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Iran should be made to abandon all nuclear activities

REUTERS/Ruben Sprich
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif spoke during the nuclear negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland.

So we have a historic agreement with Iran and may start celebrating – or do we? Let’s try what high school AP history teaches us to do – analyze the world political situation and then examine the documents.

The main question is: Does Iran want to possess nuclear weapons? The answer to this is obvious – yes, it does. There is no economic reason for Iran to even have nuclear power, considering the world’s moving toward reducing oil consumption and Iran’s oil resources. But even if Iran wanted to have a peaceful use for nuclear energy, it would be much cheaper to acquire enriched uranium abroad than produce it. In addition, if this program were entirely peaceful, there would have been no reason to start it in secrecy and guard it so closely.

It’s important to understand why Iran wants nukes. Unlike Israel, Iran doesn’t need a nuclear bomb for security, since it is clear that no one will attack it, but nuclear weapons give tremendous clout and influence and practical impunity for anything. For example, North Korea sank a South Korean ship and nothing happened, and there is no doubt that the world would have let Saddam have Kuwait had he had nukes. And Iran wants to dominate the Middle East and spread its “revolution.” The opposite is also true: Those who do not have nukes are doomed – just look at Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. That makes it obvious that nuke quest is much more important to Iran than lifting sanctions (otherwise, Iran would have given up nukes long ago).

Now that Iran’s intentions are explained, we can look at the world’s goals. Everyone agrees that Iran should not have nukes, but some care less than others. Clearly, Russia and China do not see Iran’s nukes as a direct threat to them (and may even consider it a thorn in America’s side that is worth allowing if we take into account current US-Russia relations and the Ukrainian affair) and their interests are purely economical: China wants cheaper oil and Russia wants to sell more reactors to Iran. So in real life, it was not 5+1 vs. Iran but 3+1 vs. Iran+2. And even Europe thinks more about economic benefits than security and principles – that is why it took so long to persuade the EU to impose sanctions. However, one doesn’t need to go far to find countries opposed to this deal – they are all Iran’s neighbors. In fact, President Barack Obama managed to do what no one could before: Israel and Saudi Arabia are allies against Iran.

A deal became more important than its contents

What’s worse, for Obama this became so political that the fact of a deal became more important than what’s inside the deal because, unfortunately, he wanted this deal more than anyone else; while for Iran this was a purely economic issue (lifting sanctions would be nice if they can keep the program but by no means a thing of life and death – Iranians are not dying from hunger yet), for Obama it is a question of achieving the most important (and, in truth, the only) summit in his foreign policy and, which may be even more important, avoiding using military force in his remaining years in the office. So we can only guess how much Iran has been allowed to get away with lately in order not to upset it and ruin the chances for an agreement.

So getting back to the deal itself, it is hard to understand why after almost two years of negotiations it was necessary to have eight straight days of talking at the end to agree on something – couldn’t they find those eight extra days before? And with that question comes an uneasy thought that anything that is agreed in such a hurry at the last moment cannot be good for the most eager party. Of course, the praise for this agreement from the left (and even from the right – Patrick Buchanan, for example) is deafening and so is the condemnation from the other side (a note to the left: Thank the Republican senators’ letter that forced Iran to agree to a better deal in hope that it would not be rejected).

But, surprisingly, there is no signed agreement and all we know about it comes from a paper that the White House put together. I doubt many people actually read it, but it can be found here and it is obvious that Iran would have never agreed to it since it refers to nuclear weapons that Iran denies even seeking. So, at best, it is Obama’s understanding of the agreement and, at worst, it is his wish list spun as an agreement, so no wonder Iran has presented a completely different version.

Let’s look at some details here, assuming we can take this document at its face value. I will concentrate on the presumably agreed items and will avoid bringing up multiple holes and omissions, such as what will happen to existing and future enriched uranium in excess of allowed limit and when exactly the sanctions will be lifted, that should ostensibly be discussed later.

The rest of centrifuges will be stored

Iran will reduce the number of operational centrifuges but the rest will not be destroyed – just stored for 10 years, after which Iran will be free to use them again. Based apparently on the number of centrifuges and the amount of enriched uranium (which, by the way, has no civilian application for Iran at the moment), it states that the breakout time will be increased to one year; even if we believe this estimate, it will be in place, again, for 10 years only. The reinforced underground Fordo facility will practically stay intact, so any limitations imposed on what Iran can do there may be reversed in a snapshot. And, of course, saying that this facility will be converted so it can be used for peaceful purposes only is meaningless since Iranians would claim that their entire program is peaceful and no conversion is necessary. In addition, the agreement seems to allow Iran to continue its research with some limitations to be in place for the same ten years only.

