What do those idiots in Tehran expect?

How much brinksmanship will Israel tolerate?


What do those idiots in Tehran expect?
by Patrick Clawson

Patrick Clawson participated in an online forum sponsored by TheAtlantic.com discussing Atlantic magazine's September cover story by Jeffrey Goldberg outlining the prospects and implications of an Israeli strike against Iran. Robnin Wright's article is here. Jeffrey Golderg's here.  Read contributions by all forum participants here.

Robin [Wright] is right (forgive the pun), and Jeff[rey [Goldberg] is not, about the timeline for the Iranian nuclear impasse. Robin is wrong, and Jeff is correct, that a crisis will come unless we find a way to stop what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper describes as Iran's "inexorable" nuclear progress.

Iran reactivated its nuclear program more than 20 years ago. Its approach has been that of the tortoise, not the hare. If Iran is in a nuclear arms race, it is a marathon, not a sprint. Even the Ahmadinejad government, which makes so much noise about Iran's nuclear progress, has in practice been content with slowly moving forward. So Jeff is wrong to be so confident that a crisis will come within a year or two.

When Iran's Natanz centrifuge factory was first inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) more than seven years ago, the consensus among intelligence agencies and knowledgeable observers was that Iran could have a bomb in five years or less. Indeed, had the world done nothing, Iran would probably have a bomb by now. The fact that Iran is not there yet is largely due to successful Western efforts to impede the program. The UN sanctions have often been labeled "symbolic" whereas in fact they are targeted on dual-use items that are essential for Iran's nuclear and missile programs. IAEA reports document the problems Iran has faced from lack of access to materials and technology necessary to make effective centrifuges, forcing Iran to stick with the bad P-1 design sold to it by A.Q. Khan. If we keep up our efforts, we may be able to slow Iran down for some years.

But unless we are successful at working out a deal or Iran's reformers displace the current hardline government, Iran will keep moving forward. After all, sometimes it spurts ahead unexpectedly, as it did in 2006-2007 when it added centrifuges faster than most observers had predicted. Someday, even if that day is later rather than sooner, Iran will reach a threshold which Israel regards as unacceptable. The two cases to date -- Iraq in 1981, Syria in 2007 -- suggest that Israel will act when it perceives a turning point has been reached, even though there is no air of international crisis. In other words, the "forcing event" which precipitates Israeli action is their perception of risk. Robin is wrong to expect that Iran can continually forestall Jerusalem by never quite seeming to cross the threshold: Israel does have red lines.

While Robin is correct that many governments around the globe have publicly warned against an Israeli strike, the the hardliners in Tehran have done a superb job at persuading world leaders that they are ignorant, dangerous, and unbending -- sporadically interested in the appearance of talks but unwilling to actually modify their course. If they choose to tough-out the obvious pain from the current sanctions, Iran's power-holders will only confirm the view that they are a problem. In such a context, were Israel to strike, the reaction of many governments would range from "What a shame Israel had to act" to "What did those idiots in Tehran expect?" In fact, that would be the view of many in Iran.

Jeffrey Goldberg is correct that unless the current course is altered, a crisis is coming.

Patrick Clawson is deputy director for research at The Washington Institute. He also directs the Iran Security Initiative, a sector of the Institute aimed at fostering debate, dialogue, and critical analysis on Iran. Clawson has worked as a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund and as a senior research professor at the National Defense University's Institute for National Strategic Studies.


No Fear

Interesting ...

by No Fear on

The Author said ;

" But unless we are successful at working out a deal or Iran's reformers displace the current hardline government, Iran will keep moving forward. "

The above statement is true. If the reformists win the next election, they will halt enrichment.

Have you forgot Khatami's genius offer ?

Complete halt to our enrichment and allowing Iran to have 6 , yes only six, centifuses for research purposes.

Now go smile at european dinner parties you incompetent moron. 



hold us back please!

by Golparijun on

Israel pretend that they are going to attack Iran at any moment! LOL....and bagging the entire world: hold us back…please!


Israel is nothing

by IRI on

Firstly the author is stupid and now about our new Zionist member:

1) the Jewish Zionist paid agent on this site Haj Yousef ol bin Ayatollah Fred can kiss all Iranian behind for his Jewish highness when needed. Don't step further than you are allowed before America and Iran take the land back. You know that's why you never got any land, couldn't handle it.

2)A Jew won't ever work in an American immigration office, they go and serve their fascist land first before doing anything for another country.

3)When I landed in the US for a conference, immigration officer was a Muslim and since he was not a chosen one, no one needed to kiss his feet. Take my advise Zion Yousef and go back to your cave in Israel. lol



It could be so much better

by gunjeshk on

Again IMHO, it may be admirable in your eyes but it is also futile, deadly and irresponsible. The regime will not last whether it has the Bomb or not.

