The deadly attack a rogue state could unleash against us.
FrontPage Interview’s guest today is Hadi T. Ardestani, a Nuclear Waste Management Expert and a Nuclear Issues Specialist in the Marze Por Gohar Party (MPG), an Iranian opposition party seeking the establishment of a secular republic in Iran.
FP: Hadi T. Ardestani, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
I would like to talk to you today about the Electromagnetic (EMP) threat. Many people are not really that familiar with it. Give us the definition and tell us what it is all about.
Ardestani: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about one of the more significant but least discussed national security threats: EMP.
EMP comes from the words “Electromagnetic Pulse,” which occurs when a high-altitude nuclear detonation produces an immediate flux of gamma rays from the nuclear reactions within the device. These photons, in turn, produce high-energy free electrons by “compton scattering” at altitudes between (roughly) 20 and 40 km. These electrons are then trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field, giving rise to an oscillating electric current. This current is asymmetric in general and gives rise to a rapidly rising radiated electromagnetic field called an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Because the electrons are trapped essentially simultaneously, a very large electromagnetic source radiates coherently.
There are three main types of explosions to be considered on the effects of the electromagnetic pulse. These are near-surface bursts, medium-altitude bursts, and high-altitude bursts. Near-surface bursts are those at altitudes up to 1.2 miles, medium-altitude bursts range from 1.2 miles to 19 miles, and high-altitude bursts are those above 19 miles. These altitudes are only rough guidelines.
FP: Tell us about the effects of EMP.
Ardestani: Since EMP is electromagnetic radiation traveling at the speed of light, all of the affected area could possibly be affected almost simultaneously. With such a possible threat, it is important to consider what may be affected. Because of the intense electromagnetic fields (about 10 kV/m) and wide area of coverage, the EMP can induce large voltages and currents in power lines, communication cables, radio towers, and other long conductors serving a facility.
Some other notable collectors of EMP include railroad tracks, large antennas, pipes, cables, wires in buildings, and metal fencing. Although materials underground are partially shielded by the ground, they are still collectors, and these collectors can deliver the EMP energy to a larger facility. This produces surges that can destroy the connected device, such as power generators or long distance telephone systems. An EMP could destroy many services needed to survive a war.
It is also important to realize how vulnerable the military is to EMP. "Military systems often use the most sophisticated and therefore most vulnerable, electronics available, and many of the systems that must operate during a nuclear war cannot tolerate the temporary disturbances that EMP may induce." Furthermore, many military duties require information to be communicated over long distances. This type of communication requires external antennas, which are extremely susceptible to EMP. Also, some military duties require information-gathering techniques. Many of these techniques use electronic devices connected directly to antennas or radar. Although the devices may be inside shielded buildings, the antennas bring the EMP inside, to the electronics.
In conclusion, the immediate effects of EMP are disruption of, and damage to, electronic systems and electrical infrastructure. EMP is not reported in scientific literature to have direct effect on people in the parameter range of present interest. But its volatile state, a small amount of nuclear weaponry - potentially just one weapon - can produce a catastrophic impact on our society. This makes EMP a candidate to be used in a massive terrorist attack.
Here is a possible scenario according to Mr. T. Kennedy:
“Let us say the freighter ship launches a nuclear-armed Shahab-3 missile off the coast of the U.S. and the missile explodes 300 miles over Chicago. The nuclear detonation in space creates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Gamma rays from the explosion, through the ‘Compton Effect,’ generate three classes of disruptive electromagnetic pulses, which permanently destroy consumer electronics, the electronics in some automobiles and, most importantly, the hundreds of large transformers that distribute power throughout the U.S. All of our lights, refrigerators, water-pumping stations, TVs and radios stop running. We have no communication and no ability to provide food and water to 300 million Americans”.
You can easily imagine what this will do to aircraft in flight and the damage to all modes of transportation as well.
FP: As the Nuclear Committee Chairman of MPG, to what extent do you think Iran is capable of launching an EMP attack?
Ardestani: First, as I have made clear in many of my statements, I totally do not believe the idea that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program is or could be and/or may change into a “peaceful and civilian” program.
They certainly will use any tools they can possibly use to extend and establish the Islamic Republic throughout the world. This is their goal as indicated in their constitution which has clearly assigned the duty of global Jihad to the Revolutionary guards and the military. This is also what they constantly declare all the time in their local media.
