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TOPIC: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true?

Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 24 Sep 2012 14:12 #615


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Here's the full interview.

I'm wondering about Ahmadinejad's language in the interview. It's very stilted. But presumably the interview was conducted through an interpreter employed by the Iranian government. It would have been smart for the Washington Post to provide an interpreter of their own, too, but all too often American organizations don't consider that what the interpreter does is crucial to the interview.

Anyway, Ahmadinejad's stilted language. I have a number of questions.
Is the stilted quality an artifact of the Persian language? Of the way the Iranian government (or Ahmadinejad) prefers to express it/himself?
Is the stilted quality a result of the interpreter's lack of facility with the English language? Or that lack on the part of a translator back in Iran who prepared the English version of Ahmadinejad's remarks, from which the interpreter was reading?
Is this stilted quality part of the official communications between Iran and the P5+1 negotiators? Some of Ahmadinejad's answers in this interview are very hard to understand and look meaningless. Where there are interpretable answers, they frequently throw the question back on Ignatius or say very little.

What I'm concerned about is that there is room for a lot of misunderstanding in this interview. And, in Iran's case, misunderstanding can be dangerous.
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 28 Sep 2012 13:14 #617


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According to the Philippine Times- China steps up on the issue of Iran's nuclear program:
China said Thursday it hopes to see an early start of a new round of talks on the Iranian nuclear issue, calling for efforts to seek early progress in that regard.

"The Iranian nuclear issue has reached a new crucial stage. The relevant parties should remain committed to a diplomatic solution and begin a new round of dialogue as soon as possible, "said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

"We should, acting in the spirit of respecting each other's concerns, showing flexibility and pragmatism, expanding common ground and overcoming differences, seek early progress in dialogue and negotiation and, over time, achieve a comprehensive, long-term and proper solution to the issue," he said. english.sina.com/china/2012/0928/511418.html
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 28 Sep 2012 18:05 #618


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New Yorker begins the Netanyahu Caption Contest - for those who are inspired to comment on Netanyahu's two-stage nuclear device presented at the UN last Thursday. www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/cartoonis...caption-contest.html
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 02 Oct 2012 18:07 #622


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9/28/12 CRS report: Israel: Possible Military Strike Against Iran’s Nuclear Facilities: Several published reports indicate that top Israeli decisionmakers are seriously considering
whether to order a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and if so, when. Twice in Israel’s
history, it has conducted air strikes aimed at halting or delaying what Israeli policymakers
believed to be efforts to acquire nuclear weapons by a Middle Eastern state—destroying Iraq’s
Osirak reactor in 1981 and a facility the Israelis identified as a reactor under construction in Syria
in 2007. Today, Israeli officials generally view the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran as an
unacceptable threat to Israeli security—with some describing it as an existential threat. This
report analyzes key factors that may influence Israeli political decisions relating to a possible
strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. These include, but are not limited to, the views of and
relationships among Israeli leaders; the views of the Israeli public; U.S., regional, and
international stances and responses as perceived and anticipated by Israel; Israeli estimates of the
potential effectiveness and risks of a possible strike; and responses Israeli leaders anticipate from
Iran and Iranian-allied actors—including Hezbollah and Hamas—regionally and internationally.
For Congress, the potential impact—short- and long-term—of an Israeli decision regarding Iran
and its implementation is a critical issue of concern. By all accounts, such an attack could have
considerable regional and global security, political, and economic repercussions, not least for the
United States, Israel, and their bilateral relationship. www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/R42443.pdf
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 03 Oct 2012 14:42 #623


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Per Oxford Research Group Fordo - uranium enrichment facility is the primary issue: The core issue is the construction of a substantial new heavily protected nuclear-related facility at Fordo in Central Iran. According to the IAEA (GOV/2012/23, 25/5/12) the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) is a 16-cascade uranium enrichment facility intended to have 3,000 gas centrifuges with the purpose of enriching uranium to a low-enriched level of 5% uranium-235 (for power reactors) and to a medium-enriched level of 20% (for isotope production by the Tehran Research Reactor [TRR]).

