Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says the next round of comprehensive talks between Iran and six world powers will be held in Kazakhstan on February 25, 2013.
Salehi made the announcement in his Sunday speech on the third day of the 49th annual Munich Security Conference in Germany.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — known as the P5+1 group — have held several rounds of talks with main focus on Iranian nuclear energy program. The last round of negotiations between the two sides was held in Moscow in June 2012.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear program has been diverted towards weapons production.
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).
Despite its claims of easing the restrictions on the sales of medicine to Iran, Washington has launched an investigation into the transactions of Switzerland’s biggest pharmaceutical company, Novartis, with the Islamic Republic.
In its 2012 annual report, Novartis said its Alcon eye-care unit is being investigated by the United States for exporting medicine to Iran, Wall Street Journal reported.
Alcon received a subpoena in 2012 from the US attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas, seeking documents related to its exports to Iran that date back to 2005, years before the current sanctions were enacted.
This is while the US Treasury Department said in October 2012 that American companies are allowed to sell certain medicines and basic medical supplies to Iran without first seeking a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The move was made amid Iran’s protests that the US-engineered sanctions were hurting ordinary Iranian citizens and over fears that the humanitarian effects of the unilateral sanctions could undermine support for the bans among Washington’s allies.
According to US rules, exporters of medicine and medical supplies to Iran are required to apply for special licenses. Besides, as the aftermath of the sanctions, the impossibility of transferring money through banks has cast its cumbersome shadow upon medicine and healthcare in Iran and has gravely affected the import of medicines to Iran.
On January 26, in a second letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, President of Academy of Medical Sciences Dr. Seyed Alireza Marandi criticized him for his silence and indifference to the threats directed at the health of Iranian people and urged him to show real action.
“As the individual responsible for surveying and monitoring national health related issues, I affirm that this problem is real and the current situation was predictable from the start of the brutal sanctions,” Marandi said in his letter.
At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran. The sanctions entered into force in early summer 2012.
On October 15, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran.
The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
- US: We are not sanctioning medicial supplies to Iran (therealamirtaheri.com)
- U.S. sanctions cause shortage of drugs in Iran (thehindu.com)
- US exempts 9 countries from sanctions on Iranian oil industry (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has just released an important new expert report on Iran’s nuclear program, specifically on the Parchin site of much recent interest to the IAEA. The report is a must-read for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the expertise of the author, Robert Kelley. Kelley is a nuclear engineer and a veteran of over 35 years in the US Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons complex, most recently at Los Alamos. He managed the centrifuge and plutonium metallurgy programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and was seconded by the US DOE to the IAEA where he served twice as Director of the nuclear inspections in Iraq, in 1992 and 2001.
Rarely, if ever, has such a technically qualified person spoken publicly on this important topic.
The SIPRI report dramatically revises the standard narrative in the mainstream western press about what is known about the Parchin site, and what – if anything — needs to be done about it. It also perfectly contextualizes the relative (un)importance of the IAEA gaining access to the site, and what the IAEA — and P5+1 countries — stands to gain or lose in the process of making a mountain out of a molehill on this issue. As Kelley states, “a careful review of the evidence available to date suggests that less has been going on at the site of interest than meets the eye.”
The dispute centers on “the IAEA’s request to visit a large military production complex located at Parchin, near Tehran. The request is part of the agency’s efforts to resolve questions about whether alleged Iranian nuclear activities have what IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has called ‘possible military dimensions’.” Note the “possible” there. Specifically, the IAEA says it has secret information (which it will not share, even with Iran) from a member state’s intelligence agency indicating that Iran may have constructed a large steel chamber in one of the buildings for conducting conventional high explosives experiments—some of which may have involved natural (not enriched) uranium—which could be associated with a secret program to do research on nuclear bombs. As Kelley explains in the SIPRI report the whole scenario is a bit of a stretch from a technical standpoint.
“A chamber such as the one claimed to be in the building is neither necessary nor particularly useful for developing a first-generation nuclear weapon. Such development tests have normally been done outdoors for decades.”
