Iran secretly working on developing a nuclear payload for its missiles: IAEA

Rick Moran
Thank God Mohammed ElBaradei is no longer head of the IAEA. The guy was famous for using weasel words and outright underplaying Iran's nuclear progress and ambitions.

Thankfully, the new head of the International Atomic Energy Administration is made of sterner stuff. Yukia Amano has completed his first report on Iran and comes to a frightening conclusion:

The information available to the Agency in connection with these outstanding issues is extensive and has been collected from a variety of sources over time. It is also broadly consistent and credible in terms of the technical detail, the time frame in which the activities were conducted and the people and organizations involved. Altogether, this raises concerns about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. These alleged activities consist of a number of projects and sub-projects, covering nuclear and missile related aspects, run by military related organizations.

[...]

While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

The IAEA strongly suspects Iran of carrying out a "dual track" nuclear program with an above board aspect that, since Iran is party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is carefully monitored and inspected, but also a secret program run by the military. Before Iran was politicized by our intelligence agencies, the Bush administration had a strong suspicion that such was the case. Now the CIA and others have dismissed that notion.

Looks like another rewrite is in order for that 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that predicted Iran would not get the bomb until 2015 and that they gave up trying to make a bomb in 2003.

Reading between the lines of this diplomat-speak, you cannot escape the impression that the IAEA believes that, in addition to all the declared facilities (and declared stockpiles of uranium) that the Iranians actually have other, secret facilities and nuclear stockpiles where they are probably working on mating a nuclear warhead to a missile.

What now?

The president is pushing another round of sanctions at the UN with both Russia and China making noises as if they would be agreeable in principle. But really, it is far too late for any sanctions to matter. Iran will not be denied by peaceful means. There is no upside for them to give up on making a nuclear weapon. They have committed enormous sums, virtually ruined their economy, in order to get to this point. It is not likely they will be deterred - unless someone or a group of someones physically prevents them from taking the last step over the cliff.

This piece in the J-Post
outlines the thinking in Tel Aviv; if Obama says "no" to Israel regarding an Iran strike, it is probable that they will not risk an open break with Washington. But, there are different ways that Obama can say "no:"

At the end of the day, it may all come down to how clear and explicit the American red light to Israel is. If President Obama looks Prime Minister Netanyahu in the eyes and says, "Absolutely not," then it will be extremely unlikely Israel will attack Iran. But in politics and diplomacy, there are many different ways of saying no, many different ways of interpreting a "no," many different shades of red. Sometimes things are not so cut-and-dry, red is not always black and white.
But the parade of US officials here will be reminding their Israeli counterparts that red is a primary color, not made up of some green, some yellow and some white. It is not magenta, it is not crimson. If the Americans give Israel a firm red, in the clearest possible terms, and they really mean it, then there is no room for constructive ambiguity, and those in the driver's seat of Israel's car will have to approach the oncoming fateful intersection with extreme caution.

I'm sure, given the anti-Israeli advisors that Obama has brought into his administration, that there will be several key foreign policy figures who would want to punish Israel severely for protecting itself from the mad mullahs. It may even be Obama's feeling as well.

Given this report by the IAEA, the clock in Tel Aviv is close to striking midnight - where Israel must make a decision that would certainly be the most fateful of this century, and perhaps the most important decision regarding the peace of the planet in many decades.







Thank God Mohammed ElBaradei is no longer head of the IAEA. The guy was famous for using weasel words and outright underplaying Iran's nuclear progress and ambitions.

Thankfully, the new head of the International Atomic Energy Administration is made of sterner stuff. Yukia Amano has completed his first report on Iran and comes to a frightening conclusion:

The information available to the Agency in connection with these outstanding issues is extensive and has been collected from a variety of sources over time. It is also broadly consistent and credible in terms of the technical detail, the time frame in which the activities were conducted and the people and organizations involved. Altogether, this raises concerns about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. These alleged activities consist of a number of projects and sub-projects, covering nuclear and missile related aspects, run by military related organizations.

[...]

While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

The IAEA strongly suspects Iran of carrying out a "dual track" nuclear program with an above board aspect that, since Iran is party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is carefully monitored and inspected, but also a secret program run by the military. Before Iran was politicized by our intelligence agencies, the Bush administration had a strong suspicion that such was the case. Now the CIA and others have dismissed that notion.

Looks like another rewrite is in order for that 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that predicted Iran would not get the bomb until 2015 and that they gave up trying to make a bomb in 2003.

Reading between the lines of this diplomat-speak, you cannot escape the impression that the IAEA believes that, in addition to all the declared facilities (and declared stockpiles of uranium) that the Iranians actually have other, secret facilities and nuclear stockpiles where they are probably working on mating a nuclear warhead to a missile.

What now?

The president is pushing another round of sanctions at the UN with both Russia and China making noises as if they would be agreeable in principle. But really, it is far too late for any sanctions to matter. Iran will not be denied by peaceful means. There is no upside for them to give up on making a nuclear weapon. They have committed enormous sums, virtually ruined their economy, in order to get to this point. It is not likely they will be deterred - unless someone or a group of someones physically prevents them from taking the last step over the cliff.

This piece in the J-Post
outlines the thinking in Tel Aviv; if Obama says "no" to Israel regarding an Iran strike, it is probable that they will not risk an open break with Washington. But, there are different ways that Obama can say "no:"

At the end of the day, it may all come down to how clear and explicit the American red light to Israel is. If President Obama looks Prime Minister Netanyahu in the eyes and says, "Absolutely not," then it will be extremely unlikely Israel will attack Iran. But in politics and diplomacy, there are many different ways of saying no, many different ways of interpreting a "no," many different shades of red. Sometimes things are not so cut-and-dry, red is not always black and white.

But the parade of US officials here will be reminding their Israeli counterparts that red is a primary color, not made up of some green, some yellow and some white. It is not magenta, it is not crimson. If the Americans give Israel a firm red, in the clearest possible terms, and they really mean it, then there is no room for constructive ambiguity, and those in the driver's seat of Israel's car will have to approach the oncoming fateful intersection with extreme caution.

I'm sure, given the anti-Israeli advisors that Obama has brought into his administration, that there will be several key foreign policy figures who would want to punish Israel severely for protecting itself from the mad mullahs. It may even be Obama's feeling as well.

Given this report by the IAEA, the clock in Tel Aviv is close to striking midnight - where Israel must make a decision that would certainly be the most fateful of this century, and perhaps the most important decision regarding the peace of the planet in many decades.