Iran’s nuclear plant and the definition of covert
Western powers are blasting Iran today for building another nuclear plant.
President Barack Obama, flanked by the leaders of France and Britain, said to reporters in Pittsburgh for the G20 meeting that “Iran has been building a covert uranium enrichment facility near Qom for several years.”
Iran, which revealed the existence of the uranium enrichment plant to the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Monday, unsurprisingly had a whole different take on the idea of covert.
“If it was a covert plant, we would not have informed the (International Atomic Energy) Agency,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters at the United Nations.
A U.S. official responded: “The very cursory admission to the IAEA years after the commencement of construction of such a facility whose use is undeniable does not constitute living up to its obligations.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Time magazine “we have no secrecy, we work within the framework of the IAEA.”
So there’s the latest in the long-running dispute over Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The West is concerned that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, Tehran says it only wants nuclear power for civilian purposes.
Dictionary.com defines covert as “concealed; secret; disguised.”
So who got it right?
The United States, which tracked the project for years, calling the plant covert? Or Iran, which had the plant under construction for years and only just now informed the IAEA, saying it’s not covert?
Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama, Brown, Sarkozy at news conference on Iran), Reuters/Shannon Stapleton (Ahmadinejad at U.N.)