Sunday, May 4, 2008


I’m pretty sure that all of you that will be reading this blog are familiar with the National Intelligence Estimate (N.I.E). Anyway, I will update your memory.

We have all seen the stories in the news, spun to make it look like Bush lied about Iran and Iraq and that he had spun the 2003 and 2005 N.I.E.’s to make war: - Bush Administration Credibility Suffers After Iran ...
Attacking The NIE, By Kevin Drum - CBS News
The NIE in Doubt?
Dark Suspicions about the NIE
NPR: NIE Report on Iran Contradicts Bush Claims
NIE Report: Iran Halted Nuclear Weapons Program ...
Spinning the NIE Iran Report - TIME
Crooks and Liars » Countdown: Bushed!- No NIE, Mo Gonzo & DHS ...
NPR: Iran NIE Reopens Intelligence Debate
U.S. Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work - New York Times
Bothersome Intel on Iran Newsweek Periscope
Olbermann’s Special Comment on Iran NIE: "Bush, Pathological Liar ...

Just way too many to list - these are good examples.
To the Point:

The N.I.E. is an intelligence summary written for the President of the United States and the National Security Council by sixteen of the primary Intelligence Agencies:

Director of National Intelligence

National Intelligence Council [NIC]
National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)
National Counterintelligence Executive [NCIX]
Central Intelligence Agency

National Security Agency

Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence - the USD
National Reconnaissance Office
Department of Energy

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Defense Intelligence Agency

with subs:
Army Intelligence and Security Command
Office of Naval Intelligence
Air Intelligence Agency
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis
Department of State - INR - Bureau of Intelligence & Research
Department of the Treasury
Coast Guard

It’s purview:
"The United States intelligence effort shall provide the President and the National Security Council with the necessary information on which to base decisions concerning the conduct and development of foreign, defense and economic policy, and the protection of United States national interests from foreign security threats. All departments and agencies shall cooperate fully to fulfill this goal."
Executive Order 12333

National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) are the Intelligence Community’s (IC) most authoritative written judgments on national security issues and designed to help US civilian and military leaders develop policies to protect US national security interests. NIEs usually provide information on the current state of play but are primarily "estimative"—that is, they make judgments about the likely course of future events and identify the implications for US policy.
The NIEs are typically requested by senior civilian and military policymakers, Congressional leaders and at times are initiated by the National Intelligence Council (NIC). Before a NIE is drafted, the relevant NIO is responsible for producing a concept paper or terms of reference (TOR) and circulates it throughout the Intelligence Community for comment. The TOR defines the key estimative questions, determines drafting responsibilities, and sets the drafting and publication schedule. One or more IC analysts are usually assigned to produce the initial text. The NIC then meets to critique the draft before it is circulated to the broader IC. Representatives from the relevant IC agencies meet to hone and coordinate line-by-line the full text of the NIE. Working with their Agencies, reps also assign the level of confidence they have in each key judgment.
IC reps discuss the quality of sources with collectors, and the National Clandestine Service vets the sources used to ensure the draft does not include any that have been recalled or otherwise seriously questioned. All NIEs are reviewed by National Intelligence Board, which is chaired by the DNI and is composed of the heads of relevant IC agencies. Once approved by the NIB, NIEs are briefed to the President and senior policymakers. The whole process of producing NIEs
normally takes at least several months.

This will attempt to delve into the issue of the November 2007 N.I.E. and it’s statement:

A. We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program
1; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons
(please note highlighted areas, we will come back to those later)

Here is the rest of those judgements:
Key Judgments
A. We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program
1; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran’s announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.
We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.
• We judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (Because of intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate, however, DOE and the NIC
assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program.)
• We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.
• We continue to assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon.
• Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005. Our assessment
that the program probably was halted primarily in response to international pressure suggests Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged previously.
B. We continue to assess with low confidence that Iran probably has imported at least some weapons-usable fissile material, but still judge with moderate-to-high confidence it
has not obtained enough for a nuclear weapon. We cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad—or will acquire in the future—a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material
for a weapon. Barring such acquisitions, if Iran wants to have nuclear weapons it would need to produce sufficient amounts of fissile material indigenously—which we judge with high confidence it has not yet done.
C. We assess centrifuge enrichment is how Iran probably could first produce enough fissile material for a weapon, if it decides to do so. Iran resumed its declared centrifuge
enrichment activities in January 2006, despite the continued halt in the nuclear weapons program. Iran made significant progress in 2007 installing centrifuges at Natanz, but we
judge with moderate confidence it still faces significant technical problems operating them.
We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon is late 2009, but that this
is very unlikely.
We judge with moderate confidence Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame.
(INR judges Iran is unlikely to achieve this capability before 2013 because of foreseeable technical and programmatic problems.) All agencies recognize the possibility that this capability may not be attained until after 2015.
D. Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so. For example,
Iran’s civilian uranium enrichment program is continuing. We also assess with high confidence that since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research and development projects with commercial and conventional military applications—some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.
E. We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt it to restart the program.
• Our assessment that Iran halted the program in 2003 primarily in response to international pressure indicates Tehran’s decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic, and military costs. This, in turn, suggests that some combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways, might—if perceived by Iran’s leaders as credible—prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear weapons program. It is difficult to specify what such a combination might be.
We assess with moderate confidence that convincing the Iranian leadership to forgo the eventual development of nuclear weapons will be difficult given the linkage many
within the leadership probably see between nuclear weapons development and Iran’s key national security and foreign policy objectives, and given Iran’s considerable effort from at least the late 1980s to 2003 to develop such weapons. In our judgment, only an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would plausibly keep Iran from eventually producing nuclear weapons—and such a decision
is inherently reversible.
F. We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities— rather than its declared nuclear sites—for the production of highly enriched uranium for a
weapon. A growing amount of intelligence indicates Iran was engaged in covert uranium conversion and uranium enrichment activity, but we judge that these efforts probably
were halted in response to the fall 2003 halt, and that these efforts probably had not been restarted through at least mid-2007.
G. We judge with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015.
H. We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.

Here is the context of those judgements:

What We Mean When We Say: An Explanation of Estimative Language
We use phrases such as we judge, we assess, and we estimate—and probabilistic terms such as probably and likely—to convey analytical assessments and judgments. Such statements are not facts, proof, or knowledge. These assessments and judgments generally are based on collected
information, which often is incomplete or fragmentary. Some assessments are built on previous judgments. In all cases, assessments and judgments are not intended to imply that we have "proof" that shows something to be a fact or that definitively links two items or issues.

Ok , is everything becoming clearer now? You can plainly see it is riddled with doublespeak. In your own thoughts so far, what do you assess? Keep this thought in the front of your mind as you read on.
Now here is the British assessment of same:

Global Security - MI6 - House of Commons Report - 20Feb2008

We conclude that although the sanctions currently in place against Iran act as a disincentive for its nuclear programme, they are not sufficiently robust to coax it into suspending its enrichment. We are concerned that the new political dynamic following the publication of the US National Intelligence Estimate, and underlying differences within the international community, mean future UN and EU sanctions are likely to remain ineffective and may inadvertently help President Ahmadinejad by providing him with a scapegoat for his economic failings.
In 2002, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an opposition group, publicly exposed the existence of a uranium enrichment site at Natanz, and the construction of a heavy water plant at Arak, which, once operational, would be capable of producing plutonium. Neither of these activities is illegal per se as Article IV of the NPT sets out the "inalienable right" of all States Parties to develop, research and produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. However, Iran had concluded a comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (the UN body that monitors nuclear activity and supervises compliance of the NPT) in 1974 under which it was required to be transparent about its facilities. In November 2003, the Director-General of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, stated that
"Iran has concealed many aspects of its nuclear activities, with resultant breaches" of its reporting obligations under its Safeguards Agreement.
As the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) states, international concern was heightened by the fact that the facilities at Natanz and Arak were ’dual use’—
i.e. that they "could be used in civil or military programmes". Another NGO, the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), argues in its written submission that "what’s the point of hiding the country’s activities if there is no mala fides?", noting Iran’s counter-argument that the reluctance of the West to engage with it forced it to rely on the secret underground network of the rogue Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. Iran also defended itself by arguing it is bound by a religious decree that prevents Islamic countries developing, producing or using nuclear weapons.
In its November 2007 Report on Iran’s nuclear programme, the IAEA stated that the level of uranium enrichment at Natanz was at roughly the level required to produce reactor fuel for a civil nuclear programme. It also stated that Iran had completed the installation of eighteen 164-machine cascades at its fuel enrichment plant, and that uranium had been fed in to each one. This provides for 2,952 operational centrifuges. BASIC notes "3,000 centrifuges running for long periods without breakdown could be enough to produce
enough fissile material for one nuclear bomb within a year", should Iran choose to do so.

