Is it merely coincidence that the information that the IAEA has been demanding about the location of Iran's centrifuge workshops is exactly the missing information necessary to make bombing Iran easier?
Bloomberg reports that a Congressional Research Service report on Iran's nuclear program by Kenneth Katzman (which I have not yet read in detail) states that the lack of knowledge about the location centrifuge manufacturing workshops in Iran makes the prospects of any bombing run on Iran more complicated, since Iran can then easily reconstitute its centrifuge manufacturing if the workshops escape bombings.
Isn't it funny then that the IAEA has been pressing Iran to gain access to the location of these workshops...EVEN THOUGH these workshops fall OUTSIDE of the IAEA's inspection authority, and there is no real reason for the IAEA to want to inspect them anyway?
Remember, according to the explicit text of Iran's standard safeguards agreement with the IAEA, the "exclusive purpose" of inspections is to make sure that none of Iran's declared nuclear material has been diverted to non-peaceful uses (something that every single IAEA report has certified to be true in Iran, thus making Iran fully compliant with the NPT.) The inspection authority of the IAEA is thus limited to measuring fissile material and inspecting locations where fissile material are stored. It does NOT include going to centrifuge manufacturing facilities, since no fissile material is used in the manufacture the centrifuges themselves. As the IAEA report itself stated in its February 2006 report:
absent some nexus to nuclear material, the Agency's legal authority to pursue the verification of possible nuclear weapons related activity is limited.
And as Elbaradei explained in a 2005 interview, the IAEA inspectors do not have carte blanche to go around poking their heads into every location in a country:
Mind you, we don’t have an all-encompassing mandate to look for every computer study on weaponization. Our mandate is to make sure that all nuclear materials in a country are declared to us.
Like I said, every single IAEA report has said that all declared nuclear material has been accounted for, and there has been no diversion of nuclear material ... so, why has the IAEA been pushing to gain access to these workshops which neither use nor store fissile material?
Iran has in the past allowed extra-legal IAEA inspections of facilities which fell outside of Iran's safeguards mandate, but that was as part of voluntary "transparency" measures rather than obligatory measures. Furthermore, note that the IAEA has complained that the US intelligence on this matter has been junk. Also note that if the IAEA has any credible claim that there are undeclared nuclear activities in Iran, then all they have to do is present the information to the IAEA Board of Governors and obtain a "special inspection" permit which Iran would be obligated to recognize (as was the case for Romania in 1992, and N. Korea in 1993 though the N Koreas refused to allow the inspections and were reported to the UNSC) ... but the IAEA has never done so for Iran.
In fact, both US and Israeli intelligence agencies reportedly agree that there is no nuclear weapons manufacture going on in Iran (they only accuse Iran of "intending to obtain the capability" to make nukes at some indefinite point in the future, using its existing and IAEA-monitored civilian nuclear program) so what exactly is the point of locating these centrifuge manufacturing plants anyway?
(Note that EVEN IF the stricter inspection regime of the Additional Protocol was in force, the IAEA would STILL not have any legal basis for accessing centrifuge manufacturing facilities since the inspection authority of the IAEA would still be limited to fissile material and not centrifuge manufacturing workshops, missile design facilities and factories, etc. So in short, the IAEA has absolutely no legal authority whatsoever to demand to see these workshops, and similar demands have not been imposed on other countries such as Brazil.)