The monitoring provisions seem to completely omit any mention of snap inspections, which are crucial. But even the regular inspection stipulations may seem very questionable considering that Iran did not allow inspectors at certain sites in the past and this agreement said nothing about that. In fact, this agreement says nothing about all of the outstanding issues that IAEA has with Iran’s previous activities, which may be a hint that Iran will not be hard-pressed to explain it.

The sanctions relief is promised as soon as Iran complies with the agreement — which, even under the best interpretation, may happen within a year or even sooner. Of course, the previous U.N. resolutions will be canceled, thus providing full legitimacy to all past Iranian activities and rewarding it for creating “facts on the ground.” (By the way, that is the term constantly used, with great contempt, for Israel’s settlements and it is always accompanied by requests to cease, desist, and dismantle.) After that, all new Security Council resolutions demanding something of Iran will need approval from Russia and China, making it highly unlikely that anything remotely disadvantaging Iran will be included and rendering a statement that in case of Iran’s bad behavior all previous sanctions will be re-imposed absurd, since no automatic trigger is mentioned.

What we have now is insignificant and flawed

It was said many times that it was unrealistic to expect Iran to give it all up if we consider Iranian pride and insecurities (what about Israel’s pride and insecurity?). But what we have now is both insignificant (because so many details will still have to be agreed upon) and flawed (because it leaves all Iranian nuclear-related infrastructure intact, thus practically guaranteeing that after expiration in 10 years Iran will have nukes); 10 years is a very short time, and hopes that Iran will change from within are naïve at best. But Iran may get a bomb even earlier because, after all the sanctions are lifted, it will effectively have free rein since expecting the world to do anything within a one-year breakout period is unrealistic.

It’s not too late to demand that Iran abandon all nuclear activities in accordance with U.N. resolutions because it lost its rights for peaceful use when it developed this program in secrecy. This should be the goal, just what Obama said three years ago he would do.

Ilya Gutman is an immigrant from the Soviet Union who now lives and works in Marshall, Minnesota.  


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Comments (42)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 04/08/2015 - 08:21 am.

    Interesting story

    But it’s only a story. There are lots of opinions floating about as to how good this “deal” is and how much danger Israel is in because of it. Some of it is informed, some of it is purely made up–like the part about how Iran MUST want nukes. I’m not convinced.

    The reality of the situation is that all we have is an OUTLINE for a full agreement to be reached sometime before June. In any case, the all or nothing concept for a deal is a non-starter. And, even if any deal puts Israel in danger, the sad truth is that Netanyahu has hammered the war drums so long and we’ve poured so much money and effort into Israel, lots of Americans just don’t care. Including me. I’m of the mind that Israel can act like a mature nation rather than an undersized bully, and I’m tired of a good chunk of my tax dollars funding the bad behavior while my political opponents would prefer to punish poor Americans than stop funding the bully.

  2. Submitted by Brian Stricherz on 04/08/2015 - 08:28 am.

    Bold statements without any backing whatsoever.

    “Does Iran want to possess nuclear weapons? The answer to this is obvious – yes, it does.”

    “…Iran doesn’t need a nuclear bomb for security, since it is clear that no one will attack it…”

    Holy cow, what standards does MinnPost require for “community voices” submissions?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/08/2015 - 09:29 am.

      “…Iran doesn’t need a nuclear bomb for security, since it is clear that no one will attack it…”

      If that’s not rhetorical sarcasm masquerading as a debate point, I don’t know what is… granted, they seem to form the basis of most of Mr. Gutman’s arguments.

      I would also point out that their primary military adversary, Iraq, was invaded and destroyed by the US, vastly increasing their power and authority in the region. If you didn’t want a region dominated by Iran, we probably shouldn’t have decimated their biggest enemy. Twice.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/08/2015 - 01:41 pm.

        The point is …

        To be effective, the Iranian people need to hear the promise from a credible source. The Mullahs and Jihadists aren’t deterred by the threat of retaliation, but the people in the street might be.

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/08/2015 - 06:34 pm.

          This was supposed to be

          in reply to Neal Rovick’s comments below.

          • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/08/2015 - 08:26 pm.

            You might be surprised that the Israeli nuke threat to Iran is pretty common knowledge in Iran.

            In fact, it is pretty much the main driver in Iran’s thinking on nukes.

            Gosh, a state that wants nuclear parity with a state that constantly calls for it’s destruction.

            Sauce, goose, gander ???

            • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/08/2015 - 10:05 pm.

              Let’s talk facts

              Mr. Rovick, has Israel ever suggested that it wants to annihilate Iran? Do you have examples? If anything, it just wants to destroy its nuclear facilities. Iran, on the other hand, wants to destroy Israel and does not accept its right to exist. Is it so difficult to see the difference?

              • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/09/2015 - 08:02 am.

                You may think you have a clear view of what Israel’s intentions are with respect to Israel’s nuclear weapons.

                It’s another matter what the Iranians think about Israeli nuclear capacities. Pair that with Israel’s constant drumming for strikes on Iran and the picture become much different.

                Fill in the following sentences:

                Israel built it’s nuclear weapons stockpile with the purpose of…..

                Israel wants no-one else in the region to have nuclear programs because….

                Unbalanced power demands balancing.

                That is the driving impetus of the nuclear question in the middle east.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/08/2015 - 09:22 am.

    All presidential candidates should make it clear

    that a nuclear attack on Israel will be met by U.S. forces with a retaliatory nuclear counter-attack upon all Iranian installations including her cities.

    We can’t expect such leadership from Obama, of course, so it will fall to the next president to make such a promise.

    Standing by to keep such a promise was how I made my living in the 1970s. It seems to have worked.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/08/2015 - 12:11 pm.

      Perhaps you don’t know that Israel has it’s own doomsday quintet of subs ready to fire off nuclear cruise missiles even after a devastating attack on Israel. Plus lots of land-based nuclear missiles, bombers and tactical weapons.

      Now who has been calling repeatedly for attacks on Iran?

      Would it be a nuclear armed-Israel?

      So don’t worry about poor little defenseless Israel too much.

      They got their retaliation already planned.

  4. Submitted by Colin Brownlow on 04/08/2015 - 09:47 am.

    And just how do you propose to do that

    Pretty bold assertion Ms. Gutman. Just how do you propose to do that. – “Iran should be made to abandon all nuclear activities.” Negotiations backed by crippling sanctions perhaps? That’s exactly what’s happening now. And that produced an agreement – perhaps not what you consider adequate, but an agreement never the less. Could a better deal have been obtained through the current process – maybe, but doubtful.

    So what are the other alternatives. Ramp up sanctions perhaps? By all accounts the sanctions on Iran are already substantial and are having a dramatic impact on the Iranian economy and people. More draconian sanctions risk complete isolation of Iran and creation of a nuclear armed rogue state with no international accountability.

    Perhaps you’d like to see military action. Lets look at that a bit more carefully. Iran is not some sort of patsy. It is a heavily armed state, with a dedicated professional military. Iran is not going to take any sort of military assault lightly. The consequences or military intervention, are seldom clean cut, often messy and almost always unpredictable. Do we really want to create even more chaos in the middle east, with some sort of military intervention in Iran?

    Given the limited alternatives available, I think the 6+1 process worked.

    One other point, not quite related to the points raised above. Have you ever been involved in negotiations? Negotiations often go down to or even past the wire. Marathon bargaining sessions are the norm, not the exception. That holds true whether you’re talking about labour negotiations, real estate deals, or international treaties. Nothing sinister about that, just human nature.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/08/2015 - 11:23 am.

    “Made to”?

    Too bad Iraq is a sovereign nation and not an unruly teenager. “Making” nations do what you want them to do isn’t typically practical. The conservative delusion that you can simply “discipline” your way out of a problem strikes again.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/08/2015 - 08:11 pm.


      I know that’s merely a typo (an understandable one at that), it reminded me of those bumper stickers from the early aughts that looked like an odometer, the first three letters, I R A, with the fourth being stuck between an N and Q.

      The declarations this time around, from the usual suspects, sound exactly the same, no?

  6. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/08/2015 - 08:08 pm.


    Ms. Kahler, I am glad you liked the story but, as you should have noticed, it was not about Israel at all (the only reason I mentioned it was to show that the way Iran is treated is completely different from the way Israel is treated showing how prejudiced the world is against Israel and how accommodating it is towards Iran for the world’s specific political and economic reasons). But in order to show that Iran does not want nukes you should show where my logic is incorrect and you have not done it. As for who is a bully and mature nation and whose behavior is bad, have you heard of Hamas, Assad, Hezbollah, ISIS, China, Russia, North Korea, etc.? Imagine yourself living under the threat of terrorism at any time at any place… And yes, it is an outline but it clear that the final agreement cannot be better than this outline – only worse – and this outline, as I showed, is already bad enough to allow Iran to have nukes.

