Technology with attitude

Iran Even Further From Nuclear Capabilities?

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From the Washington Post comes news about Iran’s weapons programs:

Traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and are not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists has determined.

“The biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated with these conclusions,” said a senior official who discussed the still-confidential findings on the condition of anonymity.

But our newly minted Ambassador to the United Nations isn’t letting them off the hook that easily.

John R. Bolton, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, served as the administration’s point man on nuclear issuesduring President Bush’s first term. He suggested during congressional testimony in June 2004 that the Iranians were lying about the contamination.

“Another unmistakable indicator of Iran’s intentions is the pattern of repeatedly lying to and providing false and incomplete reports to the IAEA,” Bolton said. “For example, Iran first denied it had enriched any uranium. Then it said it had not enriched uranium more than 1.2 percent. Later, when evidence of uranium enriched to 36 percent was found, it attributed this to contamination from imported centrifuge parts.”

So what’s the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) doing about it?

In the meantime, European officials convened an IAEA board meeting two weeks ago to discuss Iran’s actions and sought a new report for this week on its program. But the report was pushed back to Sept. 3 so that the group of scientists, including officials from the Energy Department, could meet one last time to draft an account of its findings, according to U.S. and European officials.

Why is this important? Well, there is that one reason…

The IAEA had put together the group of experts in an effort to foster cooperation but also to eliminate the possibility that its findings would be challenged by the White House, officials said. In the run-up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003, the White House rejected IAEA findings that cast doubt on U.S. assertions about then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s arsenal. The IAEA findings turned out to be correct, and no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.