If the FFEP has a serious vulnerability, it will be to the new US Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), a 13.6-tonne air-dropped bomb with a 2.4-tonne explosive charge in a ferro-cobalt penetrating jacket (also termed the GBU-57A / B ). The first of an initial tranche of thirty has recently entered USAF service. It is deployed on the B-2 stealth bomber and can also be deployed on the B-52. In contested airspace the B-2 would be the preferred delivery platform. The MOP is reported to be capable of penetrating nearly 20 metres of reinforced concrete before detonating. In comparison with smaller earth penetrators this would imply an earth penetrating capability of 100 metres. Fordo is reported to be 60 to 90 metres underground but how much of this includes reinforced concrete is not in the public domain. What is clear, though, is that the new MOP is the only conventional weapon currently capable of putting the Fordo facility at serious risk and, furthermore, more robust versions are likely to be under development.
www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publicati...n_significance_fordo
Last Edit: 03 Oct 2012 14:43 by Susan.
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 08 Oct 2012 20:31 #624


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New ISIS report on Iran break out capability: If Iran decided to build nuclear weapons, it could use its existing safeguarded nuclear facilities and nuclear materials to produce weapon-grade uranium (WGU, uranium enriched to 90 percent U-235). Currently, ISIS assesses that Iran would require at least 2-4 months to produce one SQ of WGU at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant and would need to utilize its stocks of 3.5 and near 20 percent LEU.

This report evaluates scenarios, commonly called “breakout” or “dash” scenarios, by which Iran could produce enough WGU for one or more nuclear weapons. The authors use one significant quantity (SQ), defined as 25 kilograms of WGU, to represent the amount of WGU needed for a nuclear weapon.
read the report at: isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/doc...eakout_Potential.pdf

So the question then is - how long after converting the material would the IAEA inspectors know?
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 09 Oct 2012 15:40 #625


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Interesting article on Iran's 20% enriched uranium - Iranian nuclear scientist claims "Iran has demonstrated" its rejection of nuclear arms, Naqavi stated. The IAEA confirmed in its August 30 report that Iran had made U308 - uranium oxide - from 71.25 kilograms of its total of 190 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium produced until mid-August.

U308 is effectively off the table as a material for possible weapons production, IAEA experts say.

The powder is turned into fuel plates for the reactor, but it is complicated and dangerous to try to change the radioactive powder back into a gas state needed for the enrichment centrifuges, said an Iranian nuclear scientist, Rasoul Sediqi Bonabi, a professor at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran.

"Once converted into U3O8, it's not usable for producing bomb grade uranium and of little proliferation concern," Bonabi told The Associated Press.

Rapporteur of the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Hossein Naqavi said Tehran was taking a "serious and concrete confidence-building measure" by converting some of the 20 percent enriched stockpile into U3O8, or uranium oxide, in the form of powder.

He said the move is expected to facilitate talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) and pave the way for a diplomatic solution over Tehran's nuclear activities.

"Iran has demonstrated" its rejection of nuclear arms, Naqavi stated. www.equities.com/news/headline-story?dt=...al=569500&cat=energy

The question I have been unable to find an answer to is - whether or not it is difficult to convert from uranium oxide, U3O8, back to metal. Theoretically it would seem relatively straight forward - but nuclear materials can be difficult to work with.
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 15 Oct 2012 17:16 #642


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New Report by Oxford Research Group on the sanctions on Iran and the impact: excerpts - An important question, which sanctions advocates need to ponder, is how effective can the current sanctions strategy be in the medium to longer term, in the face of the recalcitrance of other major powers, namely Russia, India and China, to taking additional multilateral measures against Iran.