On our visit to Iran, we heard from a number of interlocutors that Iran’s intention is to enrich uranium to a low level for use in its nuclear power plants. BASIC’s written evidence is sceptical about this claim, noting that there is as yet no finished reactor to load nuclear fuel. This argument was reinforced by Dr Howells when he appeared before us:
[D]eveloping or enriching uranium to the degree that the Iranians seem to be pressing for is like trying to manufacture petrol before you have taken your driving test or even bought a car. It does not make much sense. There is only one civil nuclear reactor being constructed at the moment, and that is the one at Bushehr, being constructed by the Russians, who have already told the Iranians that the very highly engineered fuel rods that will be required for that reactor will be supplied by Russia.

It is clear that Iran’s declared nuclear activities at Natanz could provide Iran with a path towards weapons-grade uranium in the coming years. Another possible route towards HEU would be the use of covert enrichment facilities. As we discuss below, Iran agreed an Additional Protocol with the IAEA in 2003, giving inspectors greater access to its nuclear activities. Since 2006, it has refused to implement the Additional Protocol, which has left the Agency unable, in its own words, "to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran." Mr Fitzpatrick comments that an unreported facility "cannot be totally ruled out", but notes that "no evidence has surfaced pointing to a parallel, covert facility." The 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate concluded "with moderate confidence" that Iran would likely use covert facilities rather than its declared facilities to enrich uranium Uranium enrichment is not the only route towards producing the fissile material for a nuclear weapon. In its memorandum to the Committee, the FCO comments that the heavy water research reactor being constructed at Arak would be "eminently suitable for producing weapons-grade plutonium." Iran claims that the facility only has peaceful purposes such as the production of radioisotopes for medical care. BASIC notes that Iran has restricted the access of IAEA inspectors to verify design work at the plant, and argues that the work at Arak "has been overlooked" by the West’s focus on uranium enrichment. The US National Intelligence Estimate judged with "high confidence" that Tehran would not be able to produce and reprocess enough plutonium for a nuclear weapon until about 2015. Elahe Mohtasham notes that once fully operational, the plant would be able to produce enough plutonium for one or two weapons a year.

We conclude that, whilst Iran’s suspension of an active nuclear weapons programme since 2003 is welcome, its continued enrichment activities and questions over its previous conduct mean its potential to develop such a programme remains. We further conclude that although technological constraints are likely to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, if that is its intention, in the near future, there is nevertheless a strong possibility that it could establish a ’breakout’ nuclear weapons capability by 2015.

Getting the picture?
Some more..............
Gary Samore, a top arms control official in the Clinton administration and a director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, who told the Los Angeles Times in December that "The halting of the weaponization program in 2003 is less important from a proliferation standpoint than resumption of the enrichment program in 2006."

From the 2003 N.I.E.
* We have no evidence Iran wants to develop an ICBM. Even if Tehran wanted to, we assess that it would not be able to do so before 2010 because it lacks the economic resources and technological infrastructure

Doesn’t that contradict this?:

2005 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s nuclear program projected that Iran is five to 10 years from being able to indigenously produce enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a bomb.

2005 National Intelligence Estimate that declared "with high confidence" that Iran was working to build a bomb.

August 2005 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Information" about Iran’s alleged nuke weaponization program, turned over to the Secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency late last year, was presented to the IAEA Board of Governors by IAEA’s Deputy Director-General Olli Heinonen. The only "information" that was perhaps directly of a nuclear nature involved "fire sets," devices capable of supplying high-voltage, high-current pulses to multiple detonators, causing them to fire at predetermined times.

November 2007 CRS - Notice the date...........
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections since 2003 have revealed two decades’ worth of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran, including uranium enrichment and plutonium separation efforts. Iran agreed in 2003 to suspend sensitive activities in negotiations with Germany, France, and the UK (EU-3), which broke down
in August 2005. On September 24, 2005, the IAEA Board of Governors found Iran to be in noncompliance with its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards agreement and reported Iran’s case to the U.N. Security Council in February 2006. The Security Council called upon Iran to resuspend enrichment and reprocessing, reconsider
construction of its heavy water reactor, ratify and implement the Additional Protocol, and implement transparency measures. Iran continued enrichment activities and failed to meet the Security Council’s request, even after the permanent members plus Germany (P-5 +1) offered Iran a new proposal on June 6. The Security Council passed UNSCR
1696 on July 31, 2006, giving Iran a deadline of August 31 to comply. Iran still failed to suspend enrichment, which may prompt negotiations on sanctions.

CRS 22758 - 11/2007 (Congressional Research Service) These assessments do not mean, however, that there is universal agreement within the U.S. intelligence community on the issue of an Iranian ICBM. According to these unclassified statements, some argue that an Iranian ICBM test is likely before 2010, and very likely before 2015. Other U.S. officials believe, however, that there is "less than an even chance" for such a test before 2015. Furthermore, U.S. assessments are also conditional in that an Iranian ICBM capability would have to rely on access to foreign technology, from, for example, North Korea or Russia. Finally, it is argued that an Iranian ICBM could develop from an Iranian space program under which a space-launch vehicle program might be converted into an ICBM program. Some have argued that Iran could develop and test such a space launch vehicle by 2010.

IAEA - 2/2006
The IAEA reported on February 27, 2006 that Iran has produced approximately 85 tons of uranium hexafluoride (UF6). If enriched through centrifuges to weapons-grade material – a capability Iran is working hard to master – this would be enough for 12 nuclear bombs.

To produce plutonium, Iran has built a heavy water production plant and is constructing a large, heavy water-moderated reactor whose technical characteristics are well-suited for the production of weapons-grade plutonium. In support of this effort, Iran admitted in October 2003 to secretly producing small quantities of plutonium without notifying the IAEA, a violation of its treaty obligations.

The IAEA has discovered documentation in Iran for casting and machining enriched uranium hemispheres, which are directly relevant to production of nuclear weapons components. The IAEA is also pursuing information on nuclear-related high-explosive tests and the design of a delivery system, both of which point to a military rather than peaceful purpose of the Iranian nuclear program.
The IAEA discovered evidence in September 2003 that Iran had covertly produced the short-lived radioactive element polonium 210 (Po-210), a substance with two known uses: a neutron source for a nuclear weapon and satellite batteries. Iran told the IAEA that the polonium 210 was produced for satellite batteries but could not produce evidence for this explanation. The IAEA found Iran's explanation about its polonium experiments difficult to believe, stating in a September 2004 report that "it remains, however, somewhat uncertain regarding the plausibility of the stated purpose of the experiments given the very limited applications of short lived Po-210 sources."
Now, to who actually wrote the report:
Several current and former high-level government officials familiar with the authors of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran described the report as a politically motivated document written by anti-Bush former State Department officials, who opposed sanctioning foreign governments and businesses.

The three main authors of this report are former State Department officials with previous reputations that should lead one to doubt their conclusions. All three are ex-bureaucrats who, as is generally true of State Department types, favor endless rounds of negotiation and "diplomacy" and oppose confrontation. These three officials, according to the Wall Street Journal, have "reputations as hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials".

