CIA Gives UN Nuke Watchdog Intel on Iran Bomb Program

Rick Moran
In a bid to get the United Nations to sign off on another round of sanctions against Iran, the CIA has taken the extraordinary step of sharing intelligence with the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) that prove the Iranians want to build a nuclear weapon:

The U.S. has recently shared sensitive information with the International Atomic Energy Agency on key aspects of Iran's nuclear program that Washington says shows Tehran was directly engaged in trying to make an atomic weapon, diplomats told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The diplomats said Washington also gave the IAEA permission to confront Iran with at least some of the evidence in an attempt to pry details out of the Islamic republic on the activities, as part of the U.N. nuclear watchdog's attempts to investigate Iran's suspicious nuclear past.

The decision by the U.S. administration to declassify its intelligence and indirectly share it with Iran through the IAEA was a clear reflection of Washington's' drive to pressure Iran into admitting that it had focused part of its nuclear efforts toward developing a weapons program.

While the Americans have previously declassified and then forwarded intelligence to the IAEA to help its investigations, they do so on a selective basis.
Some of the specific intel on Iranian nukes has been hinted at and leaked in the past. A laptop computer smuggled out of Iran by a defector revealed a treasure trove of evidence that the Iranians were pursuing a "dual track" in their nuclear program - both energy production and bomb making. While the existence of the computer has been known for years, sharing specifics with the IAEA could help them confront the Iranians and demand explanations for some of their specific activities.

The big problem is that the IAEA is not in the confrontation business. That's why the evidence must be overwhelming and undeniable - a tough sell with what we have given the agency but compelling nevertheless.

Other intel shared with the IAEA:

He said that after declassification, U.S. intelligence also was forwarded on two other issues—the "Green Salt Project"—a plan the U.S. alleges links diverse components of a nuclear weapons program, including uranium enrichment, high explosives testing and a missile re-entry vehicle, and material in Iran's possession showing how to mold uranium metal into warhead form.
This is why the Iran NIE released recently is so problematic. Iran could have suspended certain aspects of their nuclear program while continuing research and development in other areas. The NIE did not account for these "dual use" projects or simply ascribed them to an effort to develop peaceful nuclear power.

The Security Council seems poised to initiate another round of sanctions. This would be a victory for the Bush Administration but comes with some qualifiers. The sanctions are not hurting Iran that much and has not slowed their enrichment program one bit. The only thing holding the Iranians back now is their technological backwardness that has slowed progress in developing an industrial sized enrichment program.

But given enough time, there is little doubt that like India and Pakistan, Iran will overcome these hurdles and have the capability to build a bomb - almost certainly in the next 5 years and probably sooner.
In a bid to get the United Nations to sign off on another round of sanctions against Iran, the CIA has taken the extraordinary step of sharing intelligence with the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) that prove the Iranians want to build a nuclear weapon:

The U.S. has recently shared sensitive information with the International Atomic Energy Agency on key aspects of Iran's nuclear program that Washington says shows Tehran was directly engaged in trying to make an atomic weapon, diplomats told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The diplomats said Washington also gave the IAEA permission to confront Iran with at least some of the evidence in an attempt to pry details out of the Islamic republic on the activities, as part of the U.N. nuclear watchdog's attempts to investigate Iran's suspicious nuclear past.

The decision by the U.S. administration to declassify its intelligence and indirectly share it with Iran through the IAEA was a clear reflection of Washington's' drive to pressure Iran into admitting that it had focused part of its nuclear efforts toward developing a weapons program.

While the Americans have previously declassified and then forwarded intelligence to the IAEA to help its investigations, they do so on a selective basis.
Some of the specific intel on Iranian nukes has been hinted at and leaked in the past. A laptop computer smuggled out of Iran by a defector revealed a treasure trove of evidence that the Iranians were pursuing a "dual track" in their nuclear program - both energy production and bomb making. While the existence of the computer has been known for years, sharing specifics with the IAEA could help them confront the Iranians and demand explanations for some of their specific activities.

The big problem is that the IAEA is not in the confrontation business. That's why the evidence must be overwhelming and undeniable - a tough sell with what we have given the agency but compelling nevertheless.

Other intel shared with the IAEA:

He said that after declassification, U.S. intelligence also was forwarded on two other issues—the "Green Salt Project"—a plan the U.S. alleges links diverse components of a nuclear weapons program, including uranium enrichment, high explosives testing and a missile re-entry vehicle, and material in Iran's possession showing how to mold uranium metal into warhead form.
This is why the Iran NIE released recently is so problematic. Iran could have suspended certain aspects of their nuclear program while continuing research and development in other areas. The NIE did not account for these "dual use" projects or simply ascribed them to an effort to develop peaceful nuclear power.

The Security Council seems poised to initiate another round of sanctions. This would be a victory for the Bush Administration but comes with some qualifiers. The sanctions are not hurting Iran that much and has not slowed their enrichment program one bit. The only thing holding the Iranians back now is their technological backwardness that has slowed progress in developing an industrial sized enrichment program.

But given enough time, there is little doubt that like India and Pakistan, Iran will overcome these hurdles and have the capability to build a bomb - almost certainly in the next 5 years and probably sooner.