Too Much, Too Little, Too Late: IAEA Finally Points Finger At Iran

This week the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency released a 15-page report which essentially amounts to a “smoking gun” that Iran is working to build nuclear weapons. Among the more significant findings in the report:

• Iran is clandestinely acquiring equipment and data needed to make nuclear weapons.

• Iran has been conducting high explosives testing and developing detonators designed to trigger a nuclear explosion.

• Iranian scientists have been using computer modeling to design the core of a nuclear warhead.

• Iranian military personnel have been doing work consistent with preparation for a nuclear weapons test.

• Iran is working on mounting a nuclear payload onto its Shahab 3 intermediate range ballistic missile

For its part, not surprisingly, Iran denies that its nuclear program is a weapons program. The Ayatollahs maintain that their nuclear program is a peaceful energy program.

But the UN IAEA report points out that there is activity associated with Iran’s nuclear program that can only be categorized as weapons activity. In other words, there would be no reason to conduct these activities if the Iranians were not working on a nuclear bomb. If you want to view this evidence yourself, here is a link to the report itself:

http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

All of this comes as no surprise to sober Americans, Israelis and other Westerners. Only fringe politicos have been in denial as to Iran’s sinister intentions for its nuclear program. Nevertheless, those in the West who have denied the true nature of Iran’s nuclear program have served the Ayatollahs’ purpose as “Useful Idiots” for years. For decades in fact, the Iranians have bought time through denials, lies and theatrics designed to conceal their nuclear weapons program. And their friends, vendors and customers in nations such as Russia, Red China, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, India, the United Arab Emirates, and, yes, the United States of America, have played a supporting role in this theater of the absurd.

Nor is the UN itself blameless. Recall that the IAEA was once headed by a man from Egypt named Mohammed El Baradei. El Baradei had a terrible reputation among the Western arms inspectors assigned to the IAEA as someone who went to great lengths to give Moslem nations the benefit of the doubt when it comes to nuclear inspections. It was while El Baradei was heading the IAEA that Iran was expanding its nuclear program with huge underground facilities as places like Natanz equipped with advanced centrifuges used to enrich uranium in violation of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty). It is difficult to believe that all of the revelations in the latest IAEA report couldn’t have been gleaned during the El Baradei years.

Mohammed El Baradei

All of the delays have helped the Iranians grow closer to achieving their goal of arming themselves with nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, at the forefront of those whose incompetence and professional neglect enabled the Iranians to advance their nuclear weapons quest was none other than the US intelligence community. Recall back in November 2007 that the Office of National Intelligence published a National Intelligence Estimate that stated that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program back in 2003.

Here is a link to that infamous document:

http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf

Within two years, that horribly flawed and politically biased report had been discredited as flat wrong:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574447412969599476.html

No single document helped the Iranians more than the 2007 NIE. It paralyzed the Bush administration, Congress, Israel and some of our NATO allies for months, even though the Israelis and some of the Europeans knew the report to essentially be a work of fiction.

There can be no doubt that Iran is much closer to being armed with nuclear weapons now than they were before the DNI published the 2007 NIE. And the NIE gave them cover.

One of the things that is so infuriating about all this is that there were mountains of physical and circumstantial evidence pointing to an Iranian nuclear program years before the latest IAEA report was published.

Consider these anecdotes:

• In January 1994, the Clinton administration’s Undersecretary of State for International Security, Lynn Davis, told USA Today that “Iran’s actions leave little doubt that Tehran is intent upon developing nuclear weapons capabilities.” Davis went on to say that “Iran’s nuclear acquisitions are inconsistent with any rational civil nuclear program.” This statement was made nearly 18 years ago. EIGHTEEN years ago, we knew what the Iranians were up to, but the Clinton administration did next to nothing to stop them.

• In February 1987, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini uttered these words in a speech before his country’s Atomic Energy Organization: “Regarding atomic energy, we need it now. Our nation has always been threatened from the outside. The least we can do to face this danger is to let our enemies know that we can defend ourselves. Therefore, every step you take here is in defense of your country and your revolution. With this in mind, you should work hard and at great speed.”

• An even more overt statement came a year later. In a broadcast over Tehran radio in October 1988, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Hashemi Rafsanjani, made this chilling declaration that called for the development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons: “We should fully equip ourselves both in the offensive and defensive use of chemical, bacteriological and radiological weapons.”

• A lot more evidence of Iranian nuclear intentions surfaced during the 1990s. German and French security officials reported that, from 1992 to 1995, they foiled several attempts by Iranian intelligence agents to purchase equipment needed to create an atomic bomb. But perhaps the clearest evidence spilled out in January 1995 in a nuclear deal signed between Iran and Russia. After the U.S. strongly protested the agreement, Russian President Boris Yeltsin acknowledged that the agreement did in fact contain a military “component” and he announced that he was voiding that portion: “But it is true that the contract does contain components of civilian and military nuclear energy. Now we have agreed to separate those two. In as much as they relate to the military component and the potential for creating weapons grade fuel and other matters-the centrifuge, the construction of shafts-we have decided to exclude those aspects from the contract.”

