IAEA Confirms: Iran Is Working On Nuclear Weapons

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published a report yesterday that confirmed that Iran is working to produce weapons-grade Uranium for nuclear warheads.

In a report dated from 8 November the international atomic energy watchdog stated for the first time in clear – albeit diplomatic – terms that Iran is not only trying to hide part of its nuclear program, but is also working to produce Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) for use in nuclear weapons.

Despite information published by the U.S. government during the Bush administration that Iran stopped developing nuclear weapons in 2003, the IAEA report clearly states that this was never true. Section G of the report states that, “Since 2002, the Agency [IAEA] has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency has regularly received information.”

Who exactly provided the information is not stated, only that “more than ten” member countries of the IAEA contributed to it. Translated into clear English, this can only be interpreted that intelligence services from ten different countries fed this information to the IAEA.

In yet another resolution  of the UN Security Council in 2010 (#1929) the SC reaffirmed Iran’s obligation to comply with resolutions from 2006 and 2009, and to give access to sites, persons and documents without delay, especially about the possible nuclear weapons program.

Iran however, kept on building Uranium production and enrichment facilities and research reactors, and at the same time repeating that its nuclear program only serves peaceful means. People like the former Director General of the IAEA, Mohamed El-Baradei and countries like Russia and China repeatedly tried (and succeeded) to sweep information under the rug. Even after the Iranian president, during a speech in February 2010, referred to “Uranium enrichment to 100%” (i.e. producing pure Uranium235, only usable in a nuclear warhead), no international outcry followed.

Despite attempts of certain players in the field to keep at least parts of the latest IAEA report classified, the agency under the new leader Yukiya Amano refused to give in this time and published the report in full, including the Annex which contains the (for Iran and others) embarrassing details. Iran’s Mehr News Agency reacted promptly and called the IAEA report “unbalanced, politically motivated, ” and quoted a senior official as saying that Amano is “playing a very dangerous game.”

The state-run IRNA news agency went into more detail today, writing that,  “the new IAEA report on Iran [is] imbalanced, non-professional and politically motivated and [..] in spite of warnings by the Non-Aligned Movement members states, China and Russia, the director general insisted on his own views and decided to rely on ‘false claims’ of such countries as the USA for his report.”

All political bickering aside, the question remains why, if the Iranian nuclear program is peaceful, the Islamic Republic works on

  • production of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU),
  • the shaping of metallic HEU into size and quality for use in a bomb,
  • development of Exploding Bridgewire Detonators, a precision detonator necessary for a nuclear warhead
  • High explosives experiments to start a nuclear explosion

and other experiments that can have only one purpose: to create a nuclear explosive device.

The question now is: can the world afford to stand by and watch until one of the most unpredictable countries on the globe has acquired a military nuclear capability? And: how will the other powers in the region – Israel and Saudi Arabia first of all – react? A Saudi official already announced a few months ago that if Iran gets nuclear arms his country will do the same. And in Israel the media seem to hear the war-drums sounding.

If the international community does not agree on decisive but peaceful action then the chances that somebody will start shooting seem to be pretty high! — by Johann Brandstatter

(Image: JB Photography)

(Sources: IAEA, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Haaretz, Mehr, IRNA, 9 Nov 2011)


About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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