Author Topic: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?  (Read 141 times)

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Offline Blast

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What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« on: September 09, 2021, 12:21:30 PM »
Back in February of 2021, US Secretary of State Blinken stated Iran was only 8-10 weeks away from producing nuke-grade plutonium. Attempts to get them to stop have not been working, so what happens in the near, medium and long-term future?

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Offline Raptor

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2021, 01:59:59 PM »
Nukes are an interesting weapon.

Having a nuke is one thing using a nuke against a target is a whole other matter. A Nuke without a platform is a dangerous paper weight. There is also a lot of complexities to a nuke. There are many things that can make it malfunction. That is why the original members of the nuke club had so many tests. To work out the bugs, that and to show the enemy that their nukes actually worked.

IMO testing of nukes is actually the best us of nuclear weapons. It demonstrates the capability and only successes are reported. It sends a very clear message to any adversary.

That brings up the next point the country that uses nukes (or chem/bio weapons for that matter) invites a massive retaliation. You can be sure that any country that first uses nukes will likewise get nuked either by the target attacked or their friends.

Even a massive nuclear arsenal will not prevent that. As bizarre as it may seem the doctrine of assured mutual destruction is a logical outcome of nukes.

The one thing that a nuke inventory assures (IMO) is that no country will invade them. IMO the key reason that NK exists is because the PRC will not tolerate a nuclear exchange on their doorstep. That is what would happen if anyone invaded NK. A nuclear attack by NK followed by retaliation. NK may be glowing afterwards but the PRC would take a very dim view of these proceedings.

So how does this relate to Iran?

A nuke would make Iran "invasion proof". At the same time it would upset it's neighbors.

It would also mean that their neighbors would want nukes.

It is commonly assumed that Israel has nukes as well as both airborne and submarine delivery systems since the 1968 war.

It is commonly assumed that the Saudis financed the Pakistan nuke program in exchange for their access to  such weapons if needed. Granted that may not work out as planned but it is not something to be dismissed out of hand.

Iran's many SSM may have the capability to loft such a first gen nuke albeit at a reduced range. That said assuming the range was not reduced and the first gen nuke's weight was within the loft capability then the latest and greatest missile would have a range of 2,000km +/-. So only the middle east would fall within its range.

A greater range could be an air breathing cruise missile carried by a modified cargo aircraft like one of their 707, c-130 or Il-76 which could in theory attack the US in a one way mission. Iran does have copies or original KH-55 ex-soviet cruise missiles. It does not take much tech to improve this type of missile.

So in short Iran may have a plausible delivery system I would suggest that it does not have a reliable delivery system.

Therefore Iran's best use of such weapons is to take the NK approach and use them to leverage fear. 

Obviously opinion here and YMMV.
I really do not see Iran launching a nuclear strike soon.
I also do not see Iran setting off test nukes since that would make re-imposition of sanctions likely.
I do see a lot of rhetoric, vitriol by Iran. I also see a lot of US denial of the potential risk from Iran.

I am not saying this is a non-issue. I cannot say too much more without straying into the politics of its prevention.

 
I will never claim to to have all the answers. Depending upon the subject; I am also aware that I may not have all the questions much less the answers.

As a result I am always willing to listen to others and work with them to arrive at the right answers to the applicable questions.

Offline sheddi

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2021, 05:09:20 PM »
I'm inclined to agree with Raptor. A nuclear-armed Iran is/will be much like a nuclear-armed DPRK.

I'll reassess if/when one of them sets one off outside their own borders.

Offline flybynight

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2021, 07:19:11 PM »
Wasn't North Korea's  Hydrogen nuke test's  considered either dud's or carefully engineered weapons to maximize EMP pulse? Which would make sense for a country whose ballistic missile delivery   system  , while capable of reaching the U.S. , was only accurate to the size of a whole state ?

