An afternoon with Mr. Heinonen provides a sobering counterpoint to happy talk from the Obama administration about "a world without nuclear weapons."
David Feith describes How Iran Went Nuclear, based on an interview with Veteran weapons inspector Olli Heinonen.
Heinonen believes that an Iranian nuclear bomb is not even a question of time --
Mr. Heinonen's implication is that an Iranian bomb is now simply a matter of Tehran's will, not capability—despite two decades of international effort to prevent it. How did this happen?
Short of military force, there is only so much that outsiders can do to stop a determined regime. But in Iran's case, Mr. Heinonen says, matters weren't helped when the IAEA developed "Stockholm Syndrome," akin to hostages who identify with their kidnappers.
The full history of the persistent failures of the IAEA is long, frustrating and at this point probably irrelevant.
More to the point, at this stage,even if the IAEA were to miraculously become efficient at its job -- the sheer bureaucracy of verifying when Iran goes nuclear would enable Iran to achieve its goal long before the US or anyone in the West would be able to do anything to prevent it.
As HonestReporting notes in quoting Mr. Heinonen, Think the West will detect an Iranian nuclear breakout? Think again:
First, IAEA inspectors would have to detect the breakout. This could take up to two weeks because they visit Iran's major uranium-enrichment facility about 24 times a year. (Roughly half of the visits are announced, meaning inspectors give the Iranians 10 days' notice, and the rest are unannounced, meaning about two hours' notice at any time of day.) Once inside, inspectors would quickly recognize from the enrichment machinery that Iran was dashing to a bomb, says Mr. Heinonen, but that would hardly be the end of the story.
The inspectors would formally alert the IAEA board, which takes "a few days' time." The board would meet and pass a resolution (which "needs a few days") and then engage the United Nations Security Council ("also not an overnight decision"). "In reality," he says, "one month is gone. Well, during that one month [Iran] may have achieved their goal, at least to have enough high-enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. What next?" Iran would have become the world's ninth confirmed nuclear state.
Forget about Obama's baseless talk about a "a world without nuclear weapons." By working towards a toothless US military, Obama is encouraging the very nuclear world he claims to be working to prevent.
His failure to stop Iran will be a lesson to Israel and other US allies -- if any is still needed -- that at this point the US cannot be relied upon.