Friday, April 21, 2006
Prominent U.S. Physicists Send Letter to President Bush, Call Nuclear Weapons Against Iran 'Gravely Irresponsible'Prominent U.S. Physicists Send Letter to President Bush, Call Nuclear Weapons Against Iran 'Gravely Irresponsible'
By Kim McDonald
Thirteen of the nation’s most prominent physicists have written a letter to President Bush, calling U.S. plans to reportedly use nuclear weapons against Iran “gravely irresponsible” and warning that such action would have “disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.”
The physicists include five Nobel laureates, a recipient of the National Medal of Science and three past presidents of the American Physical Society, the nation’s preeminent professional society for physicists.
Their letter was prompted by recent articles in the Washington Post, New Yorker and other publications that one of the options being considered by Pentagon planners and the White House in a military confrontation with Iran includes the use of nuclear bunker busters against underground facilities. These reports were neither confirmed nor denied by White House and Pentagon officials.
The letter was initiated by Jorge Hirsch, a professor of physics at the University of California , San Diego , who last fall put together a petition signed by more than 1,800 physicists that repudiated new U.S. nuclear weapons policies that include preemptive use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries (http://physics.ucsd.edu/petition/). Hirsch has also published 15 articles in recent months (http://antiwar.com/hirsch/) documenting the dangers associated with a potential U.S. nuclear strike on Iran .
“We are members of the profession that brought nuclear weapons into existence, and we feel strongly that it is our professional duty to contribute our efforts to prevent their misuse,” says Hirsch. "Physicists know best about the devastating effects of the weapons they created, and these eminent physicists speak for thousands of our colleagues.”
“The fact that the existence of this plan has not been denied by the Administration should be a cause of great alarm, even if it is only one of several plans being considered,” he adds. “The public should join these eminent scientists in demanding that the Administration publicly renounces such a misbegotten option against a non-nuclear country like Iran .”
The letter, which is available at http://physics.ucsd.edu/petition/physicistsletter.html, points out that “nuclear weapons are unique among weapons of mass destruction,” and that nuclear weapons in today's arsenals have a total power of more than 200,000 times the explosive energy of the bomb that leveled Hiroshima, which caused the deaths of more than 100,000 people.
It notes that there are no sharp lines between small and large nuclear weapons, nor between nuclear weapons targeting facilities and those targeting armies or cities, and that the use by the United States of nuclear weapons after 60 years of non-use will make the use of nuclear weapons by others more likely.
“Once the U.S. uses a nuclear weapon again, it will heighten the probability that others will too,” the physicists write. “In a world with many more nuclear nations and no longer a ‘taboo’ against the use of nuclear weapons, there will be a greatly enhanced risk that regional conflicts could expand into global nuclear war, with the potential to destroy our civilization.”
The letter echoes the main objection of last fall’s physicists’ petition, stressing that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will be irreversibly damaged by the use or even the threat of use of nuclear weapons by a nuclear nation against a non-nuclear one, with disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.
“It is gravely irresponsible for the U.S. as the greatest superpower to consider courses of action that could eventually lead to the widespread destruction of life on the planet. We urge the administration to announce publicly that it is taking the nuclear option off the table in the case of all non-nuclear adversaries, present or future, and we urge the American people to make their voices heard on this matter.”
The 13 physicists who coauthored the letter are: Philip Anderson, professor of physics at Princeton University and Nobel Laureate in Physics; Michael Fisher, professor of physics at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland and Wolf Laureate in Physics; David Gross, professor of theoretical physics and director of the Kavli Institute of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Nobel Laureate in Physics; Jorge Hirsch, professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego; Leo Kadanoff, professor of physics and mathematics at the University of Chicago and recipient of the National Medal of Science; Joel Lebowitz, professor of mathematics and physics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and Boltzmann Medalist; Anthony Leggett, professor of physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Nobel Laureate, Physics; Eugen Merzbacher, professor of physics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and former president, American Physical Society; Douglas Osheroff, professor of physics and applied physics, Stanford University and Nobel Laureate, Physics; Andrew Sessler, former director of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and former president, American Physical Society; George Trilling, professor of physics, University of California, Berkeley, and former president, American Physical Society; Frank Wilczek, professor of physics, MIT and Nobel Laureate, Physics; Edward Witten, professor of physics, Institute for Advanced Study and Fields Medalist.
