The Middle East is always burning, probably have to do with the fact that there is so much oil!
Haven’t you heard? Iran is going nuclear.
How soon could Iran make a nuclear bomb?
This would depend on Iran taking the decision to make a nuclear device and Iran says it will not do so. But experts believe that technically it could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb within a few months. A US general said in April 2010 that Iran could still take several years after that to make a device. Former CIA chief Leon Panetta said in June 2010 that it could take two years. Israel’s retired intelligence chief Meir Dagan has said it could take until 2015.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in January 2011 that sanctions had slowed down Iran’s nuclear work. She also said that Iran had faced technical difficulties, possibly a reference to a computer virus said to have affected its centrifuge machinery. But in July 2011, Iran said it was installing new, faster centrifuges to speed progress in uranium enrichment. If successful, it could shorten the time needed to stockpile material that can have civilian as well as military purposes, if processed much further.
In theory Iran could leave the NPT with three months notice and it would then be free to do what it wanted. However, by doing that it would raise suspicions and leave itself open to attack. If, while remaining in the treaty, it enriched to nuclear weapons level or was found diverting material for a bomb in secret, it would lay itself open to the same risk.
Is this good news or bad news for us?
The answer is not that simple. Only 9 countries in the whole world are considered powers with nuclear weapons capability- USA, Russia, China, UK, France, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea and India. Its an exclusive club and when you are in an exclusive club, you make sure that it remains exclusive. Iran going nuclear will only push the Saudis to go nuclear as well.
But, India cannot openly protest or take actions against Iran, however minute, for several reasons.
1. When a state as large as Iran and with such resources decide to go nuclear, there isn’t much anyone can do
When a state as large as Iran and with such resources decides to go nuclear, there isn’t much anyone can do, apart from sanctions and isolation, which the World is already imposing. India cannot add to that pressure, so it better stay out of the whole mess and sit aside, with a halo over its head. Better to stay neutral and get on the good side of all the powers, than create enmity and ill-will with a probable future nuclear power.
2. India imports a lot of Oil from Iran.
Iran, in fact, is the second largest supplier of crude oil to India after Saudi Arabia. India is one of the few Countries in the World, I assume, that have friendly relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran. India would want this to continue, even on a lesser degree, since the channels to pay back Iran are drying out fast.
Iran is the gateway through which India gets into Afghanistan. Iran let India build a multi-billion dollar deep-sea port in Chabahar and India has built a railway system connecting Iran and Afghanistan.
But, why is Afghanistan so important? Indian footprints in Afghanistan will not directly benefit India. Afghanistan has a lot of nuisance value and India should be in a position to do something about it.
In the 1990s Pakistan supported the Taliban regime and the fighters who used to fight the Soviets in the 1980s were diverted to Indian Kashmir to fight India. The Kashmir insurgency in the 1990s were terrible. India doesn’t want that to be repeated. But, Afghanistan required a completely different post. Lets just say that India needs to be in Afghanistan and has to make sure no anti-India activities don’t take place.
There is also a matter of around $ 1 Trillion worth of mineral deposits in Afghanistan. India should make sure we get a piece of the action. This would only be possible with Iranian help. Everybody wins but Pakistan. That just sweetens the deal even more, doesn’t it!
4. India has good relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, a rare feat.
It should maintain that neutrality. Both these powers have the ability to hurt India by stopping their Oil supplies and a growing India needs a lot of Oil to fuel its engine. India should just stay out of this mess.
What ever actions Iran takes, will have serious consequences for the entire World. Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Homuz. Whats the big deal? Just that the World crude oil price will skyrocket, making the economic recovery unimaginably tougher and will definitely have a direct bearing on the Petrol/Diesel prices back home.
Here, in a brilliantly detailed piece in The Hindu:
The Strait of Hormuz is the kink in the hose of the Gulf’s oil supply to the world. A small amount of pressure can have a disproportionate effect, sending crude prices soaring and starving the world’s oil-dependent economies.
At its narrowest point, the strait is 20 miles wide, but the channels down which more than a third of the world’s ocean-borne oil flows — 17m barrels — are just two miles wide in parts.
The butterfly effect of crude oil affecting the consumerist economies of the West, which will in turn reduce the trade traffic in the entire World, which in turn will affect the economies of the whole World, will likely happen.
I really hope Iran stops obsessing about producing nuclear fuel so that everyone goes home happy. But, when Islamic clerics are at the helm, you never know how strong the anti-non-Muslim-slash-anti-West-slash-anti-Saudi-Arabia agenda is or how will it impact the decision making.
I have a feeling that we will have a nuclear Iran soon. The Nuclear Weapons Power club membership will go up to 10.
Which country will follow suit? That’s easy to guess- Saudi Arabia.