Award-winning investigative author Edwin Black spoke in the Detroit area on June 11-12, as he makes the rounds on an international tour. The author spoke not only presented conclusions derived from the meticulous research revealed in his several books, such as IBM and the Holocaust and The Farhud, Black spoke to the very immediate concerns Americans have about the danger posed to the world by Iran’s nuclear weaponization program.
Black addressed Iran’s nuclear dynamic in his June 12 event at the Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, a suburb of Detroit where members of the Jewish and non-Jewish community assembled to hear him on the efforts made by Iran at uranium enrichment and its ties to North Korea and Russia. The author made clear that not only has the Islamic Republic and its leaders threatened Israel, profits from sales of Iran’s petroleum have funded the necessary research and technology for turning low-grade uranium into weapon-grade fissionable material needed for nuclear weapons borne aloft by missiles.
The author noted that with every gallon of gasoline purchased by Americans, Iran profits and thus funds its military programs. “Every tank of gas sold in America provides nuclear weapons on a ‘mileage plan’ for Iran,” said Black. Black reminded the audience that it was in 2004, on a previous visit to Detroit, that he coined the term ‘petro-politics’ to describe the inter-dependent political system that sustains the “oil addiction” that has reigned in the U.S. for a century.
As to the widespread fear that war involving Iran is imminent, Black said that any effort on the part of Iran’s military to block the vital Strait of Hormuz would be considered an act of war by the United States. Black said that such a confrontation could come without the consent of Iran’s president and regular military, noting that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards control their own fleet of scores of fast attack boats capable of mining the Strait of Hormuz and attacking tankers. The Guards enforce the Islamic system in Iran and are involved in virtually every aspect of Iranian life. Some 40 percent of the world’s petroleum is shipped through the Strait of Hormuz on defenseless tankers. Since the U.S. is dependent on foreign sources for nearly 50 percent of its oil consumption, a tactical strike by Iran on the Hormuz would have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy. Black added that the U.S. lacks a plan in the event of an oil interruption.
(Iranian uranium centrifuges)
As to other dangers, Black spoke of the repeated threats against Israel made by Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for example, once spoke of “wiping Israel” off the map. In answer to questions from the audience following his hour-long presentation, Black said “Israel does not want war. It does not want to strike Iran. But it will opt for a pre-emptive strike on Iran in the face of an existential threat. And that moment it will decide on its own.” Black noted that many Iranians hate the current Islamist regime and have taken to the streets in the past to protest against its excesses. Israel recognizes this, thus it wants to prevent civilian casualties in the event of a strike, said Black.
Black noted that Iran’s nuclear program appears to be accelerating and may soon be taken underground and beyond the reach of any currently operational bunker-buster bombs possessed by the U.S. and Israel. Efforts such as cyber-sabotage and assassinations attributed to Israel and the U.S. have so far proven to be unsuccessful in diverting Iran from its current course, said Black. However, there may still be hope that future events within Iran may prevent a confrontation with Israel and the U.S., said Black.
Black said that in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran, even while it would probably happen with the assistance of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, Israel would have to brace itself for worldwide opprobrium, much as it did with its pre-emptive strike on Iraqi nuclear facilities in 1981. Even such a strike on Iran’s burgeoning nuclear weaponization program cannot stop it entirely, said Black. “But it can buy time. Maybe two years.”