    Mr. Stricherz, I understand that you do not want to read anything that contradicts your point of view but, you know, it is a tradition in America, to the best of my knowledge. And I devoted the entire paragraph to prove my point of view and you have not provided anything that proves my analysis wrong.

    Mr. Ecklund, if you want to point out that my suggestion that Iran does not need to fear an attack is wrong because Iraq was attacked, I would like to remind you that Iraq was in violation of many UN resolutions, was killing its own people, and was threatening the countries around it. So, yes, if Iran wants to do all those things, it may be attacked but if your point is that this is exactly what Iran wants to do and that is why it wants a bomb, there is even more reason not to let it have it by any means possible, including, yes, bombing it.

    Mr. Rovick, I hope Israel does have the ways to annihilate Iran if necessary but is that what you want in the Middle East – an all out nuclear war? Won’t it be smarter to rid Iran of nukes to prevent that catastrophic possibility? You see, sometimes it helps to look ahead and plan for that and even do something to prevent bad things in the future even if that something may not look attractive. Europe learned that lesson the hard way.

    Mr. Brownlow, first of all, I am sure it would have been possible to have a better deal even during this negotiation process if only Obama was not that willing to accept anything just to have something – I made that point already in my article. For example, extra sanctions could have helped because in theory Iran should be more in need of a deal than America – but unfortunately, with Obama, it was the other way around. I remember long ago everyone was saying that Iran is a net importer of gasoline because it doesn’t have enough refinery capacity; so what happened with stopping export of gas to Iran? And saying that more sanctions risk creation a rogue nuclear state is illogical: if Iran would not give up nukes to avoid stronger sanctions, how can we expect it to give it up to avoid milder sanctions? And of course the only reason Iran agreed on something now is that it does not require it to give up nukes – at worst they will have to wait 10-12 years, as Obama himself admitted–politics.html.

    As for military action’s consequences, imagine if FDR were thinking of them in 1941… Yes, wars have negative consequences but not going to wars sometime have much greater negative consequences. And if America cannot deal with Iranian military, what can it do? On the other hand, remember that Saddam and Kaddafi bragged that they would bury Americans if they come? And it is impossible to create more mess in the Middle East unless Iran America allows Iran to get stronger and get nukes which will be the consequence of this agreement.

    Yes, I do know that negotiations go to the wire during marathon sessions.. but not after two years of preliminary negotiations…

    All, please try to argue with my specific point – that would be more productive than just dismissing everything outright without any proof.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/09/2015 - 08:09 am.

      Mr Gutman says……Mr.

      Mr Gutman says…

      …Mr. Rovick, I hope Israel does have the ways to annihilate Iran……

      Need there be any more questions as to what drives Iran’s nuclear desires?

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 04/09/2015 - 09:06 am.

      Interesting =/= like

      Hamas, Assad, Hezbollah, ISIS — none are nations, let alone mature nations. Bullies, yes. (Maybe I’ll give you Assad, but he’s a person, not a nation.)

      China, Russia — Yep, they’re bullies and mature nations. I see China shifting toward more civility and Russia shifting away. But…what’s that got to do with Iran? I suspect they’d prefer an agreement rather than a war. Iran’s much closer to them than we are.

      North Korea — Bully, but definitely not a mature nation, which is probably why Mr. Kim swaggers so much. But still, what’s that got to do with Iran?

      Israel — Has everything to do with Iran in light of our relationship to both Iran and Israel. If it weren’t for Israel, we’d likely give far less of a hoot about Iran. Or, at least, we wouldn’t be so publicly negative about it. After all, Iran is a sometimes ally…when it’s convenient for both parties…in the midst of the political and religious mess that is the Middle East. And we really like oil–probably the only thing we’re interested in out of Iran but don’t buy because of the embargo. Claiming that Israel is moot in light of any agreement that the US has with Iran is laughable. Have you forgotten already what happened in Congress? If not for Israel, we wouldn’t bother with trying to rein in Iran. The other negotiators have a lot more to fear due to geography.

  7. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/09/2015 - 06:22 pm.

    Let’s argue about facts and my logic

    Mr. Rovick, Iranians are not stupid – they surely understand that Israel has no animosity towards Iran or Iranians – it was very close to the shah’s Iran – so Israel is not a threat to Iran. Iran, on the other hand, doesn’t even accept Israel’s existence and wants to destroy it and has stated it clearly many times. Are you denying the facts? The only reason Israel referred to attacking Iran is to prevent it from getting nuclear weapons with which it may attack Israel. As soon as Iran gets rid of nuclear weapons, Israel will stop calling for attack on Iran. Do you really disagree with that?