They are Tom Fingar, formerly of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Vann Van Diepen, the National Intelligence Officer for WMD; and Kenneth Brill, the former U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Tom Fingar was a State Department employee who was an expert on China and Germany -- he has no notable experience, according to his bio in the Middle East and its geopolitics.
Vann Van Diepen is also a career State Department bureaucrat who, according to the New York Sun, is one of the State Department bureaucrats who want "revenge" for having their views regarding Iran ignored by the Bush Administration. He is now seeking to further his own agenda. As the Sun wrote in their editorial yesterday:

Vann Van Diepen, one of the estimate's main authors, has spent the last five years trying to get America to accept Iran's right to enrich uranium. Mr. Van Diepen no doubt reckons that in helping push the estimate through the system, he has succeeded in influencing the policy debate in Washington. The bureaucrats may even think they are stopping another war.

Vann Diepen also shares a lack of experience in dealing with Iran or the region.

The third main author comes in for particular criticism in the Wall Street Journal editorial. Kenneth Brill served as the US Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA). This is an agency that has served to enable Iranian's quest for nuclear weapons. The head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, has even been called a friend by the Iranian regime. As he should be, for he has been an enabler of its nuclear weapons program and has stiff-armed European Union diplomats who have worked to restrain Iran.

Elbaredei and the IAEA have over-reached and now seek to control diplomatic negotiations with Iran -- a function that is beyond its mandate. Brill was apparently unwilling to stop this mission creep and put an end to Elbaradei's efforts to help Iran. Or, as the Wall Street Journal hints, maybe he was just incompetent. This hint comes from former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton's (who headed counter-proliferation efforts in the State Department previous to his UN posting) new book:

For a flavor of their political outlook, former Bush Administration antiproliferation official John Bolton recalls in his recent memoir that then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage "described Brill's efforts in Vienna, or lack thereof, as 'bull -- .'" Mr. Brill was "retired" from the State Department by Colin Powell before being rehired, over considerable internal and public protest, as head of the National Counter-Proliferation Center by then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.

Brill also has no previous history of experience dealing with Iran. (He graduated from Business School at Berkeley in 1973!).

All three of the authors of this NIE study are former State Department employees (none of them are nuclear physicists). All who are familiar with the ways of Washington know that the State Department is a fourth branch of government -- at least in its own collective mind -- that seeks to forge its own policies which may often conflict with the policies desired by its putative boss, the President.

Now to put it all together for you to understand....(a few bombshells included)
February 26 of this year, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell explained: "As you know, there’s been confusion about what Iranian intentions are with regard to nuclear weapons. You know from our National Intelligence Estimate we released, we highlighted the fact that a specific portion of the program had been cancelled, and that was the technical design of the warhead.

What I’d just highlight for you is there are three parts to a nuclear-weapons program. First, you have to have fissile material. Second, you have a nuclear-weapons warhead design; and third, a means of delivery of that warhead, given that you had such a warhead. And what we highlighted that was cancelled was the specifics on the warhead design. They are still pursuing fissile material – which that is the most difficult challenge in a nuclear program. And they’re still doing the ballistic missile design and testing, which is probably the second-most difficult part."
It is an open question as to whether Iran has since restarted work on the warhead design. Regardless, given their progress in producing the fissile material, Iran could produce a workable nuclear device in "6 months to 12 months," according to testimony by McConnell to the House Intelligence Committee on February 7.
Now the IAEA's report is out, and they find the Iranians to be "generally truthful." The Iranians had "accidentally" received blueprints for a nuclear warhead (as part of an illegal transfer of nuclear know-how), which were "accidentally" discovered by the IAEA, and we are still supposed to believe that (a) they aren't working towards a nuclear weapon, (b) they don't have other blueprints with which they weren't quite so careless, and (c) the IAEA's standard for compliance has always been "generally truthful." This wishful thinking can only lead to one conclusion--a nuclear Iran. And, while the use of force to prevent such an outcome is certain to be painful for all parties involved, diplomacy just isn't going to work, because the IAEA is all trust, and no verify. If Iran has a blueprint for a bomb in hand – which is not improbable given the already wide proliferation of a dependable Chinese design – then all that really remains to be done is for Iran to complete its uranium enrichment program. The new National Intelligence Estimate may be accurate as far as it goes, but may not be revealing the whole story. For instance, it may be that while Iran halted work on bomb design and fabrication in Iran in 2003, it off-shored the work to, say, Syria. This scenario would be consistent with the hypothesis put forward a couple of weeks ago by Israeli Professor Uzi Even, one of the founders of Israel’s nuclear program, who maintains that the target the Israeli Air Force destroyed in Syria last September was not a nuclear reactor, as most experts concluded, but a nuclear bomb factory — a Rocky Flats on the Euphrates, as it were. If Even is right, it’s an odds-on bet that the plant was built for an Iranian weapons program rather than a Syrian one; the Syrians don’t have the money or the expertise necessary to enrich uranium or produce plutonium. The Iranians do. Rather, most evidence indicates that Iran has now embarked on a significant effort to acquire legally and openly all the technologies necessary for a nuclear power program, technologies that would enable it to also produce a nuclear weapon sometime in the next decade were it to decide to do so. This is a very difficult strategy to counter. Deals with the Abdul Qadeer Khan network to buy centrifuges also netted the mullahs instructions for how to turn uranium into metal and shape it into hemispheres, a process that has no use other than for nuclear weapons.Other suspicious activities, including experiments with Polonium-210, an element used to generate the neutrons necessary to initiate a nuclear chain reaction, bolster this judgment. Along with the construction of the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan with Chinese help and the exposure in late 2002 of Iran’s third major effort, the secret construction of uranium-enrichment facilities at Natanz At present, Iran seems to be following a “ Japan model” of acquiring all the technologies necessary for the production of fissile materials in order to both develop a full civilian nuclear complex and achieve a “virtual” nuclear status that could be made actual within months of a decision to do so. Like Japan, this program could be legal under existing international treaties, once past transgressions were either explained away, acknowledged and regretted, or simply excused.

National Council of Resistance of Iran - Iran opens nuke warhead center
Opposition: Iran opens warhead center, has accelerated nuclear program
LONDON -- An Iranian opposition group said Teheran has launched a new stage of its nuclear project, which included the establishment of a facility to produce warheads. The National Council of Resistance of Iran asserted that Iran also completed a command and control center to direct any nuclear attack.
"The Iranian regime is undoubtedly developing the nuclear bomb," NCRI representative Mohammad Mohaddessin said. "None of the essential work has been halted. All three parts have been speeded up."

At a briefing on Feb. 20, 2008 in Paris, Mohaddessin, citing sources within the nuclear project, said Iran received assistance from North Korea for the development of the nuclear warhead. He said development and production were taking place at a facility code-named B1-Nori-8500 at Khojir, southeast of Teheran.

"The clerical regime [in Iran] has not ended its nuclear weapons program, rather it has expedited its activities and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has taken greater control of the program," Mohaddessin, chairman of NCRI's foreign affairs committee, said.

Khojir has been directed by Iranian missile specialist Mehdi Naghiyan Fesharaki, Mohaddessin said. Mohaddessin said Fesharaki was transferred to Khojir in 2006 in wake of an apparent breakthrough in warhead development.

"This means the regime is getting to the point of connecting nuclear weapons to missiles," Mohaddessin said.

The Iranian regime was also said to have completed a C2 center for the nuclear weapons production program at Mujdeh outside Teheran in April 2007. Mohaddessin said the program was dubbed Lavizan-2.

"We would like to urgently ask the IAEA to immediately send inspectors to the sites," Mohaddessin said. "Time is running out to stop the regime acquiring a nuclear bomb. If we do not act today, tomorrow might be too late."
The bombshell revelations by Iran's parliament-in-exile, the National Council of Resistance (NCRI), about a working nuclear warhead development facility and a new command and control center for Iran's nuclear bomb-making only two days before the release of the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) proved to be a major blow to the ruling Ayatollahs in Tehran.

