Monthly Archives: May 2012

Rowhani Interview: 2012 Edition

A bit late on this, I know, but Frontline’s “Tehran Bureau”: published a translation of an “interview”: with Hassan Rowhani, the former head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

Lots of good stuff…I especially like his account of the internal debate in Iran regarding the suspension of Tehran’s enrichment program. In addition to mentioning that “[m]ost people did not believe” that the IAEA BoG would refer Iran to the UNSC just for restarting the conversion facility at Esfahan, he says that the Supreme Leader initially ordered the conversion facility to be restarted was in April 2005, before Ahmadinejad was even elected. The account, honestly, is a little unclear, especially because Iran didn’t restart the facility until August of that year. Still interesting, though.

He also describes the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran’s attitude regarding the suspension:

bq.. The *AEOI was always in a hurry*, and had its own reasons. They had an organization and staff. They had hired engineers and some technical experts. Thus, when the activity was suspended, it was difficult for them. *Their thesis was that we should finish the job.* There was always a debate as to whether they could finish the job that they had begun. Since we were taking a first step along the nuclear path, and did not have prior experience, *the AEOI wanted to prove that it could finish the job, because it also faced some opposition.* I remember that a group of physics professors met with me and told me that Iran cannot do this [set up the nuclear fuel cycle]. They were saying that those who work on the project were our own students, and we believe this is not doable. The AEOI was also aware that it had opposition. Thus, *it wanted to prove that it could be done and encourage its own engineers.* Thus, naturally, they wanted to end the suspension [of Iran’s nuclear program, which lasted from October 2003 to August 2005]. But they did not want Iran’s nuclear dossier to be sent to the U.N. Security Council.

Tactical Nuclear Penguin

Via “this piece,”: we learn about Tactical Nuclear Penguin, said by its makers to be the world’s strongest beer. Apparently it was released about 18 months ago, but I hadn’t heard of it til now.

The details can be seen here:

INFCIRC/540 As Reference Guide

I was reading the “Model Additional Protocol”: (INFCIRC/540) and thought I should point out that Annex II, titled “LIST OF SPECIFIED EQUIPMENT AND NON-NUCLEAR MATERIAL FOR THE REPORTING OF EXPORTS AND IMPORTS ACCORDING TO ARTICLE 2.a.(ix)” is a pretty good reference guide for ENR technology.

That is all.


Hey Peter…

My first editor at ACT, Peter Scoblic, is “leaving the SFRC”: to become Foreign Policy’s new executive editor, according to Josh Rogin.

Congrats, man.

Osirak Foreshadowing: 1980 Iran Edition

After I posted “this short bit”: about the 1981 Israeli attack on Osriak, an astute reader reminded me of a topic that I meant to blog about: Iran’s attack on the same reactor the previous year.

The National Security Archives posted “this October 1, 1980”: edition of the National Intelligence Daily which confirmed the attack.

The “post”: also contains a good account (AFAIK, it’s good – I don’t know anything about the history) of the whole issue, so take a look.

Still More About Indian Uranium Enrichment

Following up on “this post,”: I thought I’d point out that the 1981 State Dept “report”: to which I have “previously referred”: mentions that

bq. [t]hus far, no “Nth” country (including India) has proceeded to the systematic separation of special nuclear materials.

NYRB on ISIS, Parsi, and Iran

Wow. The NYRB has an “article”: (sub.req.) reviewing two pieces about Iran and I know everyone who’s written them. This won’t be repeated, I’m sure. One is this “ISIS report”: and the other is Trita Parsi’s “latest book.”:

Haven’t read the NYRB article yet…I’ll see how Mr. Coll did.

Kissinger on Bangladeshi and Pakistani Nukes

I get the feeling that this was meant in jest, but according to “this”: 1974 memo of a meeting between US and Pakistani officials, Henry Kissinger had the following exchange with then-Prime Minster Zulfikar Ali Bhutto:

bq.. Bhutto:But don’t you come from New Delhi thinking that India is really expansionist?

Kissinger: After seeing India, I am thinking about *supplying nuclear weapons*, not only conventional arms, to *Pakistan and even Bangladesh!*

p. Likewise, I assume the below exchange between Kissinger and then-Paksitani Foreign Minster Aziz Ahmed (described in “this”: 1975 MEMCON) wasn’t serious, but I don’t know enough about the history of the bilateral relationship to be certain:

bq.. Ahmed: We have submitted to you two lists of arms we need.

Kissinger: I hope the *nuclear weapons are on the second list.*

Ahmed: *They are on the third list;* we have the Pershing on the second list.

Kissinger: The Pershing issue is a big fraud. We never had any intention of giving it to Israel in any foreseeable time frame. The people who are pushing all this are the pro-Israelis who want to lock us into commitments to Israel. But you didn’t want it anyway.

Ahmed: No, *only the nuclear weapons.*

Kissinger: *The 1960 models are in surplus now so we should be able to give you some* —but I had better watch what I say since there is no telling what you might report back to Bhutto.

Osirak Foreshadowing: 1981 State Dept Edition

From “the same”: National Security Archives trove, comes “this”: April 1981 State Dept paper about nuclear proliferation.

There’s a lot there, but for now, I’ll highlight this passage about a possible Iraqi nuclear weapons program:

bq. Iraq is a current example of this process. It is an NPT party,
and we have no direct evidence that it intends to develop a nuclear
explosive option. However, the fact that it is acquiring (generally
safeguarded) sensitive technology and equipment in the absence of a nuclear power program, when taken with its petroleum reserves, which cast doubt on the need for nuclear power for development for the foresee- able future, and its radical political orientation, has begun the same kind of regional and international counter reaction that would be expected if its imminent intention to proliferate were established. As could be predicted, the reaction has been strongest from Israel – then state with the greatest political/security concern over an incipient Iraqi explosive capability, and secondarily from ourselves as guarantors of Israeli security. *Long before Iraq is actually capable of a nuclear explosion we may have an Israeli counter action that poses grave regional problems.*

That was quite an observation, given “the events”: which occurred about 2 months after the report.

Yet More on Indian Enrichment

I could keep this up for a while.

Following on “this post,”: I feel compelled to note a snippet from “another document”: from the National Security Archives “trove”: that I mentioned before.

According to the June 1981 INR report,

bq. [India] currently lacks sufficient enriched uranium for a larger weapons program.

That’s consistent with the 1979 document I “wrote about,”: which states that India “produces weapons grade uranium.”

Carry on.