Insight to Iran's nuclear program
Matt Kroenig on how to stop Iran's suspected nuclear program and end the threat
- Duration 7:36
- Date Jun 6, 2012
Matt Kroenig on how to stop Iran's suspected nuclear program and end the threat
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Afghanistan we're -- gonna talk to Matt Cronin who is in Afghanistan was in Iraq is an aide to General Petraeus he's now professor.
At Georgetown University he's the author of a book.
-- -- Florida and a bomb.
-- we're gonna talk about his ex and his -- impression of what's happened in the greater Middle East in particular about around.
-- -- very nice to hear from you I don't think America's answer to our economic problems -- to export the bomb but somebody's exploring them.
And you Britain provocative way about the Iranian nuclear program what do you have to tell us about the latest.
Well Casey it's not good news unfortunately Iran continues to make -- progress on its nuclear program.
With every passing day it gets closer to having a nuclear weapons capability that's going to threaten the United States and threaten our allies in the region.
And every day we get further away from our goals so.
The administration is hoping to solve this problem through diplomacy and sanctions -- I'm I'm not hopeful that that's going to work out and I'm afraid that.
At some point we're going to be faced with a much tougher decision which is should we simply acquiesce.
To an Iranian nuclear capability or or should we take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Okay we want things we've seen in the last week is yet another picture of Iranian nuclear sites -- the uranium -- your peers even more evidence that.
Iranians are cleaning up -- -- up removing any evidence of nuclear enrichment activities says certain enrichment plants.
Is why are they doing this.
Well as your -- to the park -- facility where everything that Iran might have conducted.
-- that would be necessary if they -- going to produce a nuclear weapons.
So if they actually conducted tests using.
Uranium than those traces of uranium would be at the facility when the IA inspectors went and the inspectors would see that they had done that as you pointed out there is quite a bit of evidence that they've been trying to quick cleanup the facility.
Before the inspectors come in which suggests that they had been up to no good why would they not let the inspectors and why would they need to clean up the facility before letting inspectors and I must they had something to hide so I think that it's likely that Iran did conduct those tests.
And the other thing that to keep in mind is that.
You know even though they're gonna let -- -- inspectors and for -- to look at that facility that facility is just one small part of the overall nuclear program.
So even if the inspectors are there there's still a lot of troubling things going on the other facilities and batons and and -- -- so this is a big problem.
And so web why are they during this is it that we don't have inspectors in an -- runners kicked out inspectors were in the UN inspectors are not in looking at these sites but.
Why would Iran be cleaning them up do they anticipate the UN inspectors are coming back are they looking for a deal of the negotiations that are now going to happen in Moscow -- -- -- So there are a number of different facilities in operation in Iran so.
I guess backing up in order to make nuclear weapons Iran has to -- two main things first they have to enrich the uranium rounds second have to take that uranium informant into a nuclear device.
So the facilities where they're enriching uranium inspectors are on the ground there recording the work that Iran's doing the the really dangerous work of getting closer and closer to weapons grade uranium.
And then the second thing they would have to do is format into a nuclear device to this -- -- facility is where we think they were working on actually constructing.
The components for nuclear weapons and IAEA inspectors are not there right now as you correctly point out.
But it looks like today.
Are close to a deal where inspectors would be allowed back and Iran is trying to clean up that specific facility.
Before the inspectors come and but it but again that's only one small part when you think about solving the Iran -- nuclear program through diplomacy.
So let along the inspectors into this facility -- park -- It is really just a small piece of the overall puzzle that the real issue is -- uranium enrichment.
That Iran is doing at a number of buried in hardened facilities.
And with again with every passing day they get more and more highly enriched uranium.
That we'll get them closer to a nuclear -- so for going to solve this diplomatically which again I think is unlikely what we need to do is get them to stop enriching uranium.
Or at least get them to put serious curbs on their uranium enrichment program.
And whatever goes on at this -- and facility while significant is much less significant then that uranium enrichment problem.
Here for the last several years -- that we looked like we had two options to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program it was either going to be bomb Iran.
Or try diplomacy which as you point out doesn't seem to be that successful.
Or let Iran get the bomb but in the last couple of monthly it looks like there's even another possibility there might stop or at least slow down Iran's nuclear program and that's cyber weapons we -- stuff that.
-- the last couple of days we've seen flame.
How effective are these cyber weapons against the Iranian nuclear program and are they buying time and if so how much.
This the short answer is I don't think that those are going to be enough to solve the problem.
So we've seen that in the past that -- -- for example did slow down the program.
But no there has been sabotage there have been cyber attacks there have been Andy's act campaigns.
Where Iran in nuclear scientists have been mysteriously dying all of the stuff has been going on for years.
Yet every three months the international atomic energy agency reports come out detailing Iran's nuclear work.
And every three months Iran continues to make progress just in terms of objective measures of -- progress.
Levels of low enriched uranium numbers of centrifuges spinning.
Every three months they go up and up and up and up.
Despite all of the stuff going on so I think that these programs are are probably more helpful than hurtful but I'm afraid they're not going to be enough I'm afraid that.
We are going to be faced with this the set of tough decisions if diplomacy and sanctions fail which is.
Bomb or allow Iran to have nuclear weapons OK you usually have very provocative our -- an editorial talking about what would happen if the west -- around the United States NATO allies words to bomb Iran and you conclude that it wouldn't that it would be effective.
In slowing Downey -- her -- and it may not trigger a regional war.
Could you explain that quickly.
-- -- the military option on on balance I would say is not an attractive one but it's less bad than simply allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons.
-- in the United States acted almost certainly destroy Iran's key nuclear facilities.
This would set Iran's nuclear program back significant amount that's difficult test me with any certainty.
But I would estimate that would -- somewhere between three and ten years.
And then there are serious downsides to military action.
Major one being -- -- in military retaliation.
Now many people fear that this was somehow lead to a world war three in the Middle East and if you just analyze the situation carefully I think it's much less likely to.
That a US strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would result and a major war Iran is going to have its own strategic dilemma at that point.
You know are they going to want to pick a fight with the only superpower and the world the one country on earth that could completely destroy their military completely destroy the regime.
Or they going to -- for some kind of token retaliation to say that they struck back.
But that fall short picking a fight with United States.
And given that choice I think it's very likely that Iran and Iran's supreme leader would -- for some kind of token retaliation to say that they struck back.
You know let's be real they don't want major war with the United States.
And we don't with -- format crying professor Georgetown university and author of exporting.
Thanks so much for joining us thank you --