In a news conference in Brussels on February 20, 2008, Mohammad Mohaddessin, the Chairman of the NCRI's Foreign Affairs Committee, announced that in April 2007, the Iranian regime's nuclear project entered a new phase. For the first time, a command and control center, known as Mojdeh site, was established to head up the drive to complete a nuclear bomb. A development facility called the "Field for Expansion of Deployment of Advanced Technologies" was set up in the Lavizan 2 site
Mojdeh site is managed by a scientist named Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi. A nuclear physicist attached to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC), Mahabadi reports directly to the defense minister, Mostafa Mohammad Najar. Many of the activities at the site are disguised as part of the IRGC's Malek Ashtar University, which acts more as the support center doing research and development of weapons for the Mojdeh site than a university.

Working on and coordinating activities on a neutron initiator; producing Polunium-210 and Beryllium for the trigger for an atomic bomb; casting and machining of uranium metals; research on the fissile material needed for the production of a bomb; laser enrichment of uranium; and research on high explosives, radiation detection, and protection against radioactive materials are among the activities carried out at the Mojdeh site.

The secret facility to make nuclear warheads is located at Khojir, a Defense Ministry missile site southeast of Tehran. This is a vast, 120-square kilometer area southeast of Tehran. It is riddled with various facilities and tunnels dedicated to nuclear and missile projects (see satellite imagery).

Khojir is heavily secured military area. Construction of secret military sites in this location began in 1989. This location works primarily on the manufacturing of missiles such as Shahab 3. However, new, detailed information reveals that Tehran is building nuclear warheads at this site. The project was codenamed 8500 and nicknamed the Alireza Nori Industry (see satellite imagery). The warheads are being designed for installation on Shahab 3 missiles, the most advanced version of which has a range of 2,000 kilometers.

In its February 20 news conference, the NCRI announced that the full details of the latest information obtained by the Resistance network inside Iran had been provided to the IAEA.

The Tehran regime's reaction to last week's timely revelations demonstrated what a blow it had been dealt. Ahmadinejad's anguish was evident in his remarks to the state-run news agencies about this latest political defeat resulting from the opposition's devastating disclosures: “The nuclear issue in its new form began in the beginning of the summer of 2002, when [the Iranian Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK)], published a report on the Natanz and Arak nuclear sites. The International Atomic Energy Agency got involved… and resolutions were adopted one after the other.”

Then on Monday, Mohammad Khazee, the Ayatollahs' ambassador to the United Nations, dedicated almost his entire interview with journalists to complaints about the decisive role the main Iranian opposition has played in exposing the Ayatollahs' nuclear sites.

Simon Smith, the chief British delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said earlier this week that based on information presented by the IAEA to the IAEA's 35 board member nations, Iran may have continued work on nuclear weapons past 2003, the year U.S. intelligence reports indicated such activities had stopped. Earlier, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell said there was no doubt that Iran had the scientific know-how, the technical capacity, and the industrial capability to develop nuclear weapons at some future point.

The NCRI's crucial revelations last week establish that the Ayatollahs' regime has indeed expedited its nuclear weapons activities, and that the IRGC has assumed command of a much larger segment of the nuclear drive. The United Nations Security Council should waste no time in adopting a decisive resolution to address Tehran's persistent violation of prior UN Security Resolutions. At the same time, a growing number of members of Congress from both sides of the isle believe that sanctions should be coupled with political pressure. The best option? Reach out to the Iranian opposition and remove all restrictions against them as they heighten their efforts to implement fundamental change in Iran.

The IAEA report also raised the nuclear weaponization issue. “The one major remaining issue relevant to the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme is the alleged studies on the green salt project, high explosives testing and the missile re-entry vehicle. This is a matter of serious concern and critical to an assessment of a possible military dimension to Iran’s nuclear programme,” the report said.

Evidently short of time to come up with manufactured and forged documents to whitewash these violations - as was evidently the case with some old pending question raise by the IAEA - Tehran “stated that the allegations were baseless and that the information which the Agency had shown to Iran was fabricated.”

The IAEA did not buy that. The report concluded by saying that “in the light of the many years of undeclared activities in Iran and the confidence deficit created as a result,” the Director General “urges Iran to implement all necessary measures called for by the Board of Governors and the Security Council to build confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.”

That’s a diplo-speak for saying that given Tehran’s many years of lies and deception, the regime must abide by the UNSC resolutions and come clean on remaining questions dealing with secret facilities making nuclear warhead and other weaponization activities. (USADI)

Staff Report of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy August 23, 2006 “The annihilation of the Zionist regime will come... Israel must be wiped off the map... And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism”1 “They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets.” “I officially announce that Iran has joined countries with nuclear technology.” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad


Threats against the United States and Israel by Iranian President Ahmadinejad – coupled with advances in the Iranian nuclear weapons program, support for terror, and resistance to international negotiations on its nuclear program – demonstrate that Iran is a security threat to our nation that requires high caliber intelligence support. The seriousness of the Iranian threat has been amplified by the recent rocket attacks against Israel by the Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, which, according to press accounts, has received as many as 10,000 rockets from Iran.

Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte provided his assessment in his 2006 Annual Threat Report that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. America's intelligence agencies have also assessed the following about the Iranian threat:

* Iran has conducted a clandestine uranium enrichment program for nearly two decades in violation of its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement, and despite its claims to the contrary, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. The U.S. Intelligence Community believes that Tehran probably has not yet produced or acquired the fissile material (weapons-grade nuclear fuel) needed to produce a nuclear weapon; Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte has stated that Iran will not be “in a position to have a nuclear weapon” until “sometime between the beginning of the next decade and the middle of the next decade”.

* Iran likely has an offensive chemical weapons research and development capability.

* Iran probably has an offensive biological weapons program.

* Iran has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. The U.S. Intelligence Community has raised the concern that Tehran may integrate nuclear weapons into its ballistic missiles.

* Iran provides funding, training, weapons, rockets, and other material support to terrorist groups in Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, and elsewhere.

* Elements of the Iranian national security apparatus are actively supporting the insurgency in Iraq.

Iran's August 22, 2006 letter expressing its willingness to enter into "serious negotiations" on its nuclear program presents significant challenges for U.S. policymakers who must assess Iranian intentions, the likelihood that it would abide by a new diplomatic agreement, and whether Iran would exploit a new agreement to advance its nuclear weapons program. The U.S. Intelligence Community will play an important role in helping policymakers evaluate these questions. U.S. intelligence agencies will have to devote resources to verify adherence to whatever result negotiations might produce – Iran’s compliance with any agreement that may be reached, or the international community’s compliance with any new trade sanctions the international community may place on Iran should efforts to use negotiations to resolve the crisis fail.

The U.S. Intelligence Community believes Iran could have a nuclear weapon sometime in the beginning to the middle of the next decade. The timetable for an Iranian program depends on a wide range of factors – such as the acquisition of key components and materials, successful testing, outside assistance (if any), and the impact of domestic and international political pressures. It also depends on the assumption that Iran will overcome technical hurdles to master the technology at some point and that its leaders will not be deterred from developing nuclear weapons in the interim.

Increasing its number of centrifuges will dramatically decrease the time required for Iran to produce sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Former Iranian President Rafsanjani said on April 11, 2006 that Iran was producing enriched uranium in a small, 164-centrifuge cascade using “P-1” centrifuge technology, a basic Pakistani centrifuge design. Iran announced in April 2006 that it plans to build a 3,000-centrifuge cascade by early 2007 and ultimately plans to construct a 54,000 centrifuge cascade.28

* Theoretically, 3,000 "P-1" centrifuges could produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon in about a year using unenriched UF6. Diverting low-enriched uranium fuel, such as light water reactor fuel,29 for enrichment in a 3,000 "P-1"centrifuge cascade could produce enough fissile fuel for one nuclear bomb in less than two months.30

* P-2 centrifuges. “P-2” centrifuges could produce fissile fuel four times faster that "P-1" centrifuges. Iranian President Ahmadinejad announced on April 13, 2006 that that Iran “presently is conducting research” on P-2 centrifuges, a more advanced Pakistani technology. Iran admitted in January 2004 that it obtained plans for P-2 centrifuges from “a foreign intermediary” in 1994, but denied it had constructed any P-2 machines.31 Since that time, Iran has resisted providing details of its P-2 program to IAEA inspectors, who have only been allowed to observe the more basic P-1 centrifuges.32 A.Q. Khan provided P-2 centrifuges to the Libyan nuclear weapons program and could have provided this technology to Iran.

