The 10 Reasons We Know Iran Wants the Bomb

By Bruno Tertrais

On November 8, the IAEA published a damning indictment of the Iranian nuclear program. For the first time, the Agency describes in an extraordinarily detailed fashion (in a 14-page annex to the main report) all the weaponization activities conducted by Tehran that it is aware of. The Agency specifies that this information comes from both its own inquiries and intelligence provided by more than ten Member States (which it then validates by its own means). It is particularly notable that some of these activities were conducted very recently: this means that, as many experts believed, they only had been temporarily “halted” (a word used by the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate). In itself, the sum of all these weaponization activities is a tangible proof, if one was still needed, of the Iranian will to have a nuclear weapon capability. But this conclusion is also grounded in numerous other elements.

How do we know that Iran wants the Bomb? There is no single “smoking gun” (nor could there ever be one absent a nuclear test), but rather a multitude of “smoldering guns”. Most come from the work of the IAEA. Taken together, they lead to the inescapable conclusion that Iran wants at least a nuclear weapon option, and probably the Bomb.

1.      Iran has sought to hide its activities and installations from the IAEA

In 2003, the magnitude of Iran’s efforts became public. Iran had concealed the construction of an enrichment plant at Natanz and of a research reactor at Arak, the fabrication of centrifuges, the existence of a laser enrichment program, and a number of sensitive experiments. [1] Iran then prevented the IAEA from a full inspection of the Lavisan-Shian and Parchin sites, suspected of hosting nuclear activities (which was indeed the case, as is now known). It later failed to declare in advance the construction of the Fordow enrichment plant.

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