Courting disaster

Wretchard has a typically excellent analysis of fading hopes for a peaceful diplomatic approaches to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. What the analysis doesn’t disclose is the scope of the danger confronting the Iranian people.

Examine the map of Iran’s nuclear sites on the left (Source: Global Security). Click the map for an enlargeable version. Here’s the population of the cities in which the sites are located (Source: City Population):

City Population (2002)
Bonab 63,240
Bushehr 140,615
Chalus ?
Darkhovin ?
Esfahan 1,266,072
Fasa 81,706
Karaj 940,968
Mo’allem Kalaych ?
Natanz ?
Neka ?
Saghand ?
Tabas 50,000
Tabriz 1,191,043
Tehran 6,758,845
Yazd 326,776

If anyone can fill in any of my blanks, please leave a note in the comments section.

Some of the sites are located in Iran’s most populous urban areas: Tehran, Esfahan, Tabriz. Other sites, notably Darkhovin, are adjacent to Iran’s most productive oil fields.

In contemplating the amount of damage that might be done by any weapons capable of destroying the hardened facilities I think it’s instructive to examine the results of a recent natural disaster: the December, 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran. In this earthquake, measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale, 43,000 people were killed. Compare this with the January 1994, Northridge earthquake, which measured 6.7 on the Richter scale (20% more severe than the Bam quake). 57 people were killed. What accounts for the difference? In my opinion lower building standards, lax or no enforcement of existing standards, and the failure of what meagre disaster recovery personnel were available to respond.

6 comments… add one
  • Ryan Link

    I found some population numbers at They are from 1996 and I don’t know how dependable they are.

  • Tim Carr Link

    No matter what the populace of these areas. . . . .in the event of the deployment of Nuclear Weapons by Iran. . . .many more of their people would die in the retaliation. They must be stopped FOR the betterment of their people.

  • freakboy Link

    Are you sure that forty three thousand people were killed?

  • That’s what the links said. More recent estimates put the number of dead at around 26,000. This is an old post.

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