Helen Caldicott, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 February 2012
The devastating spectre of war looms again. Just as the US manufactured “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, so certain political factions in the US and Israel are intent on creating international panic by claiming Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear power.
This is despite the fact that the two most recent US National Intelligence Estimates – representing the judgment of the best senior officers from the main intelligence agencies – state there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb since 2003.
Mohamed ElBaradei the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said: “During my time at the agency we haven’t seen a shred of evidence that Iran has been weaponising, in terms of building nuclear-weapons facilities and using enriched materials. I am not God … and I don’t know the future intentions of Iran, but I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger.
”All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran. The core issue is mutual lack of trust …” What is clear is that the non-proliferation treaty is seriously flawed.
Under article IV, Iran is legally entitled to enrich uranium and to reprocess nuclear waste to obtain plutonium – both materials that can be utilised as fuel for nuclear weapons.
What scenarios have been contemplated by the US and/or Israel?
The US says it will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the treaty and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations, but recent nefarious interpretations of Iran’s activities leaves open the possibility of a US attack, while nuclear-armed Israel has fostered plans to attack Iranian nuclear facilities for years.
Conventional ”bunker busters” are not powerful enough to penetrate deeply and with enough power to effectively incapacitate Iran’s underground nuclear facilities but nuclear bunker busters would be, and the US Nuclear Posture Review legitimises such use of tactical nuclear weapons.
A study by Physicians for Social Responsibility estimated that the use of three B61-11 nuclear weapons on uranium enrichment facilities in Natanz and Isfahan would release so much radiation that 2.6 million people would die in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India in 48 hours from radiation sickness while 10.5 million would later perish from cancer and radiation-induced disease.
Any military attacks on uranium enrichment facilities would induce catastrophic medical peril to millions of innocent people.