Scott Ritter is wary of the political hype over Iran’s hidden nuclear plans:
The facility in question, said to be located on a secret Iranian military installation outside of the holy city of Qom and capable of housing up to 3,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium, had been monitored by the intelligence services of the US and other nations for some time. But it wasn’t until Monday that the IAEA found out about its existence, based not on any intelligence “scoop” provided by the US, but rather Iran’s own voluntary declaration. Iran’s actions forced the hand of the US, leading to Obama’s hurried press conference Friday morning.
Iran’s declaration of this facility to the IAEA, which predates Obama’s announcement by several days, is probably a recognition on the part of Iran that this duplication of effort is no longer representative of sound policy on its part.
In any event, the facility is now out of the shadows, and will soon be subjected to a vast range of IAEA inspections, making any speculation about Iran’s nuclear intentions moot. Moreover, Iran, in declaring this facility, has to know that because it has allegedly placed operational centrifuges in the Qom plant (even if no nuclear material has been introduced), there will be a need to provide the IAEA with full access to Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing capability, so that a material balance can be acquired for these items as well.
Rather than representing the tip of the iceberg in terms of uncovering a covert nuclear weapons capability, the emergence of the existence of the Qom enrichment facility could very well mark the initiation of a period of even greater transparency on the part of Iran, leading to its full adoption and implementation of the IAEA additional protocol.
This seems an extremely generous interpretation of Iran’s actions, suggesting that the US and the international community are those acting in bad faith. Iran have obviously only come clean because they realised their security had been compromised by foreign intelligence agencies. Along with Pakistan’s ISI, the Iranian’s are also suspected to be helping the Taliban, they have a proxy terrorist army on Lebanese soil, and are still developing, and parading, longer range missiles like the Sejjil missile. It’s treatment of its own people should be enough to raise concerns. Iranian behaviour in other areas should inform our response to their nuclear ambitions.