    Now let’s finish your sentences: Israel built (its) nuclear weapons stockpile with the purpose of….. showing its mortal enemies in the region who attacked it many times that it will not be destroyed (and that was done long before 1979). Israel wants no-one else in the region to have nuclear programs because… it does not trust its neighbors (and rightfully so) and especially Iran. And why do you think the Gulf States are so afraid of Iran’s nukes and will definitely build their own if Iran has it while they never bothered with that because of Israel’s nukes? So saying that Iran wants nukes because Israel has them is like saying that Pakistan got nukes because Israel has them (except Pakistan got India to worry about and Iran has no one).

    By the way, are you saying that Iran wants nukes because I said that I hope Israel has means to destroy Iran? France can destroy Austria with its nukes – is Austria worried?

    Ms. Kahler, you are again going off topic. I said that Israel has very little to do with my position in this case – if it didn’t exist, Iran’s nukes were as bad for the world as they are now. You still did not provide a single argument to prove me wrong on my position on Iran.

    You are right to certain degree – all those bad actors I listed do not have much to do with my Iran’s position but, as I said, neither does Israel. You were the one who brought up Israel, insulting it along the way, not me. That is why I mentioned those bad actors (even though Iran’s having nukes will embolden those bad guys). So I do not care what the Congress is doing and why it is referring to Israel – I was giving my position and it is not driven by Israel’s interests – there are plenty of other reasons not to allow Iran to have nukes. Of course, it is also morally right to defend the only democracy in the Middle East and also the one that everyone there wants to destroy. Aren’t you, as a liberal, always supporting “the little guy?”

    And finally, what does oil have to do with that? No logic here whatsoever. By the way, as a mental exercise, imagine Iraq grabbing Kuwait under the umbrella of nukes… and then Bahrain, and then Qatar, and so on…

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 04/10/2015 - 08:41 am.

      Just following your lead

      This is the comment board. I commented on your position in light of the position of the United States of America since there’s little likelihood that any individual has any authority over international affairs. Further, since you are commenting on a potential agreement between the US et al. and Iran, then it is relevant to talk about the position and political direction of at least the US, if not the other signatory countries. Finally, as our risk from Iran is much smaller than a lot of other countries, it’s important to understand why we would bother to deal with Iran at all (Israel, Israel, Israel). So, in light of all that, I am entirely on point. It seems that you intend to discourage any dissenting comments by claiming that your opinion is superior to the opinion of others. Though you have no support of your positions, you expect others to provide proof of what’s in the hearts and minds of Iran’s leaders. You can’t logic your way in and out of someone else’s beliefs, so it is sufficient to respond to your opinion of what Iran wants with “how do you know?” The burden of proof is on you as the originator of the argument. If you believe that your opinion should be accepted without viewing the larger issues, I recommend that you stick to talking to people who agree with you. And it’s a wee bit obnoxious to lead a person down a rabbit trail and then scold them for following.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/13/2015 - 07:19 pm.

      Facts and logic?

      Sorry Mr. G. seems good logical and fair facts is not your strong suit. Talking around or walking away from logic and principles is. Point being, by political design you are predisposed against an open minded discussion.

      Liberals: By definition are more open minded and open to change.
      “not opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted”

      Conservatives: By definition tend to be more closed minded and against change.
      :”not liking or accepting changes or new ideas”

      Unless of course you have a logical argument to prove Webster has their definition wrong?

  8. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/09/2015 - 09:20 pm.

    Times change, outlooks change.

    Think of France with Lebrun and Austria under Hitler.

    Or Napoleon of France and the Austrian Emperor.

    Various parties, different times, different outlooks.

    You’re somewhat out of touch if you think that Iranians should like Israel because the Shah and Israel had a good thing going.

    And you are delusional if an enemy that could destroy you has weapons that you don’t, but you don’t care

    I recognize that with you, the sun rises and sets at the will of Israel, but a large portion of the world sees another view.

  9. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 04/09/2015 - 11:51 pm.

    When the initial writer of this article

    demands conformity in response to comments, much is absent here as a credible point of view… something is lacking in such a presentation in Communitiy Voices? But then too, one could say such an expose has its positive side in the exposure of that position by the writer of the article?

