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November 23, 2018

Think Tank: Iran Was Closer to Building a Bomb Than Previously Thought

A Nov. 20, 2018 report by a Washington D.C.-based think tank, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) argues that Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program was “more advanced than Western intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency had thought.” ISIS analyzed documents seized by Israeli intelligence operatives in a daring raid for their study.

That raid, first revealed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an April 30, 2018 speech, resulted in thousands of documents being taken from Tehran’s nuclear archive. The documents were subsequently authenticated by the United States.

As CAMERA noted in a Nov. 8, 2018 Daily Caller Op-Ed, several commentators — many of them supporters of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, popularly known as the “Iran deal” — immediately claimed that Israel’s findings revealed “nothing new.”

For example, a May 3, 2018, CNN report by CNN was headlined “Israel reveals nothing new about Iran’s nuclear program, experts say.” But these “experts” made their claims —which were uncritically parroted by nearly every major Western news outlet — without having viewed any of the thousands of documents.

The Institute’s study, however, proves that they were wrong. In fact: analysts are “still sifting through the archive,” according to David Albright, the organization’s executive director. The archive is more than 10,000 pages long and covers the period from 1999 to 2003.

Iran, the ISIS report said, “made more progress” towards creating nuclear weapons than was “known before the seizure of the archives.”

ISIS noted that the documents show that Iran had planned to manufacture 5 nuclear warheads, to acquire highly enriched uranium (HEU) from abroad, to achieve the ability to carry out underground nuclear tests, and to produce HEU via constructing a “parallel fuel cycle.”

The archive also showed that Iran had created a “Supreme Council for Advanced Technologies” to “oversee these efforts.” The Supreme Council made the decision in late 1999 or early 2000 to create nuclear weapons. Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s current president who is frequently labeled a “moderate” by the media, was serving on that Council at the time in his post as the National Security Council Secretary General.

According to ISIS:

“Mr. Rouhani was a central, on-going figure in the nuclear weapons program in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It is difficult to find evidence that his support for nuclear weapons ever ended. If anything, he seems to offer continuity for finding ways to deflect international pressure while continuing the program, awaiting a day when Iran can decide whether the program should fully re-emerge and build nuclear weapons.”

The Institute pointed out that prior to their analysis of the captured documents, the world—including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a watchdog agency tasked with ensuring compliance—did not know how many nuclear weapons Iran planned to make, or how it was going to do so. But now, “the IAEA has access to much, if not most, of the content of the Iranian archives seized by Israel in Tehran.”

Troublingly, ISIS noted, “there is no visible indication that the IAEA is yet acting on the new information.”

ISIS’s report can be found here.

Posted by SD at November 23, 2018 10:41 AM


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