RIA Novosti | April 6, 2013
ALMATY – The latest round of talks between six world powers and Iran on its nuclear program has been “definitely a step forward,” although it has ended with no clear breakthrough, Russia’s top negotiator on Iran said on Saturday.
“Definitely, it is a step forward. There is no doubt in this,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters at the end of the two-day talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which he said were “detailed” although adding that the sides have failed to “reach common ground.”
“At this time again we have failed to embark on a true search for a compromise,” Russia’s top negotiator said. “But a basis for this exists,” he said adding that Iran has introduced its approach which takes into account some “proposals and considerations” of the group of six international negotiators comprising five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany (P5+1).
Ryabkov also said Russia is against the West’s unilateral sanctions on Iran, calling this stance “unjust and inconsistent with the norms of international law.” He said Iran must be freed from all the international sanctions in case it agrees that its nuclear program will be under full control of the UN nuclear watchdog. “If such a deal takes place, then Iran must be fully freed from all the sanctions,” Ryabkov said.
Iran’s new plan is meant to bring about “the beginning of new cooperation” with its negotiating partners, Ali Bagheri, the deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Friday.
The plan expands on the initiatives presented during last year’s round of talks in Moscow, Bagheri said giving no details of the plan.
At a briefing after the talks Tehran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, confirmed that the Iranian side has introduced its action plan but the group of six powers was not ready to react and asked for some time to study Iran’s ideas.
Jalili stressed that Iran has a right to enrich uranium and Tehran will use this for peaceful civilian energy needs. He added however, that the issues related to Iran’s cooperation with the international community may be discussed at further talks.
“We have offered this initiative and today we also announced our readiness to speak of these ideas and further study them. And these ideas may become the beginning of a new round,” Jalili said.
Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters on Saturday the negotiations between Iran and six world powers showed that their positions “remain far apart on the substance.”
Iran insists on its right to a peaceful nuclear program, but the P5+1 group says the country may be in fact on track to develop its own nuclear arms.
The international group, active since 2003, initially pushed for Iran to abandon its nuclear program.
But it softened its stance at the previous round of talks in Almaty in February, where it proposed to accede to Iran’s right to nuclear research if Tehran manages to prove it would not enrich uranium to above 20 percent, which is sufficient for medical, but [not] military purposes.
Another demand was to close a nuclear plant known since 2009 to operate in the village of Fordo in northern Iran.
Tehran’s nuclear program resulted in international sanctions against the country, which left its oil-dependent economy flagging.
However, the public opinion in Iran is generally considered to be supportive of the nuclear program – which is a major factor for the official Tehran position, given that the country goes to the polls in June to elect a new president.
In recent days, reports about an alleged Israeli-US bombing attack that would have allegedly destroyed a large portion of the Fordo nuclear enrichment plant in Qom were circulating in Western media. However, its falsehood was soon revealed by several sources.
The story first appeared on February 25th when an Iranian defector going by the pseudonym Reza Kahlili published an evidence-free article in the US site wnd.com, in which he claimed that the Fordo plant had been the target of a sabotage operation. The article claimed that a blast deep within Fordo had “destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 240 personnel deep underground”.
However, the first doubts came due to the personality of the author himself, as Kahlili, a defector, is widely considered as a liar because of his previous claims. He wrote some months ago that Iran actually had nuclear weapons.
Kahlili’s sole source was Hamid Reza Zakeri, another Iranian defector, who is also notorious for his lies against Iran. A US official has been quoted by some US media as saying that Zakeri was “a fabricator or monumental proportions”.
This is not the first time that defectors are used in order to launch false accusations against a country. In the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003, New York Times reporter Judith Miller (and some others) published several stories about Saddam Hussein´s non-existent weapons of mass destruction programs and these reports were used by the Bush administration as a pretext to launch the war. Later, all these allegations turned out to be false and the newspaper was forced to admit that Miller had based her reports on Iraqi defectors. In that sense, the case for the war on Iraq was built on a set of fabricated documents and deliberately manipulated intelligence that US media outlets uncritically reproduced.
Israel spreads the story
Shortly after the Fordo story appeared, Israeli sites and officials tried to make it pass as true. The website of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot repeated the claim and it was later echoed by the Times of London, which added that the story had been confirmed by Israeli intelligence officials. “We are still in the preliminary stages of understanding what happened and how significant it is,” one Israeli official told the London Times. “Israel believes the Iranians have not evacuated the (Fordo´s) surrounding area. It is unclear whether that is because no harmful substances have been released, or because Tehran is trying to avoid sparking panic among residents.”
For his part, Israeli acting Defense Minister, Avi Dichter, reacted to the story by saying that indeed any explosion in Iran was “good news”.