“There are a range of experiments involving explosives and uranium that a country presumably would conduct as part of a nuclear weapon development programme. Most of these are better done in the open or in a tunnel. They include basic research on neutron initiators using very small amounts of explosive and grams of uranium and on the very precise timing of a neutron initiator using a full-scale conventional explosion system and many kilograms of uranium. The alleged chamber at Parchin is too large for the initiator tests and too small for a full-scale explosion. If it exists at all, it is a white elephant.”
And if someone is going to build a chamber like the one alleged in the secret evidence passed to the IAEA, they will want to do experiments and make measurements. They will want to measure things with, for example:
· very high speed optical cameras
· flash X-ray systems (like an X-ray strobe light which gives you one x-ray of implosion in a very short time)
· neutron detectors
· Various electric timing and pressure detectors.
The collar that is shown in the alleged graphic of the chamber gets in the way of the optical, X-ray and neutron measurements. So it would be better not to have it there at all. The collar of the alleged chamber also means that when the chamber is used up to its design capacity it could well fail on the ends, the entrance door or the windows and cable ports for the measurements.
But before highlighting more of the take-aways from the SIPRI report, let me first briefly mention what other former senior IAEA officials have said about how the IAEA is handling the Parchin issue more broadly.
Firstly, let’s recall that the IAEA has already visited Parchin twice in 2005 and found nothing – although they did not go to the specific area they are now interested in. However, the IAEA could have gone to that area even in 2005 – they simply chose to go to other sites on the military base. As the IAEA report at the time summarized:
“The Agency was given free access to those buildings and their surroundings and was allowed to take environmental samples, the results of which did not indicate the presence of nuclear material, nor did the Agency see any relevant dual use equipment or materials in the locations visited.”
When the IAEA last went to Parchin, Olli Heinonen was head of IAEA safeguards and led the inspections – the methodology for choosing which buildings to inspect is described in an excellent Christian Science Monitor article which is worth reading in its entirety, but I quote the relevant bits:
“At the time, it[Parchin] was divided into four geographical sectors by the Iranians. Using satellite and other data, inspectors were allowed by the Iranians to choose any sector, and then to visit any building inside that sector. Those 2005 inspections included more than five buildings each, and soil and environmental sampling. They yielded nothing suspicious, but did not include the building now of interest to the IAEA.
“The selection [of target buildings] did not take place in advance, it took place just when we arrived, so all of Parchin was available,” recalls Heinonen, who led those past inspections. “When we drove there and arrived, we told them which building.”
Would the Iranians really have risked exposing some nefarious nuclear weapons-related work at Parchin by making all of Parchin available to the IAEA in 2005?
“Also unusual is how open and specific the IAEA has been about what exactly it wants to see, which could yield doubts about the credibility of any eventual inspection.
“I’m puzzled that the IAEA wants to in this case specify the building in advance, because you end up with this awkward situation,” says Olli Heinonen, the IAEA’s head of safeguards until mid-2010.
“First of all, if it gets delayed it can be sanitized. And it’s not very good for Iran. Let’s assume [inspectors] finally get there and they find nothing. People will say, ‘Oh, it’s because Iran has sanitized it,’” says Mr. Heinonen, who is now at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. “But in reality it may have not been sanitized. Iran is also a loser in that case. I don’t know why [the IAEA] approach it this way, which was not a standard practice…”
As for the typically tendentious reporting on this topic, which almost always casts Iran in a negative light, the words of Hans Blix, former head of the IAEA, bear repeating:
“Hans Blix, former chief of the IAEA and later of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, has also expressed surprise at the focus on Parchin, as a military base that inspectors had been to before.
“Any country, I think, would be rather reluctant to let international inspectors to go anywhere in a military site,” Mr. Blix told Al Jazeera English… “In a way, the Iranians have been more open than most other countries would be.”
One of the reasons that Mr. Blix says that is because normally the IAEA does not have the legal authority to inspect undeclared non-nuclear-materials related facilities, in a nation – like Iran — that has not ratified the Additional Protocol. The IAEA can call for “special inspections” but they have not done so. They can also choose arbitration, as specified in the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, but again they have not done that.
