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Is Iran hiding nuclear facilities?

09/29/2007

Iranian President Ahmadinejad, in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, announced unilaterally that Iran considered the matter of its nuclear development program a closed issue politically, that could be dealt with at the level of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Citing Security Council prejudice against Iran, Ahmadinejad stated: .

Previously, they illegally insisted on politicizing the Iranian nation's nuclear case, but today, because of the resistance of the Iranian nation, the issue is back to the Agency, and I officially announce that in our opinion the nuclear issue of Iran is now closed and has turned into an ordinary Agency matter.

It is fairly clear that Iran has in effect decided to abrogate its commitment to international law under the U.N. Charter, a declaration that should be of serious concern for those who value civil society and the rule of law. The bravado of Mr Ahmadinejad, far from being due to unfavorable treatment in the Security Council, is due to his absolute confidence that Iran will be protected from effective Security Council sanctions or other actions by the more or less automatic veto of China. Paralyzed by the Russian and Chinese objections, the 5+1 group, comprising the permanent members of the Security Council (U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia) plus Germany, met on Friday and agreed to postpone a decision about Iran until November, awaiting the outcome of negotiations with the IAEA.

Projecting sweet reasonableness, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the statement's intent was not to threaten sanctions but rather to "concentrate on doing everything to help negotiations succeed." Lavrov had exchanged sharp words with Rice about Iran earlier this week.

Beyond the legal and diplomatic implications, we need to examine the operational implications of Ahmadinejad's statements. The IAEA's inspection role can only only be limited to those factilities that it knows about. In fact, there is no way for anyone to know about what they don't know about, whether it is the IAEA or Western Intelligence. In practical terms, it means on the one hand that the IAEA may well give Iran a "clean" report if Iran simply satisfies all their formal requirements. That would make a settlement within the framework of the IAEA, the path that Ahmadinejad adopted, very convenient for Iran. On the other hand, the fact that there is really no way of knowing what Iran is doing or what it has, would tend to increase the risk of any projected attack on Iran, as well as making both diplomatic and military action politically unpopular. After the fiasco of Iraq, nobody is in a hurry to back a military adventure based on uncertain intelligence.

Iranian officials denied a report by a dissident group that claimed Iran has secret nuclear facilities, but a different report in Kayhan, a paper close to President Ahmadinejad, seemed to confirm the dissident claim:

"The important questions are: How wide is the gap between the exact point to which Iran's nuclear program has progressed and what the Americans perceive to be the point of no return[?]... The intelligence that the West currently has on Iran's nuclear program is limited to the sites accessible to IAEA inspectors, and more than that they do not know... Is the [total] number of Iran's nuclear facilities [really] limited to those facilities that have been reported -Ė so that America can be certain that by destroying them it will destroy Iran's entire nuclear program, or at least set it back for a very long time?...

"Iran declares that it will consider to be an enemy any country that places its territory at the disposal of the Americans so that they can attack [Iran]... Iran's strategic facilities are scattered across the breadth of Iran, and are completely camouflaged... "



The issue of concealment, which has been hovering in the background of considerations regarding Iran, makes the unclear nuclear program of Iran and what to do about it even more unclear. After all, it was Iranian concealment of the centrifuge manufacturing facilities in Natanz and the reactor in Arak that originally raised alarm bells about the Iranian nuclear program. On the other hand, if Iran really has such concealed facilities, and believes it can keep them concealed, what prevents them from declaring that they have ceased their enrichment program, and are ready to fully comply with international demands, while continuing to enrich uranium in these secret facilities?

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000629.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 2 comments

I do not think that Iran has any substantial secret nuclear facilities and the Kayhan report hardly provides any proof of the dissident's claims because the paragraph before excerpt written in op-ed says:

"Is a new war on the way?... It seems that there is a need to precisely clarify, once and for all, why [the U.S.] cannot launch a war on Iran... All the questions and intelligence ambiguities that are facing the U.S.... make any discussion of [the U.S.'s] preparedness for an attack on Iran a joke, at best.

That article is refferring to what the U.S. knows about Iranian facilities. The Iranian issue sounds much like the Iranian fiasco to me. Ahmadinejad is not the head of the Iranian military or foreign affairs. He can't tell the world when the issue is over. Ahmadinejad is just the excuse for the West to drum the beat of war.

Posted by Butros Dahu @ 10/22/2007 12:14 AM CST

I do not think that Iran has any substantial secret nuclear facilities and the Kayhan report hardly provides any proof of the dissident's claims because the paragraph before excerpt written in op-ed says:

"Is a new war on the way?... It seems that there is a need to precisely clarify, once and for all, why [the U.S.] cannot launch a war on Iran... All the questions and intelligence ambiguities that are facing the U.S.... make any discussion of [the U.S.'s] preparedness for an attack on Iran a joke, at best.

That article is refferring to what the U.S. knows about Iranian facilities. The Iranian issue sounds much like the Iranian fiasco to me. Ahmadinejad is not the head of the Iranian military or foreign affairs. He can't tell the world when the issue is over. Ahmadinejad is just the excuse for the West to drum the beat of war.

Posted by Butros Dahu @ 10/22/2007 12:14 AM CST


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