Civilian Applications: the IAEA tackles EBWs

Another quarter goes by, and there’s another IAEA report out on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Need some analysis of what it all means? The New York Times has you covered.

It’s mostly a business-as-usual update from Vienna. But what’s piqued my interest is that Iran has apparently provided the IAEA an explanation for its past dabbling in exploding bridge wire detonators, a technology generally associated with nuclear weapon production.

According to the new IAEA report:

“Iran showed information to the Agency that simultaneous firing of EBW was tested for a civilian application.”

“Civilian application?”

Oh dear. Looks like Tehran is trying to get their way out of the hole they’re in on PMD by digging down even further. And you can tell who's holding the shovel. Realistically, Iran's current position has to be at least informed by its pre-eminent EBW experts, the scientists and researchers in SPND.

Consider the totality of the other evidence on EBWs and Iran’s pre-2004 nuclear weapons programme and the notion that Iran’s EBW work was done for anything other than setting off a 265mm wide nuclear device initiated by a multipoint detonation system is laughable. Usually in life the most simple explanation is the correct one, and the over-complicated 'civilian application' rationale has SPND's dirty fingerprints all over it. Perhaps if nuclear-weapons scientists weren't behind the argument it would sound more plausible.

The Iranian officials behind this strategy of denial are not doing themselves any favours. Indeed, Tehran would be much better off cutting loose some of those men who were actually involved in the pre-2004 nuclear weapons programme: the Iranian Defence officials who concocted and ran AMAD (آماد).

Take Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (محسن فخری زاده), AMAD’s former head, who’s subsequently reached a Stephen Baldwin-like nadir in his career.

Or AMAD-era Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani (علی شمخانی). Spare a thought for Shamkhani it must be stressful work, trying to cover up the world’s least-secret secret nuclear weapons programme.

Anyway, it wouldn’t take much for Tehran to go and round up the Usual Suspects. I’m not sure that we’re going to see it happen for a while, though.

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