Right now the Sunni royals of Saudi Arabia see the Shiites of Iran as their worst enemies – and vice versa. At the present time the Obama administration seems to be on both sides. President Obama just signed a nuclear deal with Iran that greatly angered the Saudi royals. At the same time, he has been arming and paying salaries to Sunni fighters in Syria in support of a goal of the Saudis, which is to overthrow the Shiite-led secular government of President Assad. Meanwhile, in Iraq, both President Obama and the Iranians support the same Shiite groups fighting the Islamic State. Find this confusing? Toss in "the Bomb" and it gets even more confusing.
The Iranians – who are really Persians – are not the least bit confused. During the negotiations about their nuclear program, they got the exact outcome they wanted, and now the Saudi royals are furious. Iranian oil will now flow onto the market to compete with the Saudis, and Iran has the third-largest reserve in the world. Intelligence briefing may have convinced Obama that this new oil glut would cripple Russia, which is one of the many factors in the Iran deal few are aware of publicly. Of course, the deal will harm the American oil industry as well.
My friends in the Republican Party on Capitol Hill, who (except Sen. Rand Paul) are all buddy buddy with the Saudi royals, believe the Iranians "fleeced" Secretary of State John Kerry and that Iran secretly plans to make nuclear weapons to attack Israel and Saudi Arabia.
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The Fleecing: The Iranians did indeed "fleece" John Kerry and Barack Obama, but not in the way anyone thinks. The Iranians are now busy laughing all the way to the bank.
The nuclear bomb the Iranians had some of the materials to build would have weighed tons and would require a semi-truck to deliver. It would be as big as or bigger than the bomb we dropped on Hiroshima that weighed 9,700 pounds. The Iranians don't even have an aircraft big enough to carry it. If they had that bomb tomorrow, it would take perhaps a decade to get it down to delivery size and to actually build a rocket to deliver it. (Note: The B-29 Super Fortress was designed and built specifically to haul the first nukes to bomb Japan.)
The Iranians were trying to isolate uranium 235 with centrifuges, a process that has to be done one molecule at a time. It took the United States five years and tens of thousands of people to make one uranium bomb. On the other hand, plutonium can be produced quickly in a reactor to make a bomb. For a second bomb to use against Japan the United States had to use plutonium. If the Iranians had wanted to quickly make a bomb, they could have done so far more cheaply and faster using a simple breeder reactor. Instead they used a slow process, that prolonged negotiations and eventually obtained the desired outcome, which was an end to the sanctions.
The "bomb" was pure theater by Iran's leaders to have a bargaining chip to rid themselves of decades of sanctions that were strangling their nation – and it worked. The centrifuges they had were junk, and most didn't even work. All of it was for show. Iran got out of the deal what they really wanted: 1) their cash we were holding in banks, 2) the ability to modernize their infrastructure and 3) an open market for their oil. All American got out of the deal was the promise that they would not do what they evidently didn't intend to do in the first place.
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Congratulations, Mr. Obama. Iran is still a conventional threat to Israel – except now the mullahs will have a lot of money to buy arms for Hezbollah. Europe gets cheaper oil out of the deal, and Russian and European companies will sell Iran billions of dollars of jet planes and other high-tech items. What a deal for the USA, which is still viewed as the "Great Satan" by Iran.
The hatred factor: Oddly, Barack Obama as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu were well aware from their intelligence services that Iran was putting on an act and at best had the ability to build one or two undeliverable bombs to shoot off for show in the desert, maybe five years from now. So what was all this about? It was mainly about the sanctions. Israel does not want a financially healthy enemy that can arm itself well. On the other hand, Obama hates Netanyahu so badly that be wanted the deal with Iran to teach him a lesson; much of it was just spiteful revenge. Meanwhile inside the GOP Hawk-Fox News bubble, the witch's brew continues to be stirred for a new war in the Middle East that no one can win. This is pure hysteria and a total lack of understanding of the technology involved.
The sanctions: Long years of sanctions did not bring down the criminal gang that runs North Korea nor the communists ruling Cuba. Nor was Saddam Hussein toppled by the sanctions against Iraq after the first Gulf War, and those sanctions caused inhumane conditions in that nation that the people still resent today. Sanctions do not bring down governments; they only cause the people inside them to suffer and live under greater repression by the leaders to allow them to hang on, as is the current case in North Korea.
When the sanctions against China were lifted and the markets opened, the nature of China changed – and it is now America's greatest trading partner. Lifting the sanctions on Iran could well lead to the real power in the nation moving from the mullahs to the elected officials. A lengthy article in the July 29 Washington Times discusses the hopeful mood among Iranian reformist politicians and human rights activists. In the article one Iranian rights activist, Isa Saharkhiz, who served three years in prison after the 2009 demonstrations, is quoted as saying, "I believe resolution of the nuclear file will promote human rights concerns to the No. 1 priority and both domestic and international focus on these issues will increase."
While Israel sees the Obama-Iran deal as a disaster, as do many Israel supporters in the United States, the Iranian reformists in the Green Movement see it as an opportunity to change Iran. Whether change is for better or worse should be observable within a few years.