October 4, 2009
On Oct. 1, US president Barack Obama gave Tehran two weeks to provide International Atom Energy Agency inspectors with "unfettered access" to its second enrichment facility near Qom as the precondition for a second round of six-power talks with Iran. The IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei announced Sunday, Oct. 4, after meeting Iranian officials in Tehran that the visit would take place on Oct. 25.
He did not use the term "unfettered" or a synonym for good reason.
As DEBKAfile has reported, Iran has buried additional secret plants at the Qom underground site, aside from the enrichment facility, whose sole function is to support a military program.
They will either be hidden from the inspectors or cleared away before their arrival -hence the delay.
As the IAEA chief landed in Tehran, his organization leaked a confidential assessment which found that Iran "has acquired sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device based on highly enriched uranium as the fission fuel."
Before going on to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Elbaradei told a news conference in Tehran that several suppliers had responded to Iran's "requests" for its enriched uranium to be reprocessed abroad. He specified: "for use as medical isotopes." Iranian, Russian, French and US officials would meet in Vienna on Oct. 19, he said, "to hammer out an agreement" on this.
DEBKAfile's sources note that here too the agency chief neglected to memention that Tehran's possible consent to sending uranium enrichment for processing aboard in no way states or even suggests that Iran was ready to give up enrichment at home or inhibit its freedom to raise the level to weapons grade.
Obama's asserted after the Geneva talks that the burden was now on Iran to follow "a constructive meeting with concrete actions." He said: "Our patience is not unlimited," and vowed that Iran's non-compliance would be met with "international pressure" (sanctions are now taboo in Washington) and isolation.
Those stipulations will be tested in the weeks remaining to the end of October.