August 28, 2007

Iran To Cooperate On Uranium Program: Teheran

Has Teheran begun to feel the pressure of international sanctions and diplomatic isolation? Iran has announced that it willgive more cooperation on its nuclear effort, including a secret program that American intel showed had a definite military component:

Iran on Monday offered some cooperation with an International Atomic Energy Agency probe of an alleged secret uranium processing project linked by U.S. intelligence to a nuclear arms program.

The Iranian pledge was contained in a memorandum reached between Iran and the IAEA and published on the agency's Web site at the request of Tehran's mission to the agency. In it, Tehran also outlined its timetable for providing other sensitive information sought by the IAEA in its probe of more than two decades of nuclear activity by the Islamic republic, most of it clandestine until revealed more than four years ago.

The document reiterated Iran's allegations that the search for information on the so-called "Green Salt Project" was "politically motivated" and founded on "baseless allegations."

But as a "sign of good will and cooperation with the agency .. . Iran will review" documentation on the project provided by the agency "and inform the agency of its assessment," according to the memorandum.

It sounds like more than goodwill. The US declassified some of its intel on Green Salt recently and allowed the IAEA to show it to Iran. It links the project to development of missile re-entry vehicles, and to tests on high explosives. The combination of the two strongly suggest that Green Salt's entire purpose is to develop nuclear weapons for the Iranian missile program.

Teheran may have been unnerved by yesterday's hawkish talk emanating from Paris. Nicolas Sarkozy made it clear that the days of France serving as apologists for their Iranian trading partners are coming to a close:

Speaking to 180 French ambassadors, Mr Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be "unacceptable" and that the only response was to tighten sanctions while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities.

"This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran," he said, adding that it was the worst crisis facing the world.

Sarkozy has aligned himself more closely to the US than any French leader has in years -- and that means bad news for Teheran. The mullahcracies have relied on France to run interference for them in the West, and they have few other options to replace the French in that role. The fact that a French president openly talks of bombing Iran tells them that they may have played the string out as far as they dare.

That doesn't mean they will pull a Ghaddafi and surrender their nuclear-weapons program. It does mean that they will have to go further than they want in order to appease the IAEA and the UN. They will have to take their weapons programs further underground, and before they do so, they may have to conduct an extensive purge to keep intel from leaking out of projects like Green Salt. Both will delay their march towards nuclear weapons, but neither will stop it entirely.

UPDATE: MIRV, of course, stands for multiple independent re-entry vehicles, which I knew, but somehow botched earlier. Thanks to CQ commenter Wolfwalker. I just decided to take the reference out altogether.


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Comments (8)

Posted by wolfwalker | August 28, 2007 5:56 AM

Minor correction: MIRV actually stands for Multiple Independently-targetable Re-entry Vehicles, a system that allowed one ICBM to carry multiple nuclear weapons and direct them accurately at multiple targets spread over an area of several hundred square miles.

There are only two possible needs for re-entry vehicles in a missile program. One is recovery of an orbital vehicle. The other is deployment of a long-range weapon. I haven't heard that Iran was planning a space program, and AFAIK nobody has ever seriously considered putting anything but a nuke on a long-range ballistic missile. So yeah, I agree: work on a re-entry vehicle is another strong pointer in the direction of a nuclear weapons program in Iran.

Posted by patrick neid | August 28, 2007 6:00 AM

Apparently Iran is getting bored with us and wants a little attention and entertainment. Once again it has decided to feed the pigeons. Watch closely as we grovel for the old dried bread crumbs. The mullahs must be laughing their turbans off. Sarkosy, the little zionist "pig ape" must really be cracking them up.

Iran will cooperate when pigs fly.......

Posted by Mr. Michael | August 28, 2007 6:03 AM

I don't think Sarkozy had anything to do with it, Cap'n... he only announced his feelings about direct military action against Iran last week, right? Since when could a UN agency get a decision in less than a week, much less the IAEA?!?

In a nutshell, this is just another chapter in the saga, played out along the same lines as all the others. First Iran denies the charge and denies access. Then Iran allows access, and when proven that they lied, they crow that they've pulled one over on the West. In the meantime they've delayed the IAEA so long that admitting that they are breaking the rules becomes some amazing form of 'co-operating with the International Comission' worthy of allowing Iran to delay further inspections on CURRENT programs for, say, another decade.

Iran hasn't changed its tune, the details have just been shuffled around. It's just been so long between cycles that we forget we've seen this before...

Posted by reddog | August 28, 2007 7:16 AM

Makes sense that Sarkozy wants to bomb Iran. He's one of those neocoms. The ones their parents circumscribe, right after they're born. I know it's supposed to be hygienic and all, but the idea of it makes me shiver.

I'll just wash good and wear my phylacterie. Oh yeah, and pray every day, like that nice Reverend Phelps and his buddy say.

Posted by hunter | August 28, 2007 7:56 AM

This is simply more theatrics from Iran. They do this for attention or to deflect attention, as their needs indicate.
does your site need anti-semitic bigots like 'reddog' posting on it?

Posted by hunter | August 28, 2007 8:04 AM

This is simply more theatrics from Iran. They do this for attention or to deflect attention, as their needs indicate.
does your site need anti-semitic bigots like 'reddog' posting on it?

Posted by Eg | August 28, 2007 9:15 AM

Last week, Iran, IAEA Agree on Work Plan

Head of Iranian delegation in talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that the two sides have succeeded in finalizing a work plan for resolving the issues remaining between the UN nuclear watchdog and Tehran.

which was reviewed by our US Envoy who found, Iran - IAEA Deal Has "Real Limitations". The Mullah's have already made clear they will not under any circumstance either allow extensive snap-inspections of facilities undeclared nor with they shut-down enrichment. So really back at the starting-blocks of another round of 'delay, threats and broken promises' to be followed by successive rounds of the same tactic.

As for the French, our seemingly new pal Sarko, he's bluster to the crunch, then crumble.

Posted by unclesmrgol | August 28, 2007 3:21 PM

180 ambassadors. 180 degrees. Any connection?

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