• There is even more evidence. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, who served from 1994 to 2005, was quoted as saying that Iran was seeking help from his nation to build nuclear weapons: “We need oil from Iran because Russia is strangling us. We have no intention of responding to the repeated request by the Iranians to share with them know-how on nuclear weapons, or to sell them any equipment in this field.”

What all this obviously means is that no one should be surprised by the findings in the latest IAEA report. This leaves two main questions:

1. How close are the Iranians to having nuclear weapons?

2. What can be done?

The answer to the first question is as elusive as the wind itself. Estimates range all over the place. But keep in mind that Western intelligence agencies have provided estimates ranging from 5 years to 15 years since the 1990s. Heck, at one time, for a short period, the CIA even told President Bush that they thought Iran already had one nuclear weapon, but eventually backtracked from that statement. The fact is, if you look at the history of estimates from Western sources, it becomes clear that no one knows how close the Iranians are to having nuclear bombs. They could even already have a nuclear bomb. Or they could be years away.

But one thing we must remember is that the Iranians are awash in petrodollars, so they have been able to purchase expertise and components from the likes of AQ Khan of Pakistan and North Korea, in addition to former Soviet and South African nuclear technicians. Being able to afford to buy existing knowledge and equipment “off the shelf,” provides a real short-cut to completing a nuclear weapons program. Given that the Iranians are not idiots and they have been working on this project since the late 1980s, it would be a mistake to assume that Iran is many years away from having an atomic bomb.

This leaves us with the last question: what is to be done?

It is most unfortunate that Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have not exhibited any of the political will necessary to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power–and we MUST acknowledge that preventing Iran from going nuclear is an absolute necessary vital national security issue for the United States. All of the good options are gone.

Had we imposed meaningful sanctions back in January 1994 when the Clinton State Department declared Iran’s nuclear program a weapons project, and worked to compel our NATO allies to do the same, there could have been a meaningful impact on Iran’s economy and ability to acquire nuclear technology. But Clinton lacked the political will to defend America.

Unfortunately, President Bush displayed little additional political will to target the Iranians with meaningful sanctions. Bush continued the Clinton policy of issuing waivers for foreign companies in violation of the Iran Sanctions Act. Big firms such as Siemens, Total SA, GE, BP, Thyssen-Krupp, Royal Dutch Shell and Alcatel-Lucent were given a free pass to provide corporate life support for the Ayatollahs. Each of companies, and others, has done hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of business with the Iranians while the Iranians have built nuclear weapons.

The Obama administration has continued the waiver policy. In other words, since the mid 1990s when the Iran Sanctions Act was signed into law, we have failed to enforce the Act and have had n0 tough sanctions on Iran, despite the fact that Iran has armed our enemies on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan and have supported Al Qaeda in its war against America.

If the United States decided to suddenly start enforcing its existing sanctions policies, would there be enough time for the sanctions to make themselves felt in Iran, before Iran got nuclear weapons? That is the great unknown–but we DO know that we cannot trust anything coming out of our intelligence community on the subject.

That leaves the military option, something that the Obama administration almost certainly has no stomach for. I believe it is safe to say that Obama would rather allow Iran to go nuclear and let the next president deal with it than take any forceful action to prevent the Ayatollahs from going atomic. Moreover, Obama’s policies of withdrawal have weakened our ability to threaten Iran and strike at its nuclear facilities. US forces are almost completely withdrawn from Iraq and Obama is seeking to accelerate their withdrawal from Afghanistan. Whereas, not long ago, the US had large formations of forces bracketing Iran, including, most importantly, massive air assets and special operations forces, soon there will be few if any of those assets on hand to launch a campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities, which have been dispersed and hardened. This will make the planning and execution of any military operation against Iran much more complicated.

Which is exactly what Obama and his hard left, Soros-funded allies want. Like Ron Paul on the right, they’re just fine with Iran getting nuclear weapons. It’s an insane policy, unless your goal is to see the United States substantially weakened in the world and Israel threatened.

Speaking of Israel, it appears that it will be up to that isolated and abandoned republic to defend itself and rid the Free World of the Iranian nuclear menace. Are they up to it?

They certainly have the political will that America’s leaders have lacked, but they lack pure numbers of suitable weapons and geography.

Iran has at least 15 significant nuclear sites. While some observers maintain Israel would not have to destroy every site to cripple Iran’s program, Israel’s intelligence would have to be extremely good to skip over any known sites, much less sites that are not widely known. Iran has been secretive about its nuclear program for nearly two decades and it is possible that crucial activities are hidden in unknown areas and sites.

