Iran's Nuclear Weapons Prograrm
Over a decade ago the CIA conducted a nuclear sting operation upon Iran. Because of it, the U.N. monitors have to be wary in their past assessments of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons work. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors will have to review intelligence they received about Iran as a result of the sting, in which the CIA passed doctored blueprints for nuclear-weapon components to Iran in February 2000.
In short, the CIA planted a ‘smoking gun’ in Iran for the IAEA to find, according to Peter Jenkins, the U.K.’s former envoy to the Vienna-based agency. Since the U.N.'s IAEA is responsible for determining if Iran has been trying to develop nuclear weapons, the CIA sting op resulted in continued tough international sanctions against Iran; it nullified the chances of them being eased a bit, or lifted.
Iran has repeatedly accused the IAEA of basing its case on forged documents, but the IAEA has never acknowledged receiving tampered evidence and claims it carries out
thorough assessments of the information it receives. The CIA remained silent when asked about the sting operation. Enter Jeffrey Sterling. Documents were filed as evidence to an Alexandria, Virginia court on Jan. 14 for the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted of leaking classified information about the CIA sting operation against Iran. Sterling worked on a CIA project aimed at misleading Iranian scientists by feeding modified designs for nuclear-weapons components to the country’s IAEA mission in Austria. He stated, “The goal is to plant this substantial piece of deceptive information on the Iranian nuclear-weapons program, sending them down blind alleys, wasting their time and money.”
Since the IAEA’s suspicions about Iran rest on older information provided by intelligence agencies, this is relevant, indeed. However, IAEA inspectors don’t only rely on spy data, according to one of the diplomats, who pointed to the agency’s assessment of Iran’s Parchin Military complex, where the country is alleged to have tested high explosives. Satellite imagery analysis and open-source data also play roles.
Iran probably stopped pursuing a nuclear bomb in 2003, according to the most recently published U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, the consensus of 16 intelligence agencies including the CIA. Still, suspicions linger. The IAEA reported Thursday that its 12-year probe of Iran has stalled.
“While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material” inspectors cannot “conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” the IAEA said in its quarterly report.
The CIA sting shows the kind of tactics that the U.S. and its allies have used against Iran, according to Dan Joyner, a law professor at the University of Alabama. “The falsification of nuclear-related documents is a very real part of such states’ efforts to frustrate Iran’s nuclear program,” said Joyner, who has written extensively on nuclear proliferation risks. He added, “This revelation highlights the dangers of reliance by the IAEA upon evidence concerning Iran provided to it by third party states whose political agendas are antithetical to Iran.”
Like many in the West, I don't trust Iran and believe that it is bent on developing a nuclear weapon. I wrote the article "Are Cyberattacks on Iran's Nuclear Program Justified?" Lastly, I offer 6 OSINT resources which I use when writing about Iran's fallacious pursuit of nuclear weapons disguised as a tranquil, peaceful quest for nuclear energy:
- Nuclear Iran This website reports on a broad range of information about Iran's nuclear program, from current news and assessments to ongoing diplomatic efforts to halt its uranium enrichment, satellite imagery and ground photos of Iran's nuclear sites. This site was made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation.
- The Iran Primer This site is comprehensive, for it brings together 50 experts—Western and Iranian—in concise chapters on politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and the nuclear program. It chronicles events under six U.S. presidents. It also has leader bios, timelines, data on nuclear sites—and context for what lies ahead.
- Arms Control Association- Kelsey Davenport Davenport is the Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association, where she provides research and analysis on the nuclear and missile programs in Iran, North Korea, India, and Pakistan and on nuclear security issues.
- Intelligence on Iran- get the facts This is the premiere source of information tracking the Iranian nuclear program and the international effort being waged to keep the Islamic Republic from reaching a nuclear capability.
- United Against Nuclear Iran United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group that seeks to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons. UANI was founded in 2008 by Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former CIA Director Jim Woolsey and Middle East expert Dennis Ross. It joins the international community in attempting to stop Iran from continuing its illegal nuclear weapons program, and from supporting terrorism and gross human rights violations.
- Iran 180 This website symbolizes a movement of people and organizations who have come together as a unified voice to demand a 180 turnaround by the Iranian government on their pursuit of nuclear weapons and the treatment of their citizens. Founded in 2010 as a coalition of concerned community organizations, Iran180 has established itself at the forefront of advocacy on behalf of victims of the Iranian regime, and against the regime in Tehran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Robert Morton, Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes the online spy novel series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean". The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. Contact him on the Secure Contact Form