The physicists are sending copies of their letter to their elected representatives, requesting that the issue be urgently addressed in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Media Contacts: Kim McDonald
Comment: Jorge Hirsch
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Monday, April 17, 2006
Six simple propositions ... to solve the Iranian nuclear "crisis"April 15, 2006
No one can say with confidence what the Iranian leaders have in mind. Do they have ambitions to enrich weapons grade uranium or are they simply looking for a long-term plan for their energy needs? No one should or could accept the Iranian leaders’ assertions that they have no intention of developing a nuclear arsenal. No one should or could believe the Bush administration’s promises that it will pursue a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the current crisis, much of which is manufactured by the neo-conservative war machine. When President Bush calls the idea of using bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapons “wild speculations,” no body should believe him or any other White House denials that it is in the midst of operationalizing its contingency war plans on Iran.
War is not inevitable, no matter how hard the both sides try to make it so. The following six-point proposal is based on an assumption that the most significant element compelling the Islamic Republic to contemplate militarizing their nuclear technology is their threat assessment. Those in the Bush administration who believe that they could bomb Iran into submission, or deter their resolve to advance a nuclear technology, are simply racing away from a negotiated settlement of the current conflict. Once compared to all other coercive and military measures, the following six-point plan to resolve the crisis offers concrete benefits for both sides. The major costs of this solution (comparing to the possible hundreds of thousands of deaths, immense destruction of Iranian cities, and colossal economic price for both sides) are symbolic, for the most part, and require prevailing over issues of pride and prejudice.
1. Iran has an inalienable right to peaceful nuclear technology. This right comes with the responsibilities and obligations to the international community as stated in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Should Iran decide to expand and sustain a nuclear technology which includes full cycle enrichment program, the Islamic Republic must comply with the IAEA’s terms of inspection and regulation. Iran should guarantee the complete transparency of its program.
2. The United States should sign a non-aggression pact with Iran that recognizes the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic and pledges non-interference with the Iranian domestic affairs. The United States must categorically reject the project of regime change in Iran. If the Bush administration is genuinely committed to the cause of democracy and human rights, it must recognize that its efforts to “buy” or “install” democracy in Iran, or any other country in the world, have the contrary effect of strengthening undemocratic forces. American threats justify the suppression of civil liberties at home and abroad. The United States and it Europeans allies must recognize that even the most intrusive inspection regime cannot stop Iran from contemplating the militarization of its nuclear technology. The peril of such a development cannot be contained or eliminated by threats of war. Rather, these threats provide stronger and more justifiable reasons for speeding up the militarization of peaceful nuclear technology.
3. The Iranian government should accept and guarantee a policy of non-interference in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has acknowledged, Iranian policy must be based on the recognition of the Palestinian peoples’ right of self-determination. The Islamic Republic must guarantee that it will respect any agreement between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.
4. Iran should formally acknowledge that the seizure of the American Embassy in Iran was a violation of international laws protecting diplomatic missions. It should recognize that by seizing the embassy they violated the sovereignty of the United States. Prior American involvement in Iran, especially the US role in installing and supporting the regime of Mohammad Reza Shah, could not and should not justify the act of holding American diplomats hostage. Iran should restore the embassy to its original condition and maintain the grounds for its future transfer to its American owners, or pay damages to the American government.
5. The United States should release all frozen Iranian assets, lift its trade embargo, and halt punitive measures against companies which invest in Iranian industry.
6. Both the US and the Islamic Republic should begin negotiations preliminary to re-establishing full diplomatic relations. This could be part of a joint US-Iranian effort to stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq.
I urge opinion makers in the US to press the government to turn away from fomenting war. This proposal could be the means to de-escalating the crisis.
Behrooz Ghamari is a professor of history and sociology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org He is the author of the forthcoming book Islam and Dissent in Postrevolutionary Iran.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Invitation to a Speech followed by Q & AUnited Republicans of Iran Presents:
Invitation to a Speech followed by Q & A
Ideological Calculus or Strategic Rivalry
Dr. Trita Parsi
Trita Parsi is the author of a forthcoming book on Israeli-Iranian relations (Yale University Press), based on his PhD dissertation at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
Trita Parsi has worked for the Swedish Permanent Mission to the UN in New York where he served in the Security Council handling affairs for Afghanistan, Iraq, Tajikistan and Western Sahara, and the General Assembly's Third Committee addressing human rights in Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq.
His expertise is Iranian foreign policy and US-Iran relations. He is currently writing a book on Israeli-Iranian relations (Yale University Press). He has also served as a foreign policy advisor to Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH).
Dr. Parsi was born in Iran and grew up in Sweden. He earned a Master's degree in international relations at Uppsala University, a second Master's degree in economics at Stockholm School of Economics and a PhD in international relations at Johns Hopkins University's SAIS.
Date: Sunday, April 16, 2006
Time: 5 PM
Location: Georgetown University
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