Offline 12_Gauge_Chimp

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2021, 08:54:53 PM »
Wasn't North Korea's  Hydrogen nuke test's  considered either dud's or carefully engineered weapons to maximize EMP pulse? Which would make sense for a country whose ballistic missile delivery   system  , while capable of reaching the U.S. , was only accurate to the size of a whole state ?

I recall several tests where the missiles designed to carry the potential nukes barely made it out of the test area and ended up in the ocean.

Offline Blast

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2021, 08:20:08 AM »
MAD works very well when dealing with sane individuals...but when part of the belief systems calls for an apocalyptic war the bring back the 12th Imam things get a little dicey. I'm hoping what their leaders say in public are very different than what they think in private.

Iran was being hurt pretty badly financially by the sanctions against them but if I understand it correctly, a lot of those are no longer in place. Hopefully that means (?) they won't have an incentive to sell a bomb to some 3rd part who is less concerned about retaliation. A bomb in a cargo container is still going to be pretty effective. Of course, if I were China or Russia, I'd be looking into ways of nuking the USA that would get Iran blamed.

But yeah, I agree with Raptor that this isn't a big, immediate threat...but like so many things here it is something to keep in mind. Being located in Houston, where a lot of Middle Eastern cargo ship come, my spider-sense is giving a bit of a tingle.
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Offline Raptor

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2021, 11:15:31 AM »
MAD works very well when dealing with sane individuals...but when part of the belief systems calls for an apocalyptic war the bring back the 12th Imam things get a little dicey. I'm hoping what their leaders say in public are very different than what they think in private.

Iran was being hurt pretty badly financially by the sanctions against them but if I understand it correctly, a lot of those are no longer in place. Hopefully that means (?) they won't have an incentive to sell a bomb to some 3rd part who is less concerned about retaliation. A bomb in a cargo container is still going to be pretty effective. Of course, if I were China or Russia, I'd be looking into ways of nuking the USA that would get Iran blamed.

But yeah, I agree with Raptor that this isn't a big, immediate threat...but like so many things here it is something to keep in mind. Being located in Houston, where a lot of Middle Eastern cargo ship come, my spider-sense is giving a bit of a tingle.
-Blast


You make some excellent points.
The one key component of MAD is that all of the decision makers are rational. MAD would not work with an evil chaotic personality (a hollywood style character like the Joker).

The USSR leaders were recognized as conservative in their desire to avoid nuclear war, while at the same time being willing into match and exceed the US' conventional and nuclear capability for leverage in all political matters. Don't get me wrong they also demonstrated a willingness to use conventional weapons to control and expand their political objectives. However they did not want to lose everything in a ww3 exchange but they also knew the US likewise did not want a nuclear exchange but could. So the parties made MAD work.

I also do not want to leave the impression that I do not think nukes in Iranian hands has no risk. It does.

I think you are right in the sense that the increase in risk is geographic specific. A key US port like Houston with a lot of container traffic coupled with a high population density and a key petrochemical port is a very tempting target. A single nuke attack on Houston would cause significant disruptions to US economy, liquid fuel production and chaos. All you have to do is look at the economic impact that the 2021 Texas freeze had to US economy to see what a minor disruption would do.

That said if something like that happened I am pretty sure that once Texas had recovered from that kind of sucker punch the State of Texas collectively ensure the guilty parties were shall we say made very sorry they were born. Let just say Texas has a history of resiliency and justice. A wise person will never piss off Texas or Texans.

Still you as a resident should be aware of the possibility and it is with good reason that this is a concern.

The one thing we have not discussed is Iran "losing control" of one or more of its nukes. With the rise of the  "New Taliban" they would be a perfect player for such a surrogate attack. Iran would deny culpability and at the same time sit back, eat popcorn and cheer in the streets such an attack.

Nukes do leave finger prints based upon raw material and technology that is used. Israeli and Indian nukes are reported to have US & Canadian finger prints. Pakistani nukes have UK and PRC finger prints. The Iranian nukes are likely to have French finger prints. 