What about the children of Iran? What about their future?  Iran is a sovereign country with a rogue government.  Your protest that the IRI never goes against civilians is just plain contrary to the facts. It has the highest execution rate in the world. It has scared its best minds away from the country.

It could be so much better, but a bunch of hairy old men have made it into a cult scenario. Shame! 


Abaramard, a free advice for you and your associates:

by yousef on

Too much western freedom that you and your associates, "niloofar p", "midwesty", etc are obviously not accustomed to have gone into your tiny heads, overloaded it and turned you into the laughing stock of this site. If you are not careful, you end up completely crazy, like sargord pirooz.

Treatment: spend two weeks in Iran, and you'll come back kissing the foot of the Jewish US immigration officer who'd let you back into USA, the country you are hiding at and bitching about 24/7.  


Gunjesh jan...

by Midwesty on

In a world that absents solid facts where a "Netanyahu thinks AN means" statement will give permission to attack a sovereign country, a quixotic and fatal sense of patriotism is not only inevitable but it is admirable!


Midwesty, I am not, nor I

by gunjeshk on


I am not, nor I think, is Netanyahu questioning whether AN actually used the Farsi equivelent of "annihilation."  My point is: that is what Netanyahu thinks AN means, pure and simple. AN plus many endless past and future public chantings re Israel, i.e., "marg bar . . ." tend to be very convincing to the folks who read newspapers in the Great Satan and the cafes of Tel Aviv.

In other words, many important policymakers believe Iran's rulers really want to destroy Israel and yes, there are plenty of politicos willing to use fear to obtain or maintain power (as we saw June 12 2009). AN and his crew are high masters of ruling through intimidation. However, it won't last forever, it never does.  Working the nuclear option for Iran at this time is beyond perilous, it's a death wish.

If AN never having said "annihilation" convinces you that everyone opposed to Iran's current policy is wrong, you are subverting logic to maintain what looks (to me) like a quixotic and fatal sense of patriotism.  With respect sir, just my opinion.



by Midwesty on

Sorry can't see the word "annihilation" unless it's been intentionally mistranslated. Unlike Israel, killing civilians is not an strategy of IRI. They've proven that in Iran-Iraq war. If there is any charges on IRI is pure accusations and has never been proven.



Midwesty, Your Question:

by gunjeshk on

Midwesty: In response to your question, a google search will bring you to the many occasions when AN made statements like the following:   

2005 Ahmadinejad”World Without Zionism” speech

2005  Ahmadinejad: "Vanish from the pages of time"     

2007 Ahmadinejad: New threats against Israel, U.S 

2008 Ahmadinejad:  Says "Israel doomed"    

2008 Ahmadinejad: Threatens Israel     

2010:  Iran and Syria Leaders Issue Threats Against the U.S., Israel    

MW: I posted what Netanyahu said because we might want to realize that no head of state should hint casually at the demise of a entire nation and expect that nation not to react. Especially a nervous, trigger-happy nation like Israel, whose demise has been attempted in the past.  Of course Israel will react! It will react as though its existence is imminently threatened!

What exactly do we expect? 



by Midwesty on

"Iran has threatened to annihilate a state".

When/where ever Iran threaten to annihilate any state?

This is the base of you and you alike arguments and it is baseless. It's a sheer lie! 

Mardom Mazloom

we can instead win the argument! .. by Saf-sat-eing 4 sure!

by Mardom Mazloom on

چو ایران نباشد، تن من مباد

Niloufar Parsi

don't boycott ideas

by Niloufar Parsi on

it's counterproductive. we can instead win the argument :)


I encourage hamvatans to boycott this AIPAC dominated website

by BoycottIraniandotcom on

As you can see from the articles, this purportedly Iranian site's content is
anti Iranian and comes largely from an Israeli/AIPAC perspective, which is
offensive to the vast majority of Iranians. Please do not engage with this site
except to warn other Iranians.

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The period of forbearance is ending

by gunjeshk on

Benjamin Netanyahu has said: “Iran has threatened to annihilate a state. In historical terms, this is an astounding thing. It’s a monumental outrage that goes effectively unchallenged in the court of public opinion. Sure, there are perfunctory condemnations, but there’s no j’accuse—there’s no shock. Iranian leaders talk about Israel’s destruction or disappearance while simultaneously creating weapons to ensure its disappearance.”

What is the world to do, look on while Iran magnifies the threat?

Do we want a person like AN who sees the glow of Imam Zaman, deciding whether or not to annihilate Israel?  Unless the regime reforms or falls, the US and Israel will unfortunately, do what they have to do. The period of forbearance as Goldberg said, is ending, Israel has redlines and they are not negotiable.

All the bluster in the world, all the invective against Zionism will not change the predictable outcome; vast suffering in Tehran.

