Sunday, November 08, 2009

William O. Beeman--IAEA Found Nothing Serious at Iran Site

IAEA Found Nothing Serious at Iran Site
Posted on Nov 07, 2009 02:56:00 PM by Andrew Lam
[ filed under: foreign-policy middle-east ]

by William O. Beeman

When a “secret nuclear site” in Qom (Qum), Iran was voluntarily disclosed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by Iran on September 21, 2009, President Obama claimed that the United States forced the disclosure. Indeed, the United States had known about the site for at least three years.

The Qom site was reportedly a second uranium enrichment site, matching the one already in operation at the town of Natanz. However, even at the time of disclosure it appeared to be less than had been reported by President Obama. It had 3000 antiquated centrifuges purchased from Pakistan that had not been even set up for use. It had no nuclear fissile material in it, In short, the site was was not operational in any way.

Iran claimed that under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) they were not required to report such sites until 180 days prior to the introduction of fissile material. The U.S. and other nations claimed that Iran was bound by an “additional protocol” to the NPT that required them to disclose planned sites even before they were built. Iran never properly ratified the additional protocol, but observed it voluntarily as a goodwill gesture from 2004 to 2007, formally notifying the IAEA in 2007 that they were suspending this observance. The conversion of the Qum site did not begin until 2008.

The brouhaha over the “discovery” of the Qum site was epic. Israel and numerous American politicians claimed that it “proved” that Iran was building a bomb. Iran immediately invited IAEA inspectors to the site, though they claimed they were not required to do so.

Last Thursday Reuters and the New York Times reported that the IAEA inspectors had visited the Qom site. As can be seen from
the Reuters article, the whole matter proved to be a tempest in a teapot.

According to IAEA Chief, Mohammad al-Baradei, the Qom site contained nothing of any importance, was not operational, and was in effect a bunker—a hole in the ground. The flap over this silly incident demonstrates the extraordinary lengths politicians in Israel and the West will go to demonize Iran’s nuclear energy program.

There is still no proof whatever that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.