In fact, the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement between Iran and the IAEA states quite clearly that its “exclusive purpose” is to verify that nuclear material “is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” Nothing else – that is it exclusive purpose. It does not cover conventional explosives testing, as suspected at Parchin (according to secret information given by a third-part intelligence agency). The IAEA itself has admitted that “absent some nexus to nuclear material the Agency’s legal authority to pursue the verification of possible nuclear weapons related activity is limited.”
Regarding the secret information from an unidentified intelligence agency, it is useful to keep in mind that in the past, forgeries have been passed along to the IAEA. (And, if recent leaks that the IAEA is using mathematically flawed graphs in its case against Iran are to be believed, the IAEA’s case is further weakened.)
So as Hans Blix stated, Iran has been more cooperative than other countries would be in the same situation, and indeed more cooperative than it legally needs to be. It has shown great goodwill by allowing the IAEA a visit to Parchin in 2005. And let’s not forget that in 2004, Brazilian authorities refused to give IAEA inspectors full access to the Resende uranium enrichment facility with nary a peep out of the “world community”.
But coming back to the SIPRI report, a couple more of the highlights:
“The IAEA says that Iran did very complex experiments involving explosives and many fibre-optic detectors and possibly uranium. However, the IAEA says these experiments were not done at Parchin but rather 500 km away at Marivan. In any case, the experiments at Marivan described in great detail by the IAEA would not use uranium.”
And has Iran demolished the building at Parchin that the IAEA wants to visit as some “experts” have claimed?
“No. Some reports implied that Iran had destroyed the building, but this is incorrect. The IAEA claims that five buildings on this site have been demolished but this cannot be seen in satellite imagery. Iran did demolish a small outbuilding on the same site that appears to have been a garage. It was probably demolished to make way for a new road that is being built at the Parchin complex. Another small structure, probably a garage or material store was reported destroyed but is still in place in the latest satellite imagery…The building of interest for the IAEA remains standing.”
“Iran has engaged in large-scale bulldozing operations on about 25 hectares near the Parchin building. This includes the bulldozing of old dirt piles to level a field 500 metres north of the building of interest. However, there has been no such activity in the area west of the building, except for removing some parking pads within about 10 m of it. The fact that the building’s immediate vicinity has been largely untouched on the west side strongly suggests that the purpose of the earth-moving operations was for construction and renovation work and not for ‘sanitizing’ the site by covering up contamination.”
What about the pink tarps mentioned by ISIS, supposedly to prevent satellites from viewing the inside of the buildings ?
“In the summer of 2012 Iran began major renovations at the site. Workers decreased perimeter security by tearing down fences, demolished one outbuilding and began renovation of two buildings. They covered both buildings with pink styrofoam insulation…One building is completely covered with insulation and the other is about 60 per cent covered. Raw materials can be seen on the ground nearby. The buildings were then reroofed and are at different stages of renovation even today.”
A picture of the pink insulation is shown in the report.
Kelley concludes, “The impasse over the Parchin visit has taken on a symbolic importance that is distracting attention from the IAEA’s efforts to address a range of questions about the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme… The IAEA is stretching its mandate to the limit in asking for access to a military site based on tenuous evidence.”
And, of course, let’s keep in mind that these allegations, suspicions and “concerns” (as opposed to actual legal issues) that the IAEA has about Parchin date from about a decade or more ago – if they are true at all. And that they relate to conventional explosives testing.
As for any current worries about nuclear weapons work in Iran, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, has confirmed that he has “a high level of confidence” that no such work is going on now. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also weighed in: “Are they [Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.” And Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent more than a decade as the director of the IAEA, said that he had not “seen a shred of evidence” that Iran was pursuing the bomb. Adding, “I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.”
