Iran puts finishing touches on a desert A-test site east of Tehran
debkafile‘s military sources reveal that Iran is in the last stages of construction of a nuclear test site in the Kavir Lut desert between Tehran and its eastern border with Afghanistan. The work is managed by the Iranian experts invited to attend North Korea’s nuclear test this year. (debkafile reported June 27 that Iran has opened the way for a nuclear test.)
Two of the diplomats attached to the UN nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna confirmed to the Associated Press Saturday July 18 that Iran now has the means to test a weapon within six months. One said more specifically: “Iran has the capacity, if not the intention, to set off a test explosion in six months.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the two diplomats emphasized there were no indications of plans for a nuclear test and in their opinion Iran is unlikely to risk heightened confrontation with the West and chances of an Israeli attack with such a course.
For the last six months, debkafile‘s intelligence sources have all stressed that this supposition is wishful thinking having confirmed that Iran is squarely on the fast track for an N-test. Once preparations are complete, its leaders will not hesitate to conduct one, following the North Korean model.
And indeed the two diplomats in Vienna admitted the Iranians were blocking UN nuclear agency attempts to upgrade monitoring resources.
As recently as July 9, debkafile‘s military sources reported: “The US, Europe – and even the Binyamin Netanyahu government – appear to have adopted the same strategy for North Korea and Iran. It is a combination of harsh oral rebukes coupled with a refusal to address North Korea’s violations and Iran’s race for a nuclear bomb in any practical way, even though sanctions are clearly of no effect at all.
A blind eye is equally turned to the close collaboration between Pyongyang and Tehran on their missile and nuclear development programs. The two rogue states are also clearly in tune on their nuclear diplomacy and timetables.
According to debkafile‘s intelligence sources, North Korea shared the results of its latest missile launches with Iran, exactly as it did after its nuclear and ballistic tests. But neither Washington nor Jerusalem has raised a hand. Both nuclear transgressors are getting away with the gross, ongoing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and making a mockery of international law and UN resolutions.”
Therefore, the diplomat’s estimate Saturday that the Iranians will not risk confrontation with the West or chance an Israeli attack is completely unfounded, as are the theories that the Iranian leadership is in too shaky a position at home to go forward with a nuclear test. As soon as the test site is ready, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not be deterred from taking the nuclear plunge by the unrest at home, any more than grave illness has stopped Kim Jong-II flouting international prohibitions.
Still, the US and Europe will not fall out of their chairs because they have given the ayatollahs all the time they needed to attain a nuclear weapon.