Monthly Archives: November 2006

NPT Wreckage

That ongoing effort is being “broadcast on CSPAN2.”:

Will someone please point out that India’s population size, type of government, and economic growth don’t mean that it gets to have nuclear weapons?

Anyway, ACA sponsored a related event on Tuesday. “Check out the transcript”: for more details.

I would point out that Zia Mian discussed “this report”: which, I think, pretty much demolishes “this one”: by Ashley Tellis.

Bottom line: India doesn’t have enough uranium for both its nuclear weapons and nuclear power programs. That is why the agreement aids India’s nuclear program.

If you don’t believe me, check out this line from a “previous Tellis report”:

The energy dialogue represents the best means of reaching a U.S. – Indian modus vivendi on civilian nuclear power. Given its huge energy requirements, the growing pressures to avoid burning dirty coal in order to protect the environment, and the need to reduce carbon emissions that exacerbate global warming, New Delhi has little alternative but to rely increasingly on nuclear power. Unfortunately for India, two major challenges threaten this objective.

One of which is “India has the misfortune to have been poorly endowed with natural uranium.”

Tellis adds:

While the difficulties of mastering the thorium- based fuel cycle will preoccupy India for many years to come, New Delhi is confronted by more pressing threats. The critical problem facing India right now is the severe shortage of natural uranium, which, if unresolved, could bring the operation of many stage 1 PHWRs to a gradual halt. Not only would this worsen India’s electricity production problems—with all the consequent implications for economic growth—but it would also decisively undermine the three-stage program on which the Department of Atomic Energy has staked the nation’s energy independence for the secular future.

Interestingly, check out his description of a series of considerably less-ambitious steps (relative to the nuclear deal) that would aid India’s nuclear program:

If the administration were to settle for even such conservative reforms as these, it would not only send an important signal to India about larger American intentions but would materially contribute to preserving the future balance of power in Asia—a prospect that motivated former U.S. ambassador to India Robert D. Blackwill to ask recently, “Why should the U.S. want to check India’s missile capability in ways that could lead to China’s permanent nuclear dominance over democratic India?”23 Even if the United States cannot actively aid India in developing its strategic capabilities, it ought to *pursue policies having exactly that effect.* Currently, the easiest way for the administration to do this is simply to leave New Delhi—and its international partners—alone.

[Emphasis mine.]



“Here’s an article”: about the final vote.

More on NCRI and Iran

Adding to Jeffrey’s “post”:…

Annoyed for similar reasons, I pointed out “a while back”: that the NCRI on its own doesn’t appear to have produced a whole lot of actionable intelligence on Iran.

To an extent, though, I guess one can excuse people for thinking differently. After all, The Decider himself “said in March 2004”: that Iran’s nuclear program “became discovered, not because of their compliance with the IAEA or NPT, but because a dissident group pointed it out to the world…”

Anyway, it’s worth noting an additional item in the Hibbs article that Jeffrey cites: the IAEA didn’t seem to know much about what was in the buildings at Natanz.

Hibbs writes:

The IAEA was concerned about reasserting its rights to return to the Natanz site, one official said, because the information available suggests that ”it will be a number of years at least” before an enrichment plant could be operable there, and before what appear to be buildings built for hosting cascade halls for centrifuge uranium enrichment would be filled with machines. The construction of a heavy water plant at Arak is said to be somewhat farther along.

The IAEA in February ”must get inside the buildings at Natanz,” one Vienna official said. But because there is a possibility they are empty, he asserted ElBaradei is taking a certain political risk in going there, regardless of whether Iran has told the IAEA it can return to Natanz. ”What will he or can he say to the world after he has seen it?” the Vienna official asked.

This jibes with some reporting I did at the time. I wrote “in this _ACT_ piece”: that

bq. IAEA officials were “taken aback” by the advanced state of an Iranian gas centrifuge uranium-enrichment facility at a complex at Natanz during a February visit, according to a U.S. State Department official interviewed March 20 [2003].

This seems to make sense – the US IC may have provided some procurement data to the IAEA and told them about the structures in question. But it’s entirely possible that the US didn’t know how far the Iranians had gotten – or at least didn’t bother to voice their concerns to the IAEA.

p=. ***

One other relevant item… Hassan Rowhani, formerly Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator, talked about Western countries’ discovery of Iran’s enrichment program in a “2004 speech:”:

bq. With regard to Natanz and how it was discovered, there were a number of things. The monafeqin [NCRI/MeK] also played a role here. They collected information through different channels. First, they had comings and goings in the area of Natanz and found out that something was going on there. They even got close to this area (the same area where Dr… [as published] pointed out that they wanted to build a silo to store wheat). They went there, taken pictures, and collected information. They also obtained information from some individuals via the telephone. Thus, unfortunately, information was exposed. In addition, one or two employees at the [Iranian] Atomic Energy Agency were spies for other countries. That is to say, they had taken pictures at the digging site and during the subsequent stages of construction. They [the West] collected information thorough various channels, including by satellite, and one of those channels was the monafeqin.