As the world debates what it, if anything, the West and Israel will do about the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon, there has been a constant undercurrent of skepticism in which it is claimed that suspicions about Tehran’s intentions are completely unfounded. The blowback from the intelligence failures prior to the Iraq war has given an undeserved credence to these attempts to stifle discussion of the issue. But though the political left continues to trumpet the belief that Iran is the victim of a conspiracy to rush to war, evidence continues to pile up that points to only one conclusion: the Iranians are working overtime to put a genocidal weapon in the hands of their fanatic Islamist leaders.
The latest addition to the dossier against Iran was presented in yesterday’s Guardian which published an article in which unnamed western diplomats leaked findings by International Atomic Energy Agency experts who said satellite images of an Iranian facility in Parchin reveal evidence of testing of an experimental neutron device used to trigger a nuclear explosion. If true, this gives the lie to the notion that the purpose of Iran’s nuclear program is medical research, as the regime claims. The only possible use for such a technology would be in the production of a weapon.
According to the Guardian, satellite images revealed evidence of crews attempting to clean up the aftermath of tests that required the removal of huge amounts of contaminated soil that led experts to believe a neutron-initiator had been tried out there. This is not the first time the IAEA has uncovered worrisome signs from Parchin. Last fall, the agency said experiments with conventional high explosives that were meant to initiate a nuclear chain reaction had been conducted at the place. The Iranians have refused to allow international inspectors to visit Parchin, but it is expected that this ban will be lifted once the clean up effort there is completed.
The Iranians have been trying to cover their tracks on their nuclear program for years, but given the technology available to investigators, there is a limit to the amount of information Tehran can conceal from the world.
But no amount of high tech spy work can offset the sense of complacency about Iran that has infected much of the U.S. intelligence and defense establishment, many of whose members continue to feed the disinformation about the threat being disseminated by those who oppose efforts to stop Iran. As the dossier against Iran gets thicker, the validity of the excuses for delay and inaction are growing less credible. It may well be that President Obama has managed to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to put off a decision on striking Iran for the next few months. But while the world waits in vain for diplomacy to resolve this problem, there is little doubt the Iranians are working steadily toward realizing their nuclear ambitions.