Of course, Israeli officials always knew that the story was false but it is clear that they wanted to feed the notion that they -with US help- were conducting a successful secret war against Iran in order to reinforce their own extremist stance. However, as these stories are revealed as lies, the effect is counterproductive to them because they expose themselves, once again, as liars before the international community, especially on the Iran nuclear issue.
However, two senior Iranian officials dismissed reports of the explosion. Deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi said there had been no explosion at the Fordo facility, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). The chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said they were “baseless lies” meant to impact talks on Iran´s nuclear program, reported IRNA.
The Iranians´ statements were then confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which claimed that there were no signs of any explosion whatever in Fordo. The IAEA has live cameras at the site and its inspectors regularly visit it, and, therefore, they would have known if it had been “in ruins with hundreds trapped within”. “We understand that Iran has denied that there has been an incident at Fordo. This is consistent with our observations,” IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said.
The White House also rejected the report as unreliable. “We have no information to confirm the allegations in the report and we do not believe the report is credible,” spokesman Jay Carney said in a briefing with reporters. “We do not believe those are credible reports.”
The false diagram
The Fordo false explosion was not the only Israeli fabrication on the Iranian nuclear issue. On November 27th 2012, the Associated Press agency published a report claiming that it had discovered the existence of alleged evidence of “Iranian work on a nuclear bomb”. “Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima”, the agency said.
This evidence, according to AP, was a “graph” which the agency said was “leaked” to it by “officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program” to “bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon”. Moreover, “an intelligence summary was provided with the drawing” claiming that “Iran is working not on isolated experiments, but rather on a single program aimed at mastering all aspects of nuclear arms development.”
Why did AP hide which country had delivered the diagram? It said that officials of that country wanted anonumity, so the agency gave it anonymity. However, everybody was certain it was Israel.
The author of the AP report, George Jahn is also notorious because every time there is a possibility of a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Iran´s nuclear program, he reports an “exclusive” anti-Iranian revelation, always provided to him by “an official of a country tracking Iran’s nuclear program,” or “an official of a country that has been severely critical of Iran´s nuclear program.”
Nevertheless, experts soon discovered that the diagram was fake and amateurish. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, it simply showed that “the bulk of the nuclear fission yield is produced in a short 0.1 microsecond pulse”, which is a common knowledge for any physics student. Later, it was equally discovered that it is widely available all over the Internet and in university textbooks. Even worse, the diagram contained huge errors, which were unlikely to have been made by research scientists who work in a state-run national program.
Scott Kemp, an assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), told IPS he suspects the graph leaked to AP was “adapted from the open literature”. He said he believed its authors “were told they ought to look into the literature and found that paper, copied (the graph) and made their own plot from it.”
After the hoax became exposed, Western diplomats privately accused Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, of being behind the leaks, which would be part of an effort to implicate a murdered Iranian in an alleged weapons program. The diplomats also said Mossad is becoming increasingly active in Austria, the home of the IAEA and the place where George Jahn works, in order to drive support for a war on Iran.
Therefore, what AP presented as a kind of highly specialized and very complex document was only a very common graph, which can be easily found on the internet. The agency helped create and spread a dangerous hoax and its credibility was severely damaged by this serious incident that demonstrated that it let itself be manipulated by officials “of an anonymous state” in order to incriminate Iran. The agency did not tell the public who gave it the false and misleading information with the evident goal of misleading the public into believing that Iran had a weapons programme.
Recently and after having scored a heavy defeat in the latest parliamentary elections, where he and his his right-wing partner Avigdor Lieberman lost 25% of their seats in the Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to hide his current political weakness by shifting the public´s attention to Iran. In his “victory speech”, he insisted that his first challenge would be “preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons”.
Of course, this rhetoric does not deceive anyone, as even the US and the IAEA reports recognize that Iran continues to use civilian enriched uranium only for civilian purposes. US officials have recently said that the assessment included in the 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, which claims that there is no evidence whatever of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, remains the consensus view of the US´s 16 intelligence agencies.
The international community is actually fed up with Israel’s false allegations and fabrications against Iran. Netanyahu and his Zionist supporters in the US probably know that the American and Western public cannot be manipulated into supporting an attack on Iran, as all the polls show.
Another for-Israel war in the Middle East would not benefit anyone but the far right in Israel, the pro-Israeli lobby in the US and its neocon agents. It would not only devastate the Middle East and kill hundreds of thousands, if not more, but it would also produce a decades-long conflict between the Muslim world and the West that would also destroy the West´s economy. Due to all this, the international community and the peoples of the world must confront these Zionist plots threatening the existence and hopes of humanity.
- IAEA Dismisses Reports of Explosion at Iran’s Fordo (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The International Atomic Energy Agency has dismissed Israeli and Western media reports claiming there had been an explosion at the Fordo uranium enrichment facility and stated that it had seen no sign of such an event at the Iranian nuclear site.
