Has Iran been up to its old nuke-developing, sanctions-evading tricks again, even as it negotiates with the U.S.? Knock us over with a feather—it just may be. The Jerusalem Post reports:
The Czech Republic blocked an attempted purchase by Iran this year of a large shipment of sensitive technology useable for nuclear enrichment after false documentation raised suspicions, UN experts and Western sources said. […]
Some details of the attempted purchase were described in the latest annual report of an expert panel for the United Nations Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee, which has been seen by Reuters.
The panel said that in January Iran attempted to buy compressors – which have nuclear and non-nuclear applications – made by the US-owned company Howden CKD Compressors.
“False documentation” and “false end user” declarations do not exactly raise confidence that the compressors were intended for above-board purposes. These “compressors can be used to extract enriched uranium directly from the cascades,” according to a Harvard/ex-IAEA expert cited by the JPost.
As the Iran negotiations enter their terminal phase, scrutiny in the West will focus on a few key issues, including especially how inspections are to be structured and how (or whether) “snap back” sanctions could be organized. But none of this matters if Iran is simply cheating outright.
If the Administration still sees its foremost goal as stopping Iran from acquiring a nuke (as opposed to getting a deal, any deal, done), and if it cares about persuading the U.S. public and Congress to support such a deal, this has to be deeply troubling news. Will legacy-driven tunnel vision prevent those in charge from seeing inconvenient facts?