The Iranian Threat to International Peace and Security

By EMERSON VERMAAT

December 5, 2011 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - "In the midst of all the diplomatic commotion, Iran continued to build its uranium enrichment capability. When our inspectors visited Natanz on March 20 (2007), they saw that Iran had installed a total of one thousand centrifuges. It was both ironic and distressing to recall that just one year earlier the buildup of Iran's enrichment program could have been halted at thirty to forty centrifuges."

This is a quote from Mohamed ElBaradei's book "The Age of Deception." Between 1997 and 2009 ElBaradei was Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Nuclear "centrifuge technology" was also used in Pakistan and North Korea when these two countries built a nuclear bomb. This technology originated in the Netherlands where a Pakistani atomic spy named Abdul Qadir Khan stole it in the 1970s. He returned to his home country to become "the father of the Pakistani atom bomb."

Although all his inspectors were increasingly alarmed by Iran's nuclear program and frequent attempts to cover it up, ElBaradei, an Egyptian Muslim, naively assumed "that Iran's goal is not to become another North Korea ? a nuclear weapons possessor but a pariah in the international community ? but rather Brazil or Japan, a technological powerhouse with the capacity to develop nuclear weapons if the political winds were to shift, while remaining a non-nuclear weapon state under the NPT."

ElBaradei also writes about his visit to Iran's "Supreme Leader," ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the successor of the late ayatollah Khomeini. Khamenei did not make any concessions on Iran's highly suspicious nuclear enrichment program, or as ElBaradei puts it, "he saw no reason to show flexibility about enrichment." "Iran, he insisted, had never had a nuclear weapons program; to do so, he told me, would be against Islam."

Hollow words coming from Iran's highest religious and political leader, and ElBaradei fell for them. It reminds me of Adolf Eichmann, the man who wanted to kill all the Jews and was a personal friend of fanatical jihadists such as Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem who wanted the same. On at least two occasions, Eichmann showed Red Cross delegations around in the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt assuring them that the Jews were treated quite well. (Numerous inmates were deported to Auschwitz before the arrival of these delegations.) "One does not always have to tell the truth to our opponents," Eichmann told his friend Willem Sassen in Buenos Aires in 1957. Another typical Eichmann deception operation was forcing Jews in Auschwitz to write postcards to their relatives, boring the message: "We feel well, we are working. Regards to?." The postcards were dated and the address of the sender was invariably "Walze" or "Waldsee." On one occasion, however, a mistake had been made, Pinchas Freudinger, a Hungarian Jew who survived the Holocaust, testified at the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem: "Someone instead of writing 'Walze' had written 'Auschwitz,' and then erased it ? the last letters "itz" were visible."

ElBaradei, though, also realized "that Iran had cheated on their reporting obligations for twenty years." Yet, he believed "that the Iranians could be allowed a small R&D (Reseach and Development, V.) enrichment program, as a face-saving gesture." He told Ali Khamenei he "had no wish to see Iran subjected to escalating sanctions by the UN Security Council."

In her book "Statecraft: Strategic for a Changing World" former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher issued a strong warning against Iran's nuclear ambitions. What she wrote back in 2002 is still very topical today: "The evidence that Iran may indeed be poised to become a nuclear power comes from three sources, which together seem irrefutable. First, there are strong suspicions that Iran's attempts to acquire fissile material in Russia and other former Soviet republics, and to press ahead with a nuclear research prorgram and the building of uranium-producing reactors, indicate military purposes. Second, there are now numerous statements on the record by Iranian high officials about the need for the country to have a nuclear capability. (One of them was Rafsanjani, V.) Third, there is the significance to be attached to the Iranian missile program. While it is relatively easy to conceil programs for the development of chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons, missile programs are much more obvious. But this has not deterred Iran. Using North Korean technology, it has produced and successfully tested a Shebab-3 missile (range eight hundred miles), is developing a Shebab-4 (probable range 1200 miles) and is planning a Shebab-5 (range perhabs six thousand miles). It is difficult to understand why Iran would be making such efforts to develop ever-longer-range, and highly expensive, missiles only to place upon them conventional warheards."

These words were written when ElBaradei was in charge of the nuclear watchdog IAEA.

