If the name “Fordo” rings a bell it might be because you remember CIA Director John Brennan being questioned about it last Sunday.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites, officials have told The Associated Press.
The trade-off would allow Iran to run several hundred of the devices at its Fordo facility, although the Iranians would not be allowed to do work that could lead to an atomic bomb and the site would be subject to international inspections, according to Western officials familiar with details of negotiations now underway. In return, Iran would be required to scale back the number of centrifuges it runs at its Natanz facility and accept other restrictions on nuclear-related work.
Instead of uranium, which can be enriched to be the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, any centrifuges permitted at Fordo would be fed elements such as zinc, xenon or germanium for separating out isotopes used in medicine, industry or science, the officials said. The number of centrifuges would not be enough to produce the amount of uranium needed to produce a weapon within a year – the minimum time-frame that Washington and its negotiating partners demand.
[…] Experts say the compromise for Fordo could still be problematic. They note it would allow Iran to keep intact technology that could be quickly repurposed for uranium enrichment at a sensitive facility that the U.S. and its allies originally wanted stripped of all such machines – centrifuges that can spin uranium gas into uses ranging from reactor fuel to weapons-grade material.
And the issue of inspector access and verification is key. Iran has resisted “snap inspections” in the past. Even as the nuclear talks have made progress, Iran has yet to satisfy questions about its past possible nuclear-related military activity. The fact that questions about such activity, known as Possible Military Dimensions, or PMDs, remain unresolved is a serious concern for the U.N. atomic watchdog.
In addition, the site at Fordo is a particular concern because it is hardened and dug deeply into a mountainside making it resistant – possibly impervious – to air attack. Such an attack is an option that neither Israel nor the U.S. has ruled out in case the talks fail. (read more)
Current CIA Director John Brennan wrote about Iran in an obscure foreign policy magazine over the summer of 2008 – during the Obama campaign.
The article, entitled “The Conundrum of Iran: Strengthening Moderates without Acquiescing to Belligerence,” appeared in the July issue of “The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.”
Among other recommendations, it argued that the next U.S. administration should grant political legitimacy to the terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas, and should exercise “strategic patience” with Iran rather than engaging in “bellicose” rhetoric and coercive diplomacy. (link)
From Brennan’s Abstract specifically about Iran:
After nearly three decades of antagonistic rhetoric and diplomatic estrangement between the United States and Iran, the next president has the opportunity to set a new course for relations between the two countries.
When the next president takes up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Iranian officials will be listening. The president must implement a policy of engagement that encourages moderates in Iran without implying tolerance for Tehran’s historic support of terrorist activities.
This strategy will require patience and sensitivity to the complex political realities inside Iran. To successfully chart a new course for U.S.-Iranian relations, the next president must (1) tone down rhetoric; (2) establish a direct dialogue with Tehran, including comprehensive, private discussions and deployment of a special envoy; (3) encourage greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system; and (4) offer carrots in addition to sticks, including consideration of legitimate Iranian concerns on regional security issues.
– John Brennan July, 2008
It was during the specific timeframe of this pre-election 2008 phase, that we recently became aware of another massive nuclear puzzle piece.
From a radio interview in October of 2014 Mark Levin discusses with Michael Leeden the details of a secret message sent by candidate Senator Barack Obama to Iran in 2008 via a former Ambassador, William G Miller.
In essence the content of the communique was Senator Obama telling the Iranian government not to negotiate with the outgoing George Bush administration because Obama was more friendly toward the position of Iran and he would work to structure a more favorable outcome to the Iranian people. (link)
To provide some even greater understanding to how Brennan’s ideology took hold while actually inside the White House – you only need to look at Brennan’s comments in 2011.
This commentary is from June of 2011 three months after the U.S. began arming al-Qaeda in Libya (Brennan is -at the time- Obama’s main national security guy):
“Our strategy is…shaped by a deeper understanding of al Qaeda’s goals, strategy, and tactics. I’m not talking about al Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate.
That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.
We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they are.”
~John Brennan, White House Senior Advisor to The President (for counterterrorism and national security) June 29th 2011