Mark HibbsThe Fate of the IAEA’s PMD File

In anticipation of this week’s meeting in Tehran between Iran and the IAEA, there has been some buzz about what should happen with the IAEA’s file on “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program if in fact the U.S. administration decides to take the plunge and try to strike a deal with Iran.

My initial thoughts on it are here.

It would be nice to cut the PMD file in two with a knife and–as part of a P-5+1 deal with Iran–tell Tehran, okay, you have to tell us about X, but you don’t have to tell us about Y. That means that the face-saver Iran referred to during the IAEA board meeting last month could come about with less Iranian heartburn, because Iran would not have to disclose some dicey stuff that would show that they were in fact doing weapons-related nuclear work over the last decade or so regardless of their NPT peaceful-use commitment.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t necessarily work like that.

I assume that at end of the day, as part of a deal between the P-5+1 and Iran, the IAEA will be called upon to implement the Additional Protocol in Iran and make a determination (called a “broader conclusion” in  safeguards-ese) that all of Iran’s nuclear activities are dedicated to peaceful use and that the IAEA is confident there are no clandestine or undeclared activities. Given Iran’s record with the IAEA over the last three decades, I can’t imagine a deal coming to fruition without such a “broader conclusion” being part of it.

The IAEA will need to get answers to its questions to draw that conclusion. One way or another, these questions about PMD are gonna come up at the IAEA Department of Safeguards. If they aren’t answered by Iran now, they are going to have to be answered by Iran during the implementation of the Additional Protocol, which is the route to the “broader conclusion.”

Now, the P-5+1 might at some point ask Amano to be flexible about the timing and sequencing related to these outstanding questions, if in fact diplomacy with Iran gets far enough to warrant that kind of thinking about how to implement the verification piece of a diplomatic resolution package. But the IAEA has to ask those questions. And without answers, there ain’t gonna be any imprimatur from the IAEA telling us it is satisfied that everything in Iran is accounted for.

This isn’t a special case for Iran. The IAEA has a bunch of “broader conclusion” exercises under its belt by now. In a couple of these cases there was no “broader conclusion” given for as long as there were unsettled legacy issues–like those which will come up in Iran as soon as the P-5+1 and Iran have their agreement, Iran’s Additional Protocol enters in force, and the IAEA begins taking steps to implement it. The IAEA didn’t give in to those countries either. Nor will they, or should they, in Iran’s case, if a “broader conclusion” is the yardstick, and it should be the yardstick.

Toward the end of this event, which played out while I was in the vicinity of the IAEA board meeting, Jim Walsh over at MIT off the cuff during a Q & A came up with a different view on what to do with the PMD file. I paraphrase: “If the nuclear activities were in the past, I don’t care. It’s dead, and it’s regretful, but let’s do a deal with Iran that moves  forward.”

Comments

  1. Dan Joyner (History)

    Mark, you say that the IAEA has to ask these questions. I disagree. In fact I’ve argued that they don’t have any business asking these questions. See my argument here:

    http://jurist.org/forum/2011/11/dan-joyner-iaea-report.php

    • fyi (History)

      Please see this:

      Mr. Ryabkov, states (page 4):

      “…that India has an excellent nonproliferation record, and it’s recognized by vast majority, by overwhelming majority of countries at least…”

      http://ceness-russia.org/data/page/p910_1.pdf

      So, the state that lied to Canada to get her hands on nuclear reactors and proceeded to become a nuclear-weapon state is considered to have “excellent nonproliferation record”.

      I think that US, EU, Russia, and China have destroyed NPT and CWBT.

      Good for them; I hope they will not flinch when their Brave New World faces them and welcome it with open arms.

  2. blowback (History)

    Where in the NPT does it bar NWS from conducting independent research short of building an actual weapon? I’ve just read it a couple of times and I can see nothing that does this. Or are there some supersecret articles that have never been published? BTW, can we be sure that the US, France and Great Britain have fully met all their obligations under the NPT? Until we can, perhaps they should STFU about any Iranian failure to meet its obligations which might not have even occurred.

  3. Jonathan Thornburg (History)

    Another scenario (which may be similar to what @blowback was thinking of):

    Iran tests a nuclear weapon (or “peaceful nuclear explosion” a la India’s 1974 test). Then it joins the India/Pakistan club, waits the required 10 years in pergatory before sanctions are dropped, and (almost) everyone is happy.

    Or am I in too cynical a mood today?

    • blowback (History)

      Not really – the NPT seems to preclude a Non Weapon State from manufacturing any nuclear explosive. However, under the NPT, a Non Weapon State can order a nuclear explosive from a Weapon State and the Weapon State is supposed to supply it with proper safeguards and at cost. (Are they available via Amazon yet?) As Dan in his comment behind the link above makes clear the United States seemed to be adamant that manufacture referred to the actual assembly of a device while the Soviet Union wanted it to include preparatory work. Go through Dan’s link to get his view of the legal position.
      The United States’ view prevailed – one must wonder why they were so keen for this to be. Were they assisting some other country with preparatory work and didn’t want to be caught cheating? Added to which, the NPT allows rights to NWS such as the free flow of technology for peaceful use – something that has been remarkable for its absence with Iran.

  4. Cthippo (History)

    I’m thinking about the history of negative findings (i.e. “They don’t have WMDs”) in the cases of South Africa and Iraq and in both cases, even after regime change and full disclosure there were still people claiming that weapons were hidden somewhere. In Iran, where regime change is (hopefully) not on the table, there will never come a point where the IAEA or any other respectable intelligence agency will be willing to make a concrete statement that there is no ongoing military nuclear activity, much less that there wasn’t any in the past that has not been disclosed. This is due partly to honesty, since you can’t prove a negative, and partly to the desire to cover one’s backside in case something turns up later.

    If a deal is going to get done it will require some disclosure on the part of the Iranians coupled with a political decision on the other side that the disclosure put forward is good enough.

    The big question I see if whether the P5+1, and the US in particular is really interested in making a deal, or if it’s politically more feasible for them to maintain the status quo. There are powerful voices within the US and Israeli governments who will accept nothing short of regime change and any deal reached will have painful political costs for Obama. Likewise, a deal that includes significant revelations about the history of the Iranian program will be painful for the Supreme Leader, though with the sanctions the Iranians may be a little more motivated than the west to sign something.

    Sanctions, like the nuclear material they are intent on controlling, have a definable half-life. If in a year from now nothing has changed and there has been no more provocative Iranian moves, it will be come increasingly difficult for the European powers especially to stay on board with the sanctions program. Iran has oil and money and other countries want it, and are going to find it increasingly difficult to sell sanctions based on something that may have happened a decade ago.

  5. Cyrus (History)

    Thus far the known “evidence” of pre-2004 nuclear work in Iran has been debunked, including both the AP graph and the “neutron initiator” claims promoted by Oliver Kamm in the Times.

    The IAEA itself has said it has no evidence of any nuclear weapons program:
    “With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.” http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/mediaadvisory/2009/ma200919.html

    And Elbaradei said that the veracity of the Alleged Studies (now renamed “Possible Military Dimensions”) is highly suspect and unverified.

    So, exactly based on what do you so cavalierly assume that there was in fact any nuclear weapons work in the past and give so much credence to the PMD claims?

    • George William Herbert (History)

      Cyrus wrote:
      Thus far the known “evidence” of pre-2004 nuclear work in Iran has been debunked, including both the AP graph and the “neutron initiator” claims promoted by Oliver Kamm in the Times.

      You are conveniently ignoring the R265 in that statement.

      No refutation of it has been offered.

    • BiBiJon (History)
    • Johnboy (History)

      George: “No refutation of it has been offered.”

      Other than this one: It Is A Fake.

    • George William Herbert (History)

      Johnboy:
      Other than this one: It Is A Fake.

      That is factually inaccurate. It is not a fake nuclear bomb description.

      It is not proven that its origin is in the Iranian nuclear weapon or research programs, as I have often repeated. That is not proveable at this point given the public evidence.

      There is no evident or suggested reason for the Parchin Northeast site sanitization other than the R265 story being true. That is not “there factually cannot be another explanation”, but none has been offered. In the absence of alternatives, a tentative conclusion is warranted.

      The R265 description is for a technically viable, workable, conservative implosion weapon. I have a hard time imagining someone releasing a viable bomb design at that level of detail as a frame-up. That is again not “not factually possible” but incredible and highly unlikely.

      The totality of the R265 story details and Parchin Northeast details are internally consistent and accurate and mutually reinforcing.

