The piece was written by Gary Milhollin and Valerie Lincy, who I had never heard of until this morning. Gare and Val run Iran Watch, whose tagline is, "Tracking Iran's Mass Destruction Weapons Capabilities." So...you know...they're like, totally not biased. What is Gary's track record? Wait for it. Wait...for...it.
HE USED TO RUN IRAQ WATCH! Guess what their mission was!?!?!?! To track Iraq's weapons of mass destruction! I'm not kidding. It's the same guy, literally, doing the same thing, literally. A detail like this would be cut from even the hackiest political satire for being to obviously absurd. Why, why, would the Times hand over their paper to him given his record, his clear thirst for Arab/Persian blood, and the fact that right now the country is following a disturbingly similar script as the one that lead to the invasion and occupation of Iraq?
I almost don't want to move on to the article. It's so, fucking, bad. Oh lord. Okay, let's do this. Hold your nose, 'cause here comes the cold water. The first line really tells you everything you need to know about the piece as a whole:
"THE disclosure of Iran’s secret nuclear plant has changed the way the West must negotiate with Tehran. While worrisome enough on its own, the plant at Qum may well be the first peek at something far worse: a planned, or even partly completed, hidden nuclear archipelago stretching across the country." [emphasis added.]
OH FUCK OH FUCK! We're all totally fucked! Bomb that country now before it's too late! There "may well be" dangerous things there that we don't know about. The wild speculation continues in paragraph 3.
"Perhaps Iran was planning to install more efficient centrifuges at the plant, like a version of the P-2 machine used by Pakistan." [emphasis added.]
Yes, perhaps, perhaps, per-haps.
"Clearly, the new plant makes more sense if it is one of many. If Iran built a second plant of the same size as the Qum operation and ran them in tandem, the production times described above could be almost halved. And if Iran had a string of such plants, it would be able to fuel a small arsenal quickly enough to reduce greatly the chance of getting caught." [emphasis added.]
And IF Optimus Prime were real, then he could just fuckin' drive up all like a fuckin' truck an' shit, and then once he got inside he could just be like, "OH YEAH! It's Optimus Prime in the house!" And IF that happened it'd be so fuckin' sweet, and then we could bomb those Browns into a real live Democracy, by gawd.
"This would also limit the damage if one site were discovered or bombed, because its loss might not affect the others. Such a secret string of plants, however, would probably require a secret source of uranium."
The Qum plant might also be linked to Iran’s known enrichment plant at Natanz...
By feeding this uranium into the new Qum plant, Iran could fuel one bomb in about seven months, even at the present low production rate. If the rate were quadrupled, as Washington is projecting, the plant could fuel a five-bomb arsenal in less than a year.
But because the Natanz plant is being watched over by international inspectors, diversion of its material would probably be detected...
Having begun the Qum plant to supply a bomb’s fuel, wouldn’t Iran also create what’s needed to produce the rest of the bomb’s components? [emphasis added.]
Really look over those quotes. What, WHAT is happening in this Op-Ed. We start from an unfounded assumption, that the plant "may well be" one part of a nefarious network of plants, and we end up with the vile innuendo, "wouldn't Iran also create what's needed to produce the rest of the bomb's components?" It should make any thinking person sick to their stomach that the Times' would publish such ridiculous speculation. A first year philosophy student couldn't get away with this fallacious of an argument. By the time the reader gets to the last rhetorical question, the existence of an evil, vast network of undisclosed America-killing factories is no longer in question. OH, IT EXISTS, the authors assure us. But what evidence have they provided? Literally none.
Can we prove or disprove the authors' claims? No, not exactly. Although it is theoretically possible that they are describing reality as it is, we as readers are given no reason to believe that is what's happening. And, put in context, we should believe the authors are doing the exact opposite: describing a paranoid fantasy world populated with Evil Geniuses bent on the destruction of America and Israel at all costs.
Never once does it cross the authors minds that the constant threats of war and sanctions from the US and Israel might lead the Iranians to build a protected nuclear power plant. Never once does it cross their minds that Iran notified the IAEA well before they were required to under international law. And, most remarkably of all, never does it cross their minds that Iraq was a massive failure on every level that has resulted in untold levels of suffering in that country--and America as well--and that the US will be dealing with the blowback and crippling cost of our occupation for decades to come.
None of that crossed the minds of the editorial board of the New York Times, either. Which, all things considered, is somewhat unremarkable.