Skip to comments.Pakistan Found to Aid Iran Nuclear Efforts
Posted on 09/01/2004 7:34:08 PM PDT by neverdem
A new assessment of Iran's nuclear program by the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency says that, as early as 1995, Pakistan was providing Tehran with the designs for sophisticated centrifuges capable of making bomb-grade nuclear fuel. It also finds evidence that, as of the mid-August, Iran had assembled and tested the major components for 70 of the machines, which it showed to inspectors from the agency.
But the report, issued to members of the agency on Wednesday as a confidential document, provided no new evidence of the kind of covert programs that the agency has discovered in the last year, and suggested that the Iranian government was slowly becoming more helpful to inspectors. That assessment, American officials said, is likely to discourage moves by the Bush administration to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council for penalties unless it dismantles its program, which the Iranians say is entirely peaceful and which the United States says is designed to produce nuclear weapons.
Last month, Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said she expected that in September the agency would make what she called "a very strong statement'' requiring Iran to choose between isolation or the abandonment of its nuclear weapons efforts. But she stopped short of saying whether the United States could muster its allies to impose penalties on Iran in the United Nations Security Council.
On Wednesday, a senior American official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that going to the Security Council was still a "live option," because the report did nothing to mitigate American suspicions that Iran's ultimate goal was to build nuclear weapons.
In an interview last week with The New York Times, President Bush suggested that he would be patient, and would pursue diplomatic means to halt any Iranian weapons program. "We'll continue pressing diplomatically,'' Mr. Bush said.
He said the cases of Iran and North Korea were different from that of Iraq. "Diplomacy failed for 11 years in Iraq,'' he said. "And this new diplomatic effort is barely a year ago.''
Senator John Kerry has argued that Mr. Bush has allowed the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea to speed forward while the United States is engaged in Iraq.
The report will help Europe and Russia - two of Iran's largest trading partners, with much to lose if penalties are enacted - which are seeking to defuse any confrontation. In the absence of what one senior European official called "a smoking nuke,'' the report issued Wednesday seems likely to delay any major decisions on how to deal with Iran until after the American presidential election. But the report also suggested that the Iranians fully intended to move forward with the production of uranium, on a much larger scale than in the past.
The report, issued under the name of the agency's director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, notes Iranian plans to conduct an industrial-scale test of a plant that converts raw uranium into nuclear fuel. Iranian officials, the agency reported, plan to turn 37 tons of nearly raw uranium, called yellowcake, into uranium hexafluoride. That, in turn, is poured into the centrifuges for enrichment.
Several specialists in the United States government and outside said that amount of uranium could be enough to produce fuel for five or six atomic weapons. But Iran insists that it only intends to use enriched uranium for electric production, a contention American officials dismiss. A country with huge oil reserves, they say, has no need for nuclear power.
The report states that Iran received the design for an advanced centrifuge, called a P-2 because it was a second-generation machine designed in Pakistan, as early as 1995. American intelligence officials have said they had no evidence, throughout the 1990's, that Iran was receiving aid from Pakistan, so the atomic energy agency's findings suggest what one senior intelligence official called "a fairly major failure, despite the fact that we were watching Iran and Pakistan quite closely.'' Three years later, Pakistan conducted its first nuclear tests.
But Iran, which had invested in an earlier model of the centrifuges, has insisted to inspectors that it did not begin producing the newer, far more sophisticated machinery until two years ago. The agency said it was still investigating that.
Though the report does not cite the source of the purchase, it is now known to have come from the laboratories of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of the Pakistani bomb. Pakistan's government has argued that it had no knowledge of Dr. Khan's clandestine activities, which included sales to Libya and North Korea starting about the same time.
"What Iran got came almost entirely from one country,'' said a senior international diplomat who had been briefed on the findings. "And it seems to point directly back to Pakistan's own laboratories.''
The origin of the equipment is especially important because Iran is trying to explain why some samples of uranium taken by the agency show that it has been enriched far beyond the levels needed to produce nuclear power, though a little short of the usual purity for bomb fuel. In the report, the agency says that its studies indicate that it is "plausible'' that some of the samples it took in Iran had been contaminated by equipment that was previously used elsewhere, presumably in Pakistan.
If it is true, it would help lift suspicion that Iran was already producing uranium suitable for arms. But agency officials are still suspicious that some of the uranium could have been produced elsewhere in Iran, at plants they have yet to discover.
5 Legislative Days Left Until The AWB Expires
"It's just one greedy man,Khan!!!!!!!-he alone commandeered C-130 planes to fly nuke components to North Korea,did the same to Iran,while America's poor ally President Musharraf had no clue"
Ud have to be a retard to believe the US govt's above said version of events.Khan could never have acted as a one stop shop for nukes as unlike India or the US,Pakistan's nuclear programme had heavy army involvement & control ,while the ISI keeps an eye out for everything . Why did Mushie pardon Khan & for that matter why did Khan issue his apology on PTV in English (not Urdu) ????there's lots of sleaze in this.
Yes, there's lots of sleaze in it. But...one target at a time, most powerful/obstinate ones first, you know? Some cooperate in some ways, a little, buying extended time. Others do not cooperate at all and leave little time.
Ah...and there is more in the article that points more generally to Pak. And also, we US conservatives do not trust the New York Times (source of the article above) much, because it is more for the Democrat (left) audience.
Did you see the piece behind the following, BTW? ...also not a completely trustworthy source (somewhat excitable Jordanian journalist, maybe) but interesting, anyway.
99% chance of attack on Iran
Yep that article on Iran-I think they are at a point of no return wrt their nuke programme & an Israeli strike(using strike aircraft & sub launched cruise missiles) is highly likely-I don't see Bush take the risk to go after Iran esp b4 the polls & by then it may just be too late.The chances of an Israeli strike being a total success(as far as finishing their nuke sites are concerned) are questionable-
1.The Israelis have lost any element of surprise as Iran has been expecting a strike since 97 & have ringed their nuke sites with Russian & Chinese built anti-air missiles.
2.Unlike Iraq,there is more than 1 site in Iran that the Israelis need to hit to once & for all shut down their nuke ambitions-coordinating such a strike over hostile territory against multiple targets is going to prove extremely difficult.
3.The Mullahs are unlikely to back off as Saddam did in 81' & we can expect a massive increase in Hamas & Hezbollah activities throughout the world (against Israeli & even American targets) & Iran may also try to launch missiles at Israel.
C'mon, stop messing with the party line.
Khan was a rogue operator and Mush is is our ally.
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