Saturday, November 27, 2010

Intel on Iran has telling flaw

Every so often the prospect of Iran developing nuclear weapons comes up. How likely is it that they will develop such weapons soon? Hard to say, but it would be surprising if they aren't interested, given the deterrence that such an arsenal would give them against regime change from outside. What's interesting, though, is that certain folks don't seem to want the US to wait for real evidence:
The most important intelligence documents used to argue that Iran had a covert nuclear-weapons research-and-development program in 2003 - a set of technical drawings of efforts to fit what appears to be a nuclear payload into the re-entry vehicle of Iran's medium-range ballistic missile, the Shahab-3 - turn out to have a fatal flaw: the drawings depict a re-entry vehicle that had already been abandoned by the Iranian missile program in favor of an improved model.

The re-entry vehicle or warhead shown in the schematics had the familiar "dunce cap" shape of the original North Korean Nodong missile, an Inter Press Service (IPS) investigation has confirmed. But when Iran flight-tested a new missile in mid-2004, it did not have that dunce cap warhead but a new "triconic" or "baby bottle" shape, which was more aerodynamic than the one on the original Iranian missile.

The development of the new missile and warhead had already been under way for years by that time, according to the author of the most authoritative study of the Iranian missile program.
From Asia Times Online. Are the Americans making stuff up again, like the "yellowcake from Niger" business a few years back? Or have they been fed false information by some other party, perhaps someone who is no friend of either Iran or the US?

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