Nuclear Sabotage In Iran?

Tyler Durden's picture

The spy novels just keep on coming. The latest one comes courtesy of the FT which speculates that due to numerous delays and technical setbacks in Iran's nuclear program, it could have been the target of sabotage. "A series of recent reverses, notably affecting Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, is prompting debate over whether the programme is being undermined by sabotage, sanctions, or the incompetence of the regime’s scientists." Of course, while the latter is most likely the correct answer, the fact that the FT is floating this story now is cause for concern. The reason: Iran will likely not take too kindly to even mere speculation that its control structure is weak enough to allows spies to interfere with its identity-defining and critical nuclear program.

More from the FT:

In the past year, a dramatic reduction has taken place in the number of centrifuges enriching uranium at the regime’s nuclear plant in Natanz.

In May 2009, the International Atomic Energy Agency said there were 4,920 operational centrifuges. Twelve months later the IAEA stated that Iran was running only 3,936, a reduction of 20 per cent.

Iran also appears to be having difficulties on other fronts. Ivan Oelrich, of the Federation of American Scientists, said the centrifuges were only working at 20 per cent efficiency. The latest IAEA report says that 4,592 centrifuges are installed at Natanz – but are sitting idle and doing nothing at all.

Some security analysts see this as evidence of covert sabotage by western intelligence agencies. “There are signs that there has been a concerted intelligence operation which is able to debilitate and set back the Iranian programme,” says one academic, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It is not foolproof. But a large number of Iranian centrifuges have crashed and up to half have had to be replaced in recent times. This success didn’t happen entirely accidentally.”

Oddly, the FT also recognizes that a far more innocent alterantive may be in play here:

Others are less willing to give western intelligence total credit.
“Nothing we know can rule out sabotage and clearly something fishy is
going on,” says Mr Oelrich. “But just because there is sabotage does not
rule out the possibility that the Iranians are also grossly

Iran, to be sure, is not too happy about such talk of sabotage:

Iran insists talk of sabotage is western propaganda. “I strongly deny Iran’s nuclear programme is sabotaged. This is a media war to suggest the Islamic Republic is dependent on foreign help,” says Kazem Jalali, a member of the Iranian parliament’s foreign policy and national security committee. “Our nuclear programme is 100 per cent localised. We do not need to stretch our hands to the world markets.”

However, some security analysts are confident that an international sabotage operation is having an effect. “The central question in international diplomacy is whether Iran will acquire the bomb or whether Iran will be bombed,” says the academic. “This is not a question that western leaders are having to worry about in the coming weeks and months. This may well be because of the effectiveness of concerted intelligence operations.”

Certainly an odd timing for this kind of article coming out in a major newspaper. And just to keep the middle class audience on their toes, and unconcerned about the fact that the politicos and the bankers of any given developed country are doing far greater damage to their welfare than Iran ever could, the FT has provided the following pretty picture describing all the lay person needs to know about enrichment.

Let the Beastie Boys lyrics trickle down.

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RichardP's picture

Interesting to see this.  About 18 months ago I saw an administration spy type talking with Charlie Rose.  Charlie tried to draw him into a discussion about bombing Iran.  The guest's calm and coherent and detailed response was that there was no need to bomb the facilities - because it was easier to influence the producers of the parts for the nuclear facilites.  The guest stated firmly, did not speculate, that the nuclear facilities issue would be properly dealt with by making certain that defective parts were incorporated into the facilities buildouts.  I was surprised that he was saying such a thing publicly, as it would give Iran unnecessary notice to be careful with its suppliers.  It occured to me that he was sowing misinformation.  Maybe not.  This is is the first time since then I have seen anything coroborating what the guest said.  (I can't remember his name or position held - other than it was intelligence-related.)

carbonmutant's picture

Well, that and a little black ops...

Testicular Cancer's picture

They put a computer virus in some printer that took down most of the Iraqi air defense in the first Gulf War. They probably did something similar.

Another thought in a similar vein. You know, selling American weapons to unfriendly countries has its advantages. We know how to circumvent our own equipment!

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TBT or not TBT's picture

The iranian scientists could themselves choose to subtly sabotage the operation.

German scientists working on the failed and misdirected Nazi A-bomb project did the same, in order to deny the regime the weapon.

In any case, it is unlikely the scientists and engineers working on this are incompetent, if the Iranian engineers or scientists working in the United States are anything to go by.  

And let's keep in mind that the U.S. succeeded with its very first U-235 based bomb test over Hiroshima in 1945, 65 frickin' years ago.    Yeah, the U-235 based bomb was never tested before being used as a weapon.  That's how sure they were it would work, in frickin 1945.   It's not that hard.   Science and engineering tools they didn't have yet in the 1940's...couldn't have yet because the transistor and a dozen other inventions weren't existing yet....are ordinary over the counter stuff now, even for the triggers and timing and shaped explosives needed for the much more difficult plutonium bomb type that every advanced nuclear power uses.   Plutonium is a hell of a lot easier to isolate and purify once you have the means of producing it (breeder reactor, or gift, or black market purchase).   Maybe Iran has some bombs based on that, for what it worth, and the U-235 purification story is misdirection.   At that point, they'd have no need of keeping all the centrifuges busy.   Just a thought, while we are being paranoid ZH nutters.

Dr. No's picture

I cant stand it I know you planned it.

themosmitsos's picture

you've got all sorts of proper training, don'tcha? you've got mucho macho, don'tcha? :p ;)

Popo's picture

Crappy diagram. Probably intentional, for security reasons.  Btw -- the diagram shown above isn't really a standard gas centrifuge, but a Zippe centrifuge, which was the model used in Pakistan by A.Q. Khan.  The oval paths which the diagram makes no effort to describe are the Zippe's heat-convection currents caused from a heat-source down below which they also forgot to mention -- this moves the slurry up the sides of the cent casing.  ...And the "bottom" scoop pulls from the central axis not the perimeter as shown. 





