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The IAEA Exposes Iran’s Shell Game

4:33 PM, Nov 9, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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The green salt project “was part of a larger project…to provide a source of uranium suitable for use in an undisclosed enrichment programme.” The result “would be converted into metal for use in the new warhead.”  This was known as “Project 5.” This new warhead “was the subject of the missile re-entry vehicle studies,” known as “Project 111.” The IAEA failed to connect the dots between Projects 5 and 111 at first, but evidence it was subsequently shown “established the connection” between the two.

The AMAD Plan was clearly intended to build a nuclear weapon.

Then, in late 2003, “senior Iranian officials” issued a “halt order” and the AMAD Plan “was stopped rather abruptly.” The IAEA attributes the decision to “growing concerns about the international security situation in Iraq and neighbouring countries at the time.” Note that this is radically different from what the U.S. intelligence community said in December 2007.

The NIE concluded that the 2003 halt “was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.” From there the authors of the NIE leapt to the conclusion that “Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged previously.”

The NIE, therefore, was intended to persuade its audience that diplomacy and “influence” may be enough to convince Tehran to stop its efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon. But the IAEA’s report contradicts this in at least two ways. First, the “international security situation in Iraq” and Afghanistan was the result of U.S.-led forces toppling two rogue regimes. That surely weighed heavily in Iranian decision-making. Second, and more importantly, Iran’s weapons program did not come to a complete halt in 2003.   

Additional intelligence provided to the IAEA “indicates that some activities previously carried out under the AMAD Plan,” which was Tehran’s front for developing nuclear weapons, “were resumed later.” They were resumed “first under a new organization known as the Section for Advanced Development Applications and Technologies (SADAT), which continued to report to MODAFL.”  

The AMAD Plan and then SADAT were headed by the same man: Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. In mid-2008, according to the IAEA, Fakhrizadeh continued in this role “as the head of the Malek Ashtar University of Technology (MUT) in Tehran.” The IAEA subsequently learned that Fakhrizadeh “moved his seat of operations from MUT to an adjacent location known as the Modjeh Site, and that he now leads the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research.”

After recounting this shell game played by the Iranians, the IAEA explains it “is concerned because some of the activities undertaken after 2003 would be highly relevant to a nuclear programme.”

In sum, the 2007 NIE concluded that Iran had “halted” its nuclear weapons program, which was housed in the AMAD Plan. The IAEA’s new report says that at least parts of the AMAD Plan lived on – albeit under different names.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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