Netanyahu in 1992: Iran close to having nuclear bomb

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is trapped in reflection theory. He was allegedly himself involved in illegally smuggling nuclear triggers out of the US, and he assumes that Iran desperately wants a nuclear weapon as well. But Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has given a fatwa against nukes, and there is no solid intelligence pointing to an Iranian weapons program. Iran can’t be close to having a weapon if it doesn’t have a weapons program.

He has no credibility left on such warnings.

Reprint edn.:

Scott Peterson at the Christian Science Monitor did a useful timeline for dire Israeli and US predictions of an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon, beginning 20 years ago.

1992: Israeli member of parliament Binyamin Netanyahu predicts that Iran was “3 to 5 years” from having a nuclear weapon.

1992: Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres predicts an Iranian nuclear warhead by 1999 to French TV.

1995: The New York Times quotes US and Israeli officials saying that Iran would have the bomb by 2000.

1998: Donald Rumsfeld tells Congress that Iran could have an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the US by 2003.

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52 Responses

  1. All those centrifuges sure are puzzling. Now, I’m not a physicist, but from my survey of what’s out there, it sure seems like the Iranians are doing it the hard way, because a small simple graphite block reactor can be used to make Plutonium 239 from Uranium 238, and chemically separate from the remaining uranium. Instead of a giant centrifuge complex, Iran could have numerous small, easily-hidden breeder reactors. Of course, Plutonium requires an implosion weapon, rather than a gun-type weapon, but even with U-235, the implosion method requires way, way less fissile material. The Iranians must have their reasons, but it doesn’t seem to be the easiest way to go about it. My 2¢.

    • I agree. Why dont they just BUY them from Russia/North Korea/China/Pakistan Etc. for 3-8 Million Dollars each ( Cost om Black Market, Supposedly ), than spend BILLIONS on a Nationwide Grid. This makes no sense to me. Maybe Im Ignorant , But This makes no sense. Correct me if Im wrong….

      • Mr. Albert, maybe (and I do no mean this sarcastically or in any disrespectful way) they aren’t enriching uranium for purposes other than powering their country’s infrastructure?

        Otherwise, they could have already bought the weapons as you have pondered? Yet, they have not done so.
        Also, they are no threat to a nuclear power such as Israel. This is mere media hype to enhance the “fear” and “urgency” position Israel is trying to swing into their favor.
        Always the eternal victim, yet they have nuclear weapons and are NOT a signatory of the NNPT. Iran is. Go figure.

        The Israeli’s are a warmongering group, bloodthirsty and paranoid, these traits only eclipsed by their arrogance.

        The US host is in dire need of purging this parasitical, warmongering group from the ranks of our country. This would be instrumental in tipping the “American” influence of US foreign policy back into the position of favoring the US citizen.
        At present, we are experiencing what it is like to have a foreign group of people controlling our destiny.
        This should be unacceptable on every level to every single American who believes in the US being run by US citizens for US citizens.

        • Christian Guilt is never going to allow the US to divorce Israeli Likud from American politics. AIPAC will rule until the US’s financial collapse.

  2. This morning in Bibi says that the Iranians are six months from 90% of something, maybe his brain is seized up!

    Then they had that sorry excuse for a human, Darth’s daughter Liz Cheney, blaming Obama for everything wrong with the world. She never mentioned her evil daddy’s role as Preznit with VeePee Bu$h the Lesser. What a waste of broadcast time.

  3. First point is that a similar list of potential capabilities could be attributed to any number of semi-developed and developed nations. The point these people are really angling toward is that IRAN, as a case and as a people, simply cannot be entrusted with such a capability, even latent. It is not so much a matter of paranoia, but racism. And how it’d crimp Israel’s style.

    Here are the pertinent questions:

    How can Israel trust their security to the assurances of a Fatwa, or its equivalent? Even to a disinterest third-party, the idea is laughable. It isn’t even a matter of Iran being rational or irrational: its a matter of Israel being put in a position of having to reap what it has sowed: it would then either have to negotiate a respectful accommodation with its neighbors or suffer the consequences in terms of diminished power.

    Can Israel allow Iran to develop economically beyond a certain point, aside from even a peaceful nuclear capability, given Israel’s security has alway been premised on military force and an implicit regional domination rather than peaceful accommodation and respect? If Iran got to the point of economic power and influence of Turkey, would that be acceptable to Israel? I think not.

    With all their threats, quite aside from the internal domestic politics, can Netanyahu/Israel afford to let a “bluff” be called, and accept even a latent Iranian capability that crimps their historical style? Remember, the Likud may be right wing, but they ARE the elected government and we must accept their actions as reflecting the Israeli people’s collective will.

