Iran has joined the concrete arms race. According to Press TV, an Iranian state-run news network, the country developed new "ultra-high performance concrete" that counts "among the toughest and most rigid building materials in the world."
The concrete is made of quartz powder and "special fibers" that can "withstand higher pressure with increased rigidity," the article says. This is supposedly intended for non-violent purposes:
But then the article chimes in with a warning, in case the game wasn’t clear enough:
So just kidding! It’s totally for violent purposes. Iran is essentially telling Israel and the U.S.: Don’t bomb us, it won’t even work anyway! Especially not with this awesome new stuff we have. You’re better off continuing to negotiate with us.
A little context: The United States, Israel, and other allies have been bobbing and weaving with Iran over its nuclear ambitions for years now. In the latest round, Israel signaled, alarmingly, that it might preemptively attack Iran’s nuclear sites (which, also alarmingly, have been disappearing into underground bunkers). That was in February. Now suddenly comes news that Iran has invented an advanced type of concrete that forms a sort of supernatural energy shield around said sites.
Without knowing the scientific particulars here—what the "special fibers" are, for instance—we have no way of knowing if the concrete is as indestructible as Iran claims. But we do know that the nation loves posturing about its technological advances perhaps even more than we do. If, as some believe, the ramp-up with Iran is nothing but a series of feints and counterfeints, all with the goal of gaining diplomatic leverage, then it won’t be long before we hear of a supernatural missile that can penetrate Iran’s supernatural concrete.
This is what diplomacy is, in the high-tech era: two countries glowering and wiggling their fancy weapons at each other like a couple teenagers playing Magic at the lunch table.
[Image: Travis Manley/Shutterstock]