IAEA to Iran: You've got some 'splaining to do! Plus, Carter's Latest Folly

The IAEA has spent the last several years talking to Iran about its pursuit of nuclear technology and has little to show for it. Today, the IAEA officially lost patience with Tehran, accusing the mullahcracy of malicious non-compliance and purposeful non-cooperation. They demand “substantial explanations” for enrichment and other activities:

The International Atomic Energy Agency, in an unusually blunt and detailed report, said Monday that Iran’s suspected research into the development of nuclear weapons remained “a matter of serious concern” and that Iran continued to owe the agency “substantial explanations.”

The nine-page report accused the Iranians of a willful lack of cooperation, particularly in answering allegations that its nuclear program may be intended more for military use than for energy generation.

Part of the agency’s case hinges on 18 documents listed in the report and presented to Iran that, according to Western intelligence agencies, indicate the Iranians have ventured into explosives, uranium processing and a missile warhead design — activities that could be associated with constructing nuclear weapons. ….

The report makes no effort to disguise the agency’s frustration with Iran’s lack of openness. It describes, for example, Iran’s installation of new centrifuges, known as the IR-2 and IR-3 (for Iranian second and third generations) and other modifications at its site at Natanz, as “significant, and as such should have been communicated to the agency.”

The agency also said that during a visit in April, it was denied access to sites where centrifuge components were being manufactured and where research of uranium enrichment was being conducted.

The Iranians have stalling for time to produce its nuclear fuel. All indications show that Iran already has its hands on at least a basic weapon design from the AQ Khan network. All they now require is enough highly-enriched uranium to begin building bombs. As the IAEA itself notes, the Iranian military has sponsored a significant amount of this effort, which tends to support the notion that the military is the ultimate consumer of this process.

Of course, this sends the issue back to the UN, which will promptly do nothing with it. Russia and China will still act to protect their client state. The EU’s Javier Solana will go back to Tehran with the latest offer from the West, including the US, to see whether a deal can be struck to end their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Thanks to Jimmy Carter, however, we can probably guess the outcome of that negotiation:

Our allies have to wonder exactly what else Carter will blurt out in public. Certainly this erodes any confidence in our ability to keep secrets, especially those of our friends. It also signals the mullahs in Tehran to resist any attempts to unilaterally forego nukes without disarming Israel in the process.

Can we prosecute Carter for exposing classified material? Probably not — we’d have to admit the information was accurate — but it certainly would give a certain satisfaction.