According to the Times, ElBaradei said that his inspectors’ initial findings concurred with Tehran’s insistence that the plant had been built on a heavily fortified military site as a fallback in case its main plant was bombed, rather than to conceal a military use.“The idea was to use it as a bunker under the mountain to protect things,” he said.“It’s a hole in a mountain.”
At the time, I wrote that ElBaradei was nothing more than a fake phony and a fraud - aka, an Iranian apologist. I noted how ElBaradei had recently conceded [begrudgingly] that Iranian scientists had been working on an advanced nuclear warhead design, and yet, he had staunchly denied this in September.
And, today, we learn that Mr. ElBaradei's rosy assessment of Iran's underground nuclear facility was also nothing more than a smoke screen. Apparently, there are some within the IAEA who refuse to let ElBaradei get away with his charlatanism:
From the LA Times:
Iran says it built its previously undisclosed nuclear facility inside a mountain near the city of Qom in 2007 in response to rising international tensions and American threats of war under the Bush administration. But according to an International Atomic Energy Agency report issued today, satellite photos showed construction on the Fordow facility began in 2002, well before Iran's nuclear program became a hot international issue...Thus - as the report clearly indicates - ElBaradei knew that work on Iran's underground nuclear facility had begun in 2002, and not 2007, when he issued his "nothing to worry' about statement to the New York Times.
According to the report, an Oct. 28 letter by Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said the Bush administration's war talk prompted it to build the facility. "As a result of the threats of military action against Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran decided to establish contingency centers for various organizations and activities," it stated...
But the report said international inspectors told Iranian officials that they had obtained commercial satellite photos showing that work on the site began in 2002, stopped in 2004, and then resumed in 2006.The agency report says the facility is being built to house 3,000 centrifuges, which scientists say is enough to produce the enriched uranium for about one bomb in a year.
And, now I notice that the Guardian has also made note of this point:
ElBaradei only last week, in an interview with the New York Times, played down the significance of the previously undisclosed site, saying it was "nothing to worry about".But the real question is: Why did Elbaradei conceal the fact that the Iranians had lied and that work on the Qom facilities had actually commenced in 2002?
The report may reflect the thinking of the IAEA's inspectors and ElBaradei's political staff, who have tended to be more skeptical about Iran's intentions than their chief.
But even more significant, nuclear experts say the facility's planned capacity -- 3,000 centrifuges -- makes no sense as a stand-alone civilian enrichment center since it would be too small to fuel a nuclear power station around the clock. But, they say, it could make enough fissile material for one or two atomic bombs per year.
"It won't (even) be able to produce a reactor's worth of fuel every 90 years, but it will be able to produce one bomb a year," said Ivan Oelrich, vice president of the Strategic Security Program of the Federation of American Scientist. "It does look strange."
Indeed, it does look strange, however, even more puzzling is why ElBaradei insisted initially that this facility is harmless if its sole purpose can only be to produce nuclear weapons?
Similarly, the AP noted several days ago :
Iran's recently revealed uranium enrichment hall is a highly fortified underground space that appears too small to house a civilian nuclear program, but large enough to serve for military activities, diplomats told The Associated Press on Thursday...But of course, ElBaradei craftily omitted this critical piece of information in early November.
One of the diplomats — a senior official from a European nation — said Thursday that the enrichment hall is too small to house the tens of thousands of centrifuges needed for peaceful industrial nuclear enrichment, but is the right size to contain the few thousand advanced machines that could generate the amount of weapons-grade uranium needed to make nuclear warheads.
All of the diplomats have access to information compiled by the IAEA.
The final question remaining: Is there still time to repair the damage that ElBaradei has stealthily and insidiously wrought upon the free world?
Perhaps, but of course, only time will tell.