On Tuesday, IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor told The Associated Press that Iran’s denial of “an incident” at the Fordo plant is “consistent with our observations.”
On Monday, Iran categorically rejected the reports about an explosion at the Fordow nuclear facility.
MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who is the chairman of the Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, described the news stories as Western propaganda designed to influence the upcoming round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany).
I have concluded that in reading mainstream US media converage especially about foreign affairs you have to view it as reading a comic book. See for example Joby Warrick, the same fellow that not long ago was promoting scaremongering bullshit about “Soviet nuclear scientists” secretly working at Iranian nuclear sites (Sort of a riff on “Dr. No.”) Now Warrick has once against stringed together a bunch of bullshit and called it an article entitled “Obama’s policy on Iran bears some fruit.” (I’m sorry if I’m offending anyone with the term “bullshit” but that’s precisely what it is, and I’m having a bit of pain so I don’t have the patience to be nice!)
In judging Obama’s Iran policy, Warrick promotes the same set of discredited lies as usual, portraying the US as magnanimously offering the hand of peace to Iran, only for the intransigent and crazy Iranians to slap it away as they continue to plot to make nukes. The real news — that Joby Warrick doesn’t want you to read — is that the Obama administration has been pursuing the same policies as Bush, policies designed and implemented by Israel-firsters like the same Dennis Ross and Elliot Abram quoted by Warrick, who have in fact actively prevented a peaceful resolution of the standoff with Iran, and have instead brought us closer to a conflict by consciously closing off other options — which is why Joby would like you to believe that there’s some sort of race between the fall of the regime in Iran or a nuclear-armed Iran (whch is a false choice – there’s zero proof of any nuclear weapons program, and Iran’s nuclear program is actually quite popular amongst Iranians.)
First let us all hail the great and noble Obama:
Over the previous few years, the president has used his office to repeatedly extend offers of rapprochement to Iranian leaders. And when those attempts have been rejected — firmly — he has used diplomacy to build an unprecedented wall of international opposition to Iran’s nuclear program and preside over the imposition of the harshest economic sanctions in the country’s history.
Yes, you see in Joby Warrick’s world, it is US that is doing the “offering” and Iran that is doing the “refusing” — nevermind several little incidents like the aborted Turkey/Brazil-brokered Uranium swap deal that was killed by Obama after Iran unexpectedly said yes (causing even US allies Brazil and Turkey to publicly complain.) Nevermind the whole history of this conflict which has witnessed repeated Iranian compromise offers ignored or spurned by both Bush as well as Obama.
No, see in Joby Warrick world, the Iranians have to be the ‘intransigent’ party, stubbornly seeking nukes and refusing peaceful settlements. That’s why, according to Joby Warrick at least, Iran’s leader Ayatullah Khamenei “publicly rejected Obama’s appeals” — whereas in real life, Khamenei said quite overtly that he would judge the US by its actions not words:
In a televised address in the city of Mashhad, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama called for a new beginning in the troubled U.S.-Iran relationship, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: “We have no experience with the new American government and the new American President. We will observe them and we will judge. If you change your attitude, we will change our attitude.”…
The Iranian leader reiterated that his country was looking practical changes on the ground as a precondition for an engagement with the Americans. “Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime?” he asked.
Earlier, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a top adviser of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also stressed that Tehran was looking for concrete action from Washington so that ties could improve.
And what were come of the Obama administration actions? Sanctions and bringing Ross up from the bowels of AIPAC and the Bush administration and put him in charge of promoting an Iran policy that was quite obviously a continuation of Bush’s policies and explicitly intended by Dennis Ross to justify a conflict with Iran.
And just to make sure you, dear reader, don’t get confused by little inconvenient facts — like the fact that the 16 (now 17) combined US intelligence agencies still say there’s no sign of any Iranian nuclear weapons program — Joby Warrick is quite happy to claim that the Obama administration discovered Fordo (in fact it was first publicly disclosed by Iran) and furthermore that the “discovery” of Fordo has “all but demolished” any claims Iran may have to operating a purely peaceful civilian nuclear program — nevermind that the IAEA visited Fordo and concluded at the time that it was nothing more than a “hole in the mountain…nothing to be worried about” (just like all the other US intelligence tips to the IAEA that ended up being dead ends) and which today operates under IAEA safeguards and inspections. Oh, and another fact that is too inconvenient to exist in Joby Warrick world: Iran has started converting its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium into fuel plates, thus making it impossible to use the material for making nukes, and just as it said it would.
