Iran claims it never managed to make working centrifuges from the more sophisticated European uranium enrichment centrifuge design it acquired from Pakistan after Pakistan stole the design from Europe.
According to Iran, after June 2003 "all of the [P-2] centrifuge equipment was moved to the Pars Trash Company in Tehran," says the IAEA's recent Iran report.
Centrifuges in the trash? Right.
The IAEA - not to mention the Bush administration - isn't buying this part of the story. They want the Iranians to talk more about what they really have in terms of P-2 equipment.
But Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program is meant only to produce electricity. Squeezing them too hard at this point might be counterproductive, say some experts. They're like someone hauled in by law enforcement for an interview who can leave at any moment, since they haven't officially been charged with a crime.
"We want them to continue cooperating with the police," says Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Agency.
The Bush Administration is not willing or able to escalate the confrontation with Iran over nuclear proliferation. The mullahs in power in Iran may be betting they can give themselves enough wiggle room to continue to develop nuclear weapons by pretending to reveal all.
As we watch the slow diplomatic dance and the continuing series of revelations about black market nuclear weapons technology it is worth reviewing how the Bush Administration is doing in dealing with the problems of Islamic terrorism, the spread of the more radical strains of Islam, and with the problem of nuclear proliferation. Here are some measures I think are worth keeping in mind when watching the Bush Administration execute its foreign policy:
As you can see from the above list I do not think the United States is doing enough to deal with the Islamic threat or with the related nuclear weapons proliferation threat.
So far the Bush Administration has managed to knock out or stop the weakest nuclear proliferator wanna-bes with the invasion of Iraq and the deal with Muammar Qaddafi/Kadaffy/Khadafy/Ghadafi (can't we just rename him Gandolf or Rudolph or something?) of Libya for him to cry uncle and tell all about his nuclear efforts in exchange for being allowed back into polite society. The Libya deal was probably facilitated by the invasion of Iraq (though there are some who argue otherwise I do not find their arguments persuasive) and that deal helped to bring to light many elements of a black market in nuclear weapons technology. That is a big plus. But is the resulting intelligence bonanza going to enable the United States and its allies to create enough obstacles to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program? It is hard to tell but maybe not. Perhaps the Iranians have already acquired everything they need from the nuclear technology black market and the information from Libya is coming too late to make a difference.
More generally, the Bush Administration's general response just isn't attacking the general threat on enough different levels and layers. There should be a strategy for defunding the Wahhabis because Saudi Arabia isn't going to get better left to its own devices. The borders of the US should be actively defended to prevent hostile outsiders from getting in. While it is not politically correct to admit it not all religious ideologies are compatible with a free society. If we can't clearly identify the nature of the conflict we are not going to fight it effectively. In this respect the Cold War was an easier battle to fight because even though many on the Left argued that communism wasn't a threat most people clearly saw it as a dangerous ideology. Today that clarity of understanding is missing among most leaders in the government and among most of the talking heads.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 March 03 01:24 AM US Foreign Weapons Proliferation Control|