Israel and the US Try to Manipulate the IAEA’s WorkPosted: September 17, 2009
by Yusuf Fernandez
Published: Sep. 16, 2009 – Al-Manar TV
In last months, Israel and its agents in the United States have increased their pressure on the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to force the agency to change its conclusions about the Iranian nuclear programme. The IAEA has repeatedly claimed that there is no evidence of military nuclear activities in Iran. However, some countries in the West, spearheaded by the United States and Israel, accuse Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons programme under the guise of peaceful enrichment activities although the have failed to provide any evidence supporting their accusations.
The AFP agency quoted in July an Israel official who spoke on condition of anonymity as saying that the agency head, Mohamed ElBaradei, had “been quite negligent in revealing all the difficulties that the monitors have in Iran and also in not exposing the full picture of the deception and acceleration of (its) illegal military nuclear activities.” He accused El Baradei of “deliberately withheld incriminating information on Iran’s nuclear programme.” Israel has often attacked ElBaradei, who is to step down in December, and demanded his dismissal.
According to Washington TV, diplomatic sources have confirmed that the United States and its European allies have been pressing the UN agency to publish “evidence” that they say would point towards Iranian efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons capability. These circles point out that the US and its European allies, such as the UK and France, need any kind of justification to seek the approval harsher sanctions against Tehran.
Actually, the tensions between ElBaradei and the US Administration date back to ElBaradei’s public declaration in March 2003 that the documents on alleged Iraqi efforts to obtain uranium from Niger – later known as the “Niger forgeries” – were not authentic. At that time, George W. Bush´s administration was looking for excuses -the non existent weapons of mass destruction of Iraq- to invade Iraq. These claims were subsequently discredited when no traces of WMD were found in Iraq. However, it did not prevent the Bush administration from using similar tactics against Iran, with both the US and Israel issuing warnings that Iranian nuclear sites might be bombed.
However, ElBaradei has not allowed Israel or the US to blackmail him and has repeatedly asserted in his periodical reports that IAEA inspectors stationed at Iran´s nuclear facilities have found no evidence suggesting that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons. Recently, Iran has allowed UN inspectors broader access to its main nuclear complex in the southern city of Natanz and to a reactor in Arak.
The last report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on September 5 confirmed that the Iranian nuclear programme was peaceful. The document says thar Iran has only enriched uranium-235 to a level “less than 5%.” Uranium, the fuel for a nuclear power plant, can serve in military purposes only if enriched to high levels. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90%. The report adds that is “false in saying that Iran is making weapons-grade uranium at an experimental enrichment site”. In fact, the agency said, the material produced “was only in small quantities far below that can be used in nuclear weapons.”
Despite all these findings, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it had pressed the Islamic Republic to clarify its uranium enrichment activities and reassure the world that it is not trying to build an atomic weapon. The agency said that there were “a number of outstanding issues which give rise to concerns and which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions.”
For his part, Iran’s envoy to IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh has contended the overall IAEA assessment on Iran is positive. The report, he added, showed that “Iran has continued its cooperation with the agency … but at the same time will not accept any political pressure to take measures beyond its legal commitments,” Soltanieh reportedly told the Fars news agency. But he says concerns raised by the US and others have “totally overshadowed and undermined the steps that Iran has taken to comply with IAEA demands for transparency.”
US PRESSURES THE IAEA
According to Press TV, US ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Glyn Davies ignored the positive aspects of the report and declared that Iran now had what he called a “possible breakout capacity” if it decided to make a bomb. Davies did not say what he meant by “breakout capacity”, but the official US position is that it would take Iran several years to make the uranium it has enriched -for nuclear fuel at low levels- usable for weapons.
The US Administration put pressure on the AIEA in order it to take into account the documents of a laptop computer that reportedly was smuggled out of Iran and to “annex” them to its last report with some documents, which the US claims, would show Iran´s “alleged studies” about military uses of the nuclear energy. However, many experts of the agency are very skeptical about their authenticity. This skepticism was reinforced when new evidence came to light last year that some of these documents had been fabricated to support the accusation that Iran was working on nuclear weapons. A Vienna-based diplomatic source close to the IAEA told Inter Press Service that the reason ElBaradei has never endorsed the “alleged studies” documents is that they have not met his rigorous standards of evidence.
According to Inter Press, the United States has refused to give the documents to the IAEA because ElBaradei had insisted that all of them should be shared with Iran in order to be be authenticated. US officials, supported by Israel, argued that allowing Iran to study the documents would compromise intelligence “sources and methods”, according to a US-based source.