As alluded to above, Western sanctions are themselves constrained by divergent Great Power

The key dilemma, which Western policy-makers should consider, is that rightly or wrongly, the Supreme Leader and much of the governing elite have staked their legitimacy on the nuclear programme. This is one reason why Oxford Research Group, in consultation with former policy-makers and diplomats with direct experience of the Iranian nuclear file, emphasised that in order to reach a diplomatic solution, Iran should be offered a package with integrated ‘face-saving’ measures.[146] This briefing has also sought to make the case that sanctions and defiance are no replacement for serious diplomacy, which ultimately means that both sides must show their readiness to depart from their opening positions.

If Iran’s total submission and relinquishment of all right to uranium enrichment is the endgame, then sanctions are highly unlikely to succeed as long as the present governing elite remains in power. A compromise solution, however, remains feasible and not beyond the realm of possibility.

Another factor which should be considered is that Iran does not believe the U.S. is prepared to offer a deal that would be palatable to it, prior to Obama’s re-election. Similarly, it is doubtful that Ayatollah Khamenei, and Ahmadinejad’s domestic critics, would favour conclusion of a comprehensive deal with the P5+1, if it meant Ahmadinejad could claim it as a victory and capitalise on it domestically. The Iranians thus want to keep negotiations going, so that diplomatic contact is maintained until the arrival of the most apposite time to strike a deal. Iran’s economic turbulence of course impacts its plans in this regard, but nonetheless the aforementioned should be borne in mind.

If the objective is to curb and limit Iranian uranium enrichment activities, and ensure they remain peaceful, then the sequencing of any deal needs to be carefully weighted to promote a “balance of advantage” for both sides of the dispute

To read the report: www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publicati...ons_and_consequences
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 16 Oct 2012 02:08 #646


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The European Union toughened sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program on Monday 10/15/12), banning trade in industries like finance, metals and natural gas, and making other business transactions far more cumbersome.

The measures were the latest in a long series of sanctions from Europe, the United States and the United Nations Security Council, and were evidence of the worsening damage to Iran’s economy.

In a joint statement, European Union foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, expressed “serious and deepening concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.” They added that in continuing to enrich uranium, despite Western concerns that it is aiming for a bomb, Iran was “acting in flagrant violation of its international obligations.”

Ahead of the meeting, Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said: “We want to see a negotiated agreement. But we will continue to keep up the pressure.” www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/world/middlee...dit_au_20121015&_r=0
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 23 Oct 2012 00:28 #648


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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe-1 radio Sunday that unspecified experts "have established in an absolutely indisputable way" that Iran has compiled a full array of centrifuges that "apparently will allow the ability to go toward possession of the nuclear weapon by the first half of next year, the end of the first half." He did not elaborate.
(AP) Ihttp://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h65aXjKEgwmBzY5-eRPX9LEPjkOA
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 25 Oct 2012 15:42 #652


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ISIS reports: Any official Iranian announcement to make highly enriched uranium (uranium enriched more than 20 percent) should be seen as unacceptable. Iran should consider that many will view such a decision as equivalent to initiating a breakout to acquire nuclear weapons, reducing any chance for negotiations to work and potentially increasing the chances for military strikes and war. Before Iran announces official plans to make highly enriched uranium, the United States and the other members of the P5+1 should quietly but clearly state to Iran what it risks by producing highly enriched uranium under any pretext. October 25, 2012
Discouraging Any Iranian Decision to Produce Highly Enriched Uranium
By David Albright, Andrea Stricker, and Christina Walrond isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/disc...-enriched-uranium/#8

I guess that would rule out fuel for nuclear submarines...
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 28 Nov 2012 23:56 #669


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Okay - a number of people (Richard Silverstein, Nima Shirazi, Glenn Greenwald; Yousaf Butt and Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress) have taken turns on busting this one, but I think I've got a bit more to say.

