The game of hide-and-seek with Iran continues as UN inspectors found traces of radioactivity at two sites they were previously denied permission to inspect. The Wall Street Journal reports that “new evidence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran” is “raising new questions about the scope of the country’s atomic ambitions.”
Last year, Iran blocked UN inspectors from checking the sites for nearly 7 months after radioactivity was found at another site in 2019. Iran has yet to offer a satisfactory explanation of what the material was doing at a site that Iran had not declared as a place where they conducted nuclear research — peaceful or otherwise. Similar stonewalling is expected from Iran regarding these two new sites.
In recent months, Iran has scaled up its nuclear activities, breaching many of the limits in the 2015 nuclear agreement it sealed with the U.S., European powers, Russia and China. These moves started over a year after the Trump administration exited the deal in May 2018 and then imposed broad sanctions on Iran, which had been lifted under the agreement.
It has also threatened to restrict IAEA inspectors’ access to sites starting later this month. These steps have caused growing concern in Washington about Iran’s nuclear intentions.
That was Donald Trump’s Washington, not Joe Biden’s Washington. The Biden administration will do everything in its power to ignore these blatant violations and continue to try and get Iran’s signature on a new nuclear deal.
U.S. and Israeli officials have said Iran’s retention of nuclear material, equipment and information, contained in a nuclear archive raided by Israel in 2018, show the country plans to rev up its nuclear weapons work again.
The IAEA listed in a report in June questions it was asking Iran to clarify on a range of work that could be used for nuclear weapons. One suspicion was Iranian drilling of a uranium metal disc that could be used to create material for a neutron initiator, experts say, a key component of a nuclear weapon. A second suspicion was that nuclear material had been introduced at a site where Iran may have tested high explosives that can be used to detonate a nuclear weapon.
Not too many peaceful nuclear reactors need explosives to generate energy.
Even the dovish Institute for Science and International Security is concerned.
“The discovery of radioactive material at these sites would indicate that Iran does indeed have undeclared nuclear material, despite its denials,” said David Albright, a former weapons inspector and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington. “It would indicate that Iran did have a nuclear weapons program in the past, likely leading the IAEA to call for access to more sites and more explanations from Iran.”
The sites in question were exposed by Israeli intelligence after they raided a warehouse in Tehran and carried off tens of thousands of documents and materials related to nuclear weapons development. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu detailed Mossad’s findings in a speech at the UN in 2018.
Mossad may have hit the jackpot.
The Biden Iran team doesn’t want to hear about it. They are besotted with the idea that they can make peace with the mullahs. Iran will do everything they can to get the sanctions lifted while the administration will do everything they can to sign a deal.
Given the Iranians’ skill at hiding their nuclear intentions and the Biden administration’s eagerness to get a deal done, another nuclear agreement — probably even worse than the deal Obama made in 2016 — is bound to be signed.