* Spent fuel from light water reactors. Extracting plutonium from a light water reactor's (LWR) spent fuel rods would produce weapons-grade fuel in less time than spinning unenriched UF6 in centrifuges. Spent fuel from the LWR Russia is building for Iran in the city of Bushehr could produce enough weapons-grade plutonium for 30 weapons per year if the fuel rods were diverted and reprocessed.33 Spent fuel from the LWRs that EU-3 states are proposing to give Iran as part of a new diplomatic agreement probably could be used to produce a similar amount of plutonium. While Russia has agreed to take back spent fuel from the Bushehr plant and store them in Russia, and although the fuel for reactors proposed by the Europeans should be placed under very strong international safeguards, Iran’s record of non-cooperation with the IAEA and its years of secret nuclear experiments raise questions as to whether Iran can be trusted to honor an agreement on the disposition of spent fuel rods

Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, U.S. Navy Director, Defense Intelligence Agency

Statement For the Record Senate Armed Services Committee 17 March 2005
We judge Iran can briefly close the Strait of Hormuz, relying on a layered strategy using predominately naval, air, and some ground forces. Last year it purchased North Korean torpedo and missile-armed fast attack craft and midget submarines, making marginal improvements to this capability.
Some History: What's Iran's plan?
Ilan Berman
Listen to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader: "In a dozen years," he's quoted by Adnkronos International, "Europe will be an Islamic continent."
Rather than rely on the shaky reputation of US spydom, the UN Security Council needs to look – as it has up to now – at Iran's continuing secrecy about its nuclear program. Why did it hide its covert work for 18 years? Why was Iran in a pell-mell rush to build 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium? It doesn't really need them to generate electricity from nuclear power, but such a step can produce bomb-grade uranium by next year – a "red line" not to be crossed, according to President Bush.

The ranian nuclear program "is without brakes and a rear gear,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told religious leaders in Tehran in comments carried nationwide by state radio. "We dismantled the rear gear and brakes of the train and threw them away some time ago."

The first reason for Iran’s interest in a nuclear capability stems from the classical idea of “deterrence”: the notion that a robust strategic arsenal can help discourage external aggression. For the Iranian regime, such an assumption is a logical one to make. After all, ever since the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini swept to power in Tehran in 1979, the Islamic Republic he established has been at war with the world.

The founding ideology of the Iranian state, formulated by Khomeini while he was in exile in Iraq and France during the 1960s and 1970s, embraces the need for a “victorious and triumphant Islamic Revolution” in Iran and beyond. Twenty-eight years after the Islamic Revolution, that imperative is still very much official state policy, manifested through Iran’s deep support for a bevy of foreign terrorist groups, its troublemaking in Iraq, and its persistent efforts to export its radical principles throughout the region.

This sort of behavior naturally breeds hostility, so it is not surprising that Iran’s leaders have long been fearful of the possibility of foreign aggression—and desperate to find ways to forestall it. The resulting focus on a nuclear capability, revived by Iran’s ayatollahs during the mid-1980s in the midst of their grinding eight-year war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, is now over two decades old.

The past five years, moreover, have only served to reinforce the prudence of this effort. In his January 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush identified Iran—along with Iraq and North Korea—as part of an “Axis of Evil” that was “arming to threaten the peace of the world.” In response, Bush pledged, “America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.” Less than a year-and-a-half later, the rapid dismemberment of Saddam Hussein’s regime was watched closely from Tehran. So were the subsequent difficulties experienced by the U.S.-led Coalition in uncovering Saddam’s vaunted weapons of mass destruction. Unsurprisingly, Iran’s ayatollahs concluded that Saddam Hussein was toppled because he lacked the means by which to resolutely confront the United States.

The North Korean regime, by contrast, has survived—and thrived. Ever since his government’s unexpected announcement of a nascent nuclear capability in the fall of 2002, North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il, has managed to successfully stymie American policy in Asia, and to tilt the geopolitical playing field in his favor. Today, following nearly four years of diplomatic deadlock, the Bush administration appears to have acquiesced to a deal overwhelmingly favorable to the DPRK, one that explicitly recognizes the Stalinist state’s membership in the world’s “nuclear club.”

For the Iranian leadership, the lessons have been unmistakable; with nuclear weapons, it is possible to preempt “preemption” on the part of the United States, much the way North Korea appears to have done. Without them, adversaries of the United States might find that their days were numbered. And Iran’s ayatollahs appear to have decided that they need to follow in the footsteps of North Korea, lest they end up like Iraq.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, thinks that Iran has gone so far in its nuclear program that it is no longer relevant to demand that it should stop uranium enrichment.
Moreover, he believes that since the major world powers have come to terms with a nuclear North Korea, they should do the same toward Iran. It turns out that the head of an organization in charge of monitoring compliance with nuclear non-proliferation is urging the world community to accept the idea that another country will join the nuclear club in the near future.

On March 24, the UNSC approved Resolution 1747, providing for tougher sanctions compared with the previous resolution and giving Iran 60 days to stop all uranium enrichment. If you believe Iranian officials, a total of 1,600 centrifuges are currently in operation at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Upon the expiry of this deadline, ElBaradei is to submit to the Security Council a report on Iran's compliance with the resolution.

When the resolution was adopted, Iran had two cascades with 164 centrifuges each. Iran has refused to stop uranium enrichment. In order to reach an industrial level of nuclear fuel production for its nuclear power plants, Tehran intends to launch 3,000 centrifuges. The Iranian leaders have declared their intention to have more than 50,000 centrifuges up and running in order to meet the requirements of their civilian nuclear power industry.
However, there are other calculations that allow one to look at this problem from another angle. Experts believe that 3,000 centrifuges can enrich uranium to the level of 80 percent to 90 percent required for one nuclear bomb, whereas 50,000 can accomplish this task in five to seven weeks or two months at most.
(llan Berman ,vice president for policy of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C. )
AFP: Ahmadinejad: Britain, Israel, US to ‘vanish like the pharaohs’ Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has predicted that Britian, Israel and the United States would eventually disappear from the world like the Egyptian pharaonic kings. “The oppressive powers will disappear while the Iranian people will stay. Any power that is close to God will survive while the powers who are far from God will disappear like the pharaohs,” he said Wednesday, according to Iranian news agencies. “Today, it is the United States, Britain and the Zionist regime which are doomed to disappear as they have moved far away from the teachings of God,” he said in a speech in the western town of Javanroud. “It is a divine promise.” Ahmadinejad’s comments were the latest salvo by the deeply religious president against the West and Israel. He has repeatedly predicted that Israel is doomed to disappear.

Known Iranian Nuclear Sites:

Lavizan-Shian - Lavizan-Shian, a northeastern neighborhood of Tehran, has been under investigation since 2003 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United States, and likely other governments as a potential undeclared nuclear or nuclear-related site. Adding to suspicions, while these investigations were ongoing the buildings were dismantled, rubble carted away, and the ground was scraped between approximately the first of the year and March 2004. The IAEA is continuing to investigate and will likely soon request a visit to the site.

This site first came to public attention in May 2003 when the Iranian opposition group, National Council for Resistance of Iran, announced that the site, called the Lavizan-Shian Technical Research Center, was associated with biological weapons research. They said the Center was affiliated with Malek-Ashtar University and was formed under the Ministry of Defense.

Later, a radiation detection device, called a whole body counter, was discovered to have been delivered to the site from overseas. The equipment itself is not direct evidence of a nuclear weapons program, but it is out of place at a site that was not declared by Iran to have any nuclear activity. Spare parts for the machine were also known to have been sent to the site. These additional pieces of equipment may actually have allowed modifications to the whole body counter that would make it more useful for a nuclear weapons program. However, the actual purpose and current location of the equipment remains unknown.

