Another Perspective

Nuclear Hide and Seek

How to find uranium we don't know exists?

By 11.29.13


The world press followed the Kabuki theater of negotiation among the G5+1 and Iran as if it was a traditional “give and take.” But the Iranians had already won the contest before it began. No matter the conclusion of the six month test period, the Persians already have acquired and stored enough weapons-grade nuclear material to arm several missiles. It may not be of the highest destructive concentration, but it can work. And that’s all that’s needed.

The Obama administration, accompanied by its allies, has convinced itself that the Iranians are unable to hide the crucial accumulation of weapons grade uranium. This is a false assumption. The North Koreans had effectively camouflaged their progress and continue to do so. What Pyongyang is now missing is the ability to reliably deliver its weapons on target.

The Persians have disguised effectively both the nuclear transformation and storage of the collected materials. This has been accomplished with North Korean and other foreign assistance and the fact that human inspection repeatedly has been obfuscated. The UN inspectors were thoroughly outfoxed by the DPRK, and there is no reason to assume it hasn’t or couldn’t be done again in the case of Tehran. The Iranian leadership — most particularly the military/scientific advisors to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have been solid in their belief that Iran must have a nuclear deterrent. This strategy requires both first and second strike capability, something Western diplomats and the Obama team never mention. This analysis is shared by Pentagon technical and scientific analysis.

There is a strong argument for perceiving these negotiations as a ploy to buy time. And as even the most modestly equipped scholar of Islamic affairs knows, there’s precedent for such thinking in Moslem history. In late September 2013 the staunchly pro-regime daily newspaper in Tehran, Resalat, responded to foreign columnists who had misinterpreted the meaning of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s support for “heroic flexibility.” Writing for it domestic audience, the newspaper noted that the Supreme leader was merely following the example of the Prophet Mohammed who initiated a treaty with his tribal opponents in Mecca that lasted two years. According to the Resalat article, this was enough time for the Prophet to reorganize and build-up his army making it able to conquer Mecca. The applicability of this historical commentary to today is inescapable.

It is clear the Israelis understand the validity of the historic allusions and how to apply them contemporaneously. It would appear Netanyahu intends to move strategically and tactically in the new phase, the so-called six-month assessment period. There is nothing else for the Israelis to do other than to prepare for direct conflict with Iran. Interestingly this analysis comes from Saudi Arabian official sources.

Sanctions were relaxed in exchange for a carefully structured illusion of limiting existing supplies of enriched uranium capable of transformation into a fissile core for nuclear weapons. The agreement limits the number and operation of centrifuges involved in enriching Iran’s weapons grade uranium, but no centrifuges will be destroyed or disabled. Further diplomatic wording in the accord insists there will be “increased transparency and intrusive monitoring.”

A six month period of “monitoring” is a completely false process when a large portion of the Iranian nuclear network already is unknown to the monitors. The pretense that the situation is otherwise makes Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts — behind the scenes or in the open — devoid of legitimacy and a fraud on the American public and the international community. In plain terms, this agreement isn’t worth the paper on which it eventually will be printed.

Modern Iran does not need — as the Prophet did — two more years. It has proceeded quite well at advancing its nuclear capability even under the sanctions that now will be relaxed. The Iranians never were, and are not now, negotiating over their nuclear program. Only Washington and its West European allies think they are. The French were annoyed at being left out of the earlier secret talks, so they played their petulant card at the last moment.

Until Washington learns that what is going on is not a chess match but rather like the complex Chinese divertissement “Go,” constructed to cloud all moves by increasing complexity, the Iranians will stride ahead with their plans to dominate the Middle East.

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About the Author
George H. Wittman writes a weekly column on international affairs for The American Spectator online. He was the founding chairman of the National Institute for Public Policy.