Snap Inspections for Iran’s Secret Weapons Sites
The October 31 deadline set by the International Atomic Energy Agency for Tehran to sign the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and halt uranium enrichment production came and went without the Iranians coming through on either commitment.
The Bush administration is highly skeptical about Iran ever taking those steps.
Furthermore, the “comprehensive” declaration of nuclear programs which Iran handed into the Vienna-based IAEA was diagnosed by its chairman Dr. ElBaradei as not only falling short but exposing previous Iranian violations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty it had signed.
In view of these lapses, the US administration has evolved a strategy to bring Tehran in line:
American intelligence and surveillance agencies are ordered to find out the exact situation on Iran’s centrifuges. The White House wants a full update on whether centrifuges are operating at the various nuclear sites and carrying out uranium enrichment, and whether Iran is making its own centrifuges or importing new ones – in which case from whom. The agencies are also asked to quantify the enriched uranium the Iranians have been able to produce.
In secret diplomatic exchanges, the Bush administration informed the international watchdog that its inspectors are expected to run a dramatic series of intrusive snap inspections at all of Iran’s nuclear sites in the coming three weeks. The inspectors must arrive without prior notification to the Tehran authorities, even at the risk of being thrown out.
Washington wants Dr. ElBaradei to convene an emergency session of the IAEA board to review Iran’s non-compliance with its signed treaties and failure to meet the October 31 ultimatum for coming clean on its nuclear weapons programs.
Once there is enough incriminating material in hand, the White House intends to take Iran’s nuclear violations to the UN Security Council and explore the possibility of imposing sanctions.
Iran’s rulers are aware of the US government’s intentions. Spiritual ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated last week that Tehran would withhold its cooperation if faced with what it regards as excessive demands on its nuclear programs.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Iran experts have no doubt that the Iranians will throw up barriers in the path of international inspectors arriving unannounced, bringing the crisis to a fresh peak.