      Other alleged Iran evidence like the kilotons / microseconds diagram do not rise to a good level of credibility. The R265 does. It’s either a real program or someone developed and leaked a real bomb design as a frameup, and Iran destroyed a building and site, costing millions of dollars, rather than just let the IAEA in to see that it was a frameup. That latter option is possible but nonsensical. More evidence could change the picture, but for now, the “it’s real” case is very solid.

    • Johnboy (History)

      George: “There is no evident or suggested reason for the Parchin Northeast site sanitization other than the R265 story being true.”

      Oh, I can think of a good one: the Iranians are playing rope-a-dope with David Albright and Yukiya Amano.

    • Johnboy (History)

      George: “The totality of the R265 story details and Parchin Northeast details are internally consistent and accurate and mutually reinforcing.”

      I have a real problem with the logic of that statement.

      After all, it is entirely possible that your “mutual reinforcement” is of the same order that the words
      a) “mobile trucks” and
      b) “anthrax laboratories”
      mutually reinforced Colin Powell’s mind that Iraq had “mobile anthrax labs”.

      You have, in your left hand, a description of R265.

      You have, in your right hand, a satellite photo of building work going on at Parchin.

      It is that building work that has lead you to assume that this is the site of that (alleged) R265 research, and then having MADE that assumption you use it to “mutually reinforce” one with the other.

      Excuse me, George, but maybe, juuuust maybe, you are seeing what you want to see in exactly the same way that Powell leapt to an incorrect conclusion based on a spurious “connection” between two unrelated events.

      After all, you are looking at “building work”, and from that you are assuming (and it is merely an assumption) that what you are seeing is “sanitization work”.

      Maybe it isn’t. Maybe this “building work” is a case of the Iranians – gasp! – “building something”, not of them “sanitizing something”.

      After all, Parchin belongs to them not to the IAEA; they don’t need Amano’s permission-slip to build there.

    • Cyrus (History)

      George, the R265 “evidence” consists of a 5 page document, not in Farsi, that has no indication on it that it even came from Iran. In fact the Iranians have demanded that the IAEA publish it for the world to judge. Is that “evidence”? Or is that merely yet another ALLEGATION? Some people tend to confuse the two.

      And in any case, even assuming that Iran conducted “weapons-related” (as opposed to weapons) experiments and studies, that would not be a breach of their NPT obligations unless there was a diversion of nuclear material involved — as Peter Jenkings recently pointed out. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NL12Ak02.html

      Now suppose I draw a picture of Evlis marrying Bigfoot. Does that mean the even occurred? Is that evidence?

    • Johnboy (History)

      George: “That is factually inaccurate. It is not a fake nuclear bomb description.”

      That statement is beneath you, George.

      It is a given that if you want to stitch someone up then the factual content of your fabricated document has to stand up to scrutiny.

      After all, what’s the point of a shoddy fake?

      George: “The R265 description is for a technically viable, workable, conservative implosion weapon.”

      No shit, heh?

      We have just had a graphic illustration of what happens when someone leaks a graph that *doesn’t* pass that benchmark i.e. the whole thing goes over like a lead balloon.

      George: “I have a hard time imagining someone releasing a viable bomb design at that level of detail as a frame-up.”

      Why is that so hard to believe?

      After all, it is a given that any such fabrication would be scrutinized by the IAEA’s own boffins, not to mention by persons such as yourself.

      What would be the point of inserting a bogus document into the Laptop of Death if that document Smells So Rotten that it can not even pass the GHW Sniff Test, much less the prolonged scruting by the IAEA?

      Doing that would be an exercise in pointlessness.

  6. yousaf (History)

    “If the nuclear activities were in the past, I don’t care. It’s dead, and it’s regretful, but let’s do a deal with Iran that moves forward.”

    Concur with Jim Walsh. Not even clear than possible nuclear weapons related activities were CSA breaches anyway.

    Any dual-use technology can have “possible weapons related” aspects. Calculations, absent a nexus to nuclear material does not amount to much of anything really.

  7. anon2 (History)

    Forgive me for not understanding, but why does not the IAEA do the full investigation of prior nuclear weapons work in secret; with the agreement that NONE of the findings will be released. The purpose of the investigation is to make sure that no further nuclear weapons work is being done as part of the ongoing mandate as part of the negotiated agreement and that past work has been destroyed. NONE of this needs to be released as long as Iran remains in compliance; i.e. it remains the equivalent of top secret and is only used for the purposes of making sure Iran does not secretly build a weapon now or in the future.

    No doubt some enterprising spy will leak the results to both the U.S. and Israel; and it is possible the leaked results end up as the front page if the New York Times. But as long as it remains unofficial, it can be plausibly denied by Iran and under the final settlement agreement the P5+1 would agree to defuse the response as “nothing to see here, move along.”

    Then, all parties are happy. The West ends Iran’s nuclear weapons program with strong safeguards moved back to the 5% enriched level; Iran gets their trade sanctions lifted and maybe some additional economic ties; and the Iranian leadership can keep up the pretense of complying with their own nuclear weapons fatwa for the benefit of their own people.

    Good work on all sides.

    • yousaf (History)

      One of the biggest and notorious leakers of sensitive information is the ISIS organization.

      They were complicit — wittingly or not — in the pre-war propaganda on Iraq and are, according to various news reports quoted here, playing a similar role on Iran now:

      http://consortiumnews.com/2011/11/08/an-iraq-wmd-replay-on-iran/

      QUOTE:

      Today, Albright’s Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) is issuing a flurry of alarmist reports about Iran’s nuclear bomb progress, often accompanied by the same kind of satellite photos and diagrams that helped persuade many Americans that Iraq must possess unconventional weapons that turned out to be fictitious.

      For instance, in the run-up to war in Iraq, Albright co-authored a Sept. 10, 2002, article – entitled “Is the Activity at Al Qaim Related to Nuclear Efforts?” – which declared, “High-resolution commercial satellite imagery shows an apparently operational facility at the site of Iraq’s al Qaim phosphate plant and uranium extraction facility (Unit-340), located in northwest Iraq near the Syrian border. This site was where Iraq extracted uranium for its nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. …

      “This image raises questions about whether Iraq has rebuilt a uranium extraction facility at the site, possibly even underground. … Unless inspectors go to the site and investigate all activities, the international community cannot exclude the possibility that Iraq is secretly producing a stockpile of uranium in violation of its commitments under Security Council resolutions. The uranium could be used in a clandestine nuclear weapons effort.”

      Albright’s nuclear warning about Iraq coincided with the start of the Bush administration’s propaganda campaign to rally Congress and the American people to war with talk about “the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

      Though Albright eventually grew skeptical about the alleged resurrection of an Iraqi nuclear program, he remained a firm believer in the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq’s supposed chemical and biological weapons programs as justification for the March 2003 invasion.

      Gullibility Exposed

      In summer 2003, after the promised WMD caches proved non-existent, the journalism watchdog group FAIR published a study by Seth Ackerman looking at the American press corps’ gullibility and citing the role of weapons experts like Albright.

      Entitlted “The Great WMD Hunt,” the article said, “In part, journalists absorbed their aura of certainty from a battery of ‘independent’ weapons experts who repeated the mantra of Iraq concealment over and over. Journalists used these experts as outside sources who could independently evaluate the administration’s claims. Yet often these ‘experts’ were simply repeating what they heard from U.S. officials, forming an endless loop of self-reinforcing scare mongering.

      “Take the ubiquitous David Albright, a former U.N. inspector in Iraq. Over the years, Albright had been cited in hundreds of news articles and made scores of television appearances as an authority on Iraqi weapons. A sample prewar quote from Albright (CNN, 10/5/02): ‘In terms of the chemical and biological weapons, Iraq has those now. How many, how could they deliver them? I mean, these are the big questions.’”

      FAIR added: “But when the postwar weapons hunt started turning up empty, Albright made a rather candid admission (L.A. Times, 4/20/03): ‘If there are no weapons of mass destruction, I’ll be mad as hell. I certainly accepted the administration claims on chemical and biological weapons. I figured they were telling the truth. If there is no [unconventional weapons program], I will feel taken, because they asserted these things with such assurance.’”

    • anon2 (History)

      So Albright leaks. So what — we already know there will be leaks.

      My question was why can’t the IAEA do an officially secret investigation of Iran, whether it gets leaked or not, as part of their assurances that Iran will end the nuclear weapons development.

      (With regards to your assertion that Albright’s work in making public classified information on an on-going Iranian nuclear weapons program is harmful or beneficial; that depends on whether Iran has an on-going nuclear weapons program. Iran either has a nuclear weapons program or it does not. In the state of the universe where they have no program, such leaks prevent a diplomatic agreement. In the state of the universe where Iran has a nuclear weapons program, it makes the probability of Iran finishing a nuclear weapon and with it the consequences lower. As no one outside of Iran within the government, the Physics Research Institute, or the Republican Guard knows what Iran is doing, it remains to be seen ex-post as to whether publishing this information is beneficial to peace in the region. There is no doubt that Iran is hiding something in Parchin, for example.)

