Ahmadinejad’s Aggressive Nuclear Policy Prevails in Tehran

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has laid down the gauntlet.
Having prevailed over the more pragmatic elements of the Islamic Republican regime headed by supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he and his Revolutionary Guards are challenging the United States to do its worst.
Saturday, Oct. 20, the fire-eating president succeeded in removing the formidable Iranian nuclear negotiator, head of the National Security Council, Ali Larijani, from his path. He then sent the Revolutionary Guards missile and artillery commander, Gen. Mahmoud Chaharbaghshe, to warn that, in the first minute of an attack on Iran, the Islamic Republic would fire 11,000 missiles and mortars against enemy (US and Israeli) bases. The scale of ordnance threatened implied Tehran’s certainty that Syria, Hizballah, Hamas and the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq would join the assault.
debkafile‘s Iran sources report that the president’s venture into brinkmanship points to his confidence that neither the US not Israel can or will dare to strike at Iran’s clandestine nuclear facilities. Khamenei has shown no sign as yet of reining him in.
The Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit last week to Tehran was a disappointment to the clerical rulers. Contracts for the Russians to complete the Bushehr atomic reactor and supply the fuel for its activation were not signed during that visit, although they had been drawn up previously between Larijani and the head of the Russian Nuclear Energy Commission Sergei Kiriyenko in Moscow.
At the last minute, Ahmadinejad, backed up by the IRGC chiefs, put his foot down against Putin’s pre-condition which was incorporated in the contract for a joint Russian-Iranian mechanism to oversee the reactor and guarantee its non-use for weapons production.
Putin made a last attempt to talk Tehran round in a long conversation with the supreme ruler Wednesday, Oct. 17, before he flew out of Tehran.
Initially, there were reports that the Russian president had presented new proposals for solving the crisis, which Khamenei promised to seriously examine. The Iranian News Agency IRNA then quoted Khamenei as saying noncommittally: “We will ponder your words and proposal.”
However, on Friday, Oct. 19, Ahmadinejad made remarks which contradicted statements by the supreme ruler and Larijani. He denied that Putin had brought any new proposals to Tehran on the Bushehr nuclear reactor. This denial had the effect of presenting Larijani as a failure. His efforts to achieve a new set of Iranian-Russian nuclear contracts and a breakthrough for Tehran that would have kept Moscow in the international camp opposed to tougher UN Security Council sanctions were shown up as useless.
The Iranian president had manipulated the episode in such a way as to leave the nuclear negotiator no option but to quit.
In contrast to the ultra-radicals, Larijani is described by debkafile‘s Iranian sources as a practical diplomat who believed in a compromise that would let Iran continue its uranium enrichment process and develop its nuclear program, up to the point of weapons capability, without taking the final step of actually making a bomb.
His humiliation marks the further rise in Ahmadinejad’s influence and his unimpeded drive to go all the way to a military showdown with the United States and Israel over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In private conversations in Tehran, the president argues that neither is in a position to go to war against the Islamic Republic.
Our military sources stress that the Iranian nuclear program no longer relies exclusively on uranium enrichment to attain a weapon, but has also turned to plutonium as an alternative path to a weapons capacity. The Bushehr reactor is a matter or national pride in Iran, but whether or not it is activating does not affect its military nuclear plans one way or another.
The production of plutonium for weapons is relatively simple and cheap, a fact that was exposed by Israel’s air strike in northern Syria on Sept. 6.
If even Syria can build a small nuclear reactor for plutonium production with North Korean help, there is no reason to assume that Iran has not built an active reactor of this kind and is hiding it underground.
While much has been made of North Korea’s input for Syrian’s nuclear activities, little has been said about Iran’s assistance, which debkafile‘s intelligence sources estimate as far more substantial. In other words, North Korea is not the only nuclear proliferator; Iran is consistently violating its commitments under the Non-Proliferation Accord by passing its military nuclear secrets to Syria.

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