CERA: Tensions over Iranian nuclear ambitions

While the United States is gauging the impact of potential European oil sanctions on Iran, the Iranian military remains capable of causing major problems in the Persian Gulf region, panelists said Wednesday during the IHS CERA Week energy conference in Houston.

The government has not yet determined how the world oil supply will be affected, although International Energy Agency figures indicate that enough production exists globally to meet market needs, said Ambassador Carlos Pascual, special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy.

“This is one of the issues that we’re trying to make sure is the case and in the end it will depend on the producers,” Pascual said.

Panelists disagreed on the likelihood that Iran would respond to possible sanctions with military force, although one speaker spent more than 30 minutes detailing the country’s military capabilities and its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“This is an ongoing build up,” said Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It isn’t something that has somehow frozen in place. Iran continues to generate forces, we continue to change our posture in the gulf. So do the gulf states, so does Britain, so does France. We’re talking an arms race, which is not only underway, but it has about 8 more years of known deliveries.”

He added that Iran was close to being able to assemble a nuclear weapon.

“The conservative estimate is two to three years before some kind of device and frankly nobody can tell you when they’re going to get a device they can actually put on a missile,” Cordesman said. “We don’t have enough unclassified information to make those kinds of judgments.”

Bijan Khajehpour, managing partner of Atieh International GmbH, said that there is little public will in Iran for a confrontation with the west.

“There is awareness that a military confrontation will actually push Iran back decades and one of the key stakeholders want that,” Khajehpour said.

In addition, a changing western approach to Iran’s nuclear program, shifting the “red line” from concern over any uranium enrichment, to concern over development of a nuclear weapon, he said.

“Iran can actually live with the new red line from the U.S. and Europe,” Khahjehpour said.

He was optimistic that renewed talks over Iran’s nuclear program, which could be held in April, would reduce tensions.

8 Comments

  1. Carol DW

    “Iran’s nuclear ambitions”? Surely you mean Israel’s territorial ambitions intersecting with US’s colonial ambitions.
    There is no credible evidence that Iran is pursuing a weapons program which they shut down in 2003 after Iraq was occupied by the US.
    Iran are signatories to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty as such, are entitled to to develop nuclear energy technologies. Iran has not attacked anyone in nearly 3 Centuries. (Iraq started the Iran Iraq war with nudging and help from the US).
    Iran has repeatedly offered to allow even more intrusive inspections IF the US/Israel will agree not attack them. Both have refused to give those guarantees.
    Israel on the other hand has hundreds of nuclear weapons, refuses to sign the NNP Treaty, has sold nuclear technology and is intractably aggressive.

    #1
  2. Jaxxx

    I feel like i’m reliving 2002, this kind of talk was the prelude of Iraq’s invasion!!!

    #2
  3. Richard

    I agree with Jaxxx.

    I’m not afraid of Iran, but I’m very afraid of those who want to bomb Iran.

    The Americans and the Israelis are the dangerous ones in this equation.

    #3
  4. Hotpuppy

    Sorry, I don’t believe for a second that Iran should be trusted…. my advise is if you like and trust them so much, move there. I would sleep soundly at night knowing my tax dollars are reducing the Iranian terrorist state to rubble via bombs, drones, missiles, etc. The temporary inconvenience of high oil prices would be well worth the long term peace that a weak Iran and weak Hezbollah would make possible. If the Iranians want to live in a 4th century world, let’s make their part of the world devoid of modern conveniences such as electricity, roads, refineries, and communications. Let them rebuild their own damn country. That is where we went wrong with Iraq. Flatten them and leave them there.

    #4
  5. Dbob

    You people live on another planet? The Iranian president has said publically many times that Israel should be blown out to sea. If you want to be in the nuclear club, you have to be in the sanity club fIrst.

    #5
  6. No more wars!

    Just send in the CIA and pick off the nutjobs (Imahandjob and I-a-told-ya-so) and be done with it.

    How hard can it be?

    Then let the Iranian citizens pick up the pieces. I’m sick of wars and rebuilding countries.

    #6
  7. L. Ecrivain

    We’ve lost our minds in American government and they’ve been consumed by their own psychotic propaganda with potentially catastrophic ends. The worldwide “terrorist threat” is us, and moronic spewing of the government line like this article tragically only enable it to continue and grow.

    #7
  8. tboyinhouston

    An Israeli attack on Iran will bring attacks on the US which will mean we have a war on Iran, one which the American Public would not support because we would need a draft, more money that we have right now thanks to the previous two middle east wars, etc. We will be bankrupt financially and with persons. The Iranians will rise up and defend their country. The supreme leader has not given the go-ahead to build a weapon. The drumbeats of war are playing. The republican candidates are talking war but they don’t have the security briefings of the President and they don’t have to concern themselves with the financial and personnel repercussions. Israel will probably do it and I hope the American people are ready because it is going to ruin our country for a long time.

    #8