    • George William Herbert (History)

      Yousaf, there was a wide consensus on the intelligence conclusions with regards to Iraq’s WMD program. A large number of national intelligence agencies, many independent analysts, etc.

      There was a whole lotta UNSCOM / UNMOVIC suggestive data there. Even though the UN folks were careful not to draw the conclusions.

      Scott Ritter was right, they were performing a Masrikova / deception program. But he was (self-admittedly) unable to prove that to anyone’s satisfaction.

      Blaming Albright for the industry consensus is not exactly fair.

      Pointing out that “the community consensus” can be wrong is useful and constructive.

    • yousaf (History)

      Geroge,

      agreed.

      “Pointing out that “the community consensus” can be wrong is useful and constructive.”

      I am simply pointing out that ISIS (and others) are persisting the same modus operandi. “Suggestive” or “possible” or “may be” activities and things that happened perhaps — or may be did not happen — 10 years ago are not constructive to winding down Iran 20% work. See Jim Walsh’s quote above.

    • Andy (History)

      Yousaf,

      Strictly speaking, ISIS does not “leak” any information – rather, anonymous individual(s) leak information to ISIS (as well as reporters and probably ACW bloggers).

    • yousaf (History)

      Andy,
      true and ISIS then leaks it to us. Fair enough.

      Anyhow I see a lot of parallels between Iraq then and Iran now as the story I linked to above exposes. And it is not just ISIS who is guilty here: a lot of blame goes to the reporters.

      All the stuff about Parchin, the graphs, calculations is a distraction that keeps us from reaching a deal to stop 20% enrichment.

      I had a reporter call me up because he was worried about the latest ISIS release on the fence construction. I told him to ignore it.

    • Andy (History)

      I think one has to be careful about templating the situation in Iran (or even Syria) to Iraq. While “WMD” and hostility between the focus country and the West are common elements, there are many substantial and material differences. It’s fine to note parallels as long as differences aren’t ignored.

    • yousaf (History)

      Andy,
      yes, of course it is not a 100% carbon copy.

      The point is: does one want a deal now, or does one want to talk about work — possibly — done 10+ years ago, or possibly genuine or not computations from 4 years ago or crappy toy-model graphs that could have come from anywhere including the internet?

      I’ll go with Jim Walsh’s paraphrase: “If the nuclear activities were in the past, I don’t care. It’s dead, and it’s regretful, but let’s do a deal with Iran that moves forward.”

    • Andy (History)

      While I agree with Walsh in principle (as I’ve said many times before here), there is the practical problem of AP implementation and what happens if the Agency finds something that happened in the past. The Agency could not simply ignore it – after all they’d have to at least determine that it is actually from the past and not something that’s still ongoing.

    • yousaf (History)

      Andy,
      no I think a deal could be made to ignore anything not having to do with nuclear materials diversion, since

      http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2006/gov2006-15.pdf

      “…absent some nexus to nuclear material the Agency’s legal authority to pursue the verification of possible nuclear weapons related activity is limited…” anyway.

      The AP is an option that Iran has and one I don’t think it will ratify so long as threats of force are in place against it.

      A non aggression pact is a possibility with Israel and US.

      Let’s offer it.

    • Andy (History)

      Yousaf,

      Under the AP, the IAEA’s purview is not limited to merely verifying declared nuclear materials. The Agency’s right of access would be greatly expanded including to undeclared sites. Unless any evidence of historic PMD activities were very well hidden, it is quite likely the Agency would stumble across them in the course of doing its normal business, particularly if any historic activities included anything detectable through environmental sampling. If that happens, then what?

      For this reason the question of historic activities can’t easily be ignored. Like I wrote below, Iran won’t agree to the AP unless it has confidence Agency won’t find anything with the AP in place. If that’s not possible, then Iran won’t adopt the AP without an acceptable process and guarantees in place ahead of time to deal with any “discoveries” of previous PMD activities.

    • yousaf (History)

      Andy,
      yes, the AP is something Iran can do voluntarily — it is not something that needs to be insisted upon in a deal.

      The deal now, in my view, needs to focus on stopping the known 20% enrichment asap.

      Everything else is gravy. We ought to yield on some sanction to stop 20% enrichment asap.

      I posted this below, but re-post it here:

      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/05/a_queen_for_a_queen?page=full

      QUOTE:

      The successful implementation of the Additional Protocol requires great cooperation and goodwill between the IAEA and signatory nations, and the protocol is unlikely to be effective when threats of force are on the table. The recent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and the apparently ongoing cyberattacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities further poison the atmosphere. The possibility that IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano has been less than apolitical in dealing with Iran is also likely to hurt chances that Iran easily accepts the protocol. Robert Kelley, an ex-IAEA inspector and nuclear engineer, went so far as to characterize parts of Amano’s November 2011 report on Iran as trying to misdirect opinion “towards their desired outcome,” adding, “that is unprofessional.”

      Indeed, since the Additional Protocol would grant the IAEA free rein to carry out inspections in Iran, there may be a legitimate fear among Iranian officials that the IAEA could pass on a list of targets for a future military campaign to the United States or its allies. After all, close cooperation between the IAEA and Western intelligence has existed in the past. If the Additional Protocol is ever broached as a subject of future negotiations, as Heinonen suggests, it should be tied to the firm and permanent removal of military threats against Iran. In any case, such threats of force are against the U.N. Charter and specifically contravene U.N. Security Council Resolution 487, which “[c]alls upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts [of force] or threats thereof” (emphasis added).

  8. fyi (History)

    Mark Hibbs and others are living in a dreal world if they theink the Iranian nuclear saga will ever come to an end. There is absolutely no chance of that as US, EU wage an economic war against Iran and are deeplu wounding her Syrian allie.

    You are ignoring further the strategic context; Iranians are now in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, and in Afghanistan and they have cooperation – at the sate level – with government of Pakitsan and Turkey.

    They are not desparate and will not sign to AP.

    You are lucky if they do not exit NPT in one of these days – they seem to be preparing the grounds for it.

    What would US, EU, Russia, and China do in the face of an Iranian ultimatum: “Rescind the sanctions or we will walk out of NPT?”

  9. Johnboy (History)

    Why is it that Iran *must* come clean on past PMDs if they are ever going to get a clean bill o’ health from the IAEA?

    If Iran does agree to ratify the AP’s and abide by the modified Code 3.1 then it should be possible for the IAEA to determine that Iran’s nuclear program is *now* entirely peaceful, precisely because the IAEA inspectors would *now* have the authority to detect any Naughty Behaviour Going On Behind The Shelter Shed.

    In which case isn’t Jim Walsh perfectly correct i.e. who gives a rat’s arse what Iran was doing 10 years ago?

    What matters *now* is what Iran is doing *now*, and a deal on that shouldn’t be derailed by an insistence that Iran come clean on Stuff That It Stopped Doing A While Back.

    Honestly, I simply don’t understand the logic of your argument.

    • yousaf (History)

      And Peter Jankins, former UK representative to IAEA, points out that alleged activities by Iran not involving nuclear material do not breach Iran’s NPT obligations:

      It’s questionable whether all the activities for which Iranian cooperation has been sought imply with adequate credibility the possibility of undeclared nuclear material. These activities were described in the annex to GOV/2011/65 of 8 November 2011 (the IAEA report used to build support for further sanctions at the turn of the year). A careful reading of that annex suggests that several of these activities, maybe even the majority of them, would not have involved nuclear material.

      Of course it could be argued that PMD activities not involving nuclear material, such as missile warhead design work, can imply that at some future stage a state intends to acquire nuclear material which it does not intend to declare. That, however, seems a very tenuous basis on which to base an IAEA non-compliance finding. Moreover, it would also imply that all states that have engaged, even as a precautionary measure, in research into any aspect of the design or construction of nuclear devices should be found non-compliant.

      See:

      http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NL12Ak02.html

    • fyi (History)

      Assuming you are responding to my post:

      I am suggesting that Iran nuclear file a weapon used mostly by US-EU alliance to destroy the Islamic Republic; that this file cannot be separated from the wider strategic situation.

      Iranians will not cede Iraq to anyone – certainly not to hostile Sunni Arab states nor to US and EU,.

      I believe getting Iran out of Iraq is a major aim of US-EU alliance.

      That they cannot achieve that goal is reflected in sanction after sanction that they have issued and the very vigorous economic war against Iran.

      The nuclear file is a wedge; only when te broader war ends can we expect any resolution.

