Friday, October 10

Russian or US?

The New York Times reports about possible connection of a Russian scientist in providing nuclear assistance to Iran. This comes as part of the IAEA's investigations into Iran's nuclear program. While the IAEA is quoted as clearing the Russian government of any involvement, the Arms Control Wonk by bringing up the Merlin operation accuses the United States government of assisting Iran. Jeffery ponders about the possibility of the Russian scientist in the IAEA investigations and the one that the CIA sent out being one and the same.

I was completely unaware of the Merlin operation, but was not particularly surprised that the CIA attempted it. The CIA, with support from Clinton, planned to send Iran on a wild goose chase by giving it the wrong blueprints for a nuclear bomb in 2000. The purpose of the operation was to estimate where Iran was in its nuclear program, how close was it to getting a nuclear bomb. However, the Russian scientist or the agent recognized the flaw in design and put in a note for the Iranians to contact him to locate it. Maybe it really is the same Russian scientist the IAEA is talking about.

Reading these stories I was worried about how many times the United States has done this before and where. The motives might be good, but was there sufficient understanding and discussion about the consequences? Or did Clinton go into this like Bush went into Iraq?

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