The site was photographed by DigitalGlobe's Quickbird commercial satellite in August 2003 and March 2004. The first image shows large buildings inside a secure perimeter. In the second image, the buildings were removed and the earth scraped. Even the roads and walkways were removed or covered.

This destruction at the site raised concerns because it is the type of measure Iran would need to take if it was trying to defeat the powerful environmental sampling capabilities of IAEA inspectors. At other sites, less extensive deception measures were employed by Iran, but the inspectors nonetheless discovered traces of enriched uranium, revealing details about activities at the sites and leading Iran to revise its declarations to the IAEA.

Yazd. - In February 2003, Iranian authorities admitted to producing yellowcake at a milling plant near the city of Yazd

Saghand - mine the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), an exiled Iranian opposition group, claims to have seen Chinese experts at the Saghand site.
Iran has admitted that Chinese experts participated in detailed exploration work for the mine. Experts from China's Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology have conducted scientific exchanges with Iranian nuclear scientists and have explored in Iran in the past.

Isfahan - Once mined and concentrated into yellowcake, the uranium must be converted to a gas. This gaseous form of uranium, called uranium hexafluoride (UF6), serves as the feedstock for centrifuges, which then enrich uranium to a form suitable for either reactor fuel or nuclear weapons. In 2000, the Iranian government informed the IAEA that a plant for uranium conversion was being constructed at Esfahan (Isfahan). In a speech to the IAEA in May 2003, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of the AEOI, said that the conversion facility, which is located at the Esfahan (Isfahan) Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC), would be used to convert yellowcake into UF6
China is widely acknowledged to be the source of information for the conversion plant. As part of a 1997 agreement with the United States to prevent new cooperation and to halt all existing projects with Iran in the nuclear field, China pledged to cancel a project to help Iran build a conversion plant. Despite this promise, however, China appears to have provided Iran with a blueprint for the plant. Iran admits that the conversion plant is based on a design provided by a foreign supplier in the mid-1990s. China is also believed to have given Iran design information and test reports for equipment
In addition, China supplied uranium compounds in 1991, which Iran did not declare to the IAEA and which allowed Iran to conduct laboratory tests of the processes that will be used in the conversion plant. These compounds included 1000 kg of UF6, 400 kg of UF4 and about 400 kg of natural UO2

There are a number of different ways to enrich uranium. Iran has focused on two: gas centrifuge and laser isotopic separation.

- Centrifuges

Centrifuge separation works by passing UF6 through high-speed rotational machines called centrifuges. The different weights of the uranium isotopes cause them to separate, with the heavier U-238 being thrown to the outside of the centrifuge and the lighter U-235 staying nearer the inside. Centrifuges require several repetitions with the enriched product to reach the desired level of concentration; more repetitions are required to obtain a higher concentration of U-235, which is necessary to produce weapon-grade fuel.

Iran's centrifuge program was launched in 1985 at facilities controlled by the AEOI in Tehran Around 1987, Iran received a centrifuge design through what the IAEA has termed a "foreign intermediary." During this first phase of Iran's centrifuge effort, Iran also obtained about 2,000 components from abroad. According to a February 2004 Malaysian police report, Iran received two containers of centrifuge parts, worth $3 million, through the Khan network. This transfer allegedly took place between 1994 and 1995.

In 1997, Iran moved its centrifuge development effort to the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran. According to Iranian authorities, from 1997 through 2002, Kalaye was used to test and assemble centrifuges for uranium enrichment. In October 2003, after initial denials, Iran admitted that it had used 1.9 kg of UF6, allegedly imported from China in 1991, to test centrifuges at Kalaye. This work took place between 1998 and 2002 and, according to Iranian officials, achieved an enrichment level of 1.2% U-235. The IAEA first visited parts of Kalaye in March 2003 and Agency inspectors were allowed to take environmental samples at the site during a follow-up visit in August 2003. During this visit, inspectors noted that "considerable modification" had been made to the facility since their visit in March.

Beginning in 2002, Iran's centrifuge enrichment program was moved to Natanz , the location chosen for a 1,000 centrifuge pilot plant and a commercial-scale facility expected to house over 50,000 centrifuges. According to Iran, the Natanz site will produce nuclear fuel for power plants using uranium enriched from three to five percent U-235.

The Natanz site was revealed publicly in August 2002 by the NCRI and first visited by the IAEA in February 2003. In his report to the IAEA Board of Governors in March 2003, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei stated that the site included a pilot plant that was "nearly ready for operation, and a much larger enrichment facility still under construction."

Iran first used UF6 to test a centrifuge at the pilot plant in June 2003, and in August 2003 tested a ten-machine cascade using UF6. Enrichment work at the pilot plant was suspended beginning in November 2003, following an agreement between Iran and Britain, France and Germany. However, Iran continued to manufacture centrifuge parts and assemble centrifuges at a number of workshops.

The machines at Natanz are of an early European design, similar to the P-1 centrifuge that has been under the control of the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in Pakistan, and which was stolen from Western Europe's Urenco program during the1970s and 1980s. According to a paper presented by France at a Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in May 2003, Iran is believed to have improved on the Pakistani design and now has "a model effective enough to consider enrichment on an industrial scale."

In addition to the P-1 centrifuge, Iran has a program to develop the more advanced P-2 model. The P-2 uses a maraging steel rotor with bellows and is similar to another early European centrifuge design. Iran received a design for the P-2 in 1994 from what the IAEA termed "foreign sources." The IAEA has concluded that Iran received the same drawings for the P-2 as Libya, which received the design, along with P-2 components, through the Khan network. According to Iran, mechanical testing of the P-2 rotors began in 2002, using carbon composite rotors manufactured domestically rather than rotors made with maraging steel, which Iran was unable to produce. The AEOI contracted with a private company based in Tehran to produce the rotors and to conduct the tests, allegedly without using nuclear material. Iran has procured magnets useful in the P-2 from Asian suppliers and has sought to acquire about 4,000 magnets suitable for the P-2 through a European intermediary.

- Laser Isotopic Separation

Because isotopes of different masses absorb different wavelengths of light, uranium isotopes can be separated by lasers precisely tuned to excite or ionize only the U-235. The U-235 is then separated out using a chemical reaction or magnetic forces that attract the excited atoms and leave behind the neutral ones. Iran has pursued two types of laser enrichment technology: the first, atomic vapor laser isotope separation (AVLIS), has achieved the greatest success; the second, molecular laser isotope separation (MLIS), appears not to have progressed as far.

Iran's laser enrichment program began before the 1979 revolution and relied on assistance from at least four foreign sources. In 1975, Iran contracted with a foreign supplier for a laboratory to study uranium metal. The laboratory, which was established at the Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC), contained two mass spectrometers. In the late 1970s, Iran contracted with a second supplier for help with the study of MLIS technology.

Then, in 1991, Iran ordered a Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory (LSL) and a Comprehensive Separation Laboratory (CSL) from a third supplier. Iran received 50 kg of natural uranium metal from the same supplier in 1993. Both laboratories were originally set up at the TNRC, where, between 1999 and 2000, eight kilograms of uranium metal were used in AVLIS enrichment experiments. The labs were then relocated to Lashkar Ab'ad in October 2002, where further AVLIS enrichment experiments were carried out using 22 kg of the uranium metal. Iran had previously established a pilot plant for laser enrichment at Lashkar Ab'ad. According to Iranian laboratory reports supplied to the IAEA, the average level of enrichment in these experiments was between eight and nine percent, and occasionally as high as 15%. This is above the level of three percent Iran had originally claimed. The IAEA has estimated that Iran's AVLIS installation at Lashkar Ab'ad had the capacity to produce one gram of uranium per hour, but could not operate continuously.

