The disclosure that Iran is building a secret nuclear enrichment plant inside a mountain near the city of Qom underlines the continuing treachery of a government with a long history of evasion. Iran's actions represent a brazen and indisputable violation of the international rules governing the development of nuclear power.
Iran's insistence that the plant is not intended to make weapons defies belief. If Iran has nothing to hide, why then was it hiding this facility? Why is it under the control of Iran's Revolutionary Guards and not a civil agency of the government?
For most countries, it is not a violation to start building a nuclear facility for peaceful uses, but the plans must be reported to the United Nations. Iran obviously had no intention of doing so. It came forward only when it learned that U.S. intelligence had discovered the nuclear hideaway and the Obama administration was on the verge of going public.
In any case, Iran is not like most countries. It has been out of compliance with U.N. sanctions for so long that building a nuclear facility of any kind, regardless of intended use, violates U.N. rules.
Keeping it secret compounds the violation and shows that Iran was working overtime to defy inspection of its nuclear program. Whatever claim to credibility the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may once have had — surely not much — has been reduced to zero.
The reaction of Iran following the disclosure heightens concerns. It test-fired a series of short-range missiles to flex Iran's military might. This can be interpreted only as a signal that it will resist international pressure to give up its nuclear program.
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