In fact, Fordo is where Iran manufactures uranium enriched to just under 20% (still low-enriched uranium which cannot be used for bombs) for a medical reactor that creates isotopes to diagnose and treat Iran’s 800,000 cancer patients. Prior to that, Iran was enriching Uranium at 3.5% which is what civilian reactors use. Iran would not have had to enrich uranium even to 20% had the US not prevented Iran from simply buying the fuel on the open market as is done usually. So the Iranians were forced to make the 20% enriched uranium themselves thanks to US policies — something that the same Moussavian who is quoted by Joby Warrick in this same article wrote about quite recently but apparently Warrick didn’t want to confuse you with such details that contradict his narrative about a sneaky Iran making bombs at Fordo.
Indeed, just today, the Iranians once again offered to cease enriching uranium at 20%, if only they’re permitted to buy the reactor fuel for the medical reactor again — but you know, Joby Warrick is too much of a good Washington Post reporter to mention that bit of current news in his analysis — especially since it would contradict his lies about Iran seeking nuclear weapons.
The fact that the US has been demanding that Iran give up a sovereign right to operate an indigenous nuclear program that is perfectly legal, the fact that the majority of the world’s countries as represented by NAM hperfectly legalave explicitly supported Iran (once again) just a couple of weeks ago, none of that matters. No, you see, the US is the maganimous party, making reasonable offers that only a crazed, nuke-luvin’ bunch of ayatullahs can refuse…according to Joby Warrick. That’s straight out of a comic book.
- Iran: “We Lied!” – not really (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Naturally, the New York Times seized on this — the story that an official in charge of Iran’s nuclear program, Fereydoon Abbasi, has “admitted” that Iran occasionally tried to mislead on its nuclear program:
Iran’s top atomic energy official said in an article published Thursday that because of foreign espionage, his government had sometimes provided false information to protect its nuclear program.
Note the crucial bit of missing information here, left out by the NY Times in order to spin this sentence as some sort of “confession” by Iran of having hidden nukes: WHO WHOM? TO WHOM has he said Iran provided false information – to the IAEA or to Western spies?
Because that’s a real crucial bit of difference! Needless to explain: There’s generally no obligation on a country to allow foreign spying, especially when its scientists are being assassinated. However the NY Time’s simply runs with the assumption that this official is saying “We lied to the IAEA because we’re making nukes” rather than “We tried to mislead foreign intelligence agencies so they would not assassinate us”. Go back and read it again, better yet read the original Arabian news report. Or translate it. You won’t see him saying “We lied TO THE IAEA because we’re hiding nukes” Instead, he’s referring to foreign intelligence agencies. But that’s not how the NY Times spins it.
The bottom line is, as much as the NY Times and friends would like to exploit this sentence, there is still no evidence of any nuclear weapons program, and Iran has never diverted nuclear material for non-peaceful uses, and all of this is verified by regular, intensive IAEA inspections. So what precisely is it that Iran has been lying about to the IAEA? Because the IAEA would sure like to know.
Of course the NY Times has to raise the suspicions by referring to a list of events in a one-sided way. For example, the Times repeats the lie that Iran “hid” its enrichment facilities until 2002 — but in fact Iran had simply not officially declared them to the IAEA since legally it wasn’t obligated to do so yet, and in any case Iran’s enrichment program was in fact never a secret. Or, the lie that Iran was “hiding” Fordo and only disclosed it when it had found out that the US knew about it? What a sad attempt to distort the true facts: Iran is not legally obligated to disclose a facility until 180-days prior to the introduction of nuclear material into the facility. If the US “beats them to the punch” and makes the site publicly known, it wasn’t because Iran was “hiding” it – it was simply not within the 180-day time limit yet. And aside from that, the IAEA went to Fordo and investigated it, and the IAEA director said bluntly that it was nothing more than a hole in a mountain and nothing to be concerned about. That’s another crucial bit of fact left out by the Times. Or the lie that Iran is not cooperating with IAEA efforts about the infamous “Alleged Studies” — leaving out the crucial fact that Iran has responded to them, to the best degree possible, especially considering that the IAEA has not been permitted by the US to actually show the evidence to Iran, that Iran is expected to rebut – something the former IAEA director complained about in his book where he also recounted that some of the documents cited as proof of Iranian nukes were in fact so obvious forgeries that in one case he simply returned the document to the Israelis who had provided it to him. (I’m too tired to find all the links verifying what I’ve written here – google it.)
So what’s really going on here? Why is the NY Times putting this spin on the story? Because for the longest time they’ve been looking for a way to kill the US National Intelligence Estimate, which has been saying for a while now that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and has shown no interest in one either. Boy when that NIE came out, it went off like a bomb. Bush ran off to Israel and disassociated himself from his own intelligence agencies. There was talk about intelligence agencies having carried out a “coup” and gone rogue. The Israelis were steaming. They’ve been pressing ever since to either get that NIE rewritten, or to somehow find a way around it, even if it means denigrating US intelligence analysts. Well, here you go! Here’s an Iranian official saying “We lied”. How much hay can you make out of that?!