One step forward, one step back: IAEA believes Iran has data to make bomb

By Daily Maverick Legacy 5 October 2009

International Atomic Energy Agency staffers believe Iran has “sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable” atom bomb. These conclusions go well beyond public positions taken by various governments, including the US. US intelligence concluded Iran ceased efforts to design a bomb in 2003, a conclusion Britain, France, Germany and Israel dispute. The US may be re-evaluating its view as well. Beyond help from rogue scientists, Iran has apparently done extensive research and testing on weapons components. The confidential IAEA report, “Possible Military Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Program,” describes a programme “aimed at the development of a nuclear payload to be delivered using the Shahab 3 missile system.” And in the IAEA itself, there is now a struggle between departing director Mohamed El Baradei and his own staff against foreign governments who wish to intensify pressure on Iran. This new sense in the intelligence community that Iran has solved major nuclear design problems is another diplomatic challenge for Obama and his allies. Last week’s meeting in Geneva appeared to show progress, including agreement to inspect the underground enrichment facility near Qom, but this emerging consensus on Iran’s nuclear progress may undermine it.

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