Iran contracted with a fourth supplier in the late 1990s for information and equipment related to laser enrichment but secured only some of the equipment it had requested, which was delivered to Lashkar Ab'ad. This equipment was suitable for use in AVLIS experiments.

After conducting this laboratory-scale work, and before informing the IAEA of it, Iran dismantled the relevant equipment and moved it to a storage facility at Karaj.

The Plutonium Path
Iran has also sought the ability to produce plutonium, a second fissile material that can be used to fuel nuclear weapons. But because plutonium exists naturally only in trace amounts, it must be manufactured in a nuclear reactor. This is done by bombarding U-238 reactor fuel with slow neutrons. When the U-238 captures a neutron, the U-239 isotope is produced, which decays into plutonium 239.

Tehran Research Reactor (TRR)
In the late 1960s, the United States supplied the TNRC with a five megawatt research reactor, hot cells and 93% enriched uranium reactor fuel. The United States stopped the fuel supply after the revolution. In the late 1980s, Argentina reportedly helped Iran reconfigure the reactor's core and later provided about 115 kg of uranium enriched to 20% U-235. This fuel was delivered in 1992.

In October 2003, Iran acknowledged that between 1988 and 1992 it had irradiated depleted uranium dioxide targets (UO2) in the reactor and then conducted plutonium separation experiments in hot cells in a nearby building. According to Iran, seven kilograms of UO2 were irradiated, three kilograms of which were processed into separated plutonium. The separated plutonium was presented to inspectors from the IAEA in November 2003 at the Jabr Ibn Hayan Laboratories, located at the TNRC. Iran estimated that it had produced 200 micrograms. However, the inspectors concluded that Iran understated the amount of plutonium and that the age of the plutonium was less than the 12-16 years Iran declared.

Light-water reactor at Bushehr
Russia is supplying Iran a 1,000 megawatt pressurized light-water reactor, which is under construction at the Iranian port of Bushehr. Russia took over the project in 1995, after West Germany halted its construction of the plant following the revolution. The plant is capable of contributing about four percent of Iran's total electricity output to the national power grid. The facility is also capable of providing Iran with enough weapon-grade plutonium to construct approximately 35 nuclear weapons annually. This assessment is based on an estimate of the plutonium output from a typical 1,000 megawatt pressurized light-water power reactor.

To use the plutonium from Bushehr in a nuclear weapon, however, Iran would have to construct a plant to extract plutonium from the spent reactor fuel. Iran would also have to keep the spent fuel. Russia appears to have an agreement with Iran to provide low-enriched uranium fuel through the first decade of the Bushehr plant's operation, and Russia has made delivery of the first core-load of fuel contingent on Iran's agreement to return the spent fuel to Russia. In a June 2003 interview, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev stated that Russia will not provide any fresh fuel to Iran until such an agreement is signed.

Nevertheless, Iran has made a number of purchasing attempts that indicate it seeks a capacity to reprocess and manipulate spent fuel. According to the May 2003 French NSG paper, Iran has sought to acquire high density radiation shielding windows for hot cells and 28 remote manipulators from the French nuclear industry.[69] Such equipment is designed for the extraction of plutonium from spent reactor fuel.

Heavy water technology
Iran has also sought to master heavy water technology. At a site in the Khondab area near Arak which is approximately 150 miles southwest of Tehran, Iran plans to develop a heavy water production plant and a heavy water research reactor. The existence of the heavy water production plant was first revealed by the NCRI in August 2002 and verified by commercial satellite imagery in December 2002. Iran has informed the IAEA that the facility will produce about 16 tons of heavy water annually. However, according to the French NSG paper, the plant will have the capacity to produce 100 tons of heavy water annually. In December 2003, Iranian Vice President Gholareza Aghazadeh said that some parts of the plant were operational and that the project had made "80% progress in general and 90% in equipment and installation."

On May 5, 2003, Iran also announced plans to build a 40 megawatt thermal heavy water research reactor, called the Iran Nuclear Research Reactor (IR-40), at the same site. Construction of the reactor was expected to begin in June 2004. The reactor will be fueled by natural UO2 and will use heavy water as both a coolant and a moderator. The natural UO2 will be produced at a conversion facility in Esfahan (Isfahan) and made into fuel assemblies at a fuel manufacturing plant, also in Esfahan (Isfahan). Iran has admitted that it received some foreign assistance for the design of the reactor; the United States suspects that Russia provided the help.

According to Iranian authorities, the IR-40 will be used for research and development and for the production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial use. However, most states that have built this type of reactor, which is widely considered larger than necessary for research, have used it to produce bombs. The well-known precedents are Israel's Dimona reactor, supplied by France and Norway, and India's Cirus reactor, supplied jointly by Canada and the United States.

n September 2003, the IAEA discovered that Iran had produced polonium-210, a radioisotope with a half-life of 138 days. Iran conducted Po-210 production experiments in the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) between 1989 and 1993 by irradiating bismuth metal. One of the best-known uses for Po-210 is as a neutron initiator in nuclear weapons. It also has civilian applications, such as in nuclear batteries. However, the IAEA considers the applications of Po-210-based nuclear batteries to be limited. Iran has said that the experiments were part of a study on neutron sources, but has been unable to provide documentation supporting this purported intent.

There have also been reports that Iran has sought deuterium gas from Russia. According to an intelligence report citing Russian sources that was circulated at the IAEA in July 2004, Iranian middlemen negotiated with companies in Russia to purchase deuterium gas after failing to produce it domestically. Deuterium gas is used, in conjunction with tritium, to boost the yield of fission bombs. Deuterium and tritium are hydrogen isotopes that release neutrons and energy when they fuse together in thermonuclear explosions.

In addition, the French intelligence services have reported that Iran has sought items useful for nuclear tests and simulation, including documentation on flash radiography equipment and pulse generators. Iran has also tried to purchase machines that can be used to fashion shapes of uranium or plutonium metal, such as isostatic presses and vacuum furnaces. And according to a May 2003 media report, a Swede of Iranian origin arranged the purchase of 44 high-voltage switches for Iran from Behlke Electronic GmbH, a German company. The switches, which were reportedly seized by German customs agents, could be used to trigger nuclear weapons.

Beyond its procurement efforts, the way in which Iran has organized and delegated its nuclear work to entities related to the defense ministry could suggest a military purpose. According to the IAEA, seven of the 13 workshops dedicated to the domestic production of centrifuge components are located on sites controlled by the ministry of defense

Finally, if Iran received the same package of nuclear goods from the Khan network as did Libya—an eventuality that is widely suspected—then it could have received the same Chinese-origin bomb design. China is believed to have supplied Pakistan with a tested nuclear bomb design in the early 1980s. It is reportedly this design that the Khan network resold to Libya, along with documents in Chinese containing detailed instructions on how to manufacture parts for and assemble an implosion-type device.

In a report to the IAEA Board of Governors in June 2003, following four months of Agency inspections in Iran, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei concluded that Iran "has failed to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, the subsequent processing and use of that material and the declaration of facilities where the material was stored and processed." Since then, the IAEA has documented a number of instances in which Iran violated its safeguards agreement by failing to report:

