New evidence suggests that the US is seeking a set-up showdown with Iran

I posted recently about how much safer, cheaper to run, and readily available Thorium as a reactor fuel is in the generation of nuclear power. I also noted that uranium is largely preferred because the Americans insist on it – it’s difficult and expensive to make weapons from Thorium. QED.

This set a few hares running among those knowledgeable in the field. Three separate readers of the piece emailed to ask had I noticed that Iran is using Uranium, when – if they were refining nuclear material for peaceful purposes – Thorium would be a far better bet. In turn, I have put this to two US sources…while a third contact admits to having wondered why the US Government has never put Iran on the spot by offering its leaders all the Thorium their hearts could desire.

In fact, even rabidly anti-US Iran-supporting sites admit that Thorium is the obvious way to defuse the growing Iran/US tension., for example, wrote recently that, ‘If Iran is sincere that it seeks only peaceful uses for its nuclear energy, the crisis can easily be defused. The problem isn’t that Iran seeks nuclear power. The problem is that, like the rest of the world, Iran has made a poor choice of nuclear fuel. Uranium is lethal even when it’s not packed in a bomb. It’s absurdly complicated to handle, its behavior is touchy and unpredictable, and its waste is fatal to humans for millions of years. Instead, Iran can follow the lead of China, India, Brazil, and other nations and turn to thorium.’

Similarly, virulently anti-US online writer Nile Bowie observes at GlobalResearch that ‘Iran can truly make an example of itself by phasing out uranium-based nuclear technology and shifting to a liquid fuel based on molten-fluoride salts used in Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) nuclear technology powered by thorium, an obscure, mildly radioactive metal produced as a waste product from the mining of rare earth minerals. Thorium is plentiful, easily accessible and energy dense, a metric ton produces as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, or 3,500,000 ton of coal. Thorium-based reactors consume their own hazardous waste and would serve Iran’s internal needs far more effectively than its current technology. As a nuclear fuel, thorium is both cleaner and safer than uranium and produces benign alpha radiation, unable to even penetrate skin.’

I am told that the US and China have been exploring the advantages of Thorium together, which is kind of bad news for the Ahmadinnejhad Iranian regime, because the Chinese are thrilled to bits with the results….and have politely asked the rogue State why it doesn’t just stop using uranium, and thus remove the tension.

“You never know for sure what Beijing thinks,” says a Washington insider, “but the word is that we know the content of the Iranian response to them, and it was bullsh*t.”

In recent weeks, I have in turn been trying to hammer home the strategic as well as energy ramifications of increased US influence in the Aegean generally, and Greece/Cyprus specifically. Yesterday, The Slog posted about the arrival of Shimon Peres in Greece. Recently I wrote about Putin’s desire to flex his influence on the island of Cyprus.

The powerful US Jewish lobby is redoubling its pressure on the Obama White House regarding what Mossad sees as Iran’s blatant weapons aspirations for its nuclear programme. In turn, the US fears the instability that would be caused by an Israeli attack to neutralise Iran’s nuclear installations. It would also cause difficulties regarding Turkey’s status as a long-term NATO ally.

Based on feedback over the last month, I am now firmly convinced that the Americans want a ‘set-up’ to justify their own attack on Iran. And in being evasive on the thorium issue, Ahmadinnejhad is playing right into Washington’s hands.

“There’s a sense in the military that we can put the Iranians right on the spot here,” says my Washington source, “that we can produce a kind of Cuban missiles thing at very short notice. Maybe give them 48 hours to sign something unless they agree to use only thorium. We can’t lose, but I feel the mood is to attack, and take the Ayatollahs out like a cancer.”

There is, I should add, clearly another element to the set-up beyond thorium. But nobody is talking about that. And no, I have nothing solid at all as to what that might be. (If you do, the address remains the same: )

This is strong stuff. This is also a source who has misread one or two things in the past – but not many. Nevertheless, I spent some intensive time yesterday talking to two other people – one a diplomat and one an Arabist, both of whom I respect immensely. First, the Arab expert.

“For once, [Hillary] Clinton is getting the ducks in a row. Both the Saudis and the Israelis now see Iran isolated after the fall of Assad. Iran is their common enemy – a loose cannon, and for the Saudis, religiously schismatic and anti-Royalist. So yes, if State [the US Foreign Office] has them onside, and if State is supporting the [Muslim] Brotherhood in North Africa, then obviously, there’s a clear intent taking shape. The Arabs will of course be publicly shocked and horrified at this act of gangsterism by the American Satan, but behind many doors, everyone from Benghazi to Tel Aviv will be mightily relieved.”

The diplomat is French, but has spent many years working in both America and North Africa.

“I’d be staggered if Washington were to contemplate complete regime change in Iran,” he began, “although from the Pentagon viewpoint, it solves problems ranging from Iranian-based insurgents in Iraq through to hotheads in Tel Aviv. But I find it hard to see how they could manage the transition post Ayatollahs. In my opinion, a massive patriotic backlash would immediately follow if the Americans invaded. It is in the childish nature of Americans to ‘get even’ as they say, and a great many of them do firmly believe that annihilation of the Ayatollahs is the only solution. Their best approach, I think, would be to encourage dissidents and humiliate the regime without invasion. This may well be what they have in mind.”

Pressed on the subject of US strategy against Iran, however, he added, “Yes, I do think the Americans think anything would be better than an Israeli strike against Iran. And I don’t agree that Greece would be irrelevant to that….I think it would be central to the element of surprise and speed. Of course the Americans are encouraging a Greek – Cypriot – Israeli affiliation. That is a major problem for Brussels and, by the way, a serious issue for Putin. But how far they would go, well…that’s another issue.”

Regime change in Iran would be a major setback for Vladimir Putin after Libya and Syria – and a massive blow to his prestige and popularity at home. But on the other hand, mayhem at best (or stalemate at worst) in Syria and Iran would serve the long-term Russian policy of interrupting, sealing off and generally raising the price of oil to Western Europe. For that would mean an economic blockbuster for Russian energy, and a diplomatic screw the Kremlin can continue to turn.

Personally, I think they’re all mad. But I’ve seen the US do this so many times now: blunder in and think later about how to get out. On the other hand, I can’t see a man as diffident as Obama pulling a stunt like this before the Election. As for Putin, I don’t think there’s much he could do other than sabre-rattle. But if he thinks that anything now can stop an oil-glut in 2013, then he’s not as smart as I think he is. Global depression is now a cast-iron certainty.

As for Greece, I have no longer a scintilla of doubt that they are being courted by the Americans, but there are definitely doubts within the Athens elite about getting too obviously into bed with Washington – in terms of how that might play electorally. Were Turkey-bashing to be part of the mix, then naturally it would play extremely well. But it would take a lot to make the US take on Turkey as well – at any level.

As always, stay tuned. This is a continuing saga, and there’s a long way to go yet.

And brand new at The Slog: ‘You Are Here’: my unique guide to rifts, bridges and mechanisms in the Euroblown theatre.