    I recently found a new voice in a study by one Gerald J Wanjohi in his critique of a portion of Martin Buber’s (Jewish philosopher )and his reflection on Buber’s words on the subject, the interpretation of what is ‘propaganda’:

    “The propagandist in this case is concerned with the person he desires to influence; individual qualities are important to him in as far as he can exploit them to win the other person. Political methods, especially when they are exercised with severity, aim only at winning power by depersonalizing him” Wanjohi’s – which reflects the position of Buber – that interpretation is a powerful one ; you may think otherwise…so it goes…

  10. Submitted by jason myron on 04/10/2015 - 03:10 pm.

    I nodded off after coming to this bit of circular logic…

    “There is no economic reason for Iran to even have nuclear power, considering the world’s moving toward reducing oil consumption and Iran’s oil resources”

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/10/2015 - 03:36 pm.

      Easy to understand

      The author seems to think that Iran should use its oil for its domestic energy needs, rather than export. The environmental consequences of burning more fossil fuels are Hockey stick! It snowed today!

      The economic consequences of removing so much oil from the global market, and the possibility that this increased supply could lower oil prices still further, are not addressed.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 04/10/2015 - 04:59 pm.

        Which is par for the course

        on virtually everything Mr. Gutman writes. I’m seriously baffled as to why he has been granted so many of these opportunities. One or two I can understand, but at this point, I’m beginning to think that someone at Minnpost lost a bet.

  11. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/10/2015 - 07:45 pm.

    Relevant and irrelevant

    Ms. Kahler, of course you are free to say what you think but I presented my position on why a deal is bad and expected the discussion to be more or less about that. Saying that some Americans are against that deal because of Israel is, first, irrelevant to the topic being discussed (since nowhere I justified my position by Israel’s security) and, second, illogical (since Obama is saying that it is exactly this deal that is good for Israel) so Israel’s needs may be used both ways and do not prove or disprove the value of this deal.

    But when it comes to discussion, I do want to hear dissenting opinions because that may lead to better understanding (and, if you notice, I always respond to them) but dissenting opinion should be on topic. If I am saying that this is a bad agreement for such and such reason, saying that Israel is the main reason for American actions (again, not clear, supporting an agreement or disagreeing with it) does not add anything and is not even a dissenting opinion since I did not present my point on this. So yes, the burden of proof is on me and I did that but I expect others to argue with my logic, not bring up some irrelevant issues. For example, if I say that buying a house at certain price in certain area is bad because other houses there cost less and are better, saying that it is Israel’s fault that house prices are high is irrelevant.

    Mr. Rovick, I do not think that Iranians should like Israel (or anyone else for that matter) – I really do not care who they like. But if Iranian government hates Israel to such a degree that it wants to destroy it – we all should care (by the way, I always wonder how a UN member state may not recognize another UN member state (the entire state, not specific government) – shouldn’t it be a requirement for any country to recognize all other UN members?). As for an enemy, Iran was the one which became Israel’s enemy first and then created Israel as an enemy; and as soon as Iran stops being Israel’s enemy, Israel will stop being Iran’s enemy – it is all in Iran’s hands. Anyway, you have not responded to any of my questions to you and it is easy to see why: While I did not bring Israel up in this discussion (thus making your statement about my preferences unfounded), you threw Israel at me making your approach clear: Israel is the source of all evil in the world (which is very similar to the position of the extreme right).

    Ms. John-Knudson, I do not demand anything and for sure not conformity as I pointed out earlier. But how can you say that my point of view is not credible if you did not disprove a single argument of mine? Just because you do not want me to be right? I always talk about facts and logical conclusion from them so to prove me wrong you have only two ways: disprove my facts or my logic and you haven’t even attempted either of them.

    Mr. Holbrook, all I said was that economically it is unreasonable for Iran to build nuclear power plants instead of using fossil fuel for its electricity needs. And how can removing oil from global market result in increased supply?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/13/2015 - 09:30 am.

      Inartfully worded

      Thank you for drawing this to my attention. I’m afraid I worded that sentence poorly.

      The world supply of oil would increase if Iran were allowed to be a full participant in the world market, and were not constrained to use that oil for domestic purposes. Environmentally, I don’t know that this would be a good thing. The economic consequences are another matter.

      Incidentally, nuclear fuel has uses other than energy production or weapons.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/13/2015 - 06:57 pm.

        We all make mistakes

        Mr. Holbrook, I don’t think in evaluating the deal with Iran we should consider environment – it is irrelevant to our discussion. But you are correct, nuclear fuel may be used for other than weapon and power generation goals… which doesn’t change the fact that it is much cheaper to buy it than make it.