Israel would not want to leave any aspect of Iran’s nuclear program intact, therefore, to suggest that an attack would need to destroy 15 sites may be conservative.

Israel used 16 aircraft just to destroy Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear facility in June 1981. Osirak was relatively poorly defended and was only approximately 570 miles from Tel Aviv. By contrast, Iran’s largest nuclear site is 1,000 miles from Israel. The furthest Iranian nuclear site is in Tabas, in the eastern end of the country, some 1600 miles from Israel. The other 13 nuclear sites are widely dispersed.

The Iranians are very aware of what happened at Osirak. Their nuclear sites are hardened—often built underground—and are heavily defended by Russian-made surface to air missiles and anti- aircraft artillery. Israeli planning tends to be very good, but with so many targets, follow-up strikes would almost certainly be needed. This makes the fact that the Iranians have gone to great lengths to defend their nuclear facilities a problem. Even if the initial strikes get by Iranian defenses, the Iranians will be that much more alert for follow-up strikes. And Israel does not possess stealth aircraft or large numbers of long- range cruise missiles to conduct such missions. The Israelis would need to be uncannily accurate in their initial strikes to ensure success and this is not the same Israeli Air Force that existed in 1981. Today, many Israeli pilots have not seen true combat, have not had to deal with sophisticated air defense systems and have never flown long-range precision strike missions.

Iran’s nuclear facilities are not the only problem. Iran’s Shehab-3 ballistic missile has the range to hit Israel. It is not certain how many of these missiles Iran has (though some published reports give a number of 15, with no acknowledged source), nor is it known if any are equipped with chemical or biological warheads.

So, Israel would also have to try to account for potential Iranian missile sites in any strike. There are at least 8 known sites throughout Iran capable of launching ballistic missiles: Tehran, Bakhtaran, Garmsar, Karaj, Mashhad, Qom, Semnan, and Shahroud,

This means that Israel would be faced with having to strike no fewer than 23 separate targets, all more than 1,000 miles from Israeli air bases and it simply does not have the number of long-range aircraft necessary to do so. Israel has 100 F-16I and 30 F-15I capable of carrying out this mission profile.

What this means is that Israel would have to do more than just launch air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Perhaps this is why Israel has recently tested a new, extended range version of its Jericho ballistic missile, equipped with a larger warhead.

Jericho Ballistic Missiles

Additionally, Israel has a number of cruise missiles installed on its German-built Dolphin class submarines, with which it could strike Iran from the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Sea.

Israeli Dolphin Class Submarine

Given all its weapon assets, special operations forces and intelligence capability, Israel may very well be capable of setting Iran’s nuclear program back by a number of years, but in the process Israel will be subjecting itself to unrestricted warfare at the hands of Iran’s terrorist allies around the globe, as well as other forms of retaliation from Iran’s ballistic missile forces.

We can’t help but wonder if all of this would have been necessary if the US had fulfilled its proper role as world leader and enforced robust sanctions against Iran 18 years ago…

Clare Lopez and W. Thomas Smith: Iranian Press TV Publishes Names of US Citizens in Apparent “Hit” List

Clare Lopez and W. Thomas Smith are two of the best practicioners of national security analysis in America. They have just co-wrote an important article that reveals that the Iranians have published a list of Americans who have been active in opposing Shariah and warning about Jihad. Some experts warn that such a list amounts to a threat, much like a fatwa.

The names mentioned are some of the best, most knowledgeable folks in the US when it comes to Jihad. The fact that the Iranians would publish such a list–which looks eerily similar to the names mentioned by the George Soros-funded think tank Center for American Progress last month–is testimony to the work that these brave people do. The fact that the list is similar to the Center for American Progress list raises serious questions about that organization as well…

Read more at Canada Free Press…

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/39990

 

Iran’s Sponsorship of Terror Detailed in New State Department Report

This week the US State Department released its “Country Reports on Terrorism 2009,” which includes details on state sponsors of terrorism, of which Iran is obviously at the forefront.

We have pasted the entire section on Iran below, but will preface it with a few comments. Much of the report is a rehash of last year’s report and, unfortunately, this is a pattern we have noticed in this State Department report for some time now. Very few new facts seem to emerge from this report and the language is quite similar from year to year.

All one has to do to see this is to check these three links from the 2009, 2008 and 2007 reports (in that order). The facts presented are all the same and the language is very similar:

2009

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2009/140889.htm

2008

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2008/122436.htm

2007

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2007/103711.htm

This calls into question how much work and thought actually goes into this report in the first place. It is a disservice to the American people to regurgitate the same information year after year and it is difficult to regard such a report as authoritative under such circumstances.

