Nuclear weapons — proliferating nonsense (6)
Further evidence that the Western powers knew of the shah’s intention comes from Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators, who is now a research scholar at Princeton University (U.S.A.).
“The United States and the West,” he wrote, in Al-Monitor (October 14, 2014), “despite all the signs pointing to the shah’s intentions to build nuclear weapons, turned a blind eye on the issue”.
The reason is not at all difficult to fathom. Iran was, under the Shah’s rule, a favoured state of the Western industrialized nuclear powers. It became a diplomatic “pariah” or “rogue,” only after the Shah was overthrown in 1979 and Iran adopted a very assertive and independent posture in world affairs.
The so-called “rogue state” hypothesis is a frequently-heard—and highly untenable—justification for both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Pelindaba Treaties. These initiatives, the argument goes, were necessary to prevent “mad dictators” and “lawless regimes” from building bombs.
This is more than just horse manure: It comes straight from the bull’s buttocks! The truth is, “mad dictators” don’t build bombs. Scientists and engineers do—and they are conventionally a level-headed lot who, as the German experience attests to, wouldn’t put a nuclear device into unworthy hands.
In a very interesting term paper, Matt Easely of Vanderbilt University (U.S.A.) argued that Germany didn’t really have the capacity to construct a nuclear weapon during World War II. But even if it had, key scientists, including Werner Heisenberg and Otto Hahn, were dribbling the Nazis by falsifying the math.
Ironically though, it is the case of apartheid South Africa that most clearly exposes “non-proliferation” as a fraudulent concept. First, here was a classic rogue state, isolated from the international community, which created six atomic bombs and was working on a seventh, when the programme was terminated.
Yet this pariah state did not blow itself or anyone else up. Indeed, white South African engineers, scientists and policy makers took great pains to build in safeguards against the accidental detonation of a device or unauthorized access to the arsenal.
According to The New Observer, “each nuclear device was divided into two sections, a front and back. With the [highly enriched uranium] distributed between the two halves, the design minimized the possibility of accidental detonation or unauthorized use.
“A front and back-end of a device,” it continued, “were never worked on simultaneously. Both ends could leave the vault at the same time only after three top ministers and the head of government inserted their separate sections of the code into the vault. No one person had the complete code”.
Every nuclear weapons system I’ve ever read about has essentially the same design. Even the U.S. President cannot fire-off a nuclear weapon—much less a “mad dictator”. The President has a permitting code. But other codes must be activated before a warhead can be launched.
There is no reason to assume that a black weapons system would be structured differently. If anything the controls and safeguards would probably be more stringent—given the unique operating environment in a novice nuclear state.
The notion that untold disasters loom if a black country builds a bomb, is a form of intellectual aggression. Its aim is to exploit the gullibility of uncritical intellectuals, policy makers and opinion leaders. Some are like fish, with their mouths open at the surface: Drop an idea in, and they swallow.
When the camera panned the audience, at Nelson Mandela’s burial ceremony, the sight of diplomats and political leaders from certain nuclear states left me ill-at-ease. Some of the countries represented, had been helping South Africa acquire nuclear technology, while Mandela was languishing in prison.