Jeffrey LewisAllegations About Iran

There have been several allegations recently that Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons, despite the recent agreement signed with the EU-3. Here are the two that have popped up recently, so you don’t have to sift through the stories yourself.

National Council on Resistance in Iran

As far as I can tell, the allegations by NCRI boil down to two sets of claims. Iran:

1. Worked with the A.Q. Khan network to acquire nuclear weapons designs and a small amount of enriched uranium, and

2. Continues to enrich uranium at in the Lavizan district of Tehran, using nuclear equipment from the now-dismantled facility in the Bagh Sian area of the same district.

The transcript of the press conference will likely be posted on the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee website along with other transcripts. GlobalSecurity.org has a copy of the briefing.

What to make of these allegations? Iran is, of course, denying them (Pakistan also denied the Khan allegations). And, the timing is certainly suspect.

IAEA environmental sampling of the site at Bagh Sian site didn’t detect enriched uranium, but Iran raised suspicions by demolishing buildings at the site and performing a little creative re-landscaping that might have foiled environmental monitoring.

Colin Gets In the Game

Then Colin Powell told reporters that he had “seen some information that would suggest they have been actively working on delivery systems. …information that says they not only have missiles but information that suggests they are working hard about how to put the two together.”

Much of what the IC has said about the Iranian ballistic missile program is maddeningly vague, though consistent with an unclassified assessment that “developing a nuclear warhead and reentry vehicle difficult scientific and technological undertakings which could take Iran years to accomplish…”

If I had to guess, Powell may have been referring to design changes in the Shahab 3 MRBM that the Israelis were recently pushing as evidence of a nascent Iranian nuclear-capable ICBM.

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