New U.N. Report Erases All Doubts: Iran is Developing Nuclear Warheads

The IAEA has released a 25-page report on Iran’s nuclear activities. After just returning from a week-long trip out of the country, I’ve finally had the opportunity to read the entire report. While its language is diplomatic and often highly-technical, the report erases all doubts that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

The U.N. report concludes there is “credible” evidence that:

  1. Iran is systematically enriching nuclear fuel towards military applications.
  2. Iran — since the late-1970s — has been building clandestine nuclear facilities to evade international detection.
  3. Iran’s nuclear program is no longer run by civilians but by the Ministry of Defense.
  4. Iran is steadily developing nuclear warheads.
  5. Iran is developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads against her enemies.
  6. Iran has made preparations to test its first nuclear bomb.
  7. Iran did not cease developing military applications for its nuclear program in 2003, as the CIA reported in its controversial National Intelligence Estimate in 2007, but rather accelerated its efforts to develop the Bomb.

The New York Times editorial page concluded that “the report is chillingly comprehensive. It says that Iran created computer models of nuclear explosions, conducted experiments on nuclear triggers and did advanced research on a warhead that could be delivered by a medium-range missile. What gives the report particular credibility is its meticulous sourcing. The agency’s director, Yukiya Amano, built a case on more than a thousand pages of documents, the assistance of more than 10 agency member states and interviews with ‘a number of individuals who were involved in relevant activities in Iran.’”

A separate news story by the New York Times noted, “The I.A.E.A. report’s detailed revelations are a fascinating role reversal from 2003, when the United States and Britain claimed Iraq was seeking to rekindle its nuclear program. In that case, the agency warnedthat the Bush administration’s case was weak and that some of the evidence was forged. Now, it is the normally cautious agency that is taking the lead, arguing that years of study had led it to the conclusion that, despite Iran’s denials, the country engaged in an active program to design nuclear warheads, among other technologies.”

The question now is what steps the U.S., Israel and the international community will take to neutralize the Iran nuclear threat before it’s too late. The Obama administration does not appear to be considering a decisive new policy, but some of the GOP candidates are. I’ll analyze this tomorrow. In the meantime, please pray for wisdom for U.S. and Israeli leaders. Please pray that some approach short of war can be taken to stop Iran. Please also pray for, and consider financially supporting, The Joshua Fund as we continue to care for poor and needy Israelis and Palestinians and stockpile supplies ahead of the next war.

Here are some the IAEA report’s key findings:

  • “Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its [uranium] enrichment related activities in the following declared facilities, all of which are nevertheless under Agency safeguards.” (main text, p. 3)
  • “The Agency is still awaiting a substantive response from Iran to Agency requests for further information in relation to announcements made by Iran concerning the construction of ten new uranium enrichment facilities, the sites for five of which, according to Iran, have been decided, and the construction of one of which was to have begun by the end of the last Iranian year (20 March 2011) or the start of this Iranian year. In August 2011, Dr. Abbasi was reported as having said that Iran did not need to build new enrichment facilities during the next two years….As a result of Iran’s lack of cooperation on those issues, the Agency is unable to verify and report fully on these matters.” (p. 5)
  • “The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device…Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities;….The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network; Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components. While some of the activities identified in the Annex have civilian as well as military applications, others are specific to nuclear weapons.”
  • “The Agency has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. After assessing carefully and critically the extensive information available to it, the Agency finds the information to be, overall, credible. The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. The information also indicates that prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured programme, and that some activities may still be ongoing.” (p. 10)
  • “Specifically, it was discovered that, as early as the late 1970s and early 1980s, and continuing into the 1990s and 2000s, Iran had used undeclared nuclear material for testing and experimentation in several uranium conversion, enrichment, fabrication and irradiation activities, including the separation of plutonium, at undeclared locations and facilities.” (Annex: Possible Military Dimensions To Iran’s Nuclear Programme, p. 1)
  • “The development of safe, fast-acting detonators, and equipment suitable for firing the detonators, is an integral part of a programme to develop an implosion type nuclear device. Included among the alleged studies documentation are a number of documents relating to the development by Iran, during the period 2002–2003, of fast functioning detonators, known as “exploding bridgewire detonators” or “EBWs” as safe alternatives to the type of detonator described for use in the nuclear device design.”
  • “The Agency has information provided by a Member State that Iran may have planned and undertaken preparatory experimentation which would be useful were Iran to carry out a test of a nuclear explosive device. In particular, the Agency has information that Iran has conducted a number of practical tests to see whether its EBW firing equipment would function satisfactorily over long distances between a firing point and a test device located down a deep shaft. Additionally, among the alleged studies documentation provided by that Member State, is a document, in Farsi, which relates directly to the logistics and safety arrangements that would be necessary for conducting a nuclear test. The Agency has been informed by a different Member State that these arrangements directly reflect those which have been used in nuclear tests conducted by nuclear-weapon States.” (Annex, p. 11)
  • “The alleged studies documentation contains extensive information regarding work which is alleged to have been conducted by Iran during the period 2002 to 2003 under what was known as Project 111. From that information, the project appears to have consisted of a structured and comprehensive programme of engineering studies to examine how to integrate a new spherical payload into the existing payload chamber which would be mounted in the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab 3 missile….Iran has denied conducting the engineering studies, claiming that the documentation which the Agency has is in electronic format and so could have been manipulated, and that it would have been easy to fabricate. However, the quantity of the documentation, and the scope and contents of the work covered in the documentation, are sufficiently comprehensive and complex that, in the Agency’s view, it is not likely to have been the result of forgery or fabrication. While the activities described as those of Project 111 may be relevant to the development of a non-nuclear payload, they are highly relevant to a nuclear weapon programme.” (Annex, p. 11-12)

…for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. - Matthew 25:35-36

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