Thursday, February 19, 2004

You don't say 

'Suspicions mount that Iranians are seeking atom bomb' -- headline, the Telegraph.

The article contains more evidence than the Justice Department seems to be able to marshall against Martha Stewart, but the paragraphs are in such a strange order that it is very difficult to see how strong the case really is. Unscramble the paragraphs and leave out the surplusage, and here is what you get:

According to diplomats familiar with investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency, inspectors have found designs and parts for a G2 uranium enrichment centrifuge - a more advanced version of the G1 system previously declared by Iran.

A senior diplomat said recently: "If all you want to do is enrich uranium for nuclear fuel, then the G1 centrifuge is enough. The G2 could point to a military programme."

Under a deal brokered by European countries last October, Iran admitted to violations over 18 years. In return, it was spared a referral to the UN Security Council. Iran admitted it had made small "laboratory scale" quantities of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium - offering two possible routes to a bomb.

Teheran also promised to "suspend" the operation of its large enrichment facilities in Natanz based on the G1 design using aluminium tubes. G2 centrifuges are made of a high-strength, lightweight alloy that can spin much faster.

Both versions are based on designs stolen by Khan from Holland in the 1970s and used to make fissile material for Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

Libya admitted buying the G1 and G2 versions from Khan's network, as well as a design for a nuclear warhead provided by China to Pakistan.

Diplomats suspect that Iran failed to make a full declaration. One said: "Libya bought three items on sale -the G1, the G2 and a weapon design. The Iranians admitted to the G1, and now to research with the G2. The question is whether they also have a weapon design."

Some reports said the components were found on an Iranian air force base. If this is confirmed, it would create a possible link between Iran's nuclear programme and the military, despite claims that nuclear facilities are entirely civilian and designed to generate electricity.

This gives rise only to a suspicion that Iran is trying to build an atomic weapon? What possible need could a country that is drowning in oil have for nuclear power plants? The mullahs are concerned about the build-up of greenhouse gases?

If a "suspicion" is less than the "probable cause" necessary to get the Security Council to impose sanctions, what will it take to get a conviction?

A following article in the Washington Post hammers the point home:

Several analysts said policymakers could go to the Security Council in search of a credible threat of sanctions.

"Regrettably, Iran at this moment is looking more like Iraq than Libya: It is digging in its heels and refusing to disclose," said Leonard Spector, an expert at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

Henry Sokolski, a Defense Department nonproliferation official during the George H. W. Bush administration, said Iran's continuing deceit was "outrageous" and merited a strong international response.

"This isn't just the smoking gun, its the bullet," said Sokolski, director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, a Washington think-tank. "The IAEA said it would not bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council unless it found something significant the Iranians were keeping from us. Well, this is it."


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?