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Feb 11th, 2010

Ahmadinejad: Iran is Now a ‘Nuclear State’

Amount of enriched material unclear just 2 days after process was started

Image: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, flanked by bodyguards, waves to supporters before addressing tens of thousands of Iranians gathered in Azadi Square in southwestern Tehran to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010. (Atta Kenare / AFP — Getty Images)

February 11, 2010

TEHRAN, Iran — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed Thursday that Iran has produced its first batch of uranium enriched to a higher level, saying his country will not be bullied by the West into curtailing its nuclear program a day after the U.S. imposed new sanctions.

Ahmadinejad reiterated to hundreds of thousands of cheering Iranians on the anniversary of the 1979 foundation of the Islamic republic that the country was now a “nuclear state,” an announcement he’s made before. He insisted that Iran had no intention of building nuclear weapons. …

“I want to announce with a loud voice here that the first package of 20 percent fuel was produced and provided to the scientists,” he said.

Enriching uranium produces fuel for nuclear power plants but can also be used to create material for atomic weapons if enriched further to 90 percent or more. …

Iran announced Tuesday it was beginning the process of enriching its uranium stockpile to a higher level. The international community reacted by discussing the imposition of new U.N. sanctions.

Iran says they’ve gone nuclear (MSNBC “The Daily Rundown,” Feb. 11, 2010) – How should the world respond to President Ahmadinejad’s declaration that Iran is now a “nuclear state?” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports. (04:49)

Revolutionary Guard assets frozen

The U.S. Treasury Department went ahead on Wednesday and froze the assets in U.S. jurisdictions of a Revolutionary Guard general and four subsidiaries of a construction firm he runs for their alleged involvement in producing and spreading weapons of mass destruction.

Tehran has said it wants to further enrich the uranium — which is still substantially below the 90 percent plus level used in the fissile core of nuclear warheads — as a part of a plan to fuel its research reactor that provides medical isotopes to hundreds of thousands of Iranians undergoing cancer treatment.

But the West says Tehran is not capable of turning the material into the fuel rods needed by the reactor. Instead it fears that Iran wants to enrich the uranium to make nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad restated Iran’s position that it was not seeking to build nuclear weapons.

“When we say we do not manufacture the bomb, we mean it, and we do not believe in manufacturing a bomb,” he told the crowd. “If we wanted to manufacture a bomb, we would announce it.”

Iran’s nuclear network
An interactive look at Iran’s nuclear facilities

“We told them the Iranian nation will never give in to bullying and illogical remarks,” Ahmadinejad added. …

The president said Iran will triple the production of its low-enriched uranium in the future but didn’t elaborate.

“God willing, daily production (of low enriched uranium) will be tripled,” he said.

A confidential document from the U.N. nuclear agency shared Wednesday with The Associated Press said Iran’s initial effort at higher enrichment is modest, using only a small amount of feedstock and a fraction of its capacities.

Full story


How would nuclear weapons change Iran, region? (MSNBC “Morning Joe,” Feb. 11, 2010) — Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations and New York University Professor Irshad Manji react to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s declaration that Iran is a “nuclear state,” with no intention of building weapons. (09:59)


Related reports on this site

Iran Preps to Fire Up Nuke Plant (Oct. 25, 2010)

Iran Starts Up Nuclear Plant (Aug. 21, 2010)

Iran Claims Israel Plans Attack on Nuclear Sites (June 27, 2010)

McCain: ‘Pull Trigger’ on Iran (April 15, 2010)

Israel Dragging US into Iran War? (March 21, 2010)

Iran Ramps Up Nuclear Program (Feb. 22, 2010)

Iran, North Korea Threat Level Rises (Dec. 13, 2009)

Obama Demands Access to Nuke Site (Sept. 26, 2009)

Bush Nixed Israeli Plea to Hit Iran (Jan. 11, 2009)


6/14/10 Update

Iran Cleric Wants ‘Special Weapons’

By Ali Akbar Dareini

June 14, 2010

TEHRAN, Iran — The hardline spiritual mentor of Iran’s president has made a rare public call for producing the “special weapons” that are a monopoly of a few nations — a veiled reference to nuclear arms.

