DEBKAfile Reports October 30, 2007:
Iranian-Syrian nuclear issues heat up amid growing mistrust of IAEA director in Washington, Paris and Jerusalem
French defense minister Herve Morin said Monday, Oct. 29, he has information that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. He thus publicly contradicted remarks made by IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradai that there is no such evidence. Morin, on a visit to the Persian Gulf emirates, spoke at the same time as the IAEA director’s address the UN General Assembly.
DEBKAfile’s sources report that president Nicolas Sarkozy plans a state visit to Jerusalem in a few weeks, during which he will the address the Knesset on the Iranian nuclear threat, counter-measures and his commitment to Israel’s security.
Washington and Jerusalem are in intensive discussions over the prudence of Israel publicly leveling on its Sept. 6 attack on the Syrian installation, in consideration of the risk that a statement by prime minister Ehud Olmert could further raise war tensions. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Israel’s air force and navy have been on high alert for some days.
Washington and Jerusalem are of one mind about the need to refute ElBaradei’s position that there are no grounds for nuclear allegations against Iran and Syria.
Addressing the UN General Assembly Monday, the IAEA director admitted that Iran was flouting UN Security Council resolutions on two points: uranium enrichment continued and so did the construction of a heavy water plant in Arak. He made no reference to Iran’s current work with plutonium.
The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior American official who has worked extensively on nuclear issues: “I would say there's no doubt now that Syria was in an early phase of a program."
Some U.S. diplomats were quoted by the paper as deriding the IAEA for failing to identify the Syrian program itself. Involving the IAEA could have bogged down the Syrian proliferation threat in endless rounds of negotiations with no action. "The Israelis decided to take care of this early on. We don't want to involve an agency that thinks it's in control, but isn't," said one diplomat.