Dr. No's picture

Here come the black helicopters.

Popo's picture

Nothing you can't learn in any library... or wikipedia for that matter....

Dantzler's picture

Thanks, I was puzzling over that graphic as well...

Cincitucky's picture

Your commoner won't question the diagram.  They'll believe its contents only because its distributed by a major publisher.

Example of those rusty wheels grinding in their head via Facebook:

"Yo dawg chx out dis news about Iran buildin Nux...  Dooches, Im's all bout it to NUX 'em wit A-bmbs up the a$$."

Mactheknife's picture

"Damn, dis nuclear engineering chit is hard."

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I wonder why no one talks about Israel's stockpile of nuclear material or efforts to enrich or build bombs and delivery devices? I mean, we don't wish to see the Middle East region destabilized by the introduction of nuclear weapons, do we? I'm curious why no one in the MSM is discussing this obvious double standard.

Just askin'

Popo's picture

If we're worried about proliferation -- let's remember the single most important fact:  Pakistan *is* a proliferator.  They gave the tech to North Korea *and* Iran.   Why be concerned with what might happen?  Pakistan is already doing it.'s picture

US Secretary of State Clinton unveils Pakistan aid

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced a raft of new Pakistan aid projects worth $500m (£328m).

Commander Cody's picture

We assist in the proliferation provided by Pakistan.  Any questions?

Overleveraged_and_Impatient's picture

Israel = good guys

Iran = bad guys

MSM would need us not know further

BobWatNorCal's picture

Isreal/good guys,  Iran/bad guys. Sure.

Also, Israel has bomb, has not used it.

Iran does not have bomb, asserts it will use it.

ozziindaus's picture

Iran has never claimed to want a bomb. And as for obliterating Israel, see this.'s picture

Iran does not have bomb, asserts it will use it.


Do you have any documentation to support that accusation other than the often  misquoted statement by Mr. Imadinnerjacket?

Max Hunter's picture

Well CD.. that's the first time I can say I think you are lying.. You don't "wonder why".. we both know the answer to your posed anomaly.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Oops, forgot the <sarcasm> tag. :>)

So does sarcasm count as lying?

Max Hunter's picture

LOL..  do you have any idea how many people would rather you did not reply with that?..

AIPAC... there you go.. That will keep you busy for a while..  It's just a warm up though..

Kinda like the "golden rule".. those with the gold, make the rules.. goldman?? silverstein??  stuff like that.. :>)

Nihilarian's picture

With that logic you can conclude that a Jew sunk the Titanic.

Max Hunter's picture

and with that logic, you may appeal to idiots.. But not to people that are well informed using objectivity and suppressed incredulity.

luigi's picture

OTOH, "Iceberg" doesn't exactly sound like an arian name...

RichardP's picture

Wasn't there some arian singer with white hair named "Ice"?  Maybe short for "Iceberg"?

almost_have_a_name's picture

The number of people that died before the atom bomb was invented, on a yearly basis, was 10 times the number we have today. Atom's for peace, really. 

There is another motive, besides peace, to exclude them from the thunder-stick club.



DosZap's picture


Simple, with over 400 known Tactical Nukes,(we know of) that they have had for YEARS, besides, Izzy would never use them, unless it were a matter of SURVIVAL.

hangemhigh's picture

Yo, we be pumpin' up the jam with them AshkeNazic Nukes, Bitches..............

carbonmutant's picture

I'm a sucker for infographics...

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

So is that how your wife/husband snagged you?

carbonmutant's spouse: "Dear, look at these pretty infographics." (Checks that carbonmutants eyes have rolled back into head) "Now sign these marriage licenses here and here and here. And the pre-nup giving me everything you own, sign here and here." :>)

carbonmutant's picture

I believe there was some engraving involved...

Tarheel's picture

i bet that chart increased the Iranians knowledge tenfold

Segestan's picture

Iran can't build thier own oil refineries without western genius,  let alone develop nuclear devices. It is the western innovative genius and knowhow,  that has brought the rest of the world out of darkness. This is why China has one million working in industry as spies,  in just Germany.'s picture

"The world" has been "brought out of darkness" many times in the course of human history. There was a time when the Persians brought the world out of darkness and there was a time when China brought the world out of darkness.

The west seems curiously bent on plunging the world into darkness these days.

DosZap's picture


"The west "seems curiously bent on plunging the world into darkness these days".

Not really, JUST the WEST into darkness..................nada curious about it, when you see the playa's, and know the End Game.




cyberseer's picture

wtf are you talkinga bout? Persia is the country which gave Europe the Reneissance. Do some reading will you?

Canoe Driver's picture


  Sorry, but there is very little "western genius" left, and some of the smartest people in American engineering programs, at top ten universties, are Iranian.  I, in case you are prone to drawing reactionary conclusions, am not.

Pez's picture

They were asking for Yellow cake! YELLOW CAKE I tell ya! (for their kids birthday).

Pez's picture

FT= They have people every where = MI6 and 7/8ths = disinformation

Pez's picture

LOL! Qty needed  = 30,000,000. Oh and about a dozen crystal skulls.


Send to:

Ahma Dinnerjacket

Uraniumville, Iran

almost_have_a_name's picture

If you visit Utah, don't bring back any black rocks. If you do, don't put them under your pillow.