  12. Submitted by jason myron on 04/10/2015 - 09:20 pm.

    Newsflash for you, Ilya…

    You aren’t providing any facts, only opinion. Asking people to disprove your interpretation of Mideastern foreign conflict is akin to me claiming to have seen a purple unicorn in my backyard and demanding that you prove that I didn’t.
    Look in the mirror…you offer no proof as to why it’s economical unfeasible for Iran to build nuclear power plants. It’s just something you want to believe to validate your opinion, plain and simple.

  13. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/10/2015 - 10:24 pm.


    Mr. Myron, I understand that you don’t want to read anything that does not conform to your views but in this free country, you don’t have to: MSNBC is always there for you. As for “proof vs. opinion”, here is the one you were questioning: and
    Or do you want me to validate the claim that Iran will be able to build nukes after agreement expires? Obama himself admitted that…

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/13/2015 - 06:31 am.

      Once again, circular logic…

      If I didn’t want to read anything that “does not conform to my views,” I wouldn’t continue to read and comment on your post or column. Nor do I watch MSNBC as like most liberals, I get my news from a variety of sources and think for myself.
      As for the Christian Science Monitor piece, the vast majority of it is opinion and speculation, nothing more.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/13/2015 - 06:58 pm.

        Straight logic

        Mr. Myron, here are a few of your quotes: “I nodded off after coming out to this bit of circular logic” – no explanation why it was a circular logic and it was in the beginning of the article so I guess you haven’t finished reading it; “I’m seriously baffled as to why he has been granted so many of these opportunities” – I suppose that you do not want to see my point of view (which is totally opposite of yours) but you also don’t want others to see it. So if this pattern holds, where do you get your information from? And CSM refers to TWO studies by respected organizations so it is not just an opinion; plus I also had another completely different source for you as well. So where is my logic circular?

        • Submitted by jason myron on 04/13/2015 - 07:51 pm.

          I have no problem reading others opinions

          YOUR problem seems to be the fact that so many of us call you out on the accuracy, validity and bias of the sources you use. The two studies quoted are from conservative, Washington based “think tanks” which provide nothing but conjecture and opinion designed to validate the conservative belief that Iran should not have nuclear power. Claiming that it’s too expensive for Iran to have nuclear power isn’t any more valid than me thinking my neighbor should stick with a Chevy rather than an Audi.
          You keep confusing us seeing your beliefs with accepting them. I see your point of view…and reject it outright.
          As to your query on where I get my information, I typically read about 6-7 national papers a day along with the BBC and Al Jezeera. I also check out everything from Salon, Hotair, Redstate, Mother Jones and Huffington Post. Is that enough variation for you?

  14. Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/10/2015 - 10:52 pm.


    Israel became Iran’s enemy because the world at the time thought the way to atone for a horrific act against people they didn’t particularly care for was to commit more bad acts against people they cared for even less. Had neither act occurred we wouldn’t be here today. Compounding this fact is our longstanding practice of meddling in the affairs of people we feel are beneath us, particularly when they have something we want. Had the US not propped up the shah, we would also not be here today. You, I, or anyone in this country does not have much of a moral high horse to ride in this whole sordid affair.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/11/2015 - 11:30 am.

      Yes we do

      Mr. Haas, the Holocaust and creation of Israel (I assume these are the events you refer to) happened in 1948, more than 30 years before Iran made Israel its No. 2 enemy (after America). So it is obvious that it was done for purely political reasons (to gain support in the Muslim world) rather than for the moral reason. It is equally wrong to assume that had Israel not been created, everything would have been peaceful in the Middle East – just look at Shia vs. Sunni conflicts all over to begin with. As for the shah, I would say that had Carter propped him more, we would not be dealing with Iran as it is today because under the shah Iran was a peaceful stable and relatively prosperous and free (by the Middle East standards) nation that did not meddle with its neighbors. So the height of our horse is irrelevant so long as we admit the facts and call a spade a spade (for example, call terrorists terrorists, NOT call Assad a “progressive” leader, and NOT pretend that Iran with its current government may be negotiated with and brought back into the peaceful family of the world nations).

  15. Submitted by Jon Lord on 04/12/2015 - 12:01 pm.

    There again

    Ilya…for Iran with a nuclear warhead to strike at Israel is nothing short of a death sentence for Iran. Shia vs Sunni pits us against both Shia & Sunni. The middle east conflict isn’t straight forward.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/12/2015 - 12:48 pm.

      Not simple indeed

      Mr. Lord, please let me repeat again that never in my article did I justify my position on the deal by Israel’s security. But having said that, I want to point out that, first, Iran may easily survive a nuclear response from Israel – it is large enough and has a lot of mountains, and second, just having a Bomb will make Iran immune to any retaliation and will allow it to remake the Middle East to its own liking.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 04/13/2015 - 07:53 pm.

