is Iran Up To?
Israelis captured copious secret Iranian documents that demonstrate the Islamic
Republic long worked on underground nuclear facilities at Parchin. Now a
detailed analysis of the Iranian scheme has come out, and it warrants
close attention. The analysis shows that the Iranians’ secret nuclear program
was successfully hidden from Western intelligence services (including our own)
and from the IAEA, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which is
supposed to monitor Iranian operations.
is the key conclusion:
provisions of the JCPOA (aka the “Iran Deal—ML), with the current IAEA
monitoring regime, would not be able to detect and precipitate action in time to
block Iran from dashing to a nuclear weapon within a short period of time,
particularly as restrictions on enrichment start to end beginning in five years.
If such weapons-related capabilities are not removed or rendered harmless, the
probability increases that countries will decide to block Iran via military
means. Non-action also increases the probability that other states in the
region will build their own independent military nuclear capabilities using
loopholes in the NPT regime and, if necessary, concealment. The United
States and parties to the JCPOA should work now to prevent a renewed Iranian
nuclear crisis, before time runs out.
other words, until Mossad agents made off with the extensive Iranian archive,
the West had no serious information about the Iranian secret nuclear program.
This includes Israel, presumably the best informed of them all. It’s an
alarming fact, especially to yours truly, who wrote several times that there was
an important underground military facility beneath Parchin, which the Iranians
blocked to IAEA inspectors. My sources were Iranians, not agents of a
Western spy group, and it worries me a lot that Mossad and CIA, with all their
wealth and talent, were not able to get the same information.
they any better today? Or was the raid on the Iranian archive a one-off
operation? I have always thought that the Israeli government, whoever the
prime minister, would be forced to take spectacular action against the Tehran
regime when and if it emerged that the Iranians were closing in on nuclear
weapons. But what if the Israelis didn’t know?
unhappy thoughts were reinforced by several interviews given by Israeli Lt. Gen.
Gadi Eisenkot, who is retiring as the chief of staff of the Israel Defense
Forces. He reveals that the IDF struck Iranian targets in Syria
“thousands of times” without ever taking credit for it, and says—correctly
in my opinion—that the Iranians made a mistake by confronting Israel in an
area where the Israelis held both intelligence and aerial superiority. He says
that Iran is retreating from Syria, in large part because of
power struggle in Iran between the Revolutionary Guards faction, led by
Soleimani, who is exporting the Islamic revolution, and the more moderate
faction led by President Hassan Rouhani, who wants to invest in the tottering
economy rather than wars abroad.
General Eisenkot is fully entitled to take pleasure in the Israeli air and
ground assault on Iranian bases in Syria. But it is disconcerting to see he
has fallen for the nonsense about a presumed conflict between Suleimani and
Rouhani. The orders that enabled the Quds Force and Hezbollah to turn
Syria into a near-colony of Iran came from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and so
far as we can tell, Rouhani was totally on board. It sounds as if Israeli
military intelligence has failed to understand what’s going on within the
Islamic Republic. It isn’t a power struggle between a radical and a
moderate faction. It’s a rejection of regime strategy by the bulk of the
The great accomplishment of Israeli intelligence—the raid on the Iranian nuclear archives—overcame years of intelligence failure. The great accomplishment of the Israeli Defense Forces—the defeat of Iranian military installations in Syria—was carried out despite the failure of Israeli intelligence to comprehend the internal dynamics of Iran. It all goes to show you that bad intelligence doesn’t automatically lead to bad policy. A valuable lesson indeed.