The Associated Press on Monday obtained a copy of a book written by Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi in which he wrote Iran should not deprive itself of the right to produce these “special weapons.”

Iran’s government, as well as its clerical hierarchy, have repeatedly denied the country is seeking nuclear weapons, as alleged by the U.S. and its allies. …

‘Even if our enemies don’t like it’

Yazdi’s book, “The Islamic Revolution: A Surge in Political Changes in History,” was written in 2005 and then reprinted last year, but would have only had a very limited circulation among senior clerics and would not have been widely known.

“The most advanced weapons must be produced inside our country even if our enemies don’t like it. There is no reason that they have the right to produce a special type of weapons, while other countries are deprived of it,” Yazdi said.

Yazdi is a member of the Assembly of Experts, a conservative body of 86 senior clerics that monitors Iran’s supreme leader and chooses his successor. He also heads the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute, an Islamic think tank, in the holy city of Qom, 80 miles south of the capital.

The radical cleric doesn’t speak for the Iranian government but his remarks are regarded as reflecting the mentality of at least part of Iran’s clerical elite, which influences the country’s decision makers.

In his book, Yazdi said Iran must acquire the necessary deterrent weapons in order to be able to stand up to its enemies.

“Under Islamic teachings, all common tools and materialistic instruments must be employed against the enemy and prevent enemy’s military superiority,” he said.

He also said Muslims must not allow a few powers to monopolize certain weapons in their arsenal.

“From Islam’s point of view, Muslims must make efforts to benefit from the most sophisticated military equipment and get specific weapons out of the monopoly of powerful countries,” he said.

Repeated denials

The last time a high ranking official made such remarks was in 2005 when Mohammad Javad Larijani, now a senior judiciary official, said Islam has not tied Iran’s hands in producing nuclear weapons.

But Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, has repeatedly denied that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons because Islam forbids weapons of mass destruction.

Khamenei has reportedly issued a fatwa, or religious decree, saying the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons was forbidden under Islam.

In May, a senior reformist cleric warned about the increasing power of Yazdi and his loyalists within the ruling system, calling them “a very dangerous and harsh current who won’t show mercy to anybody.”

Earlier this month, a hardline website called Yazdi an “Imam”, a title given only to Shiite Islam’s saints and the founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Such a title has not been awarded to Khamenei, Iran’s current leader.

Full story


12/6/10 Update

Iran Claims Nuclear Advance

Yellowcake delivered to processing facility

Image: Iran's nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, right, speaks with media during a press briefing in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010. (Photo credit: Vahid Salemi / AP)

December 5, 2010

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran delivered a resolute message Sunday on the eve of talks with six world powers: We’re mining our own uranium now, so there is no stopping our nuclear ambitions.

The Islamic Republic said it has produced its first batch of locally mined uranium ore for enrichment, making it independent of foreign countries for a process the West fears is geared toward producing nuclear arms.

No matter the U.N. sanctions over the program, “our nuclear activities will proceed and they will witness greater achievements in the future,” Iranian nuclear chief Ali Salehi told state-run Press TV. …

Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the country’s vice president, said Iran had for the first time delivered domestically mined raw uranium to a processing facility — allowing it to bypass U.N. sanctions prohibiting import of the material.

Salehi said the uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, was produced at the Gachin uranium mine in southern Iran and delivered to the uranium conversion facility in the central city of Isfahan for reprocessing.

