Friday, November 11, 2011
How trustworthy were earlier warnings about the Iranian 'nuclear threat''?
The Iranian complex for the enrichment of uranium at Natanz
A few posts earlier I gave a resumé of the recent IAEA report about Iran, that according to news reports in the Israeli press was 'the most damning ever' about Iran's presumed attempts to get the atomic bomb, but that according to most people outside Israel did not really contain much new evidence.
Fears about Iran's nuclear program are not new. They exist already more than a quarter of a century and predate even the Islamic revolution. The Christian Science Monitor looked into its files and gave a timeline of warnings that Iran's nuclear endeavour was going beyond a peaceful program concerning the production of electricity. Particularly Israel was always very concerned. Israeli's predicted in the early nineties that Tehran was going to have the bomb in 1999 at the latest. Later warnings spoke of 2010....
It reminds one of the story of the poor little boy that cried 'wolf, wolf'' so many times that his parents not even reacted anymore when at last the wolf did appear and ate him.
1992: Israeli parliamentarian Benjamin Netanyahu tells his colleagues that Iran is 3 to 5 years from being able to produce a nuclear weapon – and that the threat had to be "uprooted by an international front headed by the US."
1992: Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres tells French TV that Iran was set to have nuclear warheads by 1999. "Iran is the greatest threat and greatest problem in the Middle East," Peres warned, "because it seeks the nuclear option while holding a highly dangerous stance of extreme religious militancy."
1992: Jossy Alpher, a former official of Israel's Mossad spy agency, says "Iran has to be identified as Enemy No. 1." Iran's nascent nuclear program, he told The New York Times, "really gives Israel the jitters."
In 1992: a leaked copy of the Pentagon's "Defense Strategy for the 1990s" makes little reference to Iran, despite laying out seven scenarios for potential future conflict that stretch from Iraq to North Korea.
However in 1995: The New York Times conveys the fears of senior US and Israeli officials that "Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than previously thought" – about five years away – and that Iran’s nuclear bomb is “at the top of the list” of dangers in the coming decade. The report speaks of an "acceleration of the Iranian nuclear program," claims that Iran "began an intensive campaign to develop and acquire nuclear weapons" in 1987, and says Iran was "believed" to have recruited scientists from the former Soviet Union and Pakistan to advise them.
For the complete Christian Science Monitor timeline click here.
For Iran's answers to the IAEA report, click here.