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Feb 11, 2007

Iran negotiator: Nuclear program ‘no threat to Israel’

Posted by in categories: counterterrorism, geopolitics, nuclear weapons

From CNN:

MUNICH, Germany (AP) — Iran’s nuclear program is not a threat to Israel and the country is prepared to settle all outstanding issues with the International Atomic Energy Agency within three weeks, its top nuclear negotiator said Sunday.

Ali Larijani, speaking at a forum that gathered the world’s top security officials, said Iran doesn’t have aggressive intentions toward any nation.

“That Iran is willing to threaten Israel is wrong,” Larijani said. “We pose no threat and if we are conducting nuclear research and development we are no threat to Israel. We have no intention of aggression against any country.”

In Israel, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev dismissed Larijani’s comments, saying Iran’s government was trying to convince the international community to believe that their intentions are benign. “The fact is that they have failed in this attempt and there is a wall-to-wall consensus that the Iranian nuclear program is indeed military and aggressive and a threat to world peace.”

Iran insists it will not give up uranium enrichment, saying it is pursuing the technology only to generate energy. The United States and some of its allies fear the Islamic republic is more interested in enrichment’s other application — creating the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

The IAEA, led by Mohamed ElBaradei, has said it has found no evidence that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. But the U.N.‘s nuclear watchdog agency has suspended some aid to Iran and criticized the country for concealing certain nuclear activities and failing to answer questions about its program.

“I have written to Mr. ElBaradei to say we are ready to within three weeks to have the modality to solve all the outstanding issues with you,” Larijani said at the forum.

Some of you may be wondering, “why are you focusing on geopolitical stuff with Iran and North Korea when we all know that the future risks from biotech, nanotech, and AI are so much more significant than these present-day squabbles?” Several reasons: 1) These issues affect us today. The medium-term future (5−20 years) will be shaped by what happens in the next 5 years. Look at the impact that 9–11 had. (Lifeboat Foundation originally formed as a response to 9–11.) 2) If the world ends in some way before UFAI, it will likely involve military nanotechnology. A military nano arms race, if one occurs, will likely be launched based on some geopolitical precedent. The seeds of which could very well be seen in the headlines of today. 3) Focusing on the present gives us a bit more credibility. What kind of organization would Lifeboat be if we only looked at the future, and never the present or the past? Some enthusiasts may be comfortable focusing almost exclusively on the future, but in mainstream punditry, this is just not done. No need to sideline ourselves unnecessarily.

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Comments — comments are now closed.

  • Donovan on February 12, 2007 8:18 pm

    I’m staggered that the concerned intellects who are presently concerned with Lifeboat Foundation issues might fail to see that the immediate roots of our race’s glorious futures lie in the matrix of proximate causation formed by Our World Here/Now. Where do you think the “future” originates? We are building or generating the “future” even as we speak; every Web 1.0 link you click on, every share of stock you buy or sell, every vote you cast, every foetus you abort or nurture to delivery, everything we do makes the “future” happen now! Pay attention!

  • Phillip Huggan on February 19, 2007 9:11 am

    I understand that 9–11 catalyzed the imaginations of Lifeboat originators, who were perhaps unaware that such mass slaugthers routinely happen on the global stage. But perhaps now is the time to move beyond political rhetoric.
    The invasion of Iraq has killed 200 times as many civilians is did 9–11. A nuclear weapon exploded on a Canadian city would result in fewer fatalities than has the Iraq War. I don’t see nuclear terroirism as an extinction threat. I do see the regressive counter-response as significant. Then the issue isn’t the terrorist, it is the embedded military complex and the competence (mercy) of geopolitical leaders. Yet it is almost as if Lifeboat Foundation is cheerleading for a larger military-industrial complex here.

    There are 250000 Lebanese civilians still displaced as a result of the (mercifully) brief 2006 Israeli invasion. In terms of Human Extinction Threats this is a non-event but it is still more relevant than Iran’s rhetoric (garnering all-time highs in publkic approval ratings for Iran’s leader). I’m not trying to earn political brownie points here. I wish I was a first-hand observer for some of the 20th century political events so I could’ve been supportive of Israeli and US foreign policies; events where they were clearly the good guys.

  • Michael Anissimov on February 19, 2007 5:21 pm

    Phillip, the relevance is that this is international politics and nukes today could easily be replaced by MNT weapons tomorrow. I’m also going to link this again:

    http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20070203/bob8.asp

    “I do see the regressive counter-response as significant.”

    Good, then you see the relevance in geopolitical posts.

    “Yet it is almost as if Lifeboat Foundation is cheerleading for a larger military-industrial complex here.”

    Nope…

  • Phillip Huggan on February 20, 2007 12:32 am

    I agree geopolitical analysis is important in the context of future technologies.

    Even assuming the best publicly available information sources, we are never going to find out what is really going on with Iran and North Korea. With Iran, conservatives can use Foxnews as a filter, the analagous hard Left-wingers (in this context) will use Al Jazeera, you will use CNN and I’ll have you all beat with CBC, but none of us will have the real story until it is declassified many years from now (those in the know will not leak onto a blog).

    North Korea, Israel, Iran; none of these nations will invent diamond(oid) MNT. Israel may conceivably contribute some expertise to a American-led Nanhattan…less likely, Tehran could chip into a Chinese bloc or something, but it is only the largest surface sciences communities that will matter.
    For the next few decades: USA, EU nations (but their militaries aren’t harmonized…), Japan, maybe South Korea or Russia will have an outside shot.
    Emerging will be China, India, Brazil (maybe).…
    If you really want to play the Muslim angle, focus upon how Pakistan affects the India China dynamic, or upon The Philippines or Indonesian influence to neighbouring Asian *powers*. If you really think North Korea will develop a modern UHV SPM surface science scaleable industrial output about 10000X the world’s entire existing surface sciences industrial capital with a whole bunch of SPM techniques not demostratable yet in any cleanroom on Earth today, plz explain why. :)
    An interesting and opening question is whether the EU nations would go it alone or ally here. Same for Asia in the future. Whatever Fox news shows on TV now is surely dwarved in importance by simple factors like demographics (Europe and Japan in even worse shape than the US here). I’m disagreeing with the depth of analysis we get with current events (assuming info sources not designed to keep embedded wealthy interests fat). Both the past and the future offer a richer tapestry here.
    I’ll get around to posting links to examples of what I mean later. There is a great deal of depth in geopolitical analysis in some circles today, but it isn’t garnered from newspaper headlines.