      There will be no resolution until then – US and EU do not desire it.

    • yousaf (History)

      fyi — yes, indeed, I have written on why even the legislative text of the US sanctions imply a fatwa on Iran — it is not supposition, it is fact:

      http://nationalinterest.org/print/commentary/are-sanctions-fatwa-iran-6363

  10. yousaf (History)

    The AP is voluntary and there is ZERO chance that Iran will ratify it unless major dramatic concessions, including a non-aggression pact with the US and Israel is signed, and the US Nuclear Posture Review de-targets Iran.

    Why?

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/05/a_queen_for_a_queen?page=full

    QUOTE:

    The successful implementation of the Additional Protocol requires great cooperation and goodwill between the IAEA and signatory nations, and the protocol is unlikely to be effective when threats of force are on the table. The recent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and the apparently ongoing cyberattacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities further poison the atmosphere. The possibility that IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano has been less than apolitical in dealing with Iran is also likely to hurt chances that Iran easily accepts the protocol. Robert Kelley, an ex-IAEA inspector and nuclear engineer, went so far as to characterize parts of Amano’s November 2011 report on Iran as trying to misdirect opinion “towards their desired outcome,” adding, “that is unprofessional.”

    Indeed, since the Additional Protocol would grant the IAEA free rein to carry out inspections in Iran, there may be a legitimate fear among Iranian officials that the IAEA could pass on a list of targets for a future military campaign to the United States or its allies. After all, close cooperation between the IAEA and Western intelligence has existed in the past. If the Additional Protocol is ever broached as a subject of future negotiations, as Heinonen suggests, it should be tied to the firm and permanent removal of military threats against Iran. In any case, such threats of force are against the U.N. Charter and specifically contravene U.N. Security Council Resolution 487, which “[c]alls upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts [of force] or threats thereof” (emphasis added).

    • fyi (History)

      I think that Iranians will never sign AP; that game is over.

      Iran and her allies are in the middle of a war which they expect to win – by enduring.

      They are playing a long game in which, a decade from now, the sanctions have lost their efficacy.

      Per my earlier post; bombing of Iran will not alter the strategic situation for the better for US and her allies; Iranians and their allies will continue to call the shots in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon etc.

      The time for negogiations on nuclear file is past; 2010 was the latest time.

      With the current war in Syria, and economic war against Iran, there is no chance of it.

  11. Ataune (History)

    anon2 is saying:

    “There is no doubt that Iran is hiding something in Parchin, for example”

    Parchin has been visited twice by the IAEA inspectors after 2005 with nothing to show for. And they had the freedom to select 2 locations to visit in the whole site. The source of PMD “information” pre-date 2005. If Iran had something to hide, it would have delayed the visits in 2005 to the maximum. The current cat and mouse game on Parchin has more to do with political brinksmanship than anything else.

    • yousaf (History)

      http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2006/gov2006-15.pdf

      “…absent some nexus to nuclear material the Agency’s legal authority to pursue the verification of possible nuclear weapons related activity is limited…”

    • George William Herbert (History)

      Ataune writes:
      Parchin has been visited twice by the IAEA inspectors after 2005 with nothing to show for. And they had the freedom to select 2 locations to visit in the whole site.

      They did not know where the test chamber was at the time, and did not visit that location (which is off the main Parchin “campus”, a few kilometers northeast).

      We do not know what would have happened if they had known to ask to go to that location. It’s entirely possible Iran would have said “This is not part of the Parchin facility, the permission to inspect there does not apply here.”. But that’s a hypothesis. They didn’t know to ask, didn’t ask, and didn’t inspect there. That site has not been inspected. Their response to public and IAEA interest in the site was to remove the buildings and chamber and topsoil.

      There are innocent explanations for that cleanup, but I find them not particularly credible. It amounts to an admission of guilt.

    • Ataune (History)

      GWH

      I believe all of what you are stating here regarding the intelligence on Parchin are hypotheses too. The useful and constructive approach, in my opinion, is to actively demand that IAEA produce the reasons why it selected those 2 locations instead of the one containing what they claim was used for the alleged tests. If IAEA clarifies this point, one way or another, we will be several steps ahead. Don’t you think so?

    • Johnboy (History)

      I’m sorry, George, but did you just say that Iran has *removed* that Hunkin’ Big Chamber?

      I thought that they had simply thrown a Big Pink Tarp over it, a move that provoked Albright into apoplexy.

      Are you suggesting that they *removed* a blast chamber the size of a bus, and nobody saw it?

    • yousaf (History)

      The latest news release from ISIS is that — gasp — Iran is building a fence.

      Call 911!

    • George William Herbert (History)

      Johnboy writes:
      I’m sorry, George, but did you just say that Iran has *removed* that Hunkin’ Big Chamber? I thought that they had simply thrown a Big Pink Tarp over it, a move that provoked Albright into apoplexy. Are you suggesting that they *removed* a blast chamber the size of a bus, and nobody saw it?

      I do not posess an X-ray orbiting spy satellite or personal spy network watching Parchin Northeast.

      I cannot assert factually that it’s gone with evidence I can show you.

      Nevertheless, it’s gone. I have a high degree of certainty that I know how, a good guess at when. I do not know to where, but an old abandoned mine nearby is now full of cut up test chamber, probably the test chamber building, and covered in the dirt that was once the site’s topsoil.

      I cannot show you factual evidence as to when this was planned, but to a high degree of certainty I was able to predict that this was going to happen – in detail – shortly after the location was outed. Events are nearly entirely on script.

      Nonproliferation includes events we can sometimes testably predict.

    • Johnboy (History)

      George: “Nonproliferation includes events we can sometimes testably predict.”

      Pardone me, George, but your entire post consisted of a circular argument i.e. are simply assuming that the “events” that you “predicted” would take place have taken place, even though you have admitted that you have no proof – none whatsoever – to support that assumption.

      Or, put another way, you have *faith* that the chamber is now gone, even though you have no proof – none whatsover – that it isn’t still sitting there under that Big Pink Tarp.

      It’s gone because, ummm, you “predicted” it would be gone.

      Excuse me for being less than impressed with faith-based evidence.

    • Denis (History)

      George says “it is gone.” To what does “it” refer?

      Google Earth just released [Oct02] updated sat photo of the Pink Site, and the building fingered by Albright is certainly still there, no longer pink, but still there. 35° 33.554′ N 51° 47.101′ E

      In fact, all 8 structures that show up on historical photos are still there save a tiny guard house at the N border and a small shed. The fence and what appeared to be an electric line are gone. Does a missing fence prove past, present, or future violations of NPT? Obviously, I’m struggling here with promulgation of what appears to be Prachin Pink Site BS.

      What precisely is it you are alleging is “gone,” and, if “gone” what is that evidence of? Set aside for the moment Albright’s unsubstantiated mutterings, which are evidence of nothing, and provide some evidence that the Pink Site has any relevance to anything. Please. The nausea I felt when watching Powell’s UN debacle is coming back.

    • Denis (History)

      Let me append to my previous moaning comment this fragment of 38 North’s mea culpa for botching the prediction of yesterday’s NoKo launch:

      “But unfortunately, we fell into a trap cited by Professor Wohlstetter, ‘the very human tendency to pay attention to signals that support current expectations about enemy behavior.’”

      Albright’s treatment of the Parchin Pink Site seems to me to be a very salient example of reading bias into information that is, on its face, neutral or contradictory to what one wants to believe, otherwise known as “being duped.”

    • anon2 (History)

      Yousaf and GWH:

      Naekerts reports “some progress” with Reuters and that the next meeting is delayed for 1 more month till mid January.

      The problem is that we cannot distinguish “some progress” from further stalling during expert decontamination and re-purposing to the Parchin site. It has been extensively remodeled there is not doubt, and GWH’s and Albright’s hypothesis may be true.

      While I agree with the ultimate goal and even the negotiating strategy of Yousaf, I believe that he has to recognize that there is a point where the probability and risk of him being “wrong” about Iran; i.e. having a pedal to the medal hidden nuclear program on-going right now is high enough that to prevent a nuclear catastrophe, something beyond further ineffective negotiations might need to be done.

      What that would be is open to discussion. But unless Yousaf views an atomic weapon Iran as an acceptable outcome, he needs a plan B that goes beyond sitting back on the legalisms of the IAEA and the NPT while it become increasingly likely that Iran is stalling while it builds an arsenal.

      In Yousaf’s estimation the probability of an on-going program by the IRI is low, but what beyond an actual nuclear device demonstration by Iran would convince him and others like him (i.e. the people who supported the old 2007 NIE language) that they are actually wrong?

      In the real world, one must superimpose the probabilities of future paths, like Schrodinger, to make an effective conditional decision tree.