There are a number of other problems in the IAEA reports on Iran: For example, the agency keeps saying in its reports that it cannot “provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran” nor that “all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” But the agency cannot be expected to do this – that is not its job. Pierre Goldschmidt, the former deputy director of Safeguards at the IAEA summed it up well: “The Department of Safeguards doesn’t have the legal authority it needs to fulfill its mandate and to provide the assurances the international community is expecting.”
In fact, not only is it legally problematic to fulfill such a verification, it is a logical impossibility: The agency cannot prove the absence of something. There can always be somewhere in Iran where the IAEA has not looked. In fact, no one can reasonably task the IAEA to prove a negative in any country, whether it be in Brazil, Argentina, or the 49 other nations for which it is still evaluating the absence of undeclared nuclear activity.
The only real concern with Iran at the moment is that it is stockpiling 20% enriched uranium and that it could — if it decided to weaponize in the future — further enrich it to weapons grade. This is a worry about a future potential, not something that is happening now. Brazil and Argentina could do similar things. Japan could leave the NPT and breakout also. This breakout potential is a well known and inherent flaw (or a “feature”, depending on one’s perspective) of the NPT. If the P5+1 countries (all nuclear-armed, aside from Germany) would like to close this loophole, they should consider a bold new “NPT 2.0” Treaty, such as the one I outlined in an article for Foreign Policy.
Despite the generally alarmist reporting on Iran, it is not at all an eminent threat. For 30 years it has been claimed that Iran is just about to weaponize, when in fact none of those claims have ever panned out. For example, in 1984, Jane’s Defence Weekly quoted West German intelligence sources as saying that Iran’s bomb production “is entering its final stages”. In 1992, Bibi Netanyahu said Iran is 3-5 years from a bomb. He is just as wrong now, as he was then.
What about the claims that Iran’s allegedly covert enrichment plant at Fordow indicates a sinister weaponization intent? Not necessarily — Iran’s perspective on its national security environment is likely different than the view in Washington or Jerusalem. The Iranians may see this location as a defensive measure to protect its legitimate nuclear program. They have surely heeded the lesson from Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s civilian Osirak reactor in 1981: There is no guarantee of safety when it comes to nuclear facilities in the Middle East, not even civilian ones. It’s a rough neighborhood. What is viewed with suspicion in the West may simply be seen as a defensive no-brainer in Tehran.
And, of course, Iran’s nuclear enrichment program was not covert by initial design. Iran’s nuclear program was kicked off in the 1950s with the full encouragement and support of the United States, under the auspices of president Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program. In 1983, after the Islamic revolution, Iran went – in an overt way – to the IAEA to get help in setting up a pilot uranium enrichment facility. And the IAEA was then very receptive to the idea. According to an authoritative Nuclear Fuel article by the renowned Mark Hibbs, “IAEA officials were keen to assist Iran in reactivating a research program to learn how to process U3O8 into UO2 pellets and then set up a pilot plant to produce UF6, according to IAEA documents obtained by Nuclear Fuel.” But, according to Hibbs, “when in 1983 the recommendations of an IAEA mission to Iran were passed on to the IAEA’s technical cooperation program, the U.S. government then ‘directly intervened’ to discourage the IAEA from assisting Iran in production of UO2 and UF6. ‘We stopped that in its tracks,’ said a former U.S. official.”
So, yes, when Iran’s overt attempt was stymied politically, they obtained more covert means to set-up their enrichment facility. Enrichment facilities by their nature can be dual-use, of course, but they are certainly not disallowed under the NPT. And Iran’s allegedly “covert” or “sneaky” behavior may be largely a response to past politicization at the IAEA, and a lesson-learned from Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s civilian nuclear facility at Osirak in 1981. Unfortunately, the politicization has evidently only gotten worse since the 1980s. As representatives of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at an IAEA board of governors meeting in 2010 already noted: “NAM notes with concern, the possible implications of the continued departure from standard verification language in the summary of the report of the director general [Yukio Amano].” (NAM represents over 100 nations, a clear majority of the world community).
