Nuclear Evidence Against Iran Mounts (FrontPageMagazine.com) by Arnold Ahlert 05/15/12)
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What is likely the final diplomatic push prior to military
intervention against Iran is off to a tense start. Yesterday, A five-
hour meeting ahead of talks scheduled for later this month took place
in Vienna between senior U.N. nuclear watchdogs and Iranians at the
diplomatic mission in that city. International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) officials reported that they believe a site at the Islamic
Republic’s Parchin military complex was used to test components of
nuclear weapons capability, in direct contradiction to Tehran’s oft-
stated policy that they are developing such capability strictly
for “peaceful” purposes.
The Parchin complex came into focus when the Associated Press (AP)
obtained a drawing from a country keeping track of Iran’s nuclear
program. It depicted a containment chamber that is used to test
multipoint explosives of the type used to set off a nuclear charge.
Iran, of course, denied the accusations.
Prior to the meeting, IAEA Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts
spoke with reporters. ”We are here to continue our dialogue with Iran
in a positive spirit,” he said. “The aim of our two days (talks) is
to reach an agreement on an approach to resolve all outstanding
issues with Iran…In particular, clarification of the possible
military dimensions remains our priority. It’s important now that we
can engage on the substance on these issues and that Iran let us
access people, information, documents and sites,” he added.
As of now, Iran refuses to acknowledge the Parchin chamber’s
existence, making access to it a seemingly moot point for now.
Furthermore, IAEA officials have been stonewalled by Iran for more
than four years in their attempts to investigate intelligence
gathered by member states that points to evidence Iran is working on
weapons. Iran counters that the intelligence is forged by the United
States, Israel and other nations.
The official who shared the computer-generated drawing with AP says
it is based on information from an informant inside the Parchin
complex, and that going into further detail would endanger the
informant’s life. The official also demanded that he and his country
remain anonymous in exchange for sharing secret intelligence
Olli Heinonen, the former senior official in charge of the Iran file
prior to his departure from the IAEA last year, says the drawing
is “very similar” to a photo he has seen and identifies as that of
the Iranian chamber. He further noted that even the colors of the two
images match. His contention was buttressed by Israeli Defense
Minister Ehud Barack, who said intelligence agencies are familiar
with the drawing as well.
This follows two earlier references to the structure. The first was a
November 8 report by the IAEA describing ”a large explosives
containment vessel” for experiments on triggering a nuclear
explosion, one for which they had satellite images “consistent with
this information.” The second was march statement by IAEA chief
Yukiya Amano saying his agency had “credible information that
indicates that Iran engaged in activities relevant to the development
of nuclear explosive devices” at the site.
How the current meeting between the IAEA and Iranian officials will
affect the multi-lateral talks beginning a little more than a week
from now remains to be seen. The groundwork for those talks is being
quietly pursued by EU’s Helga Schmid and Iran’s Ali Bagheri, who are
the number two nuclear negotiators for the West and Iran,
respectively. It is thought that a behind-the-scenes effort to
establish a framework for the meeting will be more fruitful. The
other idea behind this initiative is that Iran, if they decide to
attend the meeting, will know in advance what that framework is.
The Obama administration will reportedly offer Iran a “Chinese menu”
of options. For example, if Iran agrees to suspend enrichment of
uranium to 20 percent levels, send its existing stockpile of 20
percent enriched uranium abroad, and stop enrichment operations at
the Fordo facility near Qom (the one that most concerns U.S. and
Israeli officials), then it might get processed nuclear fuel from
abroad, a suspension of EU oil sanctions, and perhaps spare parts for
its American-made civilian aircraft. If Iran agrees to just one or
two of the concessions, it might only get fuel for the reactor,
medical isotopes or both.
Is such a scenario realistic? Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili,
hardly sounded conciliatory. “Any miscalculation by the West will
prevent the negotiations from being successful,” he told the state-
run Mehr news agency on Sunday. “In Baghdad we will wait for a
measure that will win the confidence of the Iranian nation.” Israeli
Defense Minister Ehud Barack who won’t be involved in the
negotiations at all was even less optimistic. “The current
requirements for entering into the talks with the West are so
minimalist, that even if Iran accepts them it will still be able to
advance its nuclear program,” Barak told Israel’s Army Radio
yesterday. “There is a need to completely halt all uranium enrichment
in Iran.” Oli Heinonen, explains why, noting that the ability to
master the process of producing 3.5 percent enrichment is 70 percent
of the way to mastering the fuel cycle for an atomic weapon. Twenty
percent enrichment? 90 percent of the process.
On the optimistic side, German deputy foreign ministry spokesman
Martin Schaefer expressed the hope that ”concrete proposals and
compromise” geared at “the right direction,” could be achieved both
in Vienna and Baghdad. And in Iran itself, a series of stories in the
Iranian press suggesting that the turf between factions aligned with
the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad concerning the nuclear talks may in fact be about who
gets credit for making a deal between that nation and the West.
Yet given Iran’s track record, it is more likely that such stories,
much like Khamenei’s fatwa about the “sinfulness” of nuclear weapons,
is nothing more than “ketman,” deception deployed against a stronger
The most likely stumbling block will be the total embargo of Iranian
oil purchases scheduled to take effect in July. How likely is the
easing of that embargo if Iran makes concessions? “They’d really have
to wow us,” said an official involved with the process. Yet Iranian
negotiators aligned with Khamenei have indicated to EU foreign policy
chief Catherine Ashton they consider the easing of that embargo part
of a first-step confidence-building measure without which halting 20
percent uranium enrichment as well as sending existing stockpiles out
of the country was unlikely.
Thus, it would seem that we are back to square one, pitting the
world’s foremost sponsor of state terrorism against a group of EU and
American diplomats who remain convinced that this time some sort of
breakthrough will be achieved, irrespective of the unbroken track
record of diplomatic failures that have occurred up until now. No
doubt many Westerners are convinced that the severity of the
sanctions to be imposed in July will mitigate Iranian intransigence.
Yet a regime that believes it must engender the second coming of the
Mahdi, or Hidden Imam–as well as the Koran-inspired apocalypse that
must precede that second coming–could just as easily use economic
hardship imposed from without to rally Iranians against a “greater
evil” than themselves. In the meantime, Iran’s steady march towards
nuclear weapons continues.
Step after jihadist-inspired step. (Copyright © 2012
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