      I think that Yousaf is ignoring one major and risky node of the tree at the peril of a very unacceptable outcome — potential nuclear blackmail or worse, war.

    • BiBiJon (History)

      Anon2 says: “Naekerts reports “some progress” with Reuters and that the next meeting is delayed for 1 more month till mid January.

      The problem is that we cannot distinguish “some progress” from further stalling during expert decontamination and re-purposing to the Parchin site. It has been extensively remodeled there is not doubt, and GWH’s and Albright’s hypothesis may be true.”

      ————-

      Actually, the paradox is even more perplexing, if you’re inclined to think this way. E.g. it is possible that the photogenic pink tarp was a ruse to distract Albright’s talents/energies away from 1000s of other buildings being built in 1000s of other places under the effective subterfuge of no tarp cover.

      ———–

      Anon2 says: “While I agree with the ultimate goal and even the negotiating strategy of Yousaf, I believe that he has to recognize that there is a point where the probability and risk of him being “wrong” about Iran; i.e. having a pedal to the medal hidden nuclear program on-going right now is high enough that to prevent a nuclear catastrophe, something beyond further ineffective negotiations might need to be done.”

      What that would be is open to discussion. But unless Yousaf views an atomic weapon Iran as an acceptable outcome, he needs a plan B that goes beyond sitting back on the legalisms of the IAEA and the NPT while it become increasingly likely that Iran is stalling while it builds an arsenal.”

      ———–

      “Prevent a nuclear catastrophe?” Some, e.g. Kenneth Waltz, regard it as the opposite of a catastrophe.

      “What that would be is open to discussion.” Open? What other than war is left as an option?

      ———-

      Anon-2 says “In Yousaf’s estimation the probability of an on-going program by the IRI is low, but what beyond an actual nuclear device demonstration by Iran would convince him and others like him (i.e. the people who supported the old 2007 NIE language) that they are actually wrong?”

      ———-

      Concrete evidence would be nice. But Russians who have had a lot of dealings with Iranian scientists and engineers have repeatedly stated they have seen no evidence. Previous IAEA DG says he has not seen so much as a shred of evidence and according to a press release by IAEA, they have seen to concrete evidence that Iran ever had a weapon program.
      ————

      Anon-2 says: “In the real world, one must superimpose the probabilities of future paths, like Schrodinger, to make an effective conditional decision tree.

      I think that Yousaf is ignoring one major and risky node of the tree at the peril of a very unacceptable outcome — potential nuclear blackmail or worse, war.”

      ———-

      Schrodinger’s (Persian) cat paradox was based on random, but equal binary chances. But, the decision tree you are proposing has nodes in the netherworld of limitless prejudice and unresolvable paranoia. Or at least it has not been resolved since 1984 when the first of countless warnings were sounded that Iran was a short time away from getting nuclear weapons.

      Unless someone can paint a realistic scenario on how/when/where Iran could use or threaten to use a nuclear weapon to do “blackmail, or worse”, without setting itself up for instant annihilation, then what is the utility of such talk?

      Schrodinger concluded his cat paradox with the warning: “There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.”

      I regard Yousaf’s reasoning to be a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.

    • Johnboy (History)

      “It has been extensively remodeled there is not doubt,”

      Really?

      So far the “remodelling” appears to consist of:
      a) Piles of dirt (gasp!)
      b) A Pink Tarp (oh, the humanity!!)
      c) Water runoff (why, I never!!!)
      d) A new fence (Proof Positive, I tell you!)

      Remind me again exactly how many buildings have actually been knocked down…….

      “and GWH’s and Albright’s hypothesis may be true.”

      Well, the problem that I have with that claim is that theirs is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      As in….
      1) Parchin contains Incriminating Evidence, somewhere…
      2) And – du’oh! – it’s pretty “obvious” that the Iranians would try to destroy it…
      3) Soooooo, let’s look at the satellite imagery for any sign of building works
      4) THERE! THERE! I SEE IT! THAT’S JUST THE SHIT I WAS TALKING ABOUT! THAT’S GOTTA BE THE BUILDING! THAT ONE!

      Ahem. There is an alternative explanation for that “building work” i.e. the Iranians are “building something”.

      After all, I used to study at a Honkin’ Big University, and there were buildings goin’ up ‘n’ buildings bein’ pulled down All Over The Place.

      That University was – and always will be – A Work In Progress, and none of that building work “proved” that this University was hiding Nukes in the Anthropology Museum.

      Maybe the same explanation applies to the “building work” at Parchin i.e. the place is a Work In Progress, so there is nothing the least bit surprising that they are busy building new shit.

  12. yousaf (History)

    Thanks to Cyrus for this:

    Article XII.C of the IAEA statute setting out three requirements for compliance:

    First is “accounting referred to in sub paragraph A-6 of this article” and that in turn requires the IAEA to send inspectors to ensure that fissionable materials have not been diverted for a “military purpose.” And every single IAEA report has verified the non-diversion for Iran.

    Second is “determining whether there is compliance with the undertaking referred to in sub paragraph F-4 of article XI” which in turn applies to “Agency Projects” meaning the projects in which the the IAEA has provided technical assistance to a requesting country. And, subparagraph F-4 specifically requires that the assistance provided by the IAEA shall not be used for military purposes and shall be subject to safeguards. There is no allegation that Iran has violated this provision (in fact the US killed the IAEA’s technical assistance program to Iran in the early 1980s)

    Third is compliance “with the measures referred to in sub-paragraph A-2 of this article” which requires observance of “health and safety” standards. Again, there hasn’t even been an allegation of any violation of this section either.

    Some people confuse safeguards breaches with violations of the NPT. Whatever safeguards breaches Iran had in the past (for whatever reason) were resolved and according to the IAEA were unrelated to any weapons program.

    They did not amount to non-compliance with the NPT.

    =============
    See also:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0504/NPT-101-Is-Iran-violating-the-nuclear-treaty

    • fyi (History)

      None of this matters; the aim is the wounding of Iran and this is but an instrumentality in that effort.

      Sanctions against Iran and the alienation of that country from US and EU, in my opinion, is now a semi-permanent feature of the international system.

      Until and unless that war ends and the alienation is resolved – say a generation from now – this will persists.

      Only after the war against Iran and her allies has stopped and the strategic confrontation is settled will IAEA find any traction.

      I know that many Western analysts and planners expect this to be the opportune time to get concessions out of Iran – but that is not to be.

      Since US, EU, Russia, and China have effectively destroyed both NPT and CBWT, perhaps you guys could concentrate on the ramifications of de facto demise of these treaties since the end of the Peace of Yalta.

  13. yousaf (History)

    Regarding that graph from AP– from Hibbs’ post at FP:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/10/intel_inside?page=full

    “Conversations with enough people who might know have persuaded me that the IAEA had likely seen and evaluated the document before it was leaked to the press, and that there was an internal discussion at the IAEA about whether the document was genuine and what it implied.”

    ie. it may well be hoaxed. In which case Iran would be telling the truth if it said that it is being presented with fabrications.

    • anon2 (History)

      “ie. it may well be hoaxed. In which case Iran would be telling the truth if it said that it is being presented with fabrications.”

      And, the converse is true: it may well be NOT a hoax, in which case Iran would be lying.

      As has been written elsewhere, the units on the left hand axis of the AP graph may have been “Joules/Shake” in the underlying Excel spreadsheet, and may have been accidentally or deliberately mislabeled when the presentation was made to the powers that be. If that is the case the chart is NOT a hoax, with the above implication.

    • yousaf (History)

      “If that is the case the chart is NOT a hoax, with the above implication.”

      Not at all.

      Such toy-model graphs can be found openly on the internet and in scientific journals.

      A spreadsheet can be made in any number of ways, including reading points off of a graph.

      The point is there is a possibility it is a fake. So unless one knows it is genuine for 100% sure, it is entirely possible that Iran is telling the truth.

      It is also possible that Iran is lying — but we cannot default to that conclusion.

    • yousaf (History)

      BTW, Even if it is real it is not a big deal. Such work has been done for 40 years and published openly in the West. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

      An Iranian grad student can have made that graph.

      The whole thing is a tempest in a tea-pot, unless some concrete connection to nuclear MATERIALS can be made.

      Here is the IAEA view:

      http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2006/gov2006-15.pdf

      “…absent some nexus to nuclear material the Agency’s legal authority to pursue the verification of possible nuclear weapons related activity is limited…”

  14. Andy (History)

    Mark,

    I guess I don’t really see what the problem is simply because Iran would not agree to the AP in the first place unless this issue was resolved. In other words, how to address the IAEA’s PMD questions will have to be part of the deal before Iran agrees to the AP. Maybe there are more, but I see two possibilities for how this could work:

    1. An amnesty. Iran knows the IAEA will find something and it agrees to adopt the AP if it is granted an amnesty and fully cooperates with the Agency.