If an other 9/11 were conducted with such a "misplaced" nuke any port city with a container port would be a potential target.

IMO that is the key risk for nuke use. 

 

     

I will never claim to to have all the answers. Depending upon the subject; I am also aware that I may not have all the questions much less the answers.

As a result I am always willing to listen to others and work with them to arrive at the right answers to the applicable questions.

Offline sheddi

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2021, 02:45:05 PM »
I think you are right in the sense that the increase in risk is geographic specific. A key US port like Houston with a lot of container traffic coupled with a high population density and a key petrochemical port is a very tempting target. A single nuke attack on Houston would cause significant disruptions to US economy, liquid fuel production and chaos. All you have to do is look at the economic impact that the 2021 Texas freeze had to US economy to see what a minor disruption would do.

Here, try https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ it's fun for all the family.

It looks to me as though a 20 kiloton "Gadget" bomb would be lost in the Houston metro area. The short-term disruption would be horrendous, I'm sure, but the actual destruction is relatively localised. This is why the B-36 and Tu-95 carried quite so many bombs, and why "duck and cover" might even have worked if it had come to it.

Offline Raptor

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2021, 03:35:32 PM »
I think you are right in the sense that the increase in risk is geographic specific. A key US port like Houston with a lot of container traffic coupled with a high population density and a key petrochemical port is a very tempting target. A single nuke attack on Houston would cause significant disruptions to US economy, liquid fuel production and chaos. All you have to do is look at the economic impact that the 2021 Texas freeze had to US economy to see what a minor disruption would do.

Here, try https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ it's fun for all the family.

It looks to me as though a 20 kiloton "Gadget" bomb would be lost in the Houston metro area. The short-term disruption would be horrendous, I'm sure, but the actual destruction is relatively localised. This is why the B-36 and Tu-95 carried quite so many bombs, and why "duck and cover" might even have worked if it had come to it.


This is true about nukes.
But this site simply analyses the physical damage.
It does not take into consideration the panic, confusion and chaos caused by 4 million (plus of minus a few thousand in the blast zone) in the aftermath which you noted in your post.

The nuke damage by a 50 kt device especially a ground burst will not cause "much" physical damage that hollywood likes to depict. However, the phycological impact of the blast and fear from the fallout will result in appalling activity.

That is the other interesting thing about nukes they are the ultimate terror weapon (though biological & chemical devices are good at that also).   
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 03:44:57 PM by Raptor »
I will never claim to to have all the answers. Depending upon the subject; I am also aware that I may not have all the questions much less the answers.

As a result I am always willing to listen to others and work with them to arrive at the right answers to the applicable questions.

Offline Raptor

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2021, 03:52:48 PM »
Compare this with a similar event the Bayonne, NJ port. The panic and chaos on Manhattan would make the 9/11 attack look like a good day.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 04:02:18 PM by Raptor »
I will never claim to to have all the answers. Depending upon the subject; I am also aware that I may not have all the questions much less the answers.

As a result I am always willing to listen to others and work with them to arrive at the right answers to the applicable questions.

Offline Blast

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Re: What if/when Iran makes nuclear bombs?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2021, 03:59:05 PM »

Here, try https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ it's fun for all the family.

It looks to me as though a 20 kiloton "Gadget" bomb would be lost in the Houston metro area. The short-term disruption would be horrendous, I'm sure, but the actual destruction is relatively localised. This is why the B-36 and Tu-95 carried quite so many bombs, and why "duck and cover" might even have worked if it had come to it.

Yep, I've had hours of fun nuking Houston and other places with that site. I should be far enough away from any shipping port explosion to just hear some rumbles. But then comes the crazed mass exodus. I live about six books off I-45, the main way north, away from the coast, out of Houston. I was hear to see the post-apocalyptic nightmare that was the Hurricane Rita evacuation that occurred a week after Katrina hit New Orleans.

In the end, this is just one more possible Jumanji level. Like we say, if you're ready for zombies you're ready for anything. :)
-Blast



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