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Friday, October 16, 2009

Smoking gun on Iran's nuclear program

A three-minute video proving Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons has been smuggled out of Iran (Hat Tip: David Hazony via Twitter).
The video depicted a room made of stone. At the center stood a Perspex mock-up - equipped with a flashing red light - of a ball-shaped bomb resting in the metallic, gold-plated cone of a missile warhead. In the most important scene in the film, the computer simulation shows the launched warhead reentering the atmosphere and exploding 600 meters above the earth's surface. According to experts, this is the ideal altitude for detonating a nuclear bomb in order to generate the maximum degree of destruction on the ground.

At the briefing, Heinonen noted that the type of warhead represented by the model could fit an Iranian Shahab missile.


In addition to the video, Heinonen displayed documents in Farsi, which he said dated back to July 2003-January 2004, and which included a number of sketches. Both the film and sketches showed a machine that can produce light-weight aluminum warheads.

Heinonen was very cautious, emphasizing there was no evidence proving that what they had seen was necessarily a mock-up of a nuclear warhead; it could have been a conventional one. Nonetheless, his listeners were stunned. It was clear to most of them that it was likely a nuclear device.

As one of those who was present explained to Haaretz: "If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it must be a duck." That is, one can assume the Iranians have conducted research and calculations for weaponization - how to assemble a nuclear device - as part of a secret military nuclear program alongside their civilian one.

At the briefing, Heinonen told participants that he and other IAEA officials had asked the Iranians for an explanation of the video - specifically, about the warhead, its simulated reentry into the earth's atmosphere, the detonation of its nuclear payload at an altitude of 600 meters, the ball-like mechanism and so on. However, as befitting their usual tactics, the Iranians delayed their response, and then argued that the materials - the footage, photos and sketches - were a total fabrication, produced by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency or Israel's Mossad, or perhaps by both of them together. According to the Iranians, the forgery was intended to frame them, to present Iran as a country engaged in developing nuclear weapons, and thus operating in blatant violation of international conventions.

The Iranians' next move was to admit half-heartedly that the video was authentic, but that it depicted a computer simulation of a reentry vehicle of a conventional warhead - not a nuclear one.


Albright explained last month that the scientist who smuggled out the secret data was indeed an agent for German intelligence, who suspected Iran's security services had discovered his espionage activities. For that reason, he gave his wife the "electronic media," including the video, and instructed her to go to Turkey and hand it over to American diplomats there. A short while afterward, reported Albright, the scientist-agent vanished without a trace: Apparently, he was arrested by Iranian intelligence and executed for treason.

When it reached the United States, the data was sent to the Sandia National Laboratories to verify whether it was authentic and whether the simulation of the detonation of a nuclear device had, in fact, been carried out. Subsequently, probably in 2005, the information was transmitted in censored format to the IAEA. However, after examination, the organization's experts could not determine definitively whether it was genuine.

Nonetheless, the data convinced the IAEA's board of governors that Iran had indeed reneged on its obligations, and the agency decided to submit a report on the matter to the UN Security Council. In 2006, that body imposed sanctions on Iran for breaching its safeguards agreements and called upon it to suspend its uranium-enrichment activities. However, because of the internal dispute within the IAEA, the Vienna briefing was held only two years later.

Heinonen and his team compiled a 67-page report and asked ElBaradei to include it as an appendix to one of the IAEA's seasonal reports on Iran. However, on this issue, ElBaradei gained the upper hand: Convinced that there was no evidence of an Iranian military program, he refused to append the internal report and even asked that the fact of its very existence be concealed.
Read the whole thing.

Anyone still doubt what they're up to?


At 5:53 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The world has done its best to pretend Iran is not seeking The Bomb at all.

What could go wrong indeed


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