Since the underlying facts between the NY Times and Washington Post report are in dispute, one might want to check the IAEA's reporting to find out exactly what they said. How unfortunate it is then that neither the NY Times, nor the Washington Post, specified which report they used as the basis for their claims; never mind a referenced citation. The best one can do is pull up the IAEA web page and dig through their recent press releases. Here is one:
Iran had not suspended its enrichment related activities. I should note that - although the inspectors´ findings indicated that there had been little qualitative or quantitative buildup of Iran´s enrichment capacity at Natanz - due to the absence of the implementation of the additional protocol, the Agency is not able to assess fully Iran´s enrichment related research and development activities, including the possible production of centrifuges and related equipment.
As I have indicated in the past, all the nuclear material declared by Iran to the Agency has been accounted for - and, apart from the small quantities previously reported to the Board, there have been no further findings of undeclared nuclear material in Iran.
Based upon that statement, one can reasonably say that IAEA doesn't know whether Iran can produce highly enriched uranium, or if their ultimate goal is to create nuclear weapon(s), but they do know that they have found little evidence to support large scale highly enriched uranium production - today.
What is clear is that Iran does have an underground facility at Natanz, that this facility has a certain number of gas centrifuges suitable for uranium enrichment, and that at least some of this equipment has been inspected by IAEA inspectors. However, the IAEA is also stating that there is still some uncertainty of Iran's total enrichment capacity and capability.
Yet the Bush administration continues its saber rattling with Iran. This last year President Bush has called Iran a a grave threat to world security, that there must be consequences to Iran's nuclear defiance, and has threatened to strike Iran with a massive bombing campaign.
There are two questions of import here: Is Iran creating weapons grade uranium, and if so, what to do about it? If President Bush wants to push for another Middle Eastern war, ought he not at least first prove the case that Iran is -- indeed -- building a nuclear weapon? Should not the question of whether to go to war be address after resolving the first issue, and not be a presumptive fait accompli prior to confirmation of the rationale behind such action?
A nuclear armed Iran may, in fact, be a grave threat to US national security interests and world peace. However, one would hope that after all the errors, misinformation, and confusion to justify the Iraqi war, the Bush Administration would want to absolutely nail the facts before threatening yet another war against a sovereign nation.
Text Copyright ©2006 J. Maynard Gelinas.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.
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