        Send up a flag

        When you understand how nuclear fission works. The quote “Iran may easily survive a nuclear response from Israel – it is large enough and has a lot of mountains, ” might be one of the most unintentionally funny things I’ve ever read on the interwebs.

  16. Submitted by Jon Lord on 04/14/2015 - 08:13 am.

    Believe it Ilya

    Retaliation is what Iran should fear if they ever build a nuclear weapon. In no world would they be immune to a response if they used it. As Jason suggests, you most likely don’t understand nuclear fission. You seem to think that the whole of Iran would need to be carpeted before most Iranians realized that their launching a nuclear weapon was a bad idea. It’s ‘sort of like’ one brave person in an unarmed crowd launching an arrow at an army of (enemy) bowmen. The survivors of the response would likely want to hang that one brave person, assuming that person survived the response.

  17. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/14/2015 - 07:08 pm.


    Mr. Myron, my concern and disappointment (not my problem) is that so many reject the other point of view without actually providing any counterarguments. Neither do they answer questions… No one showed that my facts are incorrect and no one showed that my conclusions are illogical (no one really even tried); at best the complaint is that the source is conservative but it still doesn’t make the fact wrong. But even that is irrelevant since in my article I used just two sources: The New York Times and the State Department – do you question the validity of them, too?

    Of course, you disregard the studies that you don’t like on the basis of perceived bias of those who conducted the studies. But left wing entities would not conduct that sort of studies because they know that the result would not be what they want. So if one follows your approach, there are no facts on earth since conservative groups do the studies (honestly) when they expect results to fit their agenda and liberal groups do the studies when they expect to fit their agenda and both do not trust the studies conducted by other side… Do you really think this is a valid approach? Is everything Republicans are saying a lie? Seriously? And again, as a liberal, you should be open to the other point of view but you are not (by the way, conservatives do not have that obligation).

    You said “claiming that it’s too expensive for Iran to have nuclear power isn’t any more valid than me thinking my neighbor should stick with a Chevy rather than an Audi” but I guess you did not get my point so I will try again. Imagine your neighbor constantly complaining to you that he doesn’t have money for food and asking to give him some money; wouldn’t that fact make it reasonable for you to think that he should stick with a Chevy? If Iran wants nuclear power generations, it would be reasonable to purchase the enriched uranium and if they do not, we should be very suspicious.

    You never said what papers you read but my guess is that they are liberal so except for two all your sources are very liberal. I also wonder if you ever agree with what the conservative websites say…

    Mr. Lord, I do understand what fission is (after all, I had Civil Defense class in the Soviet Union every year for 7 years). But think of it: Iran is five times larger than Japan which survived American nuclear bombing… And American government has a contingency plan for nuclear attack and expects to survive. It will not be pretty in Iran but its government may easily survive and maintain control… regardless of what Iranians think (which in any case would not be part of the Iranian’s government decision). By the way, you ignored the second part of my last response to you..

  18. Submitted by Jon Lord on 04/15/2015 - 01:17 pm.

    No I didn’t…

    You seem to assume that Japan’s surrendering had nothing to do with 2 small atomic weapons. Ours are much larger than that now, and so is Israel’s. 2 x 5 is 10. So out of 80 nuclear bombs just 10 would cripple Iran as a fighting force. So no, I didn’t ignore the second part of your ‘last response’ to what I had said.

    Currently Iran is fighting, with the grateful consent of Iraq, ISIS. Saudi Arabia is; helping people sympathetic to ISIS and is attacking people who are sympathetic to Iran and Iraq. So, who’s our friends in this fight?

    Another small point. If Iran purchases enriched uranium you’d be okay with that?

  19. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/15/2015 - 07:10 pm.

    OK to buy

    Mr. Lord, I actually think that Japan’s surrender has everything to do with two small bombs… All I was saying was that Japan was not totally destroyed and survived as a country. Therefore, Iran will most likely survive a nuclear attack even though it will not be able to fight after that (except through Hezbollah and other proxies). But Israel, on the other hand, will not due to its size. However, that has nothing to do with what my second question was about because I was talking about Iran’s having a bomb but NOT using it. Do you think America would have been able to assemble the coalition to push Iraq out of Kuwait had Saddam had a nuclear bomb?

    Iran is supporting Assad and Saudis are against both him and ISIS which is fighting Assad so they kind of let them fight and so should we.

    And finally, yes, I would be OK with Iran buying enriched uranium (provided they do not have their own enrichment program) because in this case the quantities are controlled.

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