    2. No PMD’s. Iran is not concerned about the IAEA finding anything either because PMD is all bunk, or because Iran is able to sufficiently sanitize evidence of PMD’s from agency inspectors. Whatever the case, under this scenario Iran would not fear the inspection process and so a decision to adopt the AP would be a purely political calculation.

    Either way, Iran would have to willingly adopt the AP and it would not do so unless its concerns about a PMD investigation were settled beforehand.

  15. yousaf (History)

    The “P”MD should be completely ignored in favor of the more important issue: stopping Iran from getting any more 20% U than they already have.

    We should do what it takes to get Iran to stop 20% enrichment, including suspending some sanctions.

    Any distraction from that goal, however well intentioned, is basically helping Iran gather more 20% U.

    In a previous piece I described this deal:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0525/By-not-lifting-sanctions-West-and-Obama-are-helping-Iran-enrich-uranium

    • Cyrus (History)

      Lets remember a few points folks. First off in addition entirely suspending enrichment for about 2.5 years (not something a country hellbent on making nukes would do) the Iranians implemented the AP for that time period too. What was found? Precisely didley-squat.

      And Parchin was visited by the IAEA. George says they didn’t know where to look, so they went back and did a second inspection. They even took environmental samples and found precisely zero nuclear material. As Kelley has pointed out, the entire basis of the “detonation chamber” story doesn’t match the physics. And the Iranians have said theyre willing to allow yet another visit to Parchin as long as there is another Modalities Agreement in place that 1- shows Iran the evidence it is expected to refute, and 2- the third visit will end the cycle of speculation leading to demands for extra-legal access. The IAEA has refused (there were such modalities agreements in place before). So it isn’t the Iranians who are dragging their feet on Parchin visits, it is the IAEA.

  16. Ataune (History)

    GWH said,

    “They did not know where the test chamber was at the time, and did not visit that location (which is off the main Parchin “campus”, a few kilometers northeast).”

    Since the alleged PMD (in particular the “activities” referring to EBW and Parchin) is supposed to have occured before, at the most, 2004, you are insinuating here that the intelligence given to the IAEA at the time, triggering their demand to visit a non-nuclear site was deliberately flawed so that later on, let’s say six years later, a new piece of information will be provided this time with the appropriate intelligence? Why not try to incriminate Iran right at the begining, in 2005?

  17. Hass (History)

    By the way folks, about that 20% enrichment: Iran has repeatedly offered to cease it. All they ask in return is fuel for the TRR. In fact they were forced to enrich to 20% precisely because they were denied the fuel in the first place. Considering that neither the TRR nor the fuel poses any sort of real weapons proliferation threat, one has to wonder what the point is in denying it to them. As it is, Iranians are told not to buy the fuel, and not to make it, and those 800,000 cancer patients reliant on the isotopes can just go die.

    And yes the Iran file is very similar to the Iraq file in the sense that we have “facts made to fit the policy” and “sexed-up dossiers” and ultimately the entire “Iranian nuclear threat” is being used as a pretext for a policy of regime change, just as “WMDs in Iraq” was just a pretext too. The US has no intention of allowing the issue to be resolved because it doesn’t want to give up this convenient pretext, regardless of how forthcoming the Iranians may be. ““They weren’t interested in a compromise with the government in Tehran, but regime change – by any means necessary,” reported ElBaradei. http://news.antiwar.com/2011/04/20/elbaradei-us-europe-werent-interested-in-compromise-with-iran/

    • yousaf (History)

      ElBaradei from a New Yorker article:

      http://www.richardsilverstein.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Hersh-6-6-11.pdf

      ‘During my time at the agency we haven’t seen a shred of evidence that Iran has been weaponizing, in terms of building nuclear-weapons facilities and using enriched materials….I don’t know the future intentions of Iran, but I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.’

    • Hass (History)

      Yes yes but don’t forget that ELbaradei was a “despicable person” and an “Iranian agent” according to the Israelis because he didn’t fall for their perferred narrative, like Amano does.
      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4146150,00.html

    • Ara Barsamian (History)

      You got it right.
      No matter what Iran does, we want to crucify them to force regime change.

      Again, so what if they tested an implosion system at Parchin? Is crucifying them more important then getting them to agree to stop the 20% enrichment and signing the additional protocol? For some countries, that seems precisely to be the goal (regime change). To that effect, we have seen endless fabrications: the fake initiator, the fake yield curve, non-existent R265, etc., without any shred of credible evidence in the public domain. There is always the excuse of “secret-restricted data” for not showing the so-called “evidence”.

  18. yousaf (History)

    FYI: One of **many** plausible open sources of the AP “Iran” graph of doom:

    http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/12/iranian-bomb-graph-appears-adapted-from-one-on-internet/

    • BiBiJon (History)

      Was the AP “Iran” graph used as padding?

      Another words, did the IAEA knowingly use dubious, even wrong, and spurious information to make up the ‘volume’ of “evidence” necessary to support an “overall credible” claim?

      If padding is the modus opperandi, it would be reasonable to assume the ratio of real-to-padding likely would be of the order of 1-to-10, not 10-to-1.

      Indeed there is a real possibility that the whole thing is ‘padding’, with all due respect to Mark Hibbs, who reassures us: “That, however, was not why the document was significant: there’s already plenty of evidence supporting the allegation that Iran has done nuclear weapons-related work since the late 1980s.”

      We may have reached the point, finally, that the evidence should be made public for these doubts to subside.

    • Ara Barsamian (History)

      The whole graph thing is preposterous. To see credible device descriptions and graphs, go to:

      1) HA Sandmeier paper ” Electromagnetic Pulse and Time-Dependent Escape of Neutrons and Gamma Rays from a Nuclear Explosion”, describing a Plutonium bomb (S-device) output in Nuclear Science and Engineering (48, 343-352, 1972)

      2) A. Pritzker paper describing the design of the Swiss Uranium bomb and output in “Radiation Dynamics of a Nuclear Explosion” in ZAMP (Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics, (32, 1981)

      I am amazed on how much time we’re wasting on all these fabrications…instead of concentrating on something infinitely more difficult: PEACE

    • yousaf (History)

      Yes, agree, and this too and explicitly states it is student level — maybe IAEA is confronting IRI with some Iranian student’s homework — indeed, it is possible that national govt of IRI is not aware of all homework that happens in the country:

      http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?paperID=1559

  19. yousaf (History)

    Gary Sick, who served as an Iran specialist on the National Security Council staffs of Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, speaks to Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose about an article that he wrote for the magazine in 1987, which still holds up today:

    http://www.lobelog.com/gary-sick-on-irans-foreign-policy/

  20. yousaf (History)

    Mark says:

    “I assume that at end of the day, as part of a deal between the P-5+1 and Iran, the IAEA will be called upon to implement the Additional Protocol in Iran and make a determination (called a “broader conclusion” in safeguards-ese) that all of Iran’s nuclear activities are dedicated to peaceful use and that the IAEA is confident there are no clandestine or undeclared activities. Given Iran’s record with the IAEA over the last three decades, I can’t imagine a deal coming to fruition without such a “broader conclusion” being part of it.”

    I’ve argued above and elsewhere why it is highly unlikely that Iran will adopt the *voluntary* AP under duress and under threat of force and assassinations and cyrberattackes and drones etc.

    There is no logical way to prove that “that all of Iran’s nuclear activities are dedicated to peaceful use and that the IAEA is confident there are no clandestine or undeclared activities.”

    This is simple logic — not complicated law or anything technical.

    The agency _already_ keeps saying that it cannot “provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran” or that “all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” But the agency cannot be expected to do this – that is not its job. Pierre Goldschmidt, the former deputy director of Safeguards at the IAEA summed it up well: “The Department of Safeguards doesn’t have the legal authority it needs to fulfill its mandate and to provide the assurances the international community is expecting.”

    In fact, not only is it legally problematic to fulfill such a verification, it is a logical impossibility: The agency cannot prove the absence of something. There can always be somewhere in Iran where the IAEA has not looked.

    In fact, no one can reasonably task the IAEA to prove a negative in any country, whether it be in Brazil, Argentina, or the 49 other nations for which it is evaluating the absence of undeclared nuclear activity.

    Even with an AP this cannot be proven. Not that Iran will ratify the voluntary AP in the current climate.

    The most sensible way to wind down the impasse with Iran now is to recognize that although Iran may have been non-compliant with the IAEA in the past, it is in full compliance with its safeguards agreement now: The nation is not diverting any declared nuclear material to any weapons program.

