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Friday, October 09, 2009

What the delayed inspection of Qom means

Although the IAEA first learned of the 'secret' Iranian nuclear plant in Qom on September 21, the inspection is currently scheduled for October 25, more than one month later. That delay is significant. Dore Gold, Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations and the author of The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West explains why.
Back in March 2004, the IAEA was convinced there was incriminating evidence about the Iranian nuclear program at the Lavizan Technological Research center near Teheran. The Iranians managed to postpone the IAEA visit for about 30 days, and in the meantime they razed several buildings at the facility and even dug out two meters of the earth where they had previously stood in order to make it more difficult for inspectors to take soil samples that contained radioactive materials.

By delaying the IAEA visit to Lavizan, the Iranian government concealed what its scientists were doing there. Teheran was off the hook from any crippling sanctions. Moreover, Lavizan was the location of the Iranian weaponization group which designed and constructed nuclear warheads.

Former Israeli intelligence sources believe that the Iranians simply used the time they gained in dismantling Lavizan, after they were caught, and moved their weaponization work to another site. Time allowed Iran to not only cleanse Lavizan, but also to transfer valuable equipment elsewhere.

There was an even longer delay for an IAEA inspection during the previous year, when the UN nuclear watchdog sought to inspect the Kalaye electric facility. The Iranians managed to get a delay from February to August 2003. In the meantime they retiled and repainted several suspected rooms before the IAEA teams arrived. Their purpose was to prevent the inspectors from obtaining any incriminating evidence from swipes of the walls that radioactive materials were ever present. Another Iranian technique was to permit the IAEA to take environmental samples near some buildings but not close to others; Teheran adopted this method when the IAEA came in 2005 to inspect, after yet another delay, the Parchin Military Complex, where conventional high explosives had been tested that could be used for detonating a nuclear device.
Gold goes on to recount several other instances in which Iran has managed to delay inspections that otherwise would have found 'smoking gun' evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons development program. But the truth is that we all know what Iran's game is. And it's a game that has to be stopped one way or the other.

Read the whole thing.


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