 2014 revealed that an official Iranian military document mentioned the effectiveness of this type of attack at least 20 times and specifically talked about using it against the U.S.

A Department of Homeland Security report warns that North Korea is also capable of an EMP attack on America. Dr. Pry says that North Korea may be testing a "super-EMP" weapon based on Russian expertise.

The experts are urging Congress to pass two pieces of legislation: The SHIELD Act and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act.

The SHIELD Act would protect the American infrastructure in the event of an EMP incident, such as a deliberate nuclear EMP assault or a major geomagnetic storm from a solar flare. It is estimated that the 300 most critical transformers could be hardened from an EMP attack for $100-200 million. The top 1,000 transformers can be protected for $500 million. Protecting the entire grid would require a budget of about $2 billion.

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act adds an EMP incident as a National Planning Scenario, preparing the government and emergency services across the country for the possibility. This would educate workers and make them ready to respond if this disaster were to occur.

The experts are also advising the U.S. government to upgrade its nuclear weapons stockpile to deter enemies, expand the coverage of the National Missile Defense system and to covertly encourage a revolution inside Iran to topple the regime.

Americans need to tell their congresspersons that they care about this issue and to vigorously support these initiatives. Major donors to candidates should be educated. Presidential contenders should be asked about the threat at public forums with cameras rolling.

The EMP threat must become a major issue in the 2016 election cycle. Once the public understands this issue, related situations like the Iranian nuclear program will be seen a new, more urgent light. 

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org