    It may not be rational, for all sorts of objectively compelling reasons, but for the subjective ones that count, its hard not to see an attack on Iran soon.

    (Avoiding that inevitability would entail secret negotiations with the US bearing fruit, and they’d have to be done without Israel. Even then the pressure for Israel to lash out would be immense.)

    • You make an important point. Likud is the ruling party. Likud benefits directly from a fearful Israeli population in the form of won elections. So, any time the popularity of the Neocon Likud war party lags below a certain indicator, Bibi trots out the “ZOMG Iran haz teh nuukz!!!1!11” speech and the people fall in line.

      Same happens in the US, re: War on Terror. “The Muzzies Are Gonna Git Us!!11!!”

  4. And these so-called warnings continued through the first decade of this century as well. The goalposts keep getting pushed back, but the same dire predictions continue.

  5. What’s more, even if they did get a bomb, they would only use it if they want to incinerate themselves……

    • There are 70 million people in Iran? Perhaps one or two are radical enough… but would they ever be in a position of power? Enough to control a nuke?


  6. it would, however, work as a solid bulwark against any form of invasion. The Israelis may feel less secure having that option taken away from them. But Israeli arrogance might by necessity be reigned in.

    • Even if Israel tried to invade Iran (not a contiguous state), that invasion would fail. Just look at the size of the populations. Israel isn’t invading Iran now, for obvious reasons. What makes anyone think that Iran “having the bomb” would discourage them from invading Iran any more than they are already discouraged from doing this?

  7. It seems every time Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu starts his bellicose Iran war talk oil’s per barrel price increases. This increases US gas prices. Is the Israeli PM trying to influence US elections indirectly by inducing the gas price rise? It was a combination of the Iran hostage crisis and rising inflation that brought down Jimmy Carter’s presidency.

    • Iran and inflation were the hallmarks of the Carter administration.

      In the end, Jimmy Carter did get the hostages released after 444 days when the American and British hostages in Lebanon took far longer for the Reagan administration to secure their freedom.

      While there was rampant inflation under Carter, much of this was due to the monetary policies of Paul Volcker at the Federal Reserve Board, which was “remedied” by a tightening of the money supply under Reagan, acusing heavy unemployment.

      Funny, Reagan is regarded as a hero today by conservatives and Carter as a failure by many others, yet Carter’s foreign policy achievements cannot be understated.

      • No, Volcker was the one who reigned in inflation. He was called in to end the high inflation because of the inflation caused by the aftermath of the Vietnam war (again, not paid for). Please do not spread untruths.

        And don’t try to spin this. I lived through this, and I know what happened.

        link to

      • Agreed. Carter was the better President of the two. His policies on energy and the environment would have set the US up for what was to come later….instead, we got Iran/Contra illegal oil for weapon trades and the myopic, often ignorant short-termism of the GOP generally….and they are even worse now.

        • Getting just a little OT. Objectively, Carter had more competence and did more good relative to Reagan; the GOP has, through propaganda, turned that on its head. Perceptions are Trump. At least in the short run, which is all some people care about.

      • “In the end, Jimmy Carter did get the hostages released after 444 days when the American and British hostages in Lebanon took far longer for the Reagan administration to secure their freedom.

        While there was rampant inflation under Carter, much of this was due to the monetary policies of Paul Volcker at the Federal Reserve Board, which was “remedied” by a tightening of the money supply under Reagan, causing heavy unemployment.”

        Carter’s chief hostage negotiator, Warren Christopher (working with the Algerians), conculded a deal with the Iranians. Iran, however, only concluded the deal after Reagan had won the election and delivered some pretty tough talk in Iran’s direction. Interestingly, Iran released the hostages only on January 20, 1980, the day Reagan was sworn into office.

        Rampant inflation under Carter most definitely was not due to Paul Volcker, as Volcker was not head of the Fed until Carter brought him on board as Fed chief at the end of his presidency to quell the inflation. It was Volcker, under Reagan, who tightened the money supply and squeezed inflation out of the economy. And while it resulted in high unemployment during the period 1980-82, the taming of inflation set the stage for a long period of ecoomic growth.

