The Institute for Science and International Security has determined that Iran’s nuclear program has been dispersed, protected and concealed. The Washington-based institute said this would rule out a limited air strike on Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities.
“An attack on Iran’s enrichment program could not just rely on a single strike,” the report, titled “Can Military Strikes Destroy Iran’s Gas Centrifuge Program?” “Probably Not,” it said. “It would need multiple strikes against many sites.”
Authored by David Albright, Paul Brannan and Jacqueline Shire, the report contrasted Iran’s nuclear program with that of Iraq and Syria. ISIS said Teheran’s uranium enrichment program was based on gas centrifuges, which could be dispersed throughout Iran. Iraq and Syria had sought to develop nuclear weapons based on reactors.
“Following an attack, Iran could quickly rebuild its centrifuge program in small, easily hidden facilities focused on making weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons,” the report, dated Aug. 7, said.
The two leading Iranian nuclear facilities were identified as Isfahan and Natanz. ISIS said the destruction of these two facilities would require “far more military ordinance than that used” to bomb Iraq’s Osirak reactor or Syria’s Al Kibar. Israel destroyed Osirak in 1981 and Al Kibar in 2007.
“Because gas centrifuge plants can have few tell-tale signatures, they can be very difficult to detect,” the report said. “Given sufficient suspicion of an impending military strike, Iran could quickly remove key centrifuge components, equipment and materials from its existing sites. It may have already done so with certain items as part of a strategy to protect its centrifuge program.”
ISIS said Western intelligence remains uncertain of the precise locations and vulnerabilities of Iranian nuclear facilities. Isfahan was said to contain more than 300 tons of uranium hexafluoride, or UF6, a feeder gas that could facilitate the production of more than 30 nuclear weapons.
Moreover, Albright, a former United Nations weapons inspector, said the International Atomic Energy Agency has failed to locate Iranian facilities that produce centrifuge components. He suggested that the U.S. intelligence community has not been significantly helped by information provided by Israel.
“Based on interviews with knowledgeable government officials, intelligence agencies simply lack reliable information on the full-scope of Iran’s centrifuge facilities and activities,” the report said.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008