Now that I've said this, I will brace myself for a fresh wave of "Viva Iran" plus a big dish of anti-semitism, but honestly guys, the bravado expressed here is just a thin wisp of air in the face of the certain, deadly realities. Iran must back down it's nuclear program, if the mullah-cracy wants to stay in power. And we know how singularly devoted they are to power.



by shushtari on

for once I agree with the apologists here.....

but, there is no doubt that the akhoonds will benefit from a confrontation as they did with iraq.....

their miserable lives will be extended another couple of decades at the expense of iran and it's people.


let's hope they're gone before zion decides to attack 


The biggest asset of American government

by Abarmard on

Is the majority of uncaring towards political agendas.


Jeffrey Goldberg’s current


Jeffrey Goldberg’s current cover story in The Atlantic, “The Point of No Return,” achieved massive distribution across a broad spectrum of old and new media in the United States. Some observers – including Glenn Greenwald in “How Propagandists Function” – noted how well the methodology and message of Goldberg’s piece serves the Israeli government’s efforts to push U.S. military action against Iran. Gareth Porter views it as part of an overarching strategy to keep the U.S. from restoring productive relations with Iran. A huge trove of newly declassified documents subpoenaed during a Senate investigation reveals how Israel’s lobby pitched, promoted, and paid to have content placed in America’s top news magazines with overseas funding. The Atlantic (and others) received hefty rewards for trumpeting Israel’s most vital – but damaging – PR initiatives across America.



Or rather "What do those idiots in USA expect?"

by Landan-Neshin on

There was this juggler in a circus who wanted to break all records in the  juggling world; one day while standing on a high wire  turning a plate on a rod by one hand, juggling oranges with the other and trying to do hula hoops with the free leg his pants fell down. Someone in the audience shouted: "Hey,your pants is down..pull up your pants.. your bum is showing! The poor man while trying to keep his balance on the wire and cover his privates at the same time shouted back "baba koo forsat"

Now, Mr. Clawson and all those who pay his wages to write such crap that can only appeal to the simple American mind is shedding crocodile tears for the Iranian people.

One wonders what should really happen before the American people would realise what idiots they have been since 1945! The very  people who came to near orgasm when general McArthur said let's nuke North Korea, but was sacked, then the same nation that twenty years later ran in droves to see their shrinks to find out how could their 'invincible' army be fleeing bare-assed from South         Vietnam.. and then, of course, we have their magnificent works in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I wonder if they really care when the message of their children's death in a country that they can't even pronounce it's name arrives!!

Now, if the idiots want to have another war and hope to be able to juggle it somehow, I'd say let them, and let's enjoy the circus juggler!      


Laughable crap from Pro-Israeli Think Tank

by hass on

What total RUBBISH. As the IAEA has repeatedly stated, there was NEVER ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL that Iran was planning on making nuclear weapons, so Clawson's claim that Iran was somehow "stopped" from making nukes is laughable. And Iran, far from sticking to the "bad" p1- design, has created advanced centrifuges. In fact, had the US not prevented the IAEA from providing overt technical assistance to Iran's enrichment program (which, incidentally, started under the Shah) then the entire program would have never been under any suspicion. Even now, the Iranians have offered to open the program to joint participation with foreign governments to further ensure that it can't be secretly used to make nukes.  Even the Israelis don't take all their own "existential threat" talk seriously. So if there is a "crisis" coming it is because the Israelis want to manufacture one for purely political reasons of their own, and would like to see the US and Iran at war for the sake of Israel's interests.

Sargord Pirouz

This one of those authors I

by Sargord Pirouz on

This one of those authors I used to advocate a pro-Zionist disclaimer be applied, but since the pro-Zionist ad revelation here at IC, there's really no use for such...

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... 

Immortal Guard

Iran's path towards nuclear power status...

by Immortal Guard on

Iran's path towards nuclear power status resembles the electron drift motion:


It will eventually get there sooner or later! Diro zood daareh vali sookhto sooz nadaareh! All these political maneuvers and delay tactics and diversion tactics and tough talk on the part of Iran are just meant to make the Israelis tense and wear them out! Unless Israel is prepared to have "successful raids" every 2-3 years then a one-time raid is no more than a psychological relief! The best way Israel can ensure its long-term survival is to make peace with the Palestinians by negotiating as equals!

Last but not least, an ideal world according to Israel is actually an Israel that strectches from Nile to Euphrates and the rest of the Middle-East under their booths, literally!


A Hot Potato

by Midwesty on

A hot potato that's being tossed around...

Yes Pat, your article is so profound that Iranians are now going to go roo be ghebleh...


The Best Way To Analyze Current Situation

by Kooshan on

If one wants to understand current situation in Middle East, this historical fact may be the most sensible way:








It is 100% cliche! The scary part is that it actually a mere fact in history;



Poosteh Pesteh


by Poosteh Pesteh on

real bully

Niloufar Parsi

utter garbage patrick

by Niloufar Parsi on

in the fourth para the author claims (actually simply lies) that in 2003 there was 'consensus' that iran would have a bomb within 5 years! the author is not intelligent enough to see how this single sentence of his undermines his whole argumentation.