I confirm that scientifically they have enough power to make an EMP attack. There is no guarantee that they will stop at that and won’t attempt conventional nuclear attacks. This Islamic government has not displayed any moral or ethic discipline towards anyone and has shown zero interest in engaging anybody on any level.
The proof is here: look at the recent massacre on the streets of Iran after the presidential election. This Islamic government shows no reservations about torture and remorselessly murders its own people and even more their own colleagues. When given a rope, the regime has used it to hang Iranians; when given stones they have stoned people; when given guns, they have executed dissidents. What do you think the Islamic Regime will do were it to acquire nuclear weapons?
The Islamic Republic of Iran has developed a modern missile program and has tested their missiles in the Caspian Sea twice in the last eight years, launching ballistic missiles in a way to set off an EMP.
FP: What does the latest evidence tell us about Iran’s capabilities?
Ardestani: According to the latest figures on Iran’s nuclear progress released by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium continues to grow, as does the capacity of the Natanz enrichment plant, where 8,000 gas centrifuges are currently installed.
Just a few weeks ago, a new enrichment plant near the city of Qum was announced as it had become clear that its existence had been discovered and was about to be exposed. New plants and facilities are being discovered in Iran every few months. Based on the IAEA’s figures, I would say that Iran’s stockpile should be sufficient to fuel two nuclear weapons by the end of this year if the material were further processed to weapons-grade.
Furthermore, the Obama administration announced recently that it will scrap plans to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe put forward by former President George W. Bush. Iran’s missile capability appears to be a major factor in this shift. According to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Iran’s short and medium range missiles are “developing more rapidly than previously projected,” requiring a missile shield that relies on existing technology and can be put in place quickly.
In this context, it is crucial to understand both the current status of Iran’s missile arsenal, and how easily Iran could improve the range and accuracy of this arsenal. As a result, I believe that Iran could easily carry out an EMP attack.
FP: Which country is most threatened if Iran acquires nuclear weapons capability and perpetrates an EMP attack?
Ardestani: The first country to be put into clear and present danger by the acquisition of nuclear weapons and an EMP attack by the Islamic Theocracy in Iran is Israel - and by default the United States - in addition to all the other countries in the region.
FP: Have any actions been taken in this regard around the world?
Ardestani: Certainly. In September 2009 we had a national conference on the EMP threat in Niagra Falls, New York held by the EMPACT America organization.
FP: What is EMPACT?
Ardestani: EMPACT stands for “EMP-Act.” EMPACT America is a bipartisan, non-profit organization for citizens concerned about protecting the American People from a nuclear or natural electromagnetic pulse (EMP) catastrophe. Their web site is www.empactamerica.net
FP: Who were some of the speakers?
Ardestani: There were a whole range of highly qualified technical experts, scientists, political leaders and military authorities covering the issue from various angles. Notably I could name: former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Governor Mike Hukabee, William Forstchen, Frank Gaffney, Larry Greenfield, Brigitte Gabriel, Clifford May, Roozbeh Farahanipour, Dr. V. Pry president of EMPACT America, Avi Schnurr and many others.
FP: What was the MPG’s role in that conference?
Ardestani: Roozbeh Farahanipour, on behalf of the MPG Party, presented the Islamic Republic’s angle of this threat by discussing the nature, goals and capabilities of the regime. As an opposition party consisting mainly of younger generation Iranians, we have not only experienced first hand the nature of the regime, but have many concerned sources within Iranian institutions that convey their fears and concerns to us regularly.
FP: How can people educate themselves about EMP?
Ardestani: There is a lot of material on EMP on the internet which anybody can access and get familiar with. There are, of course, numerous academic and scientific sources which more technically educated people can use for research.
FP: What can concerned citizens do?
Ardestani: First of all, people should be aware of the concept of the threat and the fact that in today’s world numerous enemies with EMP capabilities exist and more are relentlessly pursuing the technology.
Second, people should learn to relate major political, ideological and strategic developments in the world with the major technological and military capabilities at the disposal of forces and governments seeking the destruction of Western civilization and culture of freedom. Active and aggressive entities such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, North Korea and many others are prime candidates who have either acquired the EMP technology, are close to acquiring it or can be equipped with it by their more powerful patrons in short order.
People should also follow up with the activities of EMPACT through EmpactAmerica.net and keep themselves up to date.
FP: Hadi T. Ardestani, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.