Regarding how intrusive IAEA inspectors are supposed to be, the model safeguards agreement (INFCIRC-153), is quite clear:
“The Agency shall require only the minimum amount of information and data consistent with carrying out its responsibilities under the Agreement. Information pertaining to facilities shall be the minimum necessary for safeguarding nuclear material subject to safeguards under the Agreement.”
This completely validates Mr. Hans Blix statement that Iran has already exceeded the typical level of cooperation required of it by letting the IAEA visit Parchin twice: “Any country, I think, would be rather reluctant to let international inspectors to go anywhere in a military site…in a way, the Iranians have been more open than most other countries would be.”
So, back to current events: Iran is known to be converting part of its 20% enriched UF6 gas to metallic form making a “breakout” that much harder. And Tehran has signaled that it is willing to suspend 20% uranium enrichment if some sanctions are removed: so if the P5+1 countries are serious about their concern about a — completely legal — possible future potential Iranian breakout capability using its 20% enriched uranium stockpile, and they would like Iran to foreclose that option then they should take Iran up on its offer to suspend 20% enrichment by lifting some sanctions. What is definitely not constructive is making a mountain out of the Parchin molehill – a molehill that the IAEA has visited twice before and found exactly nothing at.
Professor Yousaf Butt is a nuclear physicist, and is currently professor and scientist-in-residence at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. The views expressed here are his own, and do not reflect institutional views of CNS or MIIS.Yousaf has a piece just out in Foreign Policy today on how the Parchin obsession may be obstructing progress on the larger Iran issue.
- When Fact Becomes Opinion: Half-Truths, Non-Truths & the Phony Objectivity of the Associated Press (alethonews.wordpress.com)
An Associated Press report from this past week demonstrates how plain facts and provable, documented historical events are often described as subjective perceptions and matters of perspective in the mainstream media whenever an honest presentation and assessment of those facts would serve to reduce the fear-mongering propaganda over Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Writing from Tehran on January 15, 2013, AP‘s Iran correspondent Ali Akbar Dareini reported that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast had declared Iran’s intention to register its long-stated (and officially binding) prohibition on nuclear weapons as a legally-recognized, secular, international document.
“Mehmanparast could not be more definitive in dispelling suspicions that Iran may ultimately develop a nuclear weapon,” Dareini wrote, before explaining that while Iran is confident that “any ambiguities or concerns” regarding its nuclear program can be addressed and resolved as long as “a structured approach” is first agreed upon.
Iranians say they have a bitter memory of allowing IAEA inspections and providing replies on a long list of queries over its nuclear program in the past decade. Now, Tehran says such queries should not be revived or remain open-ended once the IAEA has verified them.
Mehmanparast said Iran provided detailed explanations to IAEA questions on six outstanding issues in the past but instead of giving Iran a clean bill of health, the agency leveled new allegations on the basis of “alleged studies” provided by Iran’s enemies.
Iran uses that term to refer to a list of questions including a dispute at Parchin, a military site southeast of Tehran, where the agency suspects Iran ran explosive tests needed to set off a nuclear charge.
Note the repeated use of the same basic construction: “Iranians say…” and “Tehran says…” and “Mehmanparast said…” and “Iran uses…” The statements made after this routine prefix are therefore presented as subjective declarations coming from Iran and are never qualified or substantiated as facts. In short, they are used as disclaimers, readily understood by a suspicious and ill-informed audience.
The readers of this AP report are therefore intentionally left with the perception that these are simply Iranian contentions and therefore automatically suspect, dubious, disputed or otherwise easily dismissed; after all, the comments all came out of an Iranian government spokesman’s mouth and the mainstream media (and politicians, of course) has spent decades training its readers to believe nothing the Iranian government says or does can be trusted.
While Dareini writes that “Mehmanparast said Iran provided detailed explanations to IAEA questions on six outstanding issues in the past,” he omits that this isn’t just a claim made by the Iranian government. Amazingly, the “bitter memory” that Iranians have about cooperating with the IAEA inquiries only to receive international sanctions and more military threats from the world’s most well-armed and aggressive states is not merely some crazy Persian fantasy! No, it actually happened.
