Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Pacific News Service > News > Is Iran Building Nukes? An Analysis (Part 1)

Pacific News Service > News > Is Iran Building Nukes? An Analysis (Part 1): "Is Iran Building Nukes? An Analysis (Part 1)
News Analysis, William O. Beeman and Thomas Stauffer,
Pacific News Service, Jun 26, 2003
Editor's Note: The Bush administration is turning up the heat on Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program, but the authors say the evidence just isn't there. Part 1 of a two-part series.

President Bush declared on June 25 that 'we will not tolerate' a nuclear armed Iran. His words are empty. The physical evidence for a nuclear weapons program in Iran simply does not exist.

Iran is building a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr with Russian help. The existence of the site is common knowledge. It has been under construction for more than three decades, since before the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979.

Two other nuclear research facilities, now under development, have come to light: a uranium enrichment plant in the city of Natanz and a deuterium ('heavy water') facility in the city of Arak. Neither is in operation. The only question of interest is whether these facilities offer a plausible route to the manufacture of plutonium-based nuclear bombs, and the short answer is: They do not.

The Bushehr plant is only part of the argument that Iran is embarked on a nuclear weapons program, but it is the part that can readily be analyzed. State Department accusations of dangerous Iranian intentions for the Natanz and Arak facilities are based on a patchwork of untestable, murky assertions from dubious sources, including the People's Mujahedeen (Mujahedeen-e Khalq, MEK or MKO), which the United States identifies as a terrorist organization. These sources assert that there are centrifuges for enriching uranium (a"

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