Iran's nuclear deceptions (The Times)
Let me direct you to an alarming story that's appearing on the wires as I write. The Times has acquired documents directly from Iran's nuclear programme. This is how our leading article describes their implications:
'Winston Churchill described the actions of Russia as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. The nuclear diplomacy of Iran is constructed more simply: it is one lie after another. Western diplomacy has proved susceptible to the tactic. A US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in December 2007 concluded that Iran was “less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005”. Documents obtained by The Times reveal that this assessment was worthless.
'The information comes from Iran’s most sensitive nuclear project. It concerns a four-year plan to test a neutron initiator. This is the component of a nuclear weapon that triggers the explosion. The plan was initiated in the very year that the NIE delivered its reassuring message.... In the view of experts contacted by The Times, Iran’s work in this field has no possible civilian application. It makes sense only for a programme to develop a nuclear weapon.'
UPDATE: Our main story, now online, contains this sobering judgement:
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'Mark Fitzpatrick, senior fellow for non-proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said: “The most shattering conclusion is that, if this was an effort that began in 2007, it could be a casus belli. If Iran is working on weapons, it means there is no diplomatic solution.”'
Note: casus belli =