Iran expert Gareth Porter wrote in counterpunch.org that “the most important such document to be denied to the IAEA and Iran is a one-page letter from an Iranian engineering firm to an Iranian private company, Kimia Maadan, which is identified as having participated in the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons project. The letter reportedly had handwritten notes on it referring to studies on the redesign of a missile re-entry vehicle, and is thus a primary piece of evidence for the claim that the missile re-entry documents were genuine. However, Iran turned over to the IAEA an original copy of the same May 2003 letter with no handwritten notes on it. That suggests that the copy of the letter with handwriting on it is a fabrication done by an outside intelligence agency to prove that Iran was working on nuclear weapons.”
“The US has also pointed to the existence of a plan for a “green salt” conversion facility, which were attributed to Kima Maadan and said to be part of the military-run nuclear weapons project. According to a February 22, 2008, IAEA report, Iran submitted documentary evidence to the IAEA showing that Kimia Maadan had been created in 2000 solely to plan and construct a uranium ore processing facility under contract with Iran’s civilian atomic energy agency, and that it was in financial difficulty when it closed its doors in 2003. The IAEA, which had been investigating whether the company was working for the Iranian military, as charged by the United States and other Western countries, declared in its February 2008 report that it “considers this question no longer outstanding at this stage,” Porter said.
Actually, it is not only the IAEA which has belied the existence of an Iranian military programme. US spy agencies themselves have recently concluded that Iran “has not taken the critical steps to make a bomb”, despite having produced enough nuclear fuel. On September 9, the New York Times reported that the US intelligence agencies had reached that conclusion in a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) update they presented to US President Barack Obama in recent months.
The original 140-page NIE report, which was given to former president George W. Bush in 2007, had clarified that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapon program at the time. The new intelligence information collected by the Obama administration once again confirmed the original reports’ findings by asserting that there was no convincing evidence to prove Iran’s nuclear work was in any way military.
ISRAELI DESINFORMATION CAMPAIGN
Meanwhile Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor again accused the IAEA of hiding evidences on the Iranian programme. In a prepared statement, he said that the latest IAEA report “accuses Iran of defying UN Security Council decisions, but at the same time hides actual Iranian violations on its path toward military nuclear capability. This is a harsh report, but it does not reflect all the information possessed by the IAEA on Iranian efforts to advance its military program, on its continuing efforts to hide and deceive, and on Iran´s noncooperation with the IAEA and the demands of the international community.”
At the same time, Israeli officials have launched a propaganda campaign in Western media in which they offer different dates on when Iran could develop a “nuclear weapon”. Recently, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that an “one-year” estimate which was published by the Times had been leaked by an Israeli military intelligence source. Unfortunately, many Western media does not question the disinformation received from Israeli sources and accept to serve as Israel´s spokesmen.
The truth is that Israel is the only state in the Middle East having nuclear weapons, more than 200 warheads according to the experts. Unlike Iran, which has signed the Non Proliferation Treaty, Israel has refused to sing the treaty and allow international inspections in its nuclear sites. Israel uses this military nuclear power to threaten and blackmail Arab and Islamic countries of the region. Arab countries have repeatedly demanded Israel to destroy its nuclear stockpile in order to build a nuclear-free Middle East. However, Israel has rejected this demand.
In contrast, Iran maintains that its nuclear program is solely aimed at peaceful purposes, reiterating that it has answered all questions remaining over its nuclear work. However, Iran has made it clear that it won´t renounce the internationally-bestowed right to produce nuclear fuel for power generation. This right is also recognized by the NPT.
Israel has long threatened to attack Iranian nuclear sites but he has not resorted to military action out of fear of consequences. Besides having powerful armed forces, Iran is supported by millions of Muslims in the world, who would react to any Israeli attack on Iran.
Some US administration officials now believe Israel´s claims that Iran could quickly build a bomb are attempts to put pressure on the Obama Administration. They think that Israel is trying to push the US into another meaningless war -as it happened in Iraq- in order to serve not US but Israeli interests. In this sense, the US the administration is facing a great deal of pressure to move to sanctions from hawks in the Congress -backed by the AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and other organizations of the “Israel lobby” – who have been pushing for a tougher line against Tehran. However, today more and more Americans reject to give their blood and money to support Israel´s hegemonic and criminal goals in the Middle East.