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U.S professor: military attack on Iran is not on U.S. agenda (INTERVIEW)

Nuclear Program Materials 16 February 2010 09:09 (UTC +04:00)
Raymond Tanter, President of the Committee on the Iranian politics in Washington, a former member of U.S. National Security Council at the White House and former Personal Representative of the Secretary of Defense spoke in an interview with Trend News.
U.S professor: military attack on Iran is not on U.S. agenda (INTERVIEW)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 15 / Trend U. Sadikhova /

Raymond Tanter, President of the Committee on the Iranian politics in Washington, a former member of U.S. National Security Council at the White House and former Personal Representative of the Secretary of Defense spoke in an interview with Trend .

Q.: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that Tehran has already enriched a small part of uranium to 20 percent. Experts believe that enrichment to 20 percent means the passing of half the way to 90 percent enrichment which is necessary for nuclear weapon.

What steps do you expect from the United States in order to stop Iranian nuclear program at this stage?

A.: The most immediate step to be taken by the United States is the imposition of new, targeted sanctions on individuals and entities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps involved in Iran's nuclear program. The U.S. Treasury has already announced such sanctions against IRGC Gen. Rostam Qasemi, and the entities he oversees, Fater Engineering Institute, Imensazen Consultant Engineers Institute, Makin Institute and Rahab Institute. The United States will seek similar sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.

 Q: Do you believe that Iran quit NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty)?

A.: While Iran has not formally withdrawn from the NPT, since June of 2003 the International Atomic Energy Agency has accused Iran of non-compliance with its NPT obligations. Such noncompliance included operations to enrich uranium made in the country till 2002 and revealing additional nuclear sites in tunnels near Qum.

Iran's recent initiative to enrich uranium to 20 percent is also viewed as an NPT violation by the IAEA, because the process began before atomic inspectors' visit. The Iranian regime, however, continues to claim that it has operated within its NPT rights.

Q.: Iran buys some parts necessary for centrifuges from the black market. According to some sources, defective parts of centrifuges were delivered to Tehran with participation of the Israeli and U.S. intelligence service. Do you believe that this information is true? How can Israeli and American intelligence agencies prevent the further development of Iranian nuclear program?

A.: It is highly likely that American and Israeli intelligence agencies are attempting to sabotage delivery of equipment purchased by Iran for its nuclear weapons program. In August 2008, the New York Times reported on a four-year relationship between the Central Intelligence Agency and a family of Swiss engineers known to have supplied centrifuge equipment to Libya and Iran. The CIA paid the family millions of dollars to funnel flawed materials to Tehran. Such sabotage is probably a major factor in Iran's sub-par enrichment progress. I expect the United States and Israeli intelligence services are doing all they can to continue such sabotage.

Q.: Do you believe that the U.S can use military attack towards the Iranian nuclear facilities?

A.: At present, military strikes are not on the U.S. agenda, although U.S. officials have not ruled out such strikes in the future. The United States is enhancing sanctions targeting individuals and entities that participate in Iran's nuclear weapons program. Such "smart" sanctions are a continuation of the incremental sanctions policy of the Bush administration. The next step can be sanctions towards Iran's energy sector by restricting gasoline imports. Such sanctions, however, would be difficult to implement multilaterally and are unlikely to have a large enough economic impact to convince Tehran to jettison its nuclear program. 

Q.: How do you estimate the change of policy between Russia and China towards Iran?

A.: Development of Iranian nuclear program is not profitable for Russia and China, but they are reluctant to agree to sanctions that might threaten their business relationships with Tehran. Almost throughout 2009, Russia and China fought for the talks with Iran. But the position of these countries was changed when Iran's clandestine enrichment facility at Qom was revealed during September 2009. Iranian President Ahmadinejad's statement that Iran has already begun to enrich uranium to 20 percent this February aggravated the situation.

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