Times of London: Iran just waiting for Khamenei’s order to build a bomb

posted at 7:35 pm on August 2, 2009 by Allahpundit

We knew they had enough low-enriched uranium for one bomb. What we didn’t know is that they might already have perfected the process by which uranium is highly enriched and then weaponized in a warhead. Oh, and some more good news: No one’s sure if Khamenei’s already given the order, which means the countdown might already have begun.

No worries, though. Hillary promised you their pursuit of nukes would be futile, didn’t she?

Iran has perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead and is merely awaiting the word from its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to produce its first bomb, Western intelligence sources have told The Times.

The sources said that Iran completed a research programme to create weaponised uranium in the summer of 2003 and that it could feasibly make a bomb within a year of an order from its Supreme Leader.

A US National Intelligence Estimate two years ago concluded that Iran had ended its nuclear arms research programme in 2003 because of the threat from the American invasion of Iraq. But intelligence sources have told The Times that Tehran had halted the research because it had achieved its aim — to find a way of detonating a warhead that could be launched on its long-range Shehab-3 missiles…

“If the Supreme Leader takes the decision (to build a bomb), we assess they have to enrich low-enriched uranium to highly-enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, which could take six months, depending on how many centrifuges are operating. We don’t know if the decision was made yet,” said the intelligence sources, adding that Iran could have created smaller, secret facilities, other than those at the heavily guarded bunker at Natanz to develop materials for a first bomb. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency only keep tabs on fissile material produced at monitored sites and not the number of centrifuges that Iran has built…

If Iran’s leader does decide to build a bomb, he will have two choices, intelligence sources said. One would be to take the high-risk approach of kicking out the international inspectors and making a sprint to complete Iran’s first bomb, as the country weathered international sanctions or possible air strikes in the ensuing crisis. The other would be to covertly develop the materials needed for an arsenal in secret desert facilities.

Any reason to believe Iran might have those “smaller, secret facilities” needed to build a bomb covertly? Why, yes: According to an NYT story published in January, a classified portion of that 2007 NIE described at great length analysts’ “suspicion that Iran had 10 or 15 other nuclear-related facilities, never opened to international inspectors, where enrichment activity, weapons work or the manufacturing of centrifuges might be taking place.” Combine the fact that that rather significant detail was omitted from the public debate at the time with the report’s increasingly discredited conclusion that Iran gave up its program in 2003 and you’ve got one of the most astounding intelligence failures in U.S. history, with potentially graver consequences than either 9/11 or the WMD intel on Iraq.

As for the Revolutionary Guard supposedly waiting on Khamenei, if there’s any lesson to be drawn from the Iranian election fiasco, it’s that increasingly the Guard itself calls the shots in Iran. I’ve always thought the simplest and most logical explanation of why Khamenei backed Ahmadinejad’s rigging of the election is that he feared being deposed if he didn’t. If that’s true and he went along to protect his own power, why wouldn’t he also go along with a demand from the Guard to approve construction of the bomb? At the very least, with Mousavi, Khatami, and Rafsanjani galvanizing public opinion against him, he’s in no position anymore to deny the Guard’s requests; not only his power but his safety may depend on their support. And as for The One, at last check, Iran has until September to “reach out” or “unclench its fist” or say “yes we can” to negotiations. Any chance that he’s starting to think about Plan B? Normally I’d say no, but after reading this, I wonder…


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Comment pages: 1 2

You can bet any “facility” to build a bomb is under a hospital or a school.

right2bright on August 3, 2009 at 7:14 AM

well Bush had 8 years to stop it and didn’t. Obama has been here for less than a year. If Iran were to build a bomb today I know where to put the blame

liberal343 on August 2, 2009 at 8:02 PM

Yeah, on you geniuses on the left that kept whining that we need to talk to the mullahs rather than actually doing anything. The left bears responsibility for most of the world’s ills.

johnsteele on August 3, 2009 at 7:16 AM

You can bet any “facility” to build a bomb is under a hospital or a school.

right2bright on August 3, 2009 at 7:14 AM

And the Iranians have already delivered file footage of the “hospital” or “school” to the American media who is sitting on it so they can lambaste us for taking it out.

johnsteele on August 3, 2009 at 7:18 AM

Interesting that this news comes just as a half dozen Obama Admin officials make trips to Israel.

