Item description for IRAN'S NUCLEAR OPTION: Tehran's Quest for the Atom Bomb by Al J. Venter...
At a time when international terrorism is the focal point of our concerns, a far more pressing threat has arisen to the balance of power in the world and ultimately to the security of our country. Since the Islamic Republic of Iran admitted, just two years ago, that it was secretly producing highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium, leading nations have struggled to react in an appropriate manner. In this book, the U.S. public is able to learn, in full detail and for the first time, exactly what the Europeans and UN have been trying to forestall.In Iran we see a country, located at the center of the Middle East, which could very shortly have the ability to strike its immediate neighbors and nations farther away with nuclear weapons. With the innate size to dominate its region, Iran is also a country with an avowed mission to export it's theocratic principles, and a nation which has, over the past 25 years, been a notorious supporter of terrorist organizations. Its parallel development of atomic bombs comprises the greatest threat that we have seen in the new millennium.In Iran's Nuclear Option, defense expert Al J. Venter details the extent to which Iran's weapons program has developed, and the clandestine manner in which its nuclear technology has been acquired. He demonstrates how Tehran has violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and details the involvement of several countries who have been shown by the IAEA to have trafficked in illegal nuclear materials. He proves, for the first time, a direct link between the now-defunct South African apartheid regime's nuclear program and Tehran's current nuclear ambitions. Venter digs deep into ancillary subjects, such as Iran's fervor on behalf of Shiite Islam, its missile program-developed alongside its nuclear one-and the role of the Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards), whose tentacles have spread throughout the Middle East and increasingly further afield. While noting Tehran's support of terrorist groups such as Hizbollah, Venter follows closely how the Persian homeland itself has progressed toward a strategic nuclear capability that would make recent terrorist attacks look obsolete.Iran's Nuclear Option is essential reading for anyone with an interest in global security and the perilous volatility of the Middle East. It also comprises an indicator for America's own options, should it be willing to counter the threat while time remains, in favor of world peace rather than greater global instability. REVIEWS "the place to turn for technical details and footnoted references...offers the most systematic exposition to date about Iran's nuclear program and its role in world affairs..." Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2006"...of great interest to anyone watching the current nuclear proliferation problem..."Parameters, Spring 2006"...a chilling insight into the scope and sophistication of Iran's concerted, multi-decade quest for the atomic bomb... a sobering blow by blow account of how Tehran managed diplomatically to stall, mislead and confound the IAEA..."The National Interest 06/2005"an outstanding survey of the threats the present Iranian regime poses to the world. One of this books great strengths is how carefully Venter documents Iran's efforts to obtain parts and personnel for weapons building....shows clearly and convincingly why stopping Iran's nuclear program is a cardinal interest not only for any particular state, but for humanity as a whole."Jerusalem Political Studies Review, Fall 2005
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Al Venter has been an international correspondent for nearly thirty years, most frequently for the Jane's International Group. Among his previous works are "The Chopper Boys: Helicopter Warfare in Africa" and "The Iraqi War Debrief: Why Saddam Was Toppled," A native of South Africa, he currently lives in Canada.
Reviews - What do customers think about IRAN'S NUCLEAR OPTION: Tehran's Quest for the Atom Bomb?
Another drummer for war with Iran Mar 11, 2008
If you want to understand Iran's true reasons for hating American foreign policy you have to say something at least about CIA's overthraw of the democratically elected Mossadegh and imposition of puppet shah. This book does not say a single word about that coup. But that is the root of American hostage crisis and following US-Iran tensions. Without mentioning that the book look just like another piece of propoganda and drumming for war with Iran. Isn't it enough of that?
An interesting view on Iran's atomic bomb Dec 31, 2006
Recent events since the book has been released show that Iran wants a bomb but probably is further away then this book suggests. As most of the other reviews have covered the book, well enough as I will just add that I found the large section that the writer discusses on South Africa annoying as I thought it was off topic and yet an interesting one as he states that South Africa in actively spreading helping the spreading of nuclear and advanced conventional weapons. I am not totally convinced on the nuclear weapons. I hope the writer will in future, supply more information on this subject.
Iran has a right to self-defense Aug 21, 2006
While I'm not an advocate of nuclear weapons or nuclear power, I can certainly understand why Iran would be moving in the direction of this sort of technology. It understands that the US is an aggressive military empire that has been on a quest for hegemony for generations. On top of that, the US has already been involved with the overthrow of an Iranian leader, the democratically elected Mossadegh. That overthrow led to the US-backed Shah and his brutal security forces. So, predictably, Iran is moving to defend itself. If US citizens have a problem with that, they should work to change their own society which has thousands of nuclear weapons, a yearly $450 billion military budget, hundreds of military bases around the world and a history of conducting aggression around the world. Stephen Kinzer's "All the Shah's Men" and nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi's "Iran Awakening" are vastly superior books. By the way, Iran's president did not suggest that Israel and the Jews should be destroyed, what he said was that the "occupying regime" of zionist Israel should be "removed from the pages of history." A remark similiar to what the ANC was saying about ending South Africa's Apartheid regime. The blog of Middle East scholar Juan Cole analyzes the way Ahmedinejad's remarks have been mistranslated, while providing regular analysis of the region as a whole.