In August 2007, Iran and the IAEA agreed to a “Work Plan” which defined modalities and a timetable in order to “clarify the outstanding issues” in relation to Iran’s nuclear program. With regard to the memorandum of understanding itself, IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei pointed out at the time that although “these outstanding issues are the ones that have led to the lack of confidence, the crisis,” he confirmed, “We have not come to see any undeclared activities or weaponization of their programme.” This conclusion was reached after two years of Iran’s voluntary implementation of the IAEA’s Additional Protocol, including a complete suspension of its enrichment program, which allowed intrusive and unfettered access to Iranian facilities for its inspectors.
Despite the constant allegations of nuclear weapons work, the IAEA has confirmed both that “[t]o date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons programme” and found that ”all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”
The IAEA has consistently reaffirmed this finding in each of its reports over the past decade.
It too should be remembered that Iran only suspended its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol after the EU-3 (now referred to as the P5+1) failed to offer any substantive proposals and reneged on its agreement to acknowledge Iran’s inalienable right to enrich uranium as part of a peaceful, safeguarded nuclear energy program. The proposal eventually brought to Iran by Western negotiators has been described as “vague on incentives and heavy on demands,” and even dismissed by one EU diplomat as “a lot of gift wrapping around an empty box.”
Regarding the Work Plan itself, it affirmed that the “[t]hese modalities cover all remaining issues and the Agency confirmed that there are no other remaining issues and ambiguities regarding Iran’s past nuclear program and activities” and that that IAEA had “agreed to provide Iran with all remaining questions according to the above work plan. This means that after receiving the questions, no other questions are left. Iran will provide the Agency with the required clarifications and information.”
In October 2007, ElBaradei confirmed, “I have not received any information that there is a concrete active nuclear weapons program going on right now [in Iran],” adding, “Have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weapons program? No.”
By February 2008, due to Iranian cooperation and efforts at transparency, ElBaradei was able to report, “We have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran’s enrichment programme” and the IAEA continued “to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran.”
Nevertheless, the so-called “alleged studies” – information provided to the IAEA by Western and Israeli intelligence agencies that accuses Iran of engaging in research regarding uranium conversion, high-explosives testing that could be linked to the creation of a nuclear-weapon trigger, and ballistic missile designs that might be capable of accommodating a nuclear warhead – remains the sole point of contention and is often pointed to by Iran alarmists and the mainstream press as evidence of Iranian duplicity and intransigence.
As Iran itself has repeatedly noted, according to the Work Plan, the IAEA was obligated to submit “all related documents” regarding these “alleged studies” to Iran and, in return, while reiterating its insistence that these accusations were “politically motivated and baseless,” Iran would “review and inform the Agency of its assessment,” which was acknowledged “as a sign of [Iran's] good will and cooperation.”
As per this agreement between Iran and the IAEA, “no visit, meeting, personal interview, [or] swipe sampling were foreseen for addressing this matter.” Still, in yet another example of constantly moving goalposts, after Iran examined the documents it was allowed to see (far from the “all related documents” as promised in the Work Plan) and delivered a detailed “117-page assessment in which it asserted that the documentation was forged and fabricated,” the IAEA dismissed the evaluation as being too “focused on form rather than substance” and “requested Iran to provide a substantive response.”
That Iran’s assessment wasn’t as substantive as the IAEA may have hoped is perhaps unsurprising considering that the IAEA didn’t provide Iran with “all related documents” as required. In fact, the IAEA openly admitted to concealing most of the alleged documentation from Iran, claiming that it had “received much of this information only in electronic form and was not authorised to provide copies to Iran” and revealing that while “the Agency had been shown the documents that led it to these conclusions, it was not in possession of the documents and was therefore unfortunately unable to make them available to Iran.”
Furthermore, the IAEA itself “noted that the [IAEA] currently has no information – apart from the uranium metal document – on the actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear material components of a nuclear weapon or of certain other key components, such as initiators, or on related nuclear physics studies.” The alleged “uranium metal document” referred to is identical to one produced by Pakistan, was neither commissioned nor requested by Iran and, along with other alleged documents, dates to “the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s.”