The story, by the AP's George Jahn and datelined Vienna, is that "officials from a country critical of Iran's atomic program" leaked a diagram with some surrounding words in Arabic script that is said to be evidence that "Iran was calculating the 'nuclear explosive yield' of potential weapons." The graph is said to be part of the evidence on which the IAEA bases its concerns about an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Before we look at the diagram, it's worth noting that there are numerous "officials" of various countries who hang around the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. Some are officially associated with the IAEA or various countries' missions to the IAEA, and some are not. Jahn doesn't identify the country, but those of us who have been following any part of this story can make an informed guess: Israel. Silverstein says his "highly-placed Israeli source says that the diagram was stolen by the Mossad from an Iranian computer" and that "An independent source confirmed, in the article, that the diagram was the same one supplied by an unspecified intelligence agency (ahem, the Mossad) to the IAEA last year." He then concludes that "the Mossad is supplying the IAEA with much of the evidence it uses to evaluate Iran’s nuclear program," which I think goes further than the evidence of one diagram. If the Mossad had more evidence, and more damning evidence, then why not let it all out?

So far, it looks like someone in Israel, perhaps in the Mossad, found something that looked scarey and decided (or his bosses decided) that it was time for a bit more scare about Iran. Unfortunately, he didn't understand much of what he had.

Or is the document fabricated? From what Jahn says, he is presenting what was given to him by one source. As i understand it, journalists usually like to verify their material from at least two independent sources. That would mean someone other than the Israeli crowd in Vienna. Jahn quotes David Albright of ISIS, who seems dubious about the quality or meaning of the graph.

The diagram looks fairly standard, power and energy curves. According to Jahn, the caption is in Farsi and says "Changes in output and in energy released as a function of time through power pulse." I don't know Farsi, so I can't agree or disagree with that. However, I have drawn and seen power and energy curves for lasers, and they look much like this. Glenn Greenwald has found an example from another field. The difference is that the units here involve "kT," which could mean kilotons of TNT, as in nuclear weapons measurements.

Without context, it's impossible to know what this graph represents. It looks like it may have come from a book or paper produced with a program like Word, xeroxed many times. Some of the other debunkers think it looks hand-drawn; it's a little too nice for that, and the raggedy lines probably are from too much copying. Butt and Dalnoki-Veress say there is a mathematical error in the graph, which may point to poor work by the Iranians or that Jahn is being played by someone.

So let's take a worst-case look, that kT does indeed indicate a weapons calculation. This kind of frequency distribution is one of the simplest mathematical functions around, the kind of thing an undergraduate might take to start to try to understand nuclear weapons. It doesn't require complex Monte Carlo computations or knowing anything at all about neutronics or having a bomb design. It's more in the realm of "let's see what happens if we use these kinds of numbers."

It's possible that this is the outcome of a series of earlier calculations, but by no means does this single graph imply that.

On the other side of things, this is a single page from the IAEA's evidence. The IAEA must have a stronger case than this, and in their latest report noted that they have acquired more evidence. This single page neither supports nor undermines the IAEA's case. We would have to know much more about the evidence the IAEA has to conclude either way.

There are plenty of people who can evaluate material like this for the quality of the source and what the graph might mean. Jahn seems to have consulted none of them.
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 29 Nov 2012 12:30 #670

I'm enjoying this conversation and I think that all of the intelligence around Iran's efforts to build a bomb (or not) needs to be carefully reviewed. But I think there are larger myths that needs questioning. Many people urge the notion that if Iran gets nuclear weapons it will be the end of the world. Or at least the end of Israel. Or at least the rise of a formidable new power in the Middle East. I'm not sure any of that is true.

Iran is unlikely to use nuclear weapons for the same reason that others are unlikely to use nuclear weapons: using them would likely draw a nuclear counter strike. Either nuclear deterrence works or it doesn't. And the notion that Iran's leaders are crazy doesn't hold up. Ahmedinejad is not in charge (And he's not crazy, anyway. He's an inciter. Anyone who's ever taught high school recognizes the type.) No country has yet committed national suicide. And while the leaders of various countries have sometimes sent young men on suicidal missions (like Iran in the Iran/Iraq war, like Japan in World War II, like the charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War, or even like the United States in certain difficult military missions in World War II), I know of no instance of a country's leadership all going on a suicidal mission together.

