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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's come to this, Part 2

Der Spiegel reports on new evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
According to the classified document, there is a secret military branch of Iran's nuclear research program that answers to the Defense Ministry and has clandestine structures. The officials who have read the dossier conclude that the government in Tehran is serious about developing a bomb, and that its plans are well advanced. There are two names that appear again and again in the documents, particularly in connection with the secret weapons program: Kamran Daneshjoo and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Daneshjoo, 52, Iran's new minister of science, research and technology, is also responsible for the country's nuclear energy agency, and he is seen as a close ally of Ahmadinejad. Opposition leaders say he is a hardliner who was partly responsible for the apparently rigged presidential election in June. Daneshjoo's biography includes only marginal references to his possible nuclear expertise. In describing himself, the man with the steely-gray beard writes that he studied engineering in the British city of Manchester, and then spent several years working at a Tehran "Center for Aviation Technology." Western experts believe that this center developed into a sub-organization of the Defense Ministry known as the FEDAT, an acronym for the "Department for Expanded High-Technology Applications" -- the secret heart of Iran's nuclear weapons program. The head of that organization is Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 48, an officer in the Revolutionary Guard and a professor at Tehran's Imam Hossein University.

Western intelligence agencies believe that although the nuclear energy agency and the FEDAT compete in some areas, they have agreed to a division of labor on the central issue of nuclear weapons research, with the nuclear agency primarily supervising uranium enrichment while the FEDAT is involved in the construction of a nuclear warhead to be used in Iran's Shahab missiles. Experts believe that Iran's scientists could produce a primitive, truck-sized version of the bomb this year, but that it would have to be compressed to a size that would fit into a nuclear warhead to yield the strategic threat potential that has Israel and the West so alarmed -- and that they could reach that stage by sometime between 2012 and 2014.

The Iranians are believed to have conducted non-nuclear tests of a detonating mechanism for a nuclear bomb more than six years ago. The challenge in the technology is to uniformly ignite the conventional explosives surrounding the uranium core -- which is needed to produce the desired chain reaction. It is believed that the test series was conducted with a warhead encased in aluminum. In other words, everything but the core was "real." According to the reports, the Tehran engineers used thin fibers and a measuring circuit board in place of the fissile material. This enabled them to measure the shock waves and photograph flashes that simulate the detonation of a nuclear bomb with some degree of accuracy. The results were apparently so encouraging that the Iranian government has since classified the technology as "feasible."
Read the whole thing.

JPost adds:
Such documents, as well as information passed on to Western intelligence agencies by Iranian defectors and sources within Iran, are causing growing alarm among US and European leaders. In its report, Der Spiegel assessed that the White House may consequently raise threat levels from yellow to red. World leaders and even the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the newspaper, are beginning to understand that rumors of Iranian defiance, noncompliance and warmongering are neither Israeli propaganda nor a figment of the imagination.


Also on Monday, France pushed for tougher sanctions against Iran just as Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini called for greater involvement by Arab countries in international efforts to defuse the nuclear threat from Teheran. China and Russia, though still unpredictable, are likely to agree to sanctions not targeted at the Iranian economy.

France will serve as the European Council's rotating president starting February.

US President Barack Obama has set January as a deadline for Iran to respond to diplomatic outreach. Western states, along with the UN, China and Russia, are still awaiting Teheran's final official response on a proposal which calls for the Islamic republic to ship a significant percentage of its low-enriched uranium abroad in exchange for a similar quantity of nuclear fuel.
I wonder if Obama will take advantage of the Iran fuel sanctions bill if it passes the Senate. I wonder if he'll veto it in favor of 'engagement.'

Obama is going to go down in history as another Neville Chamberlain. Unfortunately, we Israelis may God forbid pay the price for his incompetence and indifference.


At 12:59 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I honestly don't believe that even a dozen of new sanctions will stop that dictator of going ahead with his plans for obtaining and using nuclear weapons.

At 1:07 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I don't either and I have said so many times on this blog.

But Obama's not even willing to seriously try. And he's likely to be an obstacle to Israel taking care of business.


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