“Iran declares revelation of new enrichment site a ‘winning hand’”

“Iran declares revelation of new enrichment site a ‘winning hand’”
September 25-27, 2009
     Last week’s revelation of a second Iranian uranium-enrichment facility in Qom has “changed everybody’s calculations,” according to Gary Sick. Sick writes that this development strengthens the negotiating hand of the P5+1 not only by making the threat of new sanctions credible but also by creating uncertainty on the Iranian side over how much information is known to Western intelligence. However, Sick warns that sanctions alone will not convince Tehran to abandon its nuclear program and argues that the P5+1 will have to offer substantive incentives, such as a conditional removal of sanctions, to avoid further escalation of tensions that could lead to war (Daily Beast). Juan Cole warns analysts to “beware the hype” over the Qom facility, arguing that Iran’s secrecy is neither new nor necessarily illegal in this case, though he shares suspicions that the new site is technically unsuitable for peaceful uranium enrichment (Informed Comment).
     Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other officials have defended the legality of the site, declaring that IAEA inspectors would be allowed access, and are describing the revelations as a victory for Iran as they have taken the West by surprise and foiled military threats by developing multiple nuclear facilities (The National). However, Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour report that Iran disclosed their development of a “pilot-scale enrichment plant” to the IAEA only after learning it had been discovered by Western intelligence (The Guardian), and James Acton argues that Iran has indeed violated its obligations under the IAEA’s modified Code 3.1 (which Iran accepted in 2003 before suspending) to declare new nuclear sites before construction (Carnegie Endowment).
     ISIS has obtained satellite imagery of two possible locations of the newly declared facility (ISIS).
Daily Beast | Informed Comment | The National | The Guardian | Carnegie Endowment | ISIS

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