On 21 August, 2007, Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei
of the International Atomic Energy Agency came to an "understanding"
with Iran on a "work
plan" for resolving outstanding "issues" tangentially related
to the implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement.
On the eve of what is expected to be the issuance of the final IAEA report
on that resolution, the National Council of Resistance on Iran – the "political
arm" of a U.S. State Department designated "terrorist organization"
– has gone public with highly
inflammatory charges that Iran (a) has recently established a "new
command and control center" at a military site at Mojdeh, a suburb
of Tehran, for a program code-named Lavizan-2, and (b) is actively pursuing
"production of nuclear warheads" at a military site at Khojir,
The Iranian military is producing nuclear warheads in a suburb of Tehran?
The Iranian military has established a command and control center just outside
Tehran for its burgeoning nuke-armed ballistic-missile force?
Hard to believe?
Well, at a Brussels news conference, NCRI "foreign affairs chief"
Mohamad Mohaddessin presented space-satellite photo-images of the two alleged
Mohaddessin further charged the Khojir site was under the command of "missile
expert" Mehdi Naghiyan Fesharaki.
There has been speculation that this NCRI intelligence originated with the
Israelis, was then supplied, last year, to the United States, who, last month,
supplied it to the IAEA, urging the IAEA to present it to Iran for "explanation."
This week IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming confirmed that the IAEA was already
aware of the NCRI "information" and that the IAEA had "no comment"
at this point.
"As with all information coming our way, (our) analysts take a
serious look and decide whether it would warrant a follow-up."
Now, as of the most recent IAEA
report of November 15, 2007, there has never been any "indication"
that Iran has ever diverted "declared nuclear material" to a military
Back in December, 2003, Iran began voluntarily adhering to an (as yet) un-ratified
Protocol to its Safeguards
For several years, Iran provided ElBaradei all available documentation of its
past procurement activities for all nuclear programs, going back two decades.
Under its existing Safeguards Agreement Iran had not been obligated to provide
virtually any of that information to the IAEA, much less obligated to preserve
for later inspection.
Nevertheless, ElBaradei announced that – although he had found no indication
that (a) there were any undeclared "source or special nuclear materials" in
Iran nor that (b) "source or special nuclear materials" were being or had ever
been "used in furtherance of a military purpose" – he still had "concerns" that
went beyond the terms and conditions of the Additional Protocol that Iran had
been unwilling to address.
Perhaps ElBaradei – dismayed by the war of aggression President Bush launched
on Iraq in spite of ElBaradei’s similar
declarations about Iraq’s nuclear programs – concluded he must somehow get
Iran to satisfy the IAEA Board that Iran didn’t have a secret nuclear weapons
program, however defined.
What constitutes a nuclear weapons program?
Well, the 2007
National Intelligence Estimate on Iran contained this "assessment"
"We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military
entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons."
But that assessment was followed by this "judgment"
"We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear
What does the NIE mean by "nuclear weapons program"?
"We mean nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert
uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work."
According to Webster, "covert" means "Not openly shown, or avowed."
So, the NIE is at least technically correct; in late 2003 Iran "declared"
or "avowed" its uranium-conversion and uranium-enrichment related
programs, not required to be declared or avowed under its existing Safeguards
But the NIE goes on to say, that by nuclear weapons program;
"we do not mean Iran's declared civil work related to uranium conversion
Aha! Apparently the NIE assesses "with high confidence" that the
Iranian military also had – until late 2003 – a uranium-conversion related program
and a uranium-enrichment related program, of which ElBaradei has been unable,
thus far, to find any indication, in searching Iranian sites – some of them
military – and records.
Of course, there’s still this confidently "assessed" military "nuclear
weapon design" program and military "nuclear weaponization" program,
which the Iranians allegedly put an end to in late 2003.
However, if the Iranians had turned over the task of designing – and now producing
-- a nuclear weapon to a bunch of Islamic shock troops, then they’re crazier
than anyone has supposed.
Moreover, it sounds like the latest NCRI "intelligence" is – as was
virtually all "information" contained on a "stolen Iranian laptop
computer," which U.S. intelligence somehow obtained and revealed to ElBaradei
and senior Secretariat staff in the summer of 2005 – related not to nuclear
weapons, but to ballistic-missile re-entry vehicles.
Recall that, on March 23, 2005, under the so-called Paris
Agreement, the Iranians made a confidential proposal to the Brits-French-Germans
to forego indefinitely the chemical processing of spent fuel to recover
unspent uranium and plutonium, and to limit their uranium-enrichment
activities to meeting contingency refueling requirements for Iranian
nuclear power plants, planned and under construction.
The Iranians also offered to submit to "continuous on-site presence of IAEA
inspectors at the conversion and enrichment facilities to provide unprecedented
In return, the Iranians wanted to "normalize" diplomatic and trade
relations with the European Union.
Iranian officials made it clear (a) at the IAEA Board of Governors meetings
in March and June, 2005, (b) at the Seventh
Review Conference of the Treaty in April, 2005, and (c) in their Note Verbale
to the IAEA of August, 2005, that any attempt to turn their voluntary
suspension of uranium enrichment activities into a cessation or long term suspension
would be "incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Paris Agreement and
therefore unacceptable to Iran."
But that is exactly what President Bush has been attempting to do – using the
strong-arm tactics he terms "diplomacy" – ever since, denying Iran its "inalienable
rights" affirmed in the NPT, corrupting, in the process, the IAEA Board of Governors
and the UN Security Council, itself.
Today, Britain and France formally introduced a resolution for the Security
Council to consider that calls for a third round of sanctions against Iran over
its continuing failure to suspend uranium enrichment.
Iran says it will only deal with the IAEA, which reported
last November that Tehran was generally truthful about all aspects of its nuclear