    The IAEA has verified this every year since it began monitoring Iran’s program. Hounding Iran about possible activities it may or may not have done years or even decades ago – especially if some of the allegations are possible hoaxes – is not going to solve anything.

    A smart move would be to start to roll back sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran suspending its uranium enrichment to 20 percent.

    This, of course, assumes that a resolution of the conflict is something that is desired. The legislative text of the US sanctions argues against the USG (at least the Congress) actually wanting a resolution. The legislative text of the US sanctions implies that Congress wants regime change. Nothing less.

    ex-CIA officer Paul Pillar on the spolier role of US congress:

    http://nationalinterest.org/print/blog/paul-pillar/congress-hinders-progress-iran-7844

    • fyi (History)

      Kelley stated, several years ago, in Foreign Policy web site, that there is no system of inspections that can be foisted on Iran that would assure that Iran is not building a nuclear weapon – no such thing can be designed.

      Odom stated that the only way to make sure Iran is not building a nuclear weapon is to occupy Iran; for which US did not have enough soldiers then (in 2006).

      So we are down to the nasty economic war against Iran, hoping to repeat the successes of similar such wars against Mossadeq and Allende; ignoring the failures in such cases as Viet Nam and South Africa.

    • yousaf (History)

      “Kelley stated, several years ago, in Foreign Policy web site, that there is no system of inspections that can be foisted on Iran that would assure that Iran is not building a nuclear weapon”

      yes, and the same applies to any country.

      BTW, we have misplaced some HEU ourselves:

      http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/09/usa-lost-tons-nuclear-weapon-uranium

    • yousaf (History)
    • BiBiJon (History)

      I [Robert Kelley] am speaking up about this now because, as a member of the IAEA’s Iraq Action Team in 2003, I learned firsthand how withholding the facts can lead to bloodshed. Having known the details then, though I was not allowed to speak, I feel a certain shared responsibility for the war that killed more than 4,000 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis. A private citizen today, I hope to help ensure the facts are clear before the U.S. takes further steps that could lead, intentionally or otherwise, to a new conflagration, this time in Iran.

      From the article posted by Yousaf.
      ——————————-

      I don’t know what courage it takes, or what disregard for being counted among Mark Hibbs’ group of “people who know” it takes, for Robert Kelley to write that article, but folks like him, Dan Joyner, and Yousaf Butt have plenty of it, and consequently my respect.

  21. Andrea Stricker (History)

    I would like to briefly respond to earlier comments by Yousaf Butt and others regarding ISIS’s role in the run-up to the Iraq war. ISIS is proud to be one of the few non-governmental organizations that critically assessed the Bush administration’s claims about WMD programs in Iraq both before and after the war. We were not perfect by any means but we played a leading–even courageous–role given the uncertain and nasty environment in refuting some of them, including claims about Iraq procuring aluminum tubes for centrifuges and the existence of secret centrifuge plants at Al Furat. Moreover, the source linked to by Butt is simply a blog analysis with no credibility. ISIS never supported war against Iraq and is well known for being against going to war with Iran. ISIS is seeking to prevent a war with Iran; those who say otherwise are distorting our work. We will continue pursuing our mission to critically assess nuclear programs of proliferation concern and seek non-military remedies.

    • yousaf (History)

      Indeed this may all be true.

      In my view, ” seeking to prevent a war a war with Iran” would include, as many others have argued, letting old allegations (especially secret and unsubstantiated e.g. the graph of late) lie, and moving to strike a deal.

      It is important to stop Iran from enriching 20% U.

      Bringing up things Iran — maybe did or did not — do 4, 10, or 20 years ago is a distraction that keeps the IAEA busy with history rather than current affairs.

      As Henry Kissinger has noted — we need a deal to stop 20% U enrichment and should remove some sanctions to strike that deal.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/henry-kissinger-iran-must-be-president-obamas-immediate-priority/2012/11/16/2edf93e4-2dea-11e2-beb2-4b4cf5087636_print.html

      “…gradual easing of sanctions as strict limits on enrichment are implemented and enforced.”

      Great idea. Let’s do it. Let’s stop talking about things that may or may not have happened 20 years ago.

    • yousaf (History)

      From an actual IAEA inspector:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-01-11/iran-nuclear-weapons-charge-is-no-slam-dunk-commentary-by-robert-kelley.html

      QUOTE:

      “What about the three indications that the arms project may have been reactivated?

      Two of the three are attributed only to two member states, so the sourcing is impossible to evaluate. In addition, their validity is called into question by the agency’s handling of the third piece of evidence.

      That evidence, according to the IAEA, tells us Iran embarked on a four-year program, starting around 2006, to validate the design of a device to produce a burst of neutrons that could initiate a fission chain reaction. Though I cannot say for sure what source the agency is relying on, I can say for certain that this project was earlier at the center of what appeared to be a misinformation campaign.

      In 2009, the IAEA received a two-page document, purporting to come from Iran, describing this same alleged work. Mohamed ElBaradei, who was then the agency’s director general, rejected the information because there was no chain of custody for the paper, no clear source, document markings, date of issue or anything else that could establish its authenticity. What’s more, the document contained style errors, suggesting the author was not a native Farsi speaker. It appeared to have been typed using an Arabic, rather than a Farsi, word-processing program. When ElBaradei put the document in the trash heap, the U.K.’s Times newspaper published it.

      This episode had suspicious similarities to a previous case that proved definitively to be a hoax. In 1995, the IAEA received several documents from the Sunday Times, a sister paper to the Times, purporting to show that Iraq had resumed its nuclear-weapons program in spite of all evidence to the contrary. The IAEA quickly determined that the documents were elaborate forgeries. There were mistakes in formatting the documents’ markings, classification and dates, and many errors in language and style indicated the author’s first language was something other than Arabic or Farsi. Inspections in Iraq later in 1995 confirmed incontrovertibly that there had been no reconstitution of the Iraqi nuclear program.”

  22. yousaf (History)

    Andrea Sticker complains above that “the source linked to by Butt is simply a blog analysis with no credibility.”

    Well, this too is a blog.

    Anyway, perhaps this source is more credible — FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting] is a national media watch group, and has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986.

    The criticism, btw, applies mostly to reporters — see the section “Parroting the so-called experts”:

    http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/the-great-wmd-hunt/

  23. fyi (History)

    Mr. Kelley’s article in National Interest (I was mistaken that it appeared in FP)

    http://www.atlantic-community.org/index/articles/view/How_to_Strike_Iran/print

    • Robert Kelley (History)

      Excuse me! What does this article have to do with me? I’, not Paul Smyth and I don’t even know him. Please retract.

  24. David Albright (History)

    Not all blogs are the same. I feel a need to say the obvious. Armscontrolwonk has a well-deserved reputation for reasoned, objective articles and debate with little name-calling and few polemics. Consortium blog does not. Moreover, FAIR’s analysis was neither fair nor any better than Consortium with regards to ISIS’s and my work in the run up to the Iraq war and afterwards. In an email exchange, they had to retract several of the criticisms of me. Yousaf quotes from an article by Robert Kelley about a document that Kelley argues is a forgery. Not surprisingly, he omits reference to a Guardian article by Julian Borger that looked carefully at Kelley’s claims and said that Kelley was not right. From the article: “The Guardian’s Saeed Kamali Dehghan has taken a look at the Farsi version of document and disagrees with Kelley’s source on the issue of language. He sees no evidence it was written by a non-Farsi speaker.” (article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julian-borger-global-security-blog/2012/jan/13/iran-nuclear-weapons) I also have IAEA Action Team internal reports and analysis of the 1995 episode Kelley mentions that were prepared by Maurizio Zifferero, the Leader of the Action Team. I followed this case at the time very carefully. That case is considerably different from the 2009 one.

    • fyi (History)

      And that is the nub of the problem, isn’t it?

      That discussion of the Iranian Nuclear File has been reduced to splitting hairs on minutae subject to vigorous intellectualistic debate.

      The fact remains that in 2007, after the US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, US, EU, Russia, and China had the political cover to change tack on Iran.

      They did not.

      Five years later and all that has been accomplished is that US-EU have escalated to the strategic nowhere, while, at the same time, convincing Iranian leaders that the US (and EU) are incapable of “Mantiq” – Speech informed by Reason.

      I want to emphasize that much of this outcome could have been avoided if due attention had been paid to the assessments of Sir Michael Quinlan – expressed in 2002 at Hezeliya [sic?] conference – as well as the ideas of the late Lt. General William Odom.

      US and EU are trying to turn Iran into another North Korea – an impossibility.

      This issue will not be resolved until US-EU war against Iran and Syria and their allies stops.