Yellowcake is processed into uranium hexafluoride, which later can be turned into a gas used as feedstock for enriching uranium. Uranium enriched to low grades is used for fuel in nuclear reactors, but further enrichment makes it suitable for atomic bombs. …

Iran acquired a considerable stock of yellowcake from South Africa in the 1970s under the former U.S.-backed shah’s original nuclear program, as well as unspecified quantities of yellowcake obtained from China long before the U.N. sanctions. …

Since Iran’s clandestine enrichment program was discovered eight years ago, Iran has resisted both rewards — offers of technical and economic cooperation — and four sets of increasingly harsh U.N. sanctions meant to force it to freeze its enrichment program. …

Israel has threatened to attack Iran, even though Israel is believed to have stockpiled more than 200 nuclear weapons and it is not a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Full story


4/7/12 Update

Iran Lawmaker: We Can Produce Nuclear Weapons

The Associated Press via
April 7, 2012

TEHRAN, Iran — A prominent Iranian lawmaker said Iran has the knowledge and scientific capability to produce nuclear weapons — but will never do so.

Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam said Iran can easily produce the highly enriched uranium that is used to build atomic bombs but it is not Tehran’s policy to go that route. …

His views do not represent the Iranian government’s policy. It is the first time that a prominent Iranian politician has publicly stated that Iran has the technological capability to produce a nuclear weapon. …

Full story


The Personality Profile of Iran’s President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Aubrey Immelman
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
June 2009

Video profile

Mystical populist (NBC News Web Extra) — Watch an in-depth profile of the Iranian president: firebrand, soccer fan, and true believer in Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution. Produced by Baruch Ben-Chorin. (11:01)


A remote psychological assessment of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was conducted from 2005 to 2009, mining open-source data in the public domain. Information concerning Ahmadinejad was collected from media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-IV.

The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Ahmadinejad’s primary personality patterns were found to be Distrusting/suspicious (paranoid) and Ambitious/exploitative (narcissistic), with secondary Dominant/controlling (sadistic) and Dauntless/dissenting (antisocial) patterns. In addition, the personality profile contained subsidiary Aggrieved/unpresuming and Contentious/resolute features.

The amalgam of Distrusting (paranoid) and Ambitious (narcissistic) patterns in Ahmadinejad’s profile suggests the presence of a syndrome that Theodore Millon has labeled the fanatical paranoid — a personality composite that overlaps substantially with the construct of “malignant narcissism” described in modern reformulations of psychoanalytic theory.

Characteristically, these personalities harbor intricate fantasies, make extravagant claims, fabricate stories to enhance their self-worth, and endow themselves with illusory powers. In their own minds, they are inspired leaders, talented geniuses, holy saints, or demigods, perceiving themselves as righteous saviors standing up to the evils of the universe. Behaviorally, these personalities present as smug, arrogant and expansive, with an air of contempt toward others. In the face if adversity, delusions of grandeur constitute their chief coping mechanism.

The major political implication of the study is the inference that Ahmadinejad is relatively impervious to influence by diplomatic or economic means and not conflict averse, which heightens the risk that he would be psychologically inclined to use military force with minimal provocation to counter perceived threats to regime survival.

Appendix: Paranoid Personality Subtypes

Paranoid Personality Subtypes -- Theodore Millon

Technical References

Immelman, A. (1999). Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria manual (2nd ed.). Unpublished manuscript, St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minn.

Immelman, A. (2003). Personality in political psychology. In I. B. Weiner (Series Ed.), T. Millon & M. J. Lerner (Vol. Eds.), Handbook of Psychology: Vol. 5. Personality and Social Psychology (pp. 599-625). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Immelman, A. (2005). Political psychology and personality. In S. Strack (Ed.), Handbook of Personology and Psychopathology (pp. 198-225). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Immelman, A., & Steinberg, B. S. (Compilers) (1999). Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (2nd ed.). Unpublished research scale, St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minn.

Millon, T. (with Davis, R. D.). (1996). Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.

Millon, T., & Davis, R. D. (2000). Personality Disorders in Modern Life. New York: Wiley.

(Note: Originally published on this site June 11, 2009)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — February 11, 2009

Image: Afghan security forces
Afghan security forces approach the country’s Justice Ministry building following an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. (Photo credit: Musadeq Sadeq / AP)

North Korea Missile Launch?

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that a U.S. spy satellite had captured an image of preparations at a North Korean missile site previously used for Taepodong-2 missile launch operations and that 19 people were killed in Taliban suicide attacks on Afghan government sites in Kabul.

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