Has the IAEA caught the Iranians red handed?

Rick Moran
The upcoming report on the Iranian nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may drop a bomb of its own.

Sources in Vienna where the agency is headquartered are saying that the watchdog group has evidence that a military base 30 miles outside of Tehran is conducting experiments to simulate nuclear explosions - a sure sign that the Iranians are very close to developing the bomb.

Haaretz:

According to information leaked to the media, the report will include a 12-page appendix with details including documents and satellite photos that support the contention that, in violation of its international obligations, Iran is covertly developing nuclear weapons.

[...]

The Iranians rejected an IAEA request to visit Parchin, saying that IAEA rules permitted the organization's member states to deny such visits to military bases. Now, eight years later, the site is again suspected as a location for covert military nuclear activity.

Sources say that this time around, the IAEA report will contain clearer language on military aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. The report is in the final drafting stages and will need the approval of the IAEA's director general, Yukiya Amano.

According to information leaked to the media, the report will include a 12-page appendix with details including documents and satellite photos that support the contention that, in violation of its international obligations, Iran is covertly developing nuclear weapons.

The report is also expected to detail Iranian's progress on uranium enrichment at its Natanz facility and state that the Islamic Republic still refuses to disclose information on various aspects of its atomic program. This in turn arouses suspicions that Iran is hiding information and is indeed developing nuclear weapons.

Previous IAEA reports have said Iran already has four and a half tons of uranium at Natanz that are enriched at 3.5 percent. If such a quantity is enriched to 90 percent, something Iran has the capacity for, it will be enough to produce fissile material for four or five nuclear bombs.

A couple of things should be acknowledged. First, the IAEA has never - repeat never - been so demonstratively sure that Iran is developing the bomb. Under former head Muhammad ElBaradei, the agency always hedged its bets.

The same could still happen here because, as the article mentions, the report has not been finalized. They may very well back off the toughest language either because Iranian allies in the agency, or Iran itself, lobby to exclude those provocative conclusions when the report is released on Wednesday.

Secondly, it is very unlikely Iran would go all the way to building a couple of bombs. Far more likely, they will have everything in place to construct a device in a few weeks, including enriching the uranium to the 90% level necessary to build a bomb, (experts believe that in 40 or 50 days, the Iranians could have enough HEU to build 2 bombs as long as no one was observing them), bomb parts that could easily be assembled on short notice, and a workable bomb design already in place. If the Iranians are running simulations on explosions, they are probably close to being at this critical point in the development of their bomb program.

We covered the military preparations by Great Britain that are going on to assist the US if we and the Israelis decide to strike as well as efforts by Netanyahu to bring the cabinet on board for a strike against Iran. Now we know why the flurry of activity all of a sudden; the world's nightmare of an Iranian nuclear bomb is closer than previously thought.

And the clock is ticking on a decision of what to do about it.



The upcoming report on the Iranian nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may drop a bomb of its own.

Sources in Vienna where the agency is headquartered are saying that the watchdog group has evidence that a military base 30 miles outside of Tehran is conducting experiments to simulate nuclear explosions - a sure sign that the Iranians are very close to developing the bomb.

Haaretz:

According to information leaked to the media, the report will include a 12-page appendix with details including documents and satellite photos that support the contention that, in violation of its international obligations, Iran is covertly developing nuclear weapons.

[...]

The Iranians rejected an IAEA request to visit Parchin, saying that IAEA rules permitted the organization's member states to deny such visits to military bases. Now, eight years later, the site is again suspected as a location for covert military nuclear activity.

Sources say that this time around, the IAEA report will contain clearer language on military aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. The report is in the final drafting stages and will need the approval of the IAEA's director general, Yukiya Amano.

According to information leaked to the media, the report will include a 12-page appendix with details including documents and satellite photos that support the contention that, in violation of its international obligations, Iran is covertly developing nuclear weapons.

The report is also expected to detail Iranian's progress on uranium enrichment at its Natanz facility and state that the Islamic Republic still refuses to disclose information on various aspects of its atomic program. This in turn arouses suspicions that Iran is hiding information and is indeed developing nuclear weapons.

Previous IAEA reports have said Iran already has four and a half tons of uranium at Natanz that are enriched at 3.5 percent. If such a quantity is enriched to 90 percent, something Iran has the capacity for, it will be enough to produce fissile material for four or five nuclear bombs.

A couple of things should be acknowledged. First, the IAEA has never - repeat never - been so demonstratively sure that Iran is developing the bomb. Under former head Muhammad ElBaradei, the agency always hedged its bets.

The same could still happen here because, as the article mentions, the report has not been finalized. They may very well back off the toughest language either because Iranian allies in the agency, or Iran itself, lobby to exclude those provocative conclusions when the report is released on Wednesday.

Secondly, it is very unlikely Iran would go all the way to building a couple of bombs. Far more likely, they will have everything in place to construct a device in a few weeks, including enriching the uranium to the 90% level necessary to build a bomb, (experts believe that in 40 or 50 days, the Iranians could have enough HEU to build 2 bombs as long as no one was observing them), bomb parts that could easily be assembled on short notice, and a workable bomb design already in place. If the Iranians are running simulations on explosions, they are probably close to being at this critical point in the development of their bomb program.

We covered the military preparations by Great Britain that are going on to assist the US if we and the Israelis decide to strike as well as efforts by Netanyahu to bring the cabinet on board for a strike against Iran. Now we know why the flurry of activity all of a sudden; the world's nightmare of an Iranian nuclear bomb is closer than previously thought.

And the clock is ticking on a decision of what to do about it.