Raymond Tanter

A smoking gun is indisputable evidence of guilt in a whodunit mystery. It is rare to find dispositive intelligence of noncompliance regarding nuclear issues. So there is need even for sources like Israel and the Iranian opposition that have a stake in the outcome.

Israel seeks to demonstrate Iran was in breach of the first step reached with the major powers over its nuclear program. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supposedly ordered Jerusalem’s intelligence agencies find evidence of noncompliance to make it easier to impose additional sanctions on Iran after the November 24 Geneva accord. But collaboration between western and Israeli intelligence casts doubt on whether Israeli intelligence is autonomous. An Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is an independent source. The Los Alamos National Laboratory, stated, ‘They’re [the NCRI] right 90 percent of the time. That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, but 90 percent is a pretty good record.”

Because of NCRI revelations, a dual-track strategy of talks and sanctions began. France, Germany, and the UK negotiated to resolve the nuclear issue in 2004 and 2005. China, Russia, and the United States joined in 2006; so the Permanent Five members of the UN Security Council + Germany—began talks with Iran.

The most important smoking gun revelation occurred during August 2002. NCRI exposed a secret nuclear facility near Natanz. An independent think tank, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), confirmed the revelation, identified the site as a uranium enrichment facility, and released imagery of Natanz in December 2002.

NCRI was source of several other critical revelations, including in August 2002 of the heavy water production site at Arak. The ISIS stated, “The existence of this facility was first revealed publicly by the Iranian opposition group, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), in August 2002. ISIS then located the site in commercial satellite imagery after a wide-area search. By United Nations Security Council resolution 1737 (2006), Iran was to suspend all work on heavy water related projects.”

Raymond Tanter

Raymond Tanter served on the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. His latest book is "Arab Rebels and Iranian Dissidents."