Now, historically it took
5 months to prepare for Kosovo
6 months for Desert Shield
7 months to prepare for false invasion of Iraq in 1993, 1997
3-4 months to prepare for Bosnia airstrikes
6 months to prepare for Operation Iraqi Freedom
2 months to get ready for Enduring Freedom

There’s no military buildup going on by the US in the region, no new carrier deployments, no overlapping deployments, and no squadrons being deployed.
With 3.9 months left in the year….is it safe to say the US military option is not on the table for 2009?

scottm on August 3, 2009 at 7:37 AM

This article says it all. This article tells me that 8 years of Bush rebuilding our intelligence system after 8 years of CLiniton, was a godsend or we’d be sooo screwed right now. Of course Hillary is sitting and waiting to say No NUKES EVER blah blah blah, when 8 years of her and her husband contributed to how blind got under 8 years of CLinton. 9/11 happened when it did becuase it wasn’t going to take long, I dont think, for Bush to rebuild the intelligence commnuity hence its (9/11) happening at the beginning of Bush’s years rather than an attempt in the latter. Evidence has shown the planning went on under CLinton years while he was cutting and slashing defense budgets (sound familiar?). All I can say is thank goodness, like him or not, Bush got the network pumping again so we can know what we know now and we just may save a major nuke exchange from occurring. I am waiting though for Hillary to take all the credit if a good outcome comes of it all.

johnnyU on August 3, 2009 at 7:49 AM

no worries. Our Kenyan president will stop them{cough,cough}

marktarheel on August 3, 2009 at 7:55 AM

When Obama fails to prevent an Iranian nuke from going off, his bootlickers in the press will just blame Bush.

Aitch748 on August 3, 2009 at 8:22 AM

I hope everyone realizes that while the cowards in Washington are lining their pockets, Israel is preparing to deal with this, come what may. Anyone care to argue that point of view?

HomeoftheBrave on August 3, 2009 at 9:05 AM

….is it safe to say the US military option is not on the table for 2009?

scottm on August 3, 2009 at 7:37 AM

Yes. I doubt a military option has ever been on the table for this administration. They don’t even seem willing to give Israel permission to act.

Given how our President’s pastor/mentor feels about ‘them Jews,’ this should come as no surprise.

jazz_piano on August 3, 2009 at 9:40 AM

I hope everyone realizes that while the cowards in Washington are lining their pockets, Israel is preparing to deal with this, come what may. Anyone care to argue that point of view?
HomeoftheBrave on August 3, 2009

Israel is in a precarious position, they have only one ally. On the other hand, besides every Islamic country on the planet, they have a powerful enemy with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council….Russia.

Whatever Israel does, they are screwed. What it will ultimately come down to is you are correct, Israel will have no choice but to strike Iranian nuclear sites before a bomb with delivery systems can be finsihed. What happens after that will be anybody’s guess, but it won’t be pretty.

With far left Democrats and their built in anti-israel, anti defense posture solidly in power here, I don’t believe Iran fears the US a whole lot.

I can hear it now, after Iran and Israel come to blows and the whole middle east flares up Obama will hold a news conference proclaiming…..”now is not the time for heated rhetoric or rash judgements, cooler heads must prevail”…blah, blah, blah, puke, blah

Goodeye_Closed on August 3, 2009 at 9:56 AM

If Iran’s leader does decide to build a bomb, he will have two choices, intelligence sources said. One would be to take the high-risk approach of kicking out the international inspectors and making a sprint to complete Iran’s first bomb, as the country weathered international sanctions or possible air strikes in the ensuing crisis. The other would be to covertly develop the materials needed for an arsenal in secret desert facilities.
(from the article)

I am no expert in nuclear technology but perhaps there is a third choice: They could pay somebody else (North Korea for example) to make if for them.

YiZhangZhe on August 3, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Comment pages: 1 2