The Deal with Iran is a bad, bad deal—and the debate over its future acceptance will no doubt be very political in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, this debate ignores an existing Iranian capability to attack the United States with nuclear weapons they may rapidly obtain, if they don’t have them already. And this means of attack poses an existential threat to all Americans—just what the Iranian mullahs and their followers say they want when they chant “Death to America.” Beware of an EMP attack from a satellite launched southward from Iran (or North Korea). Wake up America!
National Review Online (NRO) yesterday published my article with the same title, focused on the fact that Iran has already demonstrated an ability to deliver a devastating electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States. This reality poses an existential threat to our nation and could lead to the death of most Americans within a year. Click here for the article and comments, which are themselves illuminating, as discussed below.
The article, repeated below for completeness, is actually an abbreviated summary of several of my High Frontier messages over the past two and a half years. My warnings have gone unheeded by any powers that be, insofar as I know.
If you go to www.highfrontier.org and click on the “Click Dropdown for Categories” to FOBS, you’ll find several 2014 articles that pertinently link to a number of previous important articles dating from as far back as 30 months ago, with excerpts that bear repeating again since they obviously have been ignored in the recently negotiated deal.
Connect the Dots!
In particular, consider my April 24, 2013 message which in turn linked to the two key references used in my NRO article:
- The first, a January 28, 2013 Reuters article by Eganeh Torbati reported Iran had launched a monkey into space in a 4400 pound capsule (counting the monkey)—much, much more capability than needed to carry a nuclear weapon into space.
- The second, a December 6, 2012 Congressional Research Service Report by Steven A. Hildreth on Iran’s Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Programs, which described a new satellite launch site at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Satellites could be launched from this site on a wide swath of trajectories, including over the United States in their initial Orbit. (See the above figure.)
Duh . . .Connect these dots and the report that in early February 2015 during national ceremonies marking the 36th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iran conducted its fourth satellite launch to the south, in orbit at an altitude varying between 139 and 285 miles—just right for producing an EMP over the entire Continental United States.
Thus, Iran has the inherent ability, today, to attack us from the South using a satellite to carry a nuclear weapon and detonate it in its first orbit while traveling over the United States. We have no defense against this threat—as we have been stressing for over two years—to no avail in awakening the powers that be, who persist only in improving our existing defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that approach the United States from the North.
That shortsightedness is what the current deal and associated debate seems to be all about—with an implied, if not explicit, assumption that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon to put on the satellite. Remember they don’t have to develop the means to assure they can reenter the earth’s atmosphere—a challenging technological feat, but one that is well known since it employs technology that has been around since the 1950s.
Still all Iran has to do is just set off their nuclear weapon above the earth’s atmosphere.
How Remote is This Threat?
So does Iran have a nuclear weapon to do so? A very pertinent question because the current negotiated deal presumes they don’t and that the negotiated deal will prevent them from getting one for at least a decade. Really???
As made clear by comments on my NRO article, such presumptions are wishful thinking. Consider the following from “JayWye,” quoted in full:
“On Jan. 20, 2014, former IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen warned that Iran could build a nuclear weapon in 2-3 weeks. He also acknowledged that this estimate is based only on Iran’s known capabilities – not on what Iran may be capable of doing, or may already have done in secret facilities. Iran has underground facilities suspected of being used for nuclear weapons development to which the IAEA has repeatedly been denied access.
“Nonetheless, IAEA has discovered Iran has experimented with implosion technology, necessary for making more sophisticated nuclear weapons. IAEA also discovered plans for a nuclear warhead that could fit on Iran’s missiles.
“We know from our own experience that developing a re-entry vehicle (RV) for a nuclear missile warhead is not all that difficult. The U.S., working from scratch and using the technology of over 50 years ago, in 1955, developed its first RV for the Thor, Jupiter, and Atlas missiles in just a few years.
“Nor is it necessary for Iran to test a nuclear weapon in order to develop a missile warhead. Israel, we know from the defection of Israeli nuclear scientist Mordecai Vanunu and other sources, developed a sophisticated array of nuclear weapons, including missile warheads, without testing. South Africa too, before dismantling its nuclear arsenal, deployed nuclear weapons and designed a missile nuclear warhead without testing.”
So what do the apologists now argue?
Maybe Iran Really Doesn’t Want a Nucelar Weapon—Really?
I will admit to one misleading statement in my NRO article, I was taken to task for stating in my opening paragraph that getting nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to attack Israel and America “remains an explicit goal of the Iranian mullahs and their followers…”
Referring to an “explicit” goal bothered some readers—and I’d have avoided diversional discussion among the readers (especially about whether Khamenei had issued a contrary Fatwa) had I written “apparent” instead of “explicit.”
While I will resist the temptation to pile on further on the lack of merit of the current deal and just end with a reaction to my modest proposal for meaningful diplomacy—that might actually accomplish something useful.
A Modest Proposal.
I recommended that the President declare we would shoot down Iranian and North Korean satellites unless they provided verifiable means to assure they did not carry nuclear materials. A comment was that this recommendation was “laughable.”
Well … that’s what was often said about the intrusive verification methods we sought in our Nuclear and Space Talks with the Soviets, too. But we achieved them—and similar technological means could verify Iranian satellites carry no nuclear material as well. (Of course, we were backed up by a President (Ronald Reagan) who understood how to negotiate after achieving and leading from a position of strength.)