        • At the risk of incurring Mr. Bill’s withering Olympian disdain, here’s a little snippet of history that might have a bearing on one’s evaluation and judgment of the nature of US Gamesmanship in this sick world. I would guess that Mr. Bill would discount it as just another conspiracy theory, of course, because it implicates some of the Great Game Narrative Heroes in some pretty skullduggerous acts, and of course these people NEVER would have stooped so low as to “go around” the US State Department and President to make a slick deal with a Towelheaded Terrorist, or trade hostages for weapons and cash, or divert Iranian money into arming terrorist insurgents in efforts to overthrow democratically elected governments in places like Nicaragua, or any stuff like that. Or, like, overthrow the Mossadegh democratically elected government of Iran in favor of a dictator to “our” liking, one who would undo the nationalization of the British and “American” oil extractors there. And other stuff, of course.

          But here goes. It was referred to as the “October Surprise,” and depending on where your loyalties and identities lie, and in a froth of conflicting testimony and paper trails, you might accept or reject the notion that Republican operatives and others who wanted Carter “out of there” cut a little deal with Ayatollayouso Khomeini to hang on to those 52 US Embassy hostages until after the 1980 election, to help ensure the Right outcome of the Reagan Revolution. Stuff like that NEVER happens in the real world, now does it? link to

          Have at it, Mr. Bill, dig into your store of condescension and supercilious lingo — this running impeachment gag seems to have become a personal thing for you.

          And by the way, there are of course erudite others who have different, wildly different, and divergent, “explanations” for what happened to the economy of the US from, say, 1976 to, say, the present. And, of course, there’s some objective evidence as to who got rich, and who got screwed, and what if anything was done to effect and affect the stability, vel non, of the human part of the planet during that time.

  8. American and UK taxpayers let their government take billions of their tax dollars, dollars that could have started thousands of small businesses, for lies.

  9. Netanyahu’s anxiety about Iran destroying Israel with nuclear weapons might be a displacement of Netanyahu’s inchoat perception of the long term existential threat presented by the fact that Israel’s popularity in the world is declining, as it is among American Jews, as it rides on the waves of the turbulance produced by the Arab spring in which the surpressed aspirations of the Arab people have been unfettered. He must have always known that the
    Arab people regard Israel as an alien implant imposed in the heart of the Arab world by western powers against the will of the Arab people, and that there was a limit to how long western poowers could produce the illusion of coziness between the Arab states and Israel.

    • And nobody says much about how the Likudniks are an existential threat, a real and present and current existential threat, to the Palestinians. Once they’ve squeezed enough wealth and blood out of them, and displaced them from any place they live so as to invoke that old fraud, “possession is nine-tenths of the law…”

      And how many times does it have to be pointed out that our war leaders and state security mavens actually consider the Great Gamers in Israel to be the most significant Mideast threat to US interests and stability? Even Ha’Aretz put this AP story up for Israelis to laugh about: “Former U.S. officials say CIA considers Israel to be Mideast’s biggest spy threat.” link to

  10. Israel uses the threat of an Iranian nuke as one of its tools for preventing any two-state solution in Palestine. Obama came to office talking peace in Palestine because the problem represented a serious, long term threat to American security. What happened? Very soon after Israel bombed Gaza and renewed the cycle of verbal aggression toward Iran. Why do they do this? So they can continue to annex land in the Occupied Territories and gradually – slowly – ensure that any two-state solution becomes completely impossible. That is the agenda. It has always been the agenda for Netanyahu and people who walk with him. “Iranian nukes” are just a convenient lie to distract the fools in the US and elsewhere. It’s worked for 20 years. There are some serious fools around.

    • In the same way what Israel is doing is pretty obvious to both of us, I think its pretty obvious to anyone taking a objective and careful look at the situation (whether or not they’ll admit it).

      But such people are not who Netanyahu/friends are speaking to: the battle for mindshare is over the masses, sitting slack jawed in front of their TVs, with a lack of time, energy, or ability to gain a fuller and more informed view of whats going on, or to develop a more critical/informed opinion.

      There would still be plenty of disagreement on what’s going on and what to do about it, but even that’s a ways off.

  11. Another factor; with America’s announced “pivot toward Asia”, Israel probably feels the need to pin us down in the Middle East with another war. Clearly American dominance of events is waning. We can not longer keep a series of compliant puppets in power the way that we used to, the cost is getting too great.

    How much longer can the Saudi’s and Jordan hang on? When will our military base in Bahrain become untenable? We are not being defeated; but rather we are unable to manage the chaos.

    The Israeli’s can surely see this trend. The only strategy for them is to stir the pot ever more vigorously. More threats, more war! But in the end it will all collapse. Let’s hope we can at least manage the end game with a reasonable exit. But first we need to recognize that the end game is upon us.

  12. This is classic disinformation that U.S. and Israeli political leaders have used to promote their foreign policy agendas.

