...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

January 10, 2006

Iran's Nuclear Timeline

From The Houston Chronicle, here's a history of Iran's nuclear mischief:

February-May 2003: International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors examine nuclear facilities in Iran, which the United States accuses of running a covert weapons program.

June 2003: IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei says Iran kept certain nuclear materials and activities secret.

November 2003: The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency says Iran acknowledged it produced weapons-grade uranium but there is no evidence a weapon was built.

December 2003: Iran formally signs the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to allow more intrusive inspections.

February 2004: Media reports say Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan delivered atomic weapons technology to Iran.

March 2004: The IAEA praises Iran's cooperation but criticizes past efforts to mislead the U.N. and urges Tehran to disclose all information concerning its nuclear program by June.

September 2004: Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell says Iran's nuclear program is a growing threat and calls for international sanctions.

November 2004: Iran announces the suspension of uranium enrichment and related activities amid fragile negotiations with European nations.

August 2005: Iran rejects a European Union offer of incentives in exchange for guarantees it will not pursue nuclear weaponry. Tehran announces it has resumed uranium conversion at Isfahan, and the IAEA calls an emergency meeting to deal with the crisis.

Sept. 17, 2005: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tells U.N. Security Council it is Iran's "inalienable right" to produce nuclear fuel and rejects European offer of economic incentives to halt enrichment program.

Sept. 24, 2005: IAEA passes resolution calling Iran's nuclear program "illegal and illogical" and puts Tehran one step away from Security Council action on sanctions.

Nov. 11, 2005: Plans emerge for Russian offer to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian soil.

Nov. 24, 2005: The European Union accuses Iran of possessing documents used solely for the production of nuclear arms, warns of possible referral to Security Council.

Jan. 8, 2006: Iran removes U.N. seals from nuclear enrichment facility at Natanz, effectively ending a freeze on the process that can produce fuel for nuclear weapons.

Coming up, I see three more relevant and key dates.

First, the upcoming March date for Mohammed ElBaradei's report to the IAEA. The report should determine whether the U.N. Security Council will meet to impose sanctions, however impotent, against Iran.

Second, the March 28th special election in Israel, which will form the new government to replace Sharon's, and consequently determine Israel's response to the Iranian threat.

Third, the date Iran gets the bomb. Obviously, the third date is unknown, and therein lies the problem.

Update: On a theme that's more related to the title of my last post, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said today that sanctions against Iran would be imposed only as "a last resort." Wait a minute, I thought "military action" was always the last resort. I guess the unspoken but logical assumption here is that a military solution is off the table for the Europeans. Again.

Nice. Thanks guys.

I'm not advocating a military solution, which has many problems as some of my commenters have pointed out. But diplomacy without teeth is always doomed to failure.

Posted by annika, Jan. 10, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


Your last sentence was spot on. The Europeans (and to some extent our State Dept) don't seem to understand that peace and strength are linked. It often appears to me that Euros assume that they are dealing with rational, Western-thinking people rather than a bunch of kooks. Still, this situation is much more complicated that some macho pissing contest. The West is in a bind and Iran knows it---as do the Russians and the Chinese.

I really appreciate being able to read the perspectives of folks like Col. Steve and others with military experience and some knowledge of the region. The MSM (as in many areas) does not do a very good job explaining how complicated this situation is.

Posted by: Blu on Jan. 10, 2006

Maybe Schuessel means that sanctions are a last resort -- after a military solution. Could it be?!


"I have asked you nicely not to mangle my merchandise! You leave me no alternative but to ask you nicely again!"

Posted by: Tuning Spork on Jan. 10, 2006

Diplomacy w/o teeth is not even diplomacy. It is fantasy.

Iran presents a large set of complex strategic problems which are ever morphing, impossible to control, and difficult to manage.

I believe our long term strategy against Iran is to inject democracy and free will into the culture via the educated, disaffected, and ever-growing population of younger Iranians. OIF is a major strategic maneuver against Iran, with Afghanistan also figuring in.

Iran has been expansionist for some time. Besides the Israel problem, and the fundamentalist Islam expansion problem, Iran surely had and has their eye on gaining control of Iraq's oil over the long term. Also, Iran aggressively emplaces military assets with an eye towards controlling and intimidating shipping in the Persian Gulf, and in the Gulf of Oman. Iran's naval assets harass and probe ships and American Naval assets in those seas, gaining intelligence in case of future, more serious actions. Further, off-the-record ex-U.S. Government voices whisper that Iran was aggressively reaching out to control a strategically located Somalia in 1992, prompting Bush 41's move of "humanitarian aid" into Mogadishu. According to these voices, when Clinton boogied out of Somalia, he didn't just back down from Muhammed Adid(sic) and Osama Bin Laden, he backed down from Iran.

OIF is a key move against Iran. Its logical that we can use Iraqi Shia to infiltrate and spy for us inside Iran. Its logical that we can arm and support a fantastic Iranian opposition from Iraq, using the pourous border to smuggle sympathetic Iranians in and out at will. I understand, with a layperson's understanding, that American military operations in Iran would face vast difficulties not yet encountered elsewhere. However, if we have even moderately capable intelligence and special forces to use in arming the Iranian opposition, the mullahs will have a big problem on their hands.

This doesn't address the critical short-term threat to Israel. However, OIF means the long term outlook is vastly better than it was three years ago. Thank freakin God the Dem children do not control the White House and the Congress.

Posted by: gcotharn on Jan. 10, 2006

Oh, and I must give props to the journalist who owns the Iraq story:

Faster, please.

Posted by: gcotharn on Jan. 10, 2006

agh! owns the IRAN story.

geez- that q is one tricky consonant - always seducing my left pinky into striking it.

Posted by: gcotharn on Jan. 10, 2006

right index gets a lot of action. left pinky wants some.

Posted by: gcotharn on Jan. 10, 2006

Ok, so I'm hooked on comments tonight.

I would wild guess that we would depose Baby Assad, and overthrow his Iranian backed government, as our next strategic step against Iran. We are boxing Iran in, and its not strategically sound to leave Baby Assad in our rear - especially since he is low-hanging fruit - and his government is well within our capabilities(I would hope) of taking down.

There's an instinctive feeling that we want to stay far away from all the troubles in the ME. That feeling is misleading. It is dangerous for us to be disengaged.

We are like a slugging pugilist who is fighting against a fast opponent. We don't want to let the opponent gain his balance and unload on us. We want to stay in close, pressing him, working inside his big haymaker. We'll take some punishment, but its the safest place to be.

Posted by: gcotharn on Jan. 10, 2006

"I'm not advocating a military solution, which has many problems as some of my commenters have pointed out."

Of course Iran having the bomb also has many problems.

Posted by: cube on Jan. 11, 2006