"The development of a nuclear payload for a missile"

Yukiya Amono, IAEA's current Director General, is much better and straightforward. The latest IAEA report on Iran is extremely critical. "During an inspection on 23 and 24 October 2011, the Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran had installed all 174 centrifuges in each of two cascades, neither of which had been connected to the cooling and electrical lines, and had installed 64 centrifuges in a third cascade."

"The Agency is still awaiting a substantive response from Iran to Agency requests for further information in relation to announcements made by Iran concerning the construction of ten new uranium enrichment facilities." "Iran has not provided information, as requested by the Agency in its letter of 18 August 2010, in connection with its announcement on 7 February 2010 that it possessed laser enrichment technology."

"Since 2002, the Agency has becone increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency has regularly received new information."

'The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:

  • Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities;
  • Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material;
  • The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network; and
  • Work on the development of indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components."
  • "Given the concerns identified above, Iran is requested to engage substantively with the Agency without delay for the purpose of providing clarifications regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program." This is not likely to happen, though, since Iran has cheated the IAEA for nearly 25 years now.

    Iranian intelligence officers are working day and night to obtain this kind of technology. They have been very successful so far. Trade relations between Iran and highly industrialized countries such the Netherlands and Germany have intensified over the years. Iranian immigrants have been recruited by Iranian intelligence operatives and forced to cooperate with them. (In Germany alone, there are some 50,000 Iranian immigrants.) If they refuse to do so there will be repercussions against family members in Iran. A number of these Iranians are encouraged to study technology at universities. This is how Pakistani atom spy Dr. A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani atomic bomb, started his career. After finishing his doctoral dissertation at the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands, he began to work for the Uranium Enrichment Reseach Facility (URENCO) in the eastern city of Almelo. He then began to pass on essential information on nuclear technology to the Pakistani intelligence service. After his cover was blown he fled to Pakistan but continued to cooperate with Dutch businessmen who assisted him in making his bomb. One of them was Henk Slebos, a former study friend from Delft University. The Dutch government was not able to properly handle the Khan case, and Khan even visited the Netherlands a number of times although he was officially banned from entering the country.

    The fallacy of normal diplomatic relations with Iran, a known state sponsor of terrorism

    The recent attack on the British embassy in Tehran by the so-called "Basij militia" shows that Iran is not a normal state. It took the British by surprise. "We are outraged by this," a British Foreign Office official said on November 29, 2011. "It is utterly unacceptable and we condemn it." A long overdue decision was made by Britain to break diplomatic relations with Iran.

    For too long European leaders, especially the Germans, the French, the British and the Dutch naively believed in dialogue and "normal diplomatic ties" with the Iranian regime. I still remember my own visit to Iran in 2000 when I had to cover Dutch Foreign Minister Jozias van Aartsen's visit to Tehran and Isfahan for Dutch TV. Friendly faces all over, but journalists could not move around freely without some Iranian intelligence officer watching them.

    Two years later, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher critized this attitude: "Far from relaxing our guard against Iran, we should regard it as posing a growing threat to the security of the West and its allies," she writes. She called a recent visit by the British Foreign Secretary to Tehran "ill-conceived." "The Irianian authorities are not even prepared to support punitive action against their old enemy the Taliban ? so deep is their hatred of the West." Earlier this year, Wikileaks documents showed that Iran did even supply arms to the Taliban. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," is the Iranian dictum. That's why a brutal dictatorship like communist North Korea assisted the fanatical Islamists in Iran by providing missile and nuclear technology.

    "The main practioner of state terrorism in Britain during the 1990s was believed to be the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS)," writes Christopher Andrew in his thorough study "The Defence of the Realm." One of their targets was British novelist Salman Rushdie, but they failed to assassinate him. "The (British) Security Service learned in May 1992 that Mehdi Seyed Sadighi of the MOIS London station was tasked with collecting operational intelligence on Rushdi," writes Andrew. "Sadighi was expelled, as was a second MOIS officer who operated under student cover. Over the next few months there was a series of MOIS-inpired operations to target Rushdie. Others continued more intermittently for the rest of the decade." MOIS is still very active in today's Britain. vThe same applies to Germany. "Iran is planning on attacking U.S. military airfields in Germany, to preemt a possible strike on Tehran," the German paper Bild reported. A German businessmen was recently arrested on charges of "suspicion of espionage activities to sabotage." He was reportedly working with the Iranian embassy in Berlin and was planning terrorist attacks against U.S. forces in Germany.

