Saturday, September 1, 2007

IAEA Chief Warns Iran

IAEA Chief Mohammad ElBaradei today cautioned Iran against wasting “a great chance, perhaps the last chance” to end the nuclear standoff. (AP). Iran and IAEA have agreed on a timetable for Iran to clear up outstanding questions on its nuclear activities.

US intelligence officials have provided IAEA information on an Iranian secret project code-named the Green Salt Project. According to a report published yesterday in The New York Times, Green Salt involves uranium processing, presumably production of uranium metal which is the core of an atomic bomb, as well as production of high explosives and missile warhead. Together, Green Salt if proven to exist would be Iran’s project for building nuclear weapons.

IAEA also wants to know how the Iranians acquired the skill to build two different types of centrifuges, the so-called P-1 and P-2. The centrifuges are used to enrich uranium. Highly enriched uranium (HEU) can then be processed to produce uranium metal.

Iran has always claimed that its nuclear program is for production of electricity. But for nearly 20 years, Iran had consistently misled IAEA and has obstructed the work of its inspectors. Now IAEA chief is telling the Iranians that this is indeed a critical moment for candor.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was more blunt in his assessment this week if the Iranians could not gain the trust of the international community. The alternative, he said, would be “catastrophic: an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.”

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