  25. yousaf (History)

    I will go with Jim Walsh of MIT : “If the nuclear activities were in the past, I don’t care. It’s dead, and it’s regretful, but let’s do a deal with Iran that moves forward.”

    Digging up things that maybe did or did not happen 20 years ago gets in the way of a deal and is a needless distraction that helps Iran accumulate more 20% U.

    And I would also accept the views of Bob Kelley — who actually worked at Los Alamos and Livermore with real nukes for 35 years, and was a real-life IAEA inspector.

    The Guardian article does not contradict anything Bob Kelley says.

    Furthermore, it is clear that the IAEA is politicized: you can check the very same Borger and the very same Guardian on that —

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julian-borger-global-security-blog/2010/nov/30/iaea-wikileaks

  26. yousaf (History)

    Furthermore, the bias in how the IAEA writes its reports is unprofessional:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1109/Iran-nuclear-report-Why-it-may-not-be-a-game-changer-after-all

    QUOTE:

    “For Kelley, formerly with the IAEA, the current Iran report is a “real mish-mash” that includes some “amateurish analysis.”

    Among several technical points, Kelley notes the report’s discussion of Iran’s “exploding bridge-wire detonators,” or EBWs. The IAEA report said it recognizes that “there exist non-nuclear applications, albeit few,” and point to a likely weapons connection for Iran.

    “The Agency is wrong. There are lots of applications for EBWs,” says Kelley. “To be wrong on this point, and then to try to misdirect opinion shows a bias towards their desired outcome…. That is unprofessional.”

    • fyi (History)

      This is but one front among many in the US-EU war against Iran.

      It cannot be settled – even after persumed bombing of Iran by the usual suspects.

      On the strategic level, US-EU could have accomodated a rising Iran that the US had enabled.

      They did not.

      Strategic accomodation will not take place during Mr. Obama’s second term.

      And his bombing of Iran will not alter the strategic situation.

      As it stands, the US-EU war will continue for next decade; it seems to me.

      Which means, in my opinion, that this NPT-IAEA track is just an exercise in futility.

    • yousaf (History)

      It need not be an exercise in futility if it was handled according to the law and the IAEA-Iran CSA:

      http://armscontrollaw.com/2012/12/10/are-we-in-the-same-roundtable-chris/

      But if you look at the legislative text of US sanctions you will see that the nuclear issue is not what this is about.

  27. David Albright (History)

    test

  28. anon (History)

    Sorry I do not see any discussion of the facts by Stricker or Albright that addresses what was in the, in my opinion, rather excellent and factual blog report that they merely denounce as having no credibility. There are citations in the blog report to actual articles and ISIS press releases.

    What SPECIFIC FACTS in the blog report do ISIS and Albright dispute?

    http://consortiumnews.com/2011/11/08/an-iraq-wmd-replay-on-iran/

    The part quoted in comments above does not have any name calling — it is just professional criticism and appears to me to high credibility because of the citations:

    =======

    Today, Albright’s Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) is issuing a flurry of alarmist reports about Iran’s nuclear bomb progress, often accompanied by the same kind of satellite photos and diagrams that helped persuade many Americans that Iraq must possess unconventional weapons that turned out to be fictitious.

    For instance, in the run-up to war in Iraq, Albright co-authored a Sept. 10, 2002, article – entitled “Is the Activity at Al Qaim Related to Nuclear Efforts?” – which declared, “High-resolution commercial satellite imagery shows an apparently operational facility at the site of Iraq’s al Qaim phosphate plant and uranium extraction facility (Unit-340), located in northwest Iraq near the Syrian border. This site was where Iraq extracted uranium for its nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. …

    “This image raises questions about whether Iraq has rebuilt a uranium extraction facility at the site, possibly even underground. … Unless inspectors go to the site and investigate all activities, the international community cannot exclude the possibility that Iraq is secretly producing a stockpile of uranium in violation of its commitments under Security Council resolutions. The uranium could be used in a clandestine nuclear weapons effort.”

    Albright’s nuclear warning about Iraq coincided with the start of the Bush administration’s propaganda campaign to rally Congress and the American people to war with talk about “the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

    Though Albright eventually grew skeptical about the alleged resurrection of an Iraqi nuclear program, he remained a firm believer in the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq’s supposed chemical and biological weapons programs as justification for the March 2003 invasion.

    Gullibility Exposed

    In summer 2003, after the promised WMD caches proved non-existent, the journalism watchdog group FAIR published a study by Seth Ackerman looking at the American press corps’ gullibility and citing the role of weapons experts like Albright.

    Entitlted “The Great WMD Hunt,” the article said, “In part, journalists absorbed their aura of certainty from a battery of ‘independent’ weapons experts who repeated the mantra of Iraq concealment over and over. Journalists used these experts as outside sources who could independently evaluate the administration’s claims. Yet often these ‘experts’ were simply repeating what they heard from U.S. officials, forming an endless loop of self-reinforcing scare mongering.

    “Take the ubiquitous David Albright, a former U.N. inspector in Iraq. Over the years, Albright had been cited in hundreds of news articles and made scores of television appearances as an authority on Iraqi weapons. A sample prewar quote from Albright (CNN, 10/5/02): ‘In terms of the chemical and biological weapons, Iraq has those now. How many, how could they deliver them? I mean, these are the big questions.’”

    FAIR added: “But when the postwar weapons hunt started turning up empty, Albright made a rather candid admission (L.A. Times, 4/20/03): ‘If there are no weapons of mass destruction, I’ll be mad as hell. I certainly accepted the administration claims on chemical and biological weapons. I figured they were telling the truth. If there is no [unconventional weapons program], I will feel taken, because they asserted these things with such assurance.’”

    ================

    What did this blog report get wrong?

  29. fyi (History)

    My apologies to you Mr. Kelly.

    I had in mind the following:

    There is also no system of inspections that you could construct and foist on Iran that would guarantee that Iranains are not building nuclear weapons. David Kay discussed that some time ago – please see:

    http://nationalinterest.org/article/in-the-tunnels-of-natanz-3381

    I had confused you with David Kay and I also made the mistake of pasting the incorrect URL.

    I am retracting my statements and correcting them.

  30. fyi (History)

    Mr. Yousafa Butt:

    I have read the proposed meta solution and I do not find it persuasive.

    It is, in effect, further enshrines technological inequality and perpetuates it.

    It offers a pipe-dream of International Fuel Banks – pray tell me, on whose sovereign territory are they to be based? US, Russia, UK, or China?

    Are you serious about perpetuating the their dominance in this arena?

    Nuclear technology, like many others, is dual use and dangeorus. Chemicals are like that and so is bio-technology. Are those areas of scientific and technological endeavor to be restricted to superior states that discovered them first?

    Likewise, your comments about the inherent dangers of off-shore drilling and the references to examples such as the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster is unpersuasive. All engineered systems have risks of failures and the failures are just the cost of doing business.

    If it were otherwise, we would still be living in caves – I should think.

    I think not.

    More-for-More or expansed IAEA mandate has no chance of being accpeted; IAEA cannot be turned into a disarmament agency.

    I agree with you that NPT is dated – probaly dead, but you cannot resurrect that treaty by making even more demands on the sovereign rights of states in the International Arena; if you want to take away such rights, you must be prepared to gop to war.

    The fact remains that nuclear weapons have kept the peace in Europe and on the Korean Penninsula and in the sub-continent of India. They are likely to lead to the same results elsewhere.

    What we need, I am afraid, is more nuclear proliferation for states with long term real dangers to their security; e.g. North Korea, Iran, and others such as Viet Nam.

    I think it will be a good idea to query Brazilians if they are willing to give up their fuel cycle. And find out what is it that they would want, if any.

    • yousaf (History)

      That is a fair criticism. I am trying to get some discussion going: I don’t think nuclear power — as we now have it — is a good solution. And it is enormously subsidized. So we are not doing any favors to developing nations by sending it their way. I think reducing arms and nuclear power is a reasonable stab at a solution. If developing nations want to pursue nuclear power they should: hopefully they will not make the mistakes that the West+China+Russia did.

  31. fyi (History)

    Yousefa:

    I think it will be a good idea to quantify and/or otherwise substantiate your claim on the “enormously subsidized” nuclear power.

    In China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and very many other countries fossil fuels are subsidized. Are those subsidies more or less than those received by nuclear industry?

    And to what extent nuclear industry is subsidized in Japan, France, and South Korea?

    I also further think that the entire analytical side of defining “subsidy” is probematic – since a reference point cannot be defined without assuming an ideal/end state for the structure and organization of a national economy.

    War is definitely subsidized; that seems to be universal and yet no one cares – it seems.

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