* The import of nearly 2,000 kg of uranium compounds (1,000 kg of UF6, 400 kg of UF4 and 400 kg of UO2) in 1991] allegedly from China;
* The processing of 1.9 kg of UF6 (imported in 1991) in centrifuges at the Kalaye Electric Company, which produced 1.2% enriched uranium;
* The conversion of 9.43 kg of the UF4 imported in 1991 into UF6 in a laboratory at the TNRC;
* The production of uranium metal in a laboratory at the TNRC in the 1990s using 376.6 kg of UF4 imported in 1991;
* The production of 2.5 kg of UF4 using UO2 imported in 1991;
* The irradiation of several grams of UO2 in the TRR and its subsequent processing in a laboratory at the TNRC;
* The irradiation of 3 kg of depleted UO2 targets in the TRR and subsequent plutonium separation experiments carried out in hot cells at the TNRC, in which about 200 micrograms of plutonium were produced;
* The import of 50 kg of natural uranium metal in 1993
* The processing of 30 kg of the uranium metal imported in 1993 in two series of AVLIS enrichment experiments: first between 1999 and 2000 at the TNRC using 8 kg of uranium, and second at Lashkar Ab'ad
between October 2002 and February 2003 using 22g uranium metal
* Pilot-scale laser enrichment operations at the TNRC and Lashkar Ab'ad using imported equipment and failing to provide design information on these sites;
* The transfer of nuclear equipment and material used in laser experiments to a waste storage facility at Karaj, and failing to provide design information on this new site;
* The use of uranium compounds imported in 1977 and exempted from inspection (U3O8 and depleted UO2) and yellowcake imported in 1982 in experiments at two laboratories at the Esfahan (Isfahan) Nuclear
Technology Center;
* The use of depleted UO2, which Iran had originally declared as material lost during experiments, to produce UF4 in a laboratory at the TNRC
* Research and development work on a more advanced centrifuge, known as the P-2, which should have been disclosed to the IAEA in Iran's October 2003 full nuclear report to the Agency. This omission violated Iran's obligations under the IAEA's Additional Protocol, which Iran had agreed to honor, pending ratification in the Iranian parliament
On 05 January 2005 Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said "we expect to visit Parchin within the next days or a few weeks". Iran allowed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to visit the Parchin military site in January in the interests of transparency following the allegations, but the visit was limited to only one of four areas identified as being of potential interest and to only five buildings in that area.

On 01 March 2005 Iran turned down a request by the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency to make a second visit to the Parchin military site, which has been linked in allegations to nuclear weapons testing.
n a public session of the Iranian Parliament on 24 November 2003, Ahmad Shirzad, a deputy from the city of Isfahan, stated that there was a large nuclear-related underground facility near the city of Parchin, without providing an other details

*Locations declared in 2003
* 1. Bonab (38°26'N, 45°54'E)--Bonab Atomic Energy Research Center, unsafeguarded nuclear research facility
* 3. Chalus (36°39'N, 51°25'E)--possible underground facility for nuclear weapons development * 5. Karaj (35°49'N, 51°00'E)--Nuclear Research Center for Agriculture and Medicine, laser enrichment equipment
* 5. Kolahdouz (35°44'N, 50°51'E)--possible nuclear weapons development facility
* 6. Tehran (35°42'N, 51°25'E)--
o Kalaye Electric Company (35°44'N, 51°34'E), centrifuge enrichment research facility under construction; former pilot enrichment facility
o Lavisan Shiyan Technical Research Center (35°46'20"N, 51°30'00"E), unknown nuclear research, facility razed in 2004
o Sharif University of Technology (35°42'10"N, 51°21'20"E), nuclear research facility o Tehran Nuclear Research Center:
+ Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories (35°44'22"N, 51°23'18"E), experimental plutonium separation and uranium processing
+ Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Facility (35°44'22"N, 51°23'18"E), nuclear research facility
+ Tehran Research Reactor (35°44'18"N, 51°23'17"E), 5 MW light water research reactor, LEU fuel (116 kg of fuel, 20% U-235), experimental irradiation of uranium targets, under IAEA safeguards + laser enrichment plant
* 7. Parchin (35°32'00"N, 51°45'07"E)--suspected testing of explosive assemblies for nuclear weapons
* 10. Arak-- o Arak Heavy Water Facility (34°22'12"N, 49°14'41"E), production of heavy water for nuclear reactors
o IR-40 (34°22'21"N, 49°14'26"E), plutonium production reactor under construction * 11. Natanz--
o Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (33°43'33"N, 51°43'21"E), operational pilot uranium enrichment plant, 12,000 m2 above ground facility
o Fuel Enrichment Plant (33°43'32"N, 51°43'41"E), uranium enrichment plant under construction, 60,000 m2 underground facility
* 12. Esfahan--Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (32°34'51"N, 51°49'38"E):
o Miniaturized Neutron Source Reactor, 30 kW light water research reactor, operational, HEU fuel (90% U-235), under IAEA safeguards
o Heavy Water Zero Power Reactor, 100 W heavy water research reactor, operational, unenriched fuel (0.7% U-235), under IAEA safeguards
o Light Water Sub-Critical Reactor, research reactor, operational o operational pilot fuel fabrication plant;
fuel fabrication plant under contruction (32°34'42"N, 51°49'39"E)
o underground facilities under construction (32°35'15"N, 51°47'49"E and 32°35'26"N, 51°49'04"E)
* 13. Yazd (32°29'N, 55°24'E)--uranium mining and milling
* 14. Darkhovin (30°44'N, 48°26'E)--possible underground facility for nuclear weapons development
* 17. Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant--
o BNPP Unit 1 (28°49'46"N, 50°53'08"E)--near completion, 1 GW light reactor, LEU fuel (5% U-235)
o BNPP Unit 2 (28°49'38"N, 50°53'17"E)--under construction, 1.3 GW reactor
* 25. Neka (36°39'N, 53°18'E)--Gorgan al-Kabir Center, possible nuclear research facility Chemical/biological weapon-related:
* 2. Tabriz (38°05'N, 46°15'E)--possible biological weapons storage
* 4. Qazvin (36°15'N, 50°01'E)--nerve gas production
* 5. Karaj (35°49'N, 51°00'E)--chemical weapons production and storage; possible bioweapons research at Razi Institute
* 6. Tehran (35°42'N, 51°25'E)--possible bioweapons research at Pasteur Institute and Biotechnology Department of IROST
* 7. Parchin--chemical weapons production (35°31'32"N, 51°46'29"E and 35°32'59"N, 51°46'02"E) * 8. Damghan (36°10'N, 54°20'E)--production of chemical warheads for artillery shells and Scud missiles
* 12. Esfahan (32°39'N, 51°40'E)--chemical weapons production
* 15. Bandar Khomeini (30°25'N, 49°04'E)--chemical weapons production
* 16. Mahshar (30°28'N, 49°11'E)--possible chemical weapons production
* 18. Marvdasht (29°36'50"N, 52°32'20"E)--mustard gas production
* 20. Abu Musu Island (25°52'31"N, 55°01'58"E)--chemical/biological weapons storage Missile sites
* 9. Bakhtaran (34°22'N, 46°52'E)--possible underground launch site for Shahab-3 IRBMs
* 19. Sirri Island (25°55'N, 54°32'E)--HY-2/CSS-C-3 Seersucker ASCMs
* 20. Abu Musu Island (25°52'31"N, 55°01'58"E)--HY-2/CSS-C-3 Seersucker ASCMs; YJ-2/CSS-C-8 Saccade ASCMs
* 21. Queshm Island (26°58'N, 56°16'E)--hardened launch site for YJ-2/CSS-C-8 Saccade ASCMs; HY-1/CSS-C-2 Silkworm ASCMs; HY-2/CSS-C-3 Seersucker ASCMs
* 22. Kuhestak (26°48'N, 57°01'E)--hardened launch site for YJ-2/CSS-C-8 Saccade ASCMs
* 23. Bandar Abbas (27°09'N, 56°12'E)--launch site for HY-1/CSS-C-2 Silkworm ASCMs
* 24. Shahrud (36°26'N, 55°04'E)--testing site for Shahab-3 IRBMs
* 2. Tabriz (38°15'07"N, 46°07'41"E)--possible missile site
In Conclusion:
With all you have read, Has Iran stopped its Nuclear Weapon Development? The Mainstream Media and the Left side of the Aisle say so.
This is a quote from one of our Presidential contenders:
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, told the same forum that Bush "continues to not let facts get in the way of his ideology."
"They should have stopped the saber rattling; should have never started it. And they need, now, to aggressively move on the diplomatic front," he said. LOL!!

He has access to almost everything I have posted here. Does he and the media have a comprehension problem?


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1 comment:

Thus Spake Ortner said...

OK, lot of reading in there.

Unfortunately, like everything else lately, the NIE is being held hostage by policymakers too removed from those actually in the field. Would be nice to get the desk jockeys out of the equation a bit more.