Some people seem to desire these fear-mongering books/tv dramas/radio shows that go on about all the threats the US allegedly faces. I guess that's because they or loved ones make a living in our military industrial compex and need to rationalize what they're doing. Similarly, the citizens of fascist Germany were convinced of various concocted threats to their country (Poland, the Jews, etc.) while diverting their eyes from the actual harm they were causing in the world.
"Every government explains its existence and justifies all its violence on the ground that if it were not there things would be worse. Having convinced the people that they are in danger, the governments dominate them. And when the people are dominated by governments, the latter compel them to attack each other. And in this way a belief in the governments' assurance of the danger of attacks by other nations is confirmed among the peoples. Divide and conquer." -Leo Tolstoy, "Christianity and Patriotism"
Lacking in focus, not lacking in analytical short cuts Jul 20, 2006
OK. I'm not sure where to begin with this book. First of all, it is the most scattered, poorly focused book i have ever read. I am not sure why the chapter on the Iran-Iraq War was in the book, nor am I positive why the author spent so much time discussing South Africa. Many of the chapters did not fit and would have been better off in the appendix, while many of the appendices, such as the one on iran's missiles, would have been much better suited in the main text. Also, while much of the text is interesting, such as the Appendix on Hezbollah, the author spends too much time talking about that topic, and not its relationship with Iran. While this book is supposed to be about Iran's nuclear weapons program, very little time is actually spent discussing it.
The most glaring flaw with this book is that it lacks definitive proof to support many of the claims the author is making. He takes many analytical short cuts, arriving at dubious assessments based on questionable evidence. His chapter on the Iranian involvement in 9/11 is bizarre, and i find it hard to believe that the US, based upon the information provided by the intelligence community, attacked the wrong country, while the author, based on his limited sources, was correct.
The bottom line is that this book is at times sensationalist and before the Iraq war I read scores of books that were similar in their apocolyptic tones.
While much of the information in this book is interesting, such as the bits on Islamic culture, I caution the reader to keep a healthy skepticism in regards to many of the author's claims, and suggest that Venter takes a class on how to organize a paper.
Solid Work Heavy Reading Though Jun 15, 2006
Patrick Clawson said it well enough, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have uncovered one hidden Iranian nuclear program after another during the last two and a half years. Tehran has now acknowledged having concealed (for eighteen years) a wide range of nuclear activities. Some of them have few peaceful applications but are directly useful for nuclear weapons. This surprising nuclear progress fits a context, for the Iranian regime has also tested long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and its Supreme Leader has proclaimed that Israel is a cancer that should be excised by being wiped off the map.
Iran's nuclear program has attracted much attention from governments and from authors intent on highlighting the Iranian threat. Some books are scaremongering, ill-informed, or both; in contrast, the Timmerman (Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran) and Venter books are solid accounts (as the forthcoming Iran's Strategic Weapons Programmes: A Net Assessment from London's International Institute of Strategic Studies also promises to be).
Timmerman writes in a chatty style with much color about the various players, structuring his account around the interaction among the actors. Learning, for example, that German foreign minister Joschka Fischer is married to the daughter of an Iranian dissident illuminates the dynamics of policymaking. Timmerman's account is also extraordinarily well-informed, reflecting his years of association with the policy circles he describes. Unfortunately, he undermines his credibility by accepting too readily the accounts of some Iranian exiles, especially the defector Hamid Reza Zakeri, who tell hair-raising stories about Iranian hidden capabilities. Timmerman is correct that U.S. intelligence agencies have a bias against defectors, preferring assets they themselves cultivated, but Zakeri's accounts are at times suspiciously convenient. That said, Timmerman's Countdown is the book to read for an engaging peak behind the curtain.
Venter's Nuclear Option is the place to turn for technical details and footnoted references. It offers the most systematic exposition to date about Iran's nuclear program and its role in world affairs. After a solid introduction to the history and political culture of the Islamic Republic, with a solid exposition about Iran's support for terrorism, especially by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Venter carefully walks the reader through Iran's nuclear and missile programs. Along the way, he incorporates essays by leading experts from the Institute for Science and International Security (David Albright and Corey Hinderstein) and the Federation of American Scientists (Charles Vick). As might be expected from a South African author, Venter highlights the parallels between South Africa's successfully concealed nuclear program and what is known about Iran's efforts. Some of the most technical information is in appendices; nevertheless, his account does make for heavy reading.