Senior staff members of the United Nations nuclear agency have concluded in a confidential analysis that Iran has acquired “sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable” atom bomb.
The report by experts in the International Atomic Energy Agency stresses in its introduction that its conclusions are tentative and subject to further confirmation of the evidence, which it says came from intelligence agencies and its own investigations.
But the report’s conclusions, described by senior European officials, go well beyond the public positions taken by several governments, including the United States.
Two years ago, American intelligence agencies published a detailed report concluding that Tehran halted its efforts to design a nuclear weapon in 2003. But in recent months, Britain has joined France, Germany and Israel in disputing that conclusion, saying the work has been resumed.
A senior American official said last week that the United States was now re-evaluating its 2007 conclusions. [continued…]
Editor’s Comment — The New York Times is at it again: putting on quite a convincing performance as a clandestine operation that acts at the behest of governments and intelligence agencies.
Ah, but the Times is simply a messenger, relaying important information provided by “a senior European official’ who wanted to make public the contents of a so-far unpublished and incomplete IAEA report.
The political agenda here seems transparent. A report whose existence has been debated for weeks now becomes front-page news, right at the moment that delicate negotiations have only just begun.
Is this coming out now in order to add an increased sense of urgency to the diplomatic effort? I don’t think so. On the contrary, it’s about undermining that effort and the work of the IAEA.
Comments by the IAEA’s director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei, published in an interview with The Hindu seem particularly relevant here:
I have been making it very clear that with regard to these alleged studies, we have not seen any use of nuclear material, we have not received any information that Iran has manufactured any part of a nuclear weapon or component. That’s why I say, to present the Iran threat as imminent is hype.
Q: In a sense, this one outstanding issue is far less serious than the issues which prompted Iran’s referral to the Security Council!
It is a serious concern but I am not going to panic, to say it is an imminent threat that we are going to wake up and see Iran with nuclear weapons. Our job is to make sure we do not overstate or understate a case. There are enough people around to use or abuse what we say. The judgment call is very difficult, but based on what we have seen so far — we are concerned, we need to clarify this issue, we need to build confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s programme, we need Iran to adhere to the Additional Protocol because that will help me build confidence. But I am not going to sound an alarm and say that Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons.