According to Seymour
Hersh, in early 2004, John Bolton, who was then the Under-Secretary of State
for Arms Control, privately conveyed to International Atomic Energy Agency officials
his suspicions that Iran was conducting research – at Parchin, the center of
Iran’s Defense Industries Organization – into "the intricately timed detonation
of conventional explosives" needed for implosion-type nuclear weapons.
But, even if Bolton’s suspicions were true, if no nuclear materials proscribed
by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons had been used in the alleged
Iranian tests, then Iran would not have been in willful
violation of its NPT-associated IAEA Safeguards agreement. In that case, what
the Iranians had done or were doing at Parchin was literally none of the IAEA’s
So, at a press conference held in Paris on 3 February, 2005, by the National
Council of Resistance of Iran (a US State Department designated
"terrorist organization") Mohammad Mohaddessin, the self-styled Chairman
of their Foreign Affairs Committee, made certain specific charges
about Iran’s ongoing nuclear programs.
"Brigadier General Dr. Seyyed Ali Hosseini Tash, deputy Defense Minister,
is the official in charge producing weapons of mass destruction in the Ministry
of Defense. He is, among other things, responsible for producing the neutron
initiator for the nuclear bomb. The production of Beryllium and polonium-210
is being carried out under the supervision of Hosseini Tash. He has all the
capabilities of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization at his disposal.
"By irradiating Bismuth metal, Iranians have succeeded in transmuting
it into Polonium-210. Tehran has lied to the IAEA that it has not produced Polonium-210
in the past 12 years, since 1993. It has also failed to offer convincing explanation
as to why it had produced Polonium-210 in the early 1990s.
"Despite such denials, Tehran is now producing Polonium-210 at Lavizan
II military site, which I first revealed in November. That site is affiliated
with the Defense Ministry's Center for New Technology, headed by Dr. Mohsen
Fakhrizadeh, who reports directly to Hosseini Tash. Dr. Fereidoon Abbasi is
the deputy to Fakhrizadeh."
Polonium-210 is a NPT proscribed nuclear material.
Here’s why: From a formerly Top Secret description
of the Soviet Union’s first implosion-type nuclear weapon –
"Construction of the bomb:
"The element 94 [Plutonium], without any uranium-235, is the active
material of this bomb. The so-called initiator, namely a beryllium-polonium
source of alpha particles, is inserted into the centre of a ball of plutonium.
(The plutonium is surrounded by 50 pounds of tube-alloy [U-238],* which is the
"All this is placed in an aluminum shell of thickness 11 cm. This aluminum
shell in turn is surrounded by a layer of the explosive 'pentalit' or Composition
C (Composition B according to other information) with wall thickness 46 cm.
"The casing of the bomb into which this explosive is inserted has an inner
diameter of 140 cm. The total weight of the bomb including the pentalit, the
casing, etc. is about 3 tonnes.
"It is anticipated that the force of the bomb explosion will be equal
to the explosive force of 5000 tonnes of TNT. (The efficiency is 5-6%.) The
fission count equals 75 x 10exp24."
Now, hardly anyone would use a PoBe initiator in a modern implosion-type nuke.
Polonium-210 is produced in quantity by irradiating Bismuth with neutrons in
a nuclear reactor. And if the reactor is IAEA Safeguarded, the Polonium-210
becomes subject to the IAEA Safeguards and Physical Security system.
But the Polonium-210 half-life is only 138 days. Hence, if the nuke is not
to be a dud, the Polonium-210 used to fabricate the PoBe initiator for a nuke
needs to be produced a mere 10-12 months before the nuke is actually used.
Now, at the time the NCRI official made the charges about Iran, as best the
IAEA could determine – after more than a year of extremely intrusive on-the-ground
inspections, conducted in conjunction with a full-scope Additional Protocol
to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement – there was "no indication" that any
nuclear materials proscribed by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
had ever been produced for – much less diverted to – a
Nevertheless, according to Hersh, in response to the NCRI allegations, in November
of 2005, an IAEA inspection team was allowed to single out a specific site at
Iran’s super-secret Defense Industries Organization, and then was granted access
to a few buildings at that site.
According to Hersh’s IAEA source, "We found no evidence of nuclear materials."
That didn’t deter our erstwhile UN Ambassador, John Bolton, who seized on these
allegations to strong-arm first the Brits-French-Germans (who were negotiating,
allegedly on behalf of the European Union, a package of "objective guarantees"
from Iran that its nuclear programs were strictly for peaceful purposes) into
demanding that Iran suspend indefinitely all its uranium-enrichment activities.
When Iran – understandably – concluded that such a demand was inconsistent
with the terms of so-called Paris Accord, which constituted the basis for the
negotiations, Iran resumed some of the IAEA Safeguarded uranium-enrichment activities
it had voluntarily suspended more than two years before.
Well, Bolton went Bonkers.
He then strong-armed the IAEA Board of Governors – who were not involved in
any way in the Paris Accord negotiations – into demanding that Iran re-suspend
those Safeguarded uranium-enrichment activities, provide the IAEA Board information
that under its Statute it had no right to request (much less "demand")
and return to the Paris Accord negotiations.
Ultimately, Bonkers Bolton even strong-armed the UN Security Council into passing
which "called" upon Iran to acquiesce to the IAEA Board’s demands.
Or else what?
Well, as of this writing, nothing much.
Meanwhile, a large quantity of Polonium-210 – apparently produced within the
past year at some un-safeguarded nuclear reactor – has been used to
poison some former Russian spy in London.
"According to Israel Inside, Leonid Nevzlin, former CEO of the oil
giant Yukos and current chairman of the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv, said the
former Russian spy had come to Israel in the weeks before his murder with classified
documents on Yukos that might be damaging to Russian leaders. Nevzlin estimated
that Litvinenko’s death had been connected with this information, which he had
handed to London police investigators of the murder."
Perhaps it isn’t significant, but most Russian nuclear reactors are subject
to IAEA Safeguards. None of Israel’s are.