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The Geneva Deal and Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions (3 articles)

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The Geneva Deal and Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions – Ben Cohen interviews Olli Heinonen (Fathom-BICOM)
(Daily Alert, Feb. 4, 2014)

Dr. Olli Heinonen, a former senior IAEA official, is one of the few individuals in the West with a long track record of dealing with Iran’s leaders.

    He recalled that when President Rouhani had served as a nuclear negotiator 10 years earlier, he boasted of how he had used talks with Western powers to “buy time to advance Iran’s program.”

    Yet Heinonen’s concerns about the slipperiness of the Iranian leadership are offset by the realization that Western powers know much more about Iran’s nuclear program than is generally appreciated.

    Dr. Olli Heinonen served as Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

(Click on the article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)


In Iran We Trust? If Tehran Breaks Its Promises, We’re Unlikely to Know – Gabriel Schoenfeld (Weekly Standard)

President Obama has proudly declared that diplomacy opened a path to “a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.” How much confidence can we have that the ayatollahs will not press ahead with their nuclear program in clandestine facilities, as they have done in the past? And how much confidence can we have that our intelligence agencies will catch them?

A three-year study by the Defense Science Board concluded that U.S. intelligence agencies “are not yet organized or fully equipped” to detect when foreign powers are constructing nuclear weapons or adding to existing arsenals. What is more, their ability to find “small nuclear enterprises designed to produce, store, and deploy only a small number of weapons” is “either inadequate, or more often, [does] not exist.”

With regard to identifying Syria’s nuclear reactor at al-Kibar, the multibillion-dollar, ultra-high-tech tools of U.S. intelligence were foiled by one of the most low-cost and ancient techniques of warfare: camouflage. Only in 2007, just as it was ready to be loaded with uranium fuel, did U.S. intelligence conclude that Syria had built a reactor, thanks to incontrovertible evidence provided by Israel.

Under our eyes but without our seeing, the Syrians had come breathtakingly close to possessing an operational generator of the nuclear bomb ingredient plutonium. “How can we have any confidence at all in the estimates of the scope of the North Korean, Iranian, or other possible programs?” asked former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The writer is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.


Dancing in the Nuclear Dark: How Will We Know When Iran Sprints toward a Bomb? – Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)

Last month the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board published an “Assessment of Nuclear Monitoring and Verification Technologies,” which reported that our ability to detect a nuclear breakout is not good.

The administration is prepared to consent to an Iranian “right to enrich” but will not extend the same privilege to South Korea, an ally of more than 60 years. It isn’t fun being friends with America these days.

According to the report, “The pathways to proliferation are expanding. Networks of cooperation among countries that would otherwise have little reason to do so, such as the A.Q. Khan network or the Syria-North Korea and Iran-North Korea collaborations, cannot be considered isolated events.”

In the Iranian nuclear negotiations the administration is assuming that a regime as famously fractious as the Islamic Republic will nonetheless maintain rigid controls over its nuclear assets. Why is that assumption good?

In his 2012 debate with Paul Ryan, Joe Biden insisted that the Iranians “are a good way away” from a bomb and that “we’ll know if they start the process of building a weapon.” The report junks that claim.

Now the administration is pressing for an agreement with Iran based on the conceit that the intelligence community will give policy makers ample warning before the mullahs sprint for a nuclear weapon. That is not true.

We are dancing in the nuclear dark.

(click on the title of the article to see the full article…Ed.)

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