If someone was holding a gun to my head, I would find it very difficult to prove – empirically – that there was a loaded magazine inside… until it was too late of course. Let’s say that I could see the packaging for a new magazine’s worth of bullets on the same table – but the owner of the gun would not let me see if there were any bullets in them? Do I still need to be suspicious?
Are the Iranians trying to build a nuclear weapon? It is difficult to prove intent. The IAEA can’t prove intent. But what one can prove is concealment. One can prove a lack of transparency. One can prove deception. And one can also draw attention to highly suspicious activity. This is what the IAEA has been doing, and this is what these three media reports choose to ignore.
If you are looking for empirical proof of intent– you will not find it. But at the same time, if you bury your head in the sand and ignore all the supporting evidence of misbehavior just for a shallow ‘peace of mind’ – you’ll remain blind to the developing reality of Iran’s nuclear program.
While the report from RT is typically reflective of its generally tendentious reporting on anything relating to Iran; Shashank – in his Telegraph blog – and to his credit, notes that the IAEA has once again found that Iran is making strides with its program. He notes:
“First, Iran is enriching more uranium. In particular, its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent – which is nine-tenths of the way to weapons-grade – has doubled since February. Second, Iran has doubled the number of its underground centrifuges since May. Even though it’s not using all of these, this still increases its enrichment capacity. The concern, then, is this: Iran could “break out” by taking the uranium it has enriched so far, feeding it into this considerably expanded set of centrifuges, and produce weapons-grade uranium suitable for a bomb. And it could do so at an ever-quickening pace.”
However, he challenges this convincing voice of concern with a rather unconvincing follow up:
“But could it do all this before it was detected and bombed? Almost certainly not.”
“Almost certainly” is itself a paradox (but let’s keep off semantics for now), especially when you are dealing with a clandestine, potentially military, nuclear program. Dr. Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the IAEA, noted recently that,“What’s happening now is that Iran’s capabilities are growing and our knowledge about the nuclear program is going down”. He noted that the Iranians have over 9000 centrifuges spinning in Natanz alone, and that the sanctions don’t affect the purchasing of equipment; all of which can be picked up on the black market. For nearly 20 years Iran has been developing its program “without fulfilling its obligations under the comprehensive safeguards agreement”. When Brazil, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Japan developed their nuclear programs, there was no suspicion. Why? Dr Heinonen simply notes: “there have been no clandestine operations that the IAEA has found in those countries”.
If the Iranians have nothing to hide, why not just comply with the UN inspectors?
The IAEA report showed that Iran is simply unwilling to open up. Parchin, remains closed, while satellite imagery of further cover-up only adds to the suspicion.
It is time that heads are removed from the sand, so we’re not left with the blind aimlessly leading the blind in one direction, while the clandestine nuclear program of Iran continues to make strides in all of the wrong directions.