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November 17, 2004
Iranians Have Nuke Plans, NYT Hasn't Got A Clue

A group of Iranian exiles claim that the Khan network of Pakistan has already given the Iranian mullahcracy the necessary plans for nuclear weapons as well as a small amount of weapons-grade uranium, making the Iranian claims of developing nothing other than a peaceful nuclear-energy program suspect:

Iran obtained weapons-grade uranium and a design for a nuclear bomb from a Pakistani scientist who has admitted to selling nuclear secrets abroad, an exiled Iranian opposition group said on Wednesday.

The group, that has given accurate information before, also said Iran is secretly enriching uranium at a military site previously unknown to the U.N., despite promising France, Britain and Germany that it would halt all such work.

"(Abdul Qadeer) Khan gave Iran a quantity of HEU (highly enriched uranium) in 2001, so they already have some," Farid Soleiman, a senior spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), told reporters.

"I would doubt it was given enough for a weapon," he added.

The State Department lists the NCRI, the political front for the People's Mujahideen Organization, as a terrorist organization -- think Sinn Fein and the IRA. However, Reuters reports that diplomats regard the NCRI as the best source of information on Iran's nuclear program and that the group has delivered accurate and timely information to the IAEA in the past. It seems that the Iranians have at least one mole within the program -- and that the Iranian resistance may be better organized than some think.

Of course, this confirms American suspicions about Iran's nuclear ambitions. It made little sense that a country with the vast oil reserves of Iran and the ability to refine it in great quantities would turn to nuclear power for domestic energy production. However, Iran's fairy tale convinced many people, not least the editorial board of the New York Times, who hailed the recent agreement between Iran and the EU-3 as a breakthrough for peace:

Nobody knows whether Iran is really ready to give up its ambitions to have nuclear weapons, but its commitment on Monday to freeze all uranium enrichment work and invite back international inspectors is a welcome step toward nuclear sanity. ...

The fact that Iran agreed to these terms after several days of hesitation strongly suggests that even the hard-liners now ascendant in Tehran are susceptible to economic appeals. Some of them clearly understand that without increased foreign trade and investment to generate more jobs for a rapidly expanding labor force, the mullahs' grip on power could be threatened.

First, the entire problem with the agreement reached by the EU-3 is that "nobody really knows whether Iran is really ready to give up its ambitions to have nuclear weapons". The agreement has not put any verification into place as yet; Iran could be refining uranium as we speak, and probably are. Iran has not acknowledged having the Khan plans for nuclear weapons, nor have they opened their research facilities to prove their peaceful intentions.

The idea that Iran succumbed to economic pressures demonstrates the hopeless naivete of the Gray Lady. Iran has plenty of trading partners, and everyone knows that economic sanctions are an iffy prospect at best. France and Russia allowed themselves to be bought off by Saddam Hussein, who had actually invaded and raped another country to earn his sanctions; Iran's transgressions being much more amorphous, the likelihood of having Chirac stand fast on punitive sanctions seems as likely as him kissing George Bush's feet.

Iran caved just after the American elections, when it became clear that they had to deal with another four years of Bush rather than the appeasement-minded John Kerry. Instead of trading openly for nuclear fuel, the mullahcracy understands that Bush intends to keep the pressure on Europe to push this to its diplomatic conclusion, so that Bush can exercise other options when Iran continues to defy the non-proliferation treaty.

This latest agreement is nothing more than a stall tactic, but it's the only one left to them with Bush in the White House. As long as they give the impression of diplomatic progress on the issue, Iran knows Bush cannot press for more action. And as long as the mullahcracy knows they can easily hoodwink the Western media into swallowing their story about peaceful energy production as their sole reason for nuclear development, they know that Bush will remain handcuffed in his options. Fortunately for Iran, the New York Times exists to appease dictators and regurgitate their public-relations efforts.

Addendum: Apparently, the NYT editorial board doesn't read their own paper.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 17, 2004 6:52 AM

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» IRAN DUPES THE TIMES from Right Wingnuthouse
The Captain is blogging the NYT article about the "agreement" reached between the EU and Iran regarding the radioactive mullahs promise not to process uranium in return for some very generous economic concessions. And if you believe that, I know o... [Read More]

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» Smarten up: The Threat from Iran from The Key Monk
The Iranian promises to the EU-3 group are worthless: the Iranians agreed only to a temporary cessation of enrichment and would still collect a certain uranium gas from centrifuge operations designed to increase energy output (the putative use for nucl... [Read More]

Tracked on November 17, 2004 10:42 AM

» Iran Matching Nuclear Warheads To Missiles from Josh Ferguson
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Tracked on November 18, 2004 4:39 PM

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