Monthly Archives: January 2022

Iran’s “First Nuclear Martyr”

On 12 January , the Iranian government published a profile titled Iran’s first nuclear martyr: A look at the life of Massoud Ali Mohammadi.

This seems to be the most relevant paragraph:

Massoud knew the methodology for carrying out scientific studies very well. He was not ashamed to ask questions and he always sought to increase his knowledge. In addition to physics, he was knowledgeable about philosophy and cosmology as well. Fereydoun Abbasi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran at that time, said the following about him, “Sometimes students would sit in my room and engage in discussions with each other. He would sit with them, listen and ask questions as well. He met Dr. Rezainejad here. He had very good scientific discussions with him, and in some cases, he would raise objections to him.” He knew mechanics in the field of physics and that is why he was actively and effectively involved in the initial studies for uranium enrichment, centrifuge design and construction.

Pakistan on P5 Statement

Thought it was worth mentioning Pakistan’s reaction to the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races:

The Joint Statement by the P-5 on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races is a positive development. This understanding among the permanent members of the UN Security Council can pave the way for concrete measures for strategic stability at the global and regional levels.

As a responsible nuclear weapons State, Pakistan supports the objectives of global and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, in line with the stipulations of the First Special Session on Disarmament of the UN General Assembly (SSOD-I) – with equal and undiminished security being the defining consideration.

The P-5 statement rightly acknowledges the imperative of creating conducive security environment for meaningful progress on nuclear disarmament. This will include addressing the underlying security concerns of States, pacific settlement of outstanding disputes, and cessation of destabilizing arms build ups that accentuate asymmetries.

In the context of South Asia, Pakistan’s proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime, encompassing nuclear and missile restraint, conventional balance and settlement of disputes, can contribute significantly towards maintaining strategic stability and avoiding military conflict. This will also entail eschewing misplaced notions of space for war in a nuclearized environment.

Pakistan fully agrees with the need for effective measures by all nuclear powers to guard against any unauthorized or unintended use of nuclear weapons.

Pakistan’s MFA spokesperson said this:

You would have seen our response to media queries on the P-5 Joint Statement on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races. It is a positive development. However, as noted in the statement itself, the realization of the objective of global disarmament will require a conducive security environment. This can only happen through cessation of destabilizing arms build-ups and addressing asymmetries, settlement of disputes and commitment to strategic stability rather than competition.

U.S. Iran Nuclear Weapons Assessment

In his book Betrayal, Jonathan Karl reports about this U.S. assessment concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons capability:

Despite the IAEA’s assessment that Iran could have enough fuel for two nuclear bombs within six months, the U.S. military’s assessment was that Iran was still twelve to eighteen months away from having the capacity to make a nuclear weapon.

F-Bombs in the UK

Off-topic, but I feel the need to highlight the below portion of. this 1995 LRB article (behind paywall, I think)::

On 24 September 1940, shortly after 9 p.m., those British radio listeners who had tuned their sets to 213 metres on the medium wave (a little higher than the frequency of the BBC Home Service) were in for a shock. ‘Have you ever seen Beaverbrook?’ asked one of the announcers, referring to the current Minister for Aircraft Production. ‘Well, we often have in meeting halls, and what we could never understand was, why he was on the platform instead of swinging from one chandelier to another … He’s a miserable little coward and the best way of dealing with a bloody fucker like him is to get hold of him personally and give him a good beating which he won’t forget.’ This attack on Lord Beaverbrook, which must have sent a frisson of delighted horror through its listeners, was something of a milestone in broadcasting history, for it was the first time that the word ‘fuck’ had been transmitted to a British radio audience.

There was something else peculiar about this programme. Even a casual listener could tell that the station, which announced itself as Workers’ Challenge, did not belong to the BBC, although it claimed to be broadcasting from within the British Isles. As most of its regular listeners knew, Workers’ Challenge was a German propaganda station, whose programmes were produced by the Büro Concordia, part of the Foreign Service of the Nazi broadcasting organisation, the Reichsrundfunk. As Adrian Weale describes in his Renegades: Hitler’s Englishmen, Workers’ Challenge was the responsibility of Büro S, and at the time of this historic broadcast the announcers were Sergeant MacDonald and Guardsman William Humphrey Griffiths of the British Army, both recruited from German prisoner-of-war camps. While broadcasting for Büro S, they lived in an apartment in Berlin, wore civilian clothes, were provided with supplies of tobacco and alcohol and, if they liked, were escorted once a week to a nearby brothel.

The announcers of Büro S thus lived quite different lives from their counterparts at the BBC, but then the programmes they broadcast were also quite different. The attraction of Workers’ Challenge lay not only in the fact that its announcers spoke in working-class regional accents, but also that they swore constantly. According to their characteristic style, the ‘bloody government’ was soon going to lose ‘the bloody war’, at which point ‘Churchill and his buggers will clear off.’ For listeners raised on the sedate broadcasts of the Home Service, whose announcers wore evening dress and were required to speak what was called ‘educated English’, this was a distinct novelty. As one BBC listeners’ report admitted, Workers’ Challenge had built up a significant audience, for ‘people switch on to hear the swear words.’ ‘Old ladies in Eastbourne and Torquay are listening to it avidly,’ admitted another official, ‘because it is using the foulest language ever. They enjoy counting the Fs and Bs.’

Pakistan 1998 Test Prep

Well. This 1998 CNN piece, citing “the latest information from U.S. intelligence sources.,” reports that

Pakistani workers at a test site near the Iranian border have put a nuclear device in a shaft and encased it in concrete. The process, known as “stemming,” would make it difficult to retrieve the device without detonating it.

I like the reaction from then-Foreign Minster Gohar Ayub Khan:

“All intelligence offices of any worth will cover themselves by saying ‘probably,’ ‘possibly,’ ‘if,’ ‘maybe,’ ‘perhaps,'” Khan said. “They have no information as such. What they’re trying to do is make an intelligent guess.”

However, Khan said “nothing whatsoever” was keeping Pakistan from proceeding with a test, and that it was not a case of if Pakistan would conduct a test but when.

Asked when a test might occur, Khan responded, “You want me to be hung? These are not the sort of things one gives on television.”