    Not unlike the infamous Iraqi “Curveball” informant.

    Not unlike the dubious Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 that fooled the U.S. Senate into authorizing military force against North Vietnam.

    Not unlike the phony uranium purchases purportedly made by Iraq from the Republic of Niger.

    And so on, and so on………………….

  13. Iran could enter into a mutual defense treaty with its neighbor, Pakistan, a nuclear power; Iran agreeing to defend Pakistan if it is attacked by India, and Pakistan agreeing to defend Iran if it is attacked by Israel.

  14. Meanwhile, two people literally set themselves on fire in Israel to protest economic conditions there, and it was barely mentioned in the media…

  15. Ah, they’re beating the drums of war, again.
    But it just pains me to NO end. 
    when I see my right-wing, gun-loving friends
    get so so upset.. over Iran wanting to build nuclear weapons.
    God, they want to start yet ANOTHER (unpaid) war to stop it! 
    But for the life of me-
    I don’t understand WHY those right-wing gun-rights advocates, 
    (the very same guys who claim the God-given
    right to arm THEMSELVES to the gills), 
    should object to Iran arming itself in any way that it sees fit. 
    Hey, it’s a tough tough tough world out there, right guys? 
    And after all,
    nuclear weapons don’t kill people – people do. 
    Am I right, or am I right, right-wingers?

  16. stanchaz: It’s worth noting that the US has, since April, backed well away from any claim that Iran is even working on nuclear weapons. The US position is that Iran has the capability to develop nuclear weapons if it decides to…and it hasn’t decided to. That is effectively Iran’s position too. They could do it…but they do not want to as their religion regards nuclear weapons as a sin and an abomination. In a country supposedly by God that pulls a fair bit of weight. If they were found to be doing what they have repeatedly, from the very highest levels, stated unambiguously is a very serious sin….it would undermine the legitimacy of the regime.

    • Not to mention that to bomb Israel would mean that Iran would be bombing Islam’s second most holy site — the Dome of the Rock. Not a chance.

  17. Is not any birth painful? Does it not – for the amount and intensity… shape are very Souls worth? Of the desire, ours to persist – yet, an existence in the flame of what we choose -to lead! Questions, that will forbare and forbid us to challenge … Yet, all of us go forth redeeming our daily bread – to give unto yourself, NOT the perplexed permission of virtue, but the insistence of what our truer, innermost guiding principles demand of each of us – verily – not giving away to the cold, clueless and callous doubt that – that by fearing… would RIP away the greatest of God’s gift … our capacity to … love.

    • Hey, don’tcha know love, like Heaven, is boring? Can’t begin to hold human interest the way anger and hatred and violence and even despair do.

      Check out the lengthy, detailed, imaginative, voluptuous, evocative prose of those chroniclers of Badness, John Milton (“Paradise Lost”) and Dante Alighieri (“The Inferno,” and the rest of the “Divine Comedy”,) and the many current action, fantasy, sci-fi, “history” and other titles in Barnes&Nobles, and the nature of TV entertainment and all those scare and screech and vampire and zombie movies, not to mention “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty” and Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Even the “Left Behind” stuff — the evil guys and gals are a lot more interesting than the insipid heroes, and even the Angels are violent warriors in a zero-sum game where you would think a merciful and all-mighty G_d would be able and willing to put an instant end to the fighting. Just like in Ireland or the Mideast or Notagainistan. Everybody hug, now, and kiss and make up…

      Evil inspires, attracts, seduces, enlivens, encourages, incites, elevates. Who wants to sit on a cloud, strumming a harp, singing infinitely eternal paeans to G_d Almighty? Even 72 virgins and all the ripe dates you can eat are going to pale after a while. The best prose and poetry comes out of something very different than beatific and wishful and squishy visions. Which should tell us a lot about ourselves as a species, and if the learning is used well, maybe arm us against always succumbing to our limbic natures. Maybe figure out how to incorporate the Golden Rule into our lives as well as our lip service.

      Not bloody likely, of course…

      The other stuff is too much fun. Think about the words of Winston Churchill: “There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.” In context: link to Ask one who waterboards or sends electric shocks to the genitals of a helpless person, or beats a grandmother holding a placard bloody and senseless with a baton, or pickles off a Hellfire or three into a group of “militants” and then several more into the people who follow the humane impulse to give aid and succor to the survivors of the first attack, how it works…

      • I read “Inferno” and thought it was genius: action, satire, political critique and am sure it’s literary quality is even better in Italian instead of translation. I couple of years later, I read “Purgatorio’ and “Paradiso”. By the time I got up the mid-way point of the hierarchy of heaven, I thought if I hear one more example of light, I’d tear my hair out. Boring. Boring. Boring.

