By William Beeman, Nov 9, 2009 9:53 AM
Editor's note: William Beeman is Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. His most recent book is The “Great Satan” vs. the “Mad Mullahs”: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other.
When a “secret nuclear site” in Qom (Qum), Iran was voluntarily disclosed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by Iran on September 21, 2009, President Obama claimed that the United States forced the disclosure. Indeed, the United States had known about the site for at least three years.
The Qom site was reportedly a second uranium enrichment site, matching the one already in operation at the town of Natanz. However, even at the time of disclosure it appeared to be less than had been reported by President Obama. It had 3000 antiquated centrifuges purchased from Pakistan that had not been even set up for use. It had no nuclear fissile material in it, In short, the site was was not operational in any way.