There is one aspect of the report’s section on Iran that frankly cannot be emphasized enough:

Iran has given weaponry, training and funding to Sunni terrorist organizations for years. Two primary examples are HAMAS and the Taliban.

The quaint notion that Shia Iran does not sponsor Sunni Jihadist terrorist organizations is one which we cannot afford to allow to persist.

When someone tells you that Iran would never aid a Sunni terrorist organization because of the Sunni-Shia divide, that is a sure sign that they don’t have the slightest idea what they are talking about.

Speaking of Sunni terrorist groups, the State Department continues to be in denial about Iran’s relationship with Al Qaeda. They have basically kept the same language about Iran and Al Qaeda for years now, with no further information or intelligence at all. The boys and girls at Foggy Bottom insist that Iran’s connection to Al Qaeda doesn’t go any further than Iran keeping Al Qaeda members and their families under house arrest. This flies in the face of numerous reports and piles of evidence, including details disclosed way back during the 9-11 Commission Report:

http://article.nationalreview.com/352385/iranian-entanglements/christopher-w-holton

Perhaps when the State Department wonks get a notion in their heads, they don’t want to alter that notion for fear of being shown to have been wrong in the first place. Who really knows, but the year to year copy and paste job that State does on this report is unprofessional and, were it done this way in the private sector, the authors would be told to go back and start again and not to come back with another rehash of last year’s report…

Nevertheless, here is the official US State Department view on Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism during 2009:

IRAN

Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism. Iran’s financial, material, and logistic support for terrorist and militant groups throughout the Middle East and Central Asia had a direct impact on international efforts to promote peace, threatened economic stability in the Gulf and undermined the growth of democracy.

Iran remained the principal supporter of groups that are implacably opposed to the Middle East Peace Process. The Qods Force, the external operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad. Iran provided weapons, training, and funding to HAMAS and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support to Lebanese Hizballah and has trained thousands of Hizballah fighters at camps in Iran. Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict, Iran has assisted Hizballah in rearming, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

Iran’s Qods Force provided training to the Taliban in Afghanistan on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons. Since at least 2006, Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives.

Despite its pledge to support the stabilization of Iraq, Iranian authorities continued to provide lethal support, including weapons, training, funding, and guidance, to Iraqi Shia militant groups that targeted U.S. and Iraqi forces. The Qods Force continued to supply Iraqi militants with Iranian-produced advanced rockets, sniper rifles, automatic weapons, and mortars that have killed Iraqi and Coalition Forces, as well as civilians. Iran was responsible for the increased lethality of some attacks on U.S. forces by providing militants with the capability to assemble explosively formed penetrators that were designed to defeat armored vehicles. The Qods Force, in concert with Lebanese Hizballah, provided training outside of Iraq and advisors inside Iraq for Shia militants in the construction and use of sophisticated improvised explosive device technology and other advanced weaponry.

Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody. Iran has repeatedly resisted numerous calls to transfer custody of its AQ detainees to their countries of origin or third countries for trial; it is reportedly holding Usama bin Ladin’s family members under house arrest.

Senior IRGC, IRGC Qods Force, and Iranian government officials were indicted by the Government of Argentina for their alleged roles in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the Argentine-Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA); according to the Argentine State Prosecutor’s report, the attack was initially proposed by the Qods Force. In 2007, INTERPOL issued a “red notice” for six individuals wanted in connection to the bombing. One of the individuals, Ahmad Vahidi, was named as Iran’s Defense Minister in August 2009.

Iranian-backed Hezbollah has arms depots in Lebanon

Israel’s military released maps and aerial photographs Wednesday showing what it described as a network of Hezbollah weapons depots and command centers inside villages in south Lebanon, near the Israeli border.

The Israeli material included detailed maps and 3-D simulations showing individual buildings that the military identified as rocket storehouses. Some were shown to be located close to schools and hospitals.

Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite organization backed by Iran, attacked an Israeli border patrol in 2006, sparking a monthlong war in which Israel went after the group in a massive air, sea and ground campaign, while Hezbollah launched around 4,000 rockets into Israel. Nearly 1,200 people died in Lebanon and 159 lost their lives in Israel.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/07/07/israeli-military-says-hezbollah-network-arms-depots-inside-south-lebanon/

Iran installs radars in Syria as defense against Israel

Iran has sent Syria a sophisticated radar system that could threaten Israel’s ability to launch a surprise attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities, say Israeli and U.S. officials, extending an alliance aimed at undermining Israel’s military dominance in the region.

The radar could bolster Syria’s defenses by providing early warning of Israeli air-force sorties. It could also benefit Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group based in Lebanon and widely believed to receive arms from Syria.

http://www.iranfocus.com/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20918:iran-arms-syria-with-radar-&catid=4:iran-general&Itemid=26