    • If the end result of your policies is the destruction of the world – I’d say that’s hardly a ringing endorsement of your policies.

  18. Obama could just announce to the world that US arms cannot be used for an illegal war, otherwise all military aid to Israel will stop. End of crisis, end of story.

    Oops, I forgot one detail: He will be impeached if he tries to pull that off, because the US Congre$$, bless their hearts, are in the back pocket of AIPAC.

    So the root cause of the problem, and the reason why Natanyahoo has the chutzpa to lecture the US about “moral right” is the fact that our Congre$$ is bought and paid for. Until that changes, nothing will change in the Middle East.

    In the mean time, we average citizens who can’t afford our own lobbyists are on our own, since our so-called “leaders” don’t actually represent our interests. One way that we as individual citizens can make our voices heard (forget writing to your member of Congre$$ on this issue) is for all of us to pledge to BOYCOTT ISRAEL IF IT ATTACKS IRAN. Please sign the pledge at

    and spread the world. Let us (nonviolently) increase the cost to Israel of starting Middle East War III. Maybe we can help to avert one this time, instead of just protesting it after the fact.

  19. I have a hard time believing that anyone who would praise the Carter presidency was actually an adult during the Carter years.

    I lived under the Carter presidency. It was a bad joke. The hostages were released not because of Carter, but in spite of him, as Reagan was sworn in. Inflation, the oil crisis, the hostages, it was just one misstep after another.

    Likewise, those of you bashing Netanyahu and the Israelis seem to forget who the aggressor is that is bringing the world to the brink of war in the Middle East. It sure as hell isn’t the Israelis, it is Iran and their proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and, yes, in the Occupied Territories.

    I know it’s an “inconvenient truth” for some of you eggheads to contemplate, but there you have it. Israel is not the bad guy here. Sorry.

    • US annual inflation rate was 11% in 1974 and 11% in 1979. I know conservatives like to pretend that Carter invented inflation but it was there before he took office. I remember the “WIN” (Whip Inflation Now) buttons from the Ford administration.

      You must live in that conservative alternate history where George W Bush took office on 9/12/2001

  20. Where is Putin when we need him? Why doesn’t he tell the US to buzz off. Putin should say that he will assure that Iran gets nukes if they are attacked by ANYONE. We have seen how much the “peace dividend” has paid off in that the US military spends more money that the next 14 nations combined. I say bring back the cold war. At least it was more peaceful. We had Viet Nam and Korea between 1949 and 1989. Two wars in 40 years. Now we have, Iraq, Pakistan (drone proxy war), Yemen (drones), Libya (still not done yet), Afghanistan, soon to be Syria, and several other stealth wars in Africa…. all since 2002. And let’s not forget Gulf War I, and the Bosnian/Croatian war either. There has been nothing but War ever since the “EVIL empire” left the scene. Peace dividend my ass.

    Please please please Mr. Putin stop the Anglo-American madness before some screwball from the Pentagram drops a nuke. Tell the whole world that you are moving nukes into Iran and do it. Tell the US to screw-off. Bring forth a stalemate and send Bibi away crying. Then the jews might just have to treat the palestinians like human beings.

  21. I am reminded of a post by the Rude Pundit from February 24 of this year showing that these same scary stories have been told even long before 1992. Here is a short list (paraphrased):

    AP, 4/25/84: Jane’s Defense Weekly reports that Iran will have nukes by 1986. The bomb is being developed in Boushahar.

    AFP, 12/4/91: German intelligence chief states that Iran will have the bomb by 2000.

    WP, 10/18/92: Head of Israel’s military intelligence states that Iran will have nukes by the end of the decade; British and French intelligence believes it will happen earlier; head of National Council of Resistance of Iran believes it will happen in three to five years.

    AP, 2/12/93: Iran will have nukes within six years.

    Guardian, 1/6/95: American and Israeli officials say Iran will have nukes in less than five years

    AFP, 4/9/98: Iran already HAS nukes; they obtained warheads from a former Soviet republic in the early 1990s, according to the Jerusalem Post, who supposedly had access to Iranian documents obtained by Israel.

    I’m sure that those stories are only the tip of the iceberg. This story has been going on for close to 30 years at the very least. It’s rather convenient that Iran is always just a few years away.

  22. Why all the safety precautions concerning nuclear reactors…IAEA comes to mind…if they can be bombed?

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