The Wall Street Journal reports that Iran has studied weaponization of nuclear material under the aegis of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) since the 1980s. Two weeks ago in this space I argued that the Joint Plan of Action, like every other Iranian concession in the last decade-plus, was a transparent stall tactic. I based that assessment in part on the motivation reflected in the effort and resources Iran has already invested in its nuclear program. The new information about Iran’s 30 years of weaponization research strengthens the point.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is the common thread among Iran’s scheme of hiding weaponization research by re-naming and re-locating facilities. Fakhrizadeh has a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering and is a senior member of the IRGC. The IRGC is the Ayatollah’s shadow security apparatus, with its own army, air force and navy, and responsibility for Iran’s missile program and international terrorist network. Fakhrizadeh’s IRGC role not only gives him access to the resources to persevere in his work despite the high monetary and political costs imposed by Western sanctions, but reflects the Iranian leadership’s direct role in Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons.
The picture is clear enough. Iran’s Supreme Leaders, the Ayatollahs, have directed a 30 year effort to develop nuclear weapons, despite concerted Western opposition, and, formerly, crippling sanctions and the threat of military intervention. In the face of this, the Ayatollahs have repeatedly made minor, temporary concessions that in retrospect have done little or nothing to slow Iran’s nuclear development.
There is no objective argument that can account for all of the facts and still conclude that Iran will peacefully relinquish its nuclear program.
Note: The new information reflected in the WSJ report came from the same anti-Ayatollah group, the Mujahideen-e-khalq, that previously uncovered Iran’s Natanz enrichment plant and Arak heavy water reactor. Click here for more on MEK and its past contributions to the West’s knowledge of Iran’s illicit nuclear program.