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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Whom do you believe?

The Washington Post has obtained a copy of a letter from a senior director at the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee, complaining that part of the committee's report on Iranian nuclear capabilities are "outrageous and dishonest" and that the report contains "erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements."

A copy of the letter was hand-delivered to Gregory L. Schulte, the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA in Vienna.

The letter represents the first time that the IAEA has publicly disputed U.S. allegations about its Iran investigation. The agency noted five major errors in the committee's 29-page report, which said Iran's nuclear capabilities are more advanced than either the IAEA or U.S. intelligence has shown.
Among the committee's assertions is that Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium at its facility in the town of Natanz. The IAEA called that "incorrect," noting that weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more. Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent under IAEA monitoring.

When the congressional report was released last month, Hoekstra said his intent was "to help increase the American public's understanding of Iran as a threat." Spokesman Jamal Ware said yesterday that Hoekstra will respond to the IAEA letter.


Among the allegations in Fleitz's Iran report is that ElBaradei removed a senior inspector from the Iran investigation because he raised "concerns about Iranian deception regarding its nuclear program." The agency said the inspector has not been removed.

A suggestion that ElBaradei had an "unstated" policy that prevented inspectors from telling the truth about Iran's program was particularly "outrageous and dishonest," according to the IAEA letter, which was signed by Vilmos Cserveny, the IAEA's director for external affairs and a former Hungarian ambassador.
Yes, but.... We already know that Nantanz is not the only Iranian enrichment facility. We already know that Israeli intelligence claims that facilities of which the IAEA is unaware exist and are being used. Moreover, Iran's behavior in hiding its nuclear program for more than twenty years, followed by its disingenuous responses to the IAEA and to other UN bodies undercuts the argument that concerns about Iran's nuclear program are overstated. While reasonable minds may differ about how far Iran has progressed in developing nuclear weapons, its intention to do so is clear to all but the willfully blind. They must be stopped before it is too late.


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