This proposal is far less laughable than the deal recently concluded with Iran, approved by the United Nations Security Council and now being “hawked” for congressional approval.
The NRO Article—As Distributed:
An Iran Deal Distraction
by Henry F. Cooper, National Review Online, July 20, 2015 4:00 AM http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421367/iran-deal-distraction
There are many things wrong with the deal with Iran that, at a minimum, paves the road for Iran to get nuclear weapons and deliver them to attack Israel and the United States. This remains the explicit goal of the Iranian mullahs and their followers, who greeted the deal with chants of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”
I could join the chorus recounting those many faults. But I prefer to emphasize something that is missing entirely from the debate: The mullahs and their followers may be able to achieve their goal with a capability they already have.
Iran launched a monkey into space on January 28, 2013 — almost 30 months ago. As then reported by Yeganeh Torbati in a Reuters article, this feat entailed launching a satellite weighting 4,400 pounds — much, much more than enough to carry a nuclear weapon.
The month before this monkey business, the Congressional Research Service published a report — Iran’s Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Programs — that, among other things, described a new Iranian satellite launch site at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The site had been reported to be 80 percent complete in June 2012. Presumably, it can launch satellites southward over a wide swath of directions. Such a satellite could pass over the United States in its first orbit.
A launch over the South Polar regions would approach the United States from a direction that avoids our current ballistic-missile defense (BMD) systems, which are focused on defending against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that approach the United from the north. In effect, we have left our back door open while working to lock the front door.
This past February, Iran conducted its fourth satellite launch to the south, during national ceremonies marking the 36th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. This satellite was reported to weigh only 110 pounds and is in orbit at an altitude varying between 139 and 285 miles.
This range of altitudes fits for Iran to detonate a nuclear weapon over the United States and produce an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would shut down the electric-power grid of the continental United States for an indefinite period. Within a year, 200 million Americans could perish from starvation, disease, and societal collapse, according to estimates of members of the Congressional EMP Commission.
Executing this existential threat is much simpler than delivering a nuclear weapon by an ICBM, because the nuclear weapon would be detonated above the atmosphere — no proven ability to reenter the atmosphere is needed.
Two points deserve emphasis.
First, Iran already may have access to nuclear weapons, either in its own right or through cooperation with its ally, nuclear-capable North Korea — which also launches its satellites over the South Polar regions and can exploit the same U.S. vulnerabilities. And second, we should not permit this vulnerability to persist while being distracted by a debate about potential future Iranian capabilities.
In turn, two straightforward action items seem obvious. First, we must deal with the EMP threat. The Department of Defense knows how; it has been protecting its key military systems against EMP effects for a half century — but it has not similarly been protecting the infrastructure upon which the survival of the American people depends. President Obama should knock heads until his lieutenants get their act together and address this deficiency.
And second, we must defend against the threat from the south. We currently have no defense against the aforementioned satellites that approach us from over the South Polar regions, or against ballistic missiles launched from vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. The first might be addressed by empowering our missile-defense site at Vandenberg Air Force Base with sensors that track the threatening satellite. The second could be addressed by deploying on military bases around the Gulf the same Aegis Ashore BMD systems that we are building in Romania and Poland to protect Europe against Iranian ballistic missiles.
While the EMP threat can be handled entirely by unilateral U.S. actions, diplomacy can play a role in countering the satellite threat. There are legitimate, non-threatening reasons for Iran (or North Korea) to launch satellites. But they should assure us that such launches do not carry nuclear weapons. And these assurances must be verified with high confidence.
I recommend that the president make a unilateral declaration that the United States will shoot down any Iranian (or North Korean) satellite unless an inspection demonstrates that no nuclear payload is involved. His negotiators could work out acceptable details that would be consistent with those negotiated with the Soviet Union over 25 years ago.
Now that would be a treaty worth having.
— Ambassador Henry F. Cooper was the director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, the acquisition executive of U.S. ballistic-missile defense systems, and chief negotiator at the Defense and Space Talks with the former Soviet Union.
The chattering classes are focused on the pursuit of a deal with Iran that will, if enacted, leave the world in a much more dangerous place—including a likely nuclear arms race between Sunni and Shia factions in the Middle East.
While allegedly seeking a decade free of Iranian nuclear weapons, our leaders are ignoring the near term existential threat from Iran (and North Korea) posed by nuclear weapons detonated in space over the United States. This threat already exists from North Korea—and may exist from Iran. This deal will do little if anything to reduce that threat.
Still the Washington “powers that be” continue to ignore this existential threat reality. The American people need to inform themselves of these realities and demand that their representative provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.
The key question is, “Do we have the will and time to do so?”
Near Term High Frontier Plans.
In addition to continuing to press for building the most cost-effective ballistic missile defenses possible, we will continue working with South Carolina folks to build a coalition to engage constructively with private citizens and their local and state representatives and other authorities to work with the SC National Guard in understanding and responding to the existential threats to the electric power grid.
What can you do?
Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.
Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.
Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage www.highfrontier.org, for more information. Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.
Encourage them to review our past email messages, posted on www.highfrontier.org, to learn about many details related to the existential manmade and natural EMP threats and how we can protect America against them. I hope you will help us with our urgently needed efforts, which I will be discussing in future messages.
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