If nuclear weapons automatically convert their holders into a politically powerful and influential nation, what the heck happened to Israel? How did nuclear weapons so conspicuously fail to convert Israel into a dominant force in the Middle East?

If Iran builds nuclear weapons they will find, as nine others have found before them, that nuclear weapons may make admirable symbols of power, but they have very little practical value.
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 29 Nov 2012 13:54 #671


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Playing the devils advocate - who is to say that Iran is modeling their future capability perhaps they are modeling another nations nuclear capability and estimating damage to their country if they come under nuclear attack. Iran has been threatened with potential war several times this past year by a country with nuclear weapons - Israel.

The yield is reported to be three times the Hiroshima bomb or roughly 60 kT which is rather high and optimistic for a first time nation even if they did receive nuclear weapons design information as part of their centrifuge agreement with Pakistan.

North Korea supposedly received the same nuclear weapons design information and the estimated yield from their nuclear test was low. Less that 5 kT.

Per the news: Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a diagram obtained by The Associated Press.
Last Edit: 29 Nov 2012 13:58 by Susan.
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 29 Nov 2012 17:39 #672


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Susan - Good point that the graph may pertain to another country entirely. The reporting on this has stayed within a rather narrow box, which is part of what I was trying to point out. For another example, Julian Borger today:
Apart from raising questions about the wisdom of publishing leaked documents on this subject from countries with big axes to grind, the Bulletin's critique raises concerns about the IAEA November report and the strength of the analysis underpinning it. Critics of the agency, like former inspector Bob Kelley, have claimed that the safeguards department lacks sufficient expertise in weaponry to make critical judgements.
It seems to be the same source who gave the dodgy graph to George Jahn who claimed that it was part of the IAEA dossier. If he's unreliable on the graph, he's unreliable on everything.

Get a grip, guys!
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 29 Nov 2012 18:24 #673


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Continuing the guessing game of what Jahn's graph might represent, a friend who has worked in containment of nuclear weapons tests tells me that the standard way of referring to yield, kilotons, is usually represented kt, not kT. He points out that kT is a measure of thermal energy, which should have occurred to a chemist like me, since PV = nRT (sometimes nkT) is drummed into our heads from the very beginning.

That goes back to my comment about lasers. The pulse length of a few tenths of a microsecond corresponds to many chemical lasers, although the general trend has been to make the pulses much shorter.

The reported caption, "Changes in output and in energy released as a function of time through power pulse," would be appropriate for a laser. Laser people are always trading off energy and power and worry about stuff like this. And the orders of magnitude discrepancy noted by Yousaf Butt and Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress might be explained by the use of different units for power and energy. That's admittedly a bit of a stretch, but the purposes of laser power and energy can be different and therefore different units may be used. The text would tell us that.

And this is not a very powerful laser, if that is indeed what it is.
Last Edit: 29 Nov 2012 18:27 by Cheryl. Reason: added last sentence.
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 29 Nov 2012 19:04 #674


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A helpful Facebook friend points out that nuclear detonations seem to be measured in nanoseconds rather than microseconds. Another lean toward the laser interpretation.
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 29 Nov 2012 21:34 #675


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A discussion with another friend suggests that the choice of a zero point for the graph affects how we read the timeline if it's for a nuclear weapon. And we don't know what that choice was.
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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 30 Nov 2012 22:57 #676


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Re: Iran Nuclear Mythbusters - starting a Forum to actively take specific claims and ask - is this true? 01 Dec 2012 00:28 #678


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Q. "How did nuclear weapons so conspicuously fail to convert Israel into a dominant force in the Middle East?"

A. Dominance was never their purpose.

Careful with that tricky language we use, please.
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