    The German domestic security service BfV is not only monitoring the Iranian embassy in Berlin but also Hezbollah and Hamas networks. They noticed that the "Islamic Center Hamburg" (IZH) and its "Imam Ali Mosque" are promoting Iranian causes thoughout Europe.

    Egypt and Iran

    The victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the recent Egypian elections as disastrous as was the victory of Hamas in the Gaza strip in January 2006. The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party received 35 percent of the vote. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. By the summer of next year the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to be in power in Egypt as well. A militant Salafist party even received 24 percent of the vote. What will happen to the peace treaty with Israel? What will happen to the Coptic Christians ? ten percent of the Egyptian population? There was an alarming news report on Dutch TV on December 2. It showed that many Coptic Christians are deeply concerned by the rising influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and ultra-conservative Salafist movements. Ever since the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring Coptic Christians have been subjected to intimidation, harrassment and violence on the part of Muslims. Churches have been burned down. Coptic Christians in Cairo told the Dutch newsreporter that they no longer feel safe in Egypt. They now want to flee Europe ? small and peaceful Holland is their favorite destination.

    What will happen to the army, once the Muslim Brotherhood is in power? According to a recent report in Haarez, Egypt's ruling Supreme Military Council is deeply concerned by the Islamist election victory. Army sources tell Al-Hayat "that the army will accept the results but insist on preserving the country's secular nature and human rights of the Egyptian people." "Al-Jazeera reported the Islamic bloc won 60 percent of the vote in the first round of Egyptian's parliamentary elections."

    The first priority of the Muslim Brotherhood will be to take full control of the army. Their example is Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan, an Islamist who succeeded in overcoming resistance by secularly minded army officers and is now cracking down on press freedom. (About one hundred journalists are in prison now.) Erdogan belatedly discovered, though, that Iranian and Syrian leaders cannot be trusted.

    Once the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is in power, they will establish closer ties with Iran. Iran supports both Hezbollah and Hamas, two dangerous terrorist movements. Hezbollah operates on a world wide scale and is also active in Latin America and Europe. And now Iranian influence in Egypt is bound to increase. This will pose a direct threat to Israel.


    Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands. Website: emersonvermaat.com

    Sources

    Mohamed ElBaradei, The Age of Deception. Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times (London/New York: Bloomsbury, 2011), p. 212 ("?not another North Korea?"), pp. 248, 249 ("When our inspectors visited Natanz?" "Iran had cheated on their reporting obligations?"), p. 251 ("..a small R&D enrichment program?"), p. 269 ("escalating sanctions"), p. 274 (meeting ayatollah Khamenei).

    Willem Sassen, typewritten transcript of his interviews with Adolf Eichmann (1957/58), Tape 25, pp. 2, 3. (Author's files on Eichmann.)

    The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, Session 52, May 25, 1961.

    Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft: Strategic for a Changing World (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2002), p. 239-241.

    IAEA, Board of Governors: Report by the Director General, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of the Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Gov/2011/65, 8 November 2011, p. 5, 7 ("nuclear payload for a missile"), p. 8 ("development of a nuclear explosive device ").

    Verfasssungsschutzbericht 2010 (Cologne: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, 2011), pp. 273, 274 (Imam Ali Mosque), pp. 356, 357 (recruiting Iranian immigrants).

    De Volkskrant (Amsterdam), November 19, 2011, p. 1, as well as "Het Vervolg," pp. 8, 9 ("Lekken atoomgeheimen ernstiger").

    Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm. The Authorized History of MI5 (London: Allen Lane, 2009), pp. 800, 801.

    IPT News December 2, 2011 ("Iran may target American bases in Germany"); De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), December 2, 2011, p. 13 ( "Duitsland doelwit Iran").

    RTL Nieuws (Dutch TV), December 2, 2011 (19:30 hours Dutch time). Coptic Christians intimidated by militant Muslims.

    Haaretz, December 3, 2011 ("Egypt's ruling military council 'deeply concerned' by Islamist election victory").

    © 2011 Emerson Vermaat. All rights reserved.