Missing Iranian nuclear scientist 'resettled' in the US
Guardian / Julian Borger

A few months ago, I sat next to a senior member of the Bush administration at a dinner, and he was listing that administration's "unsung" achievements - one of which he said was the difficulty Iran has had in getting its centrifuges in Natanz to work as well as Tehran would like. That, he said, was no accident, hinting that it was the result of a covert operation to supply Iran with duff parts through black market channels.

The success of the intelligence effort so far may explain why Israel has defied multiple predictions that it would carry out military raids on Iranian nuclear facilities. Despite the fact that Iran has crossed Israeli "red lines" by enriching enough uranium to give it bomb-making potential, and despite the fact that Israeli officials do not expect the next set of UN sanctions to amount to very much, they say they are prepared to wait and see how much further the West goes in imposing punitive measures.

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