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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

IAEA leaps into action, says it will take months to decide whether Iran may be producing nuclear weapons

The International Atomic Energy Agency has finally admitted the possibility that Iran may be using nuclear technology for military purposes, according to a report in Tuesday's New York Times. The report is based upon 18 documents that western intelligence agencies say "indicate the Iranians have ventured into explosives, uranium processing and a missile warhead design — activities that could be associated with constructing nuclear weapons." According to DEBKA, the documents came from a laptop that was stolen from one of the heads of Iran's nuclear program in Tehran in late 2006. No explanation is given for why it has taken a year and a half for these documents to come to light. Here's more from the Times:
Iran has dismissed the documents as “forged” or “fabricated,” claimed that its experiments and projects had nothing to do with a nuclear weapons program and refused to provide documentation and access to its scientists to support its claims.

The report also makes the allegation that Iran is learning to make more powerful centrifuges that are operating faster and more efficiently, the product of robust research and development that have not been fully disclosed to the agency.

That means that the country may be producing enriched uranium — which can be used to make electricity or to produce bombs — faster than expected at the same time as it a replaces its older generation of less reliable centrifuges. Some of the centrifuge components have been produced by Iran’s military, said the report, prepared by Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the agency, which is the United Nations nuclear monitor.

The report makes no effort to disguise the agency’s frustration with Iran’s lack of openness. It describes, for example, Iran’s installation of new centrifuges, known as the IR-2 and IR-3 (for Iranian second and third generations) and other modifications at its site at Natanz, as “significant, and as such should have been communicated to the agency.”

The agency also said that during a visit in April, it was denied access to sites where centrifuge components were being manufactured and where research of uranium enrichment was being conducted.

The report does not say how much enriched uranium the Iranians are now producing, but the official connected to the agency said that since December, it was slightly less than 150 kilograms, or 330 pounds, about double the amount they were producing during the same period about 18 months ago.

“The Iranians are certainly being confronted with some pretty strong evidence of a nuclear weapons program, and they are being petulant and defensive,” said David Albright, a former weapons inspector who now runs the Institute for Science and International Security. “The report lays out what the agency knows, and it is very damning. I’ve never seen it laid out quite like this.”

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the atomic energy agency, however, said that the report vindicated Iran’s nuclear activities. It “is another document that shows Iran’s entire nuclear activities are peaceful,” the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted him as saying.
But the bottom line is that the IAEA and the UN will continue to do nothing to stop Iran, while the Bush administration stands by powerless because of the National Intelligence Estimate:
The atomic energy agency’s report highlights the amount of work still to be done before definitive conclusions about the nature of the program can be made, a task that the official associated with the agency said would require months.


The Bush administration, in its waning days, seems powerless to modify Iran’s behavior. The question seems to have been pushed to the future with the forceful disagreements in recent days between the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, and Senator Barack Obama, contending for the Democratic nomination, over whether an American president should negotiate with Iran’s leadership.
It sounds like it's going to fall on Israel to deal with this situation. And Israel is led by a pacifist clown.


At 9:46 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:47 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Ehud Olmert and his Defense Minister just ordered the IDF to run away from Gaza. How in the world any one thinks they will be able to stop Iran from going nuclear is beyond me.

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is nobody at all anywhere in this world aware that the IAEA inspection team is headed by an Egyptian Muslim?
He found nothing in Iraq and nothing of any substance in any of his middle east investigations.

El Baradai is going to stall and procrastinate until Iran or some other Muslim state is ready to use its nuclear offensive capabilities against Israel and the West.


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