The IAEA also repeatedly emphasized that, despite all the allegations, “the Agency has not detected the use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies, nor does it have credible information in this regard” but still “urged Iran to engage actively with the Agency in a more detailed examination of the documents available about the alleged studies which the Agency has been authorized to show to Iran.”
In a reasonable world, that the IAEA lacks both full access to and authorization over any alleged documentation purporting to show past weaponization research and testing and upon which is based its own claims that it demand Iran substantively explain would cast considerable doubt on the authenticity of such information and clearly demonstrates the dubious integrity and political nature of the allegations themselves. As the Iranian Mission to the IAEA has noted:
The Agency has not delivered to Iran any official and authenticated document which contained documentary evidence related to Iran with regard to the Alleged Studies.
The Government of the United States has not handed over original documents to the Agency since it does not in fact have any authenticated document and all it has are forged documents. The Agency didn’t deliver any original documents to Iran and none of the documents and materials that were shown to Iran have authenticity and all proved to be fabricated, baseless allegations and false attributions to Iran.
Iran has also wondered, “How can one make allegations against a country without provision of original documents with authenticity and ask the country concerned to prove its innocence or ask it to provide substantial explanations?“
In his own memoir, published in 2011, former IAEA head Mohammad ElBaradei echoed that question:
Absurdly, we were limited with regard to what documentation we permitted to show Iran. I constantly pressed the source of the information to allow us to share copies with Iran. How can I accuse a person, I asked, without revealing the accusations against him? The intelligence crowd refused, continuing to say they needed to protect their sources and methods.
Iran, for its part, continued to dismiss most of the allegations as fabrications. Since the Iranians’ cooperation on the work plan had been rewarded with yet more Security Council sanctions, their cooperation on the alleged weaponization studies had been minimal. Their predicament, they said, was that proving the studies were unrelated to nuclear activities would expose a great deal about their conventional weaponry, particularly their missile program. (p. 291)
ElBaradei also lamented the “willingness, on the part of Israel and the West, to treat allegations as fact,” admitting that the IAEA “did not have the tools or expertise, however, to verify the authenticity of documents.” (p. 290)
It should also be remembered that, in early 2007, an unnamed senior official at the IAEA revealed to the Los Angeles Times, “Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that’s come to us [from the United States about the Iranian nuclear program] has proved to be wrong” and has never led to significant discoveries inside Iran. Additionally, the paper noted that “U.S. officials privately acknowledge that much of their evidence on Iran’s nuclear plans and programs remains ambiguous, fragmented and difficult to prove.”
When, in 2009, “the Israelis provided the IAEA with documentation of their own, purportedly showing that Iran had continued with nuclear weapon studies until at least 2007,” in order to “create the impression that Iran presented an imminent threat, perhaps preparing the grounds for the use of force,” ElBaradei has written that the IAEA’s “technical experts, however, raised numerous questions about the document’s authenticity.” He also pointed out that “[t]he accuracy of these [Israeli] accusations has never been verified; however, it is significant that the conclusions of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate were not changed, indicating that they, at least, did not buy the ‘evidence’ put forward by Israel.” (p. 291)
This history of IAEA allegations and Iranian assessments is completely absent from the recent Associated Press report, leading readers to believe Iran is making claims that can’t be backed up with evidence.
Also, that reporter Dareini states that the “alleged studies” referred to by Mehmanparast is a term used by Iran “to refer to a list of questions including a dispute at Parchin,” gives the distinct impression that this term is not an official one and that only Iran claims the studies in questions are merely “alleged” to have taken place rather than “proven,” “corroborated,” and “authenticated.”
But the term “alleged studies,” is not an Iranian creation. Rather, that phrase is a construction of the IAEA itself; Iran didn’t make it up. The first informal use of the term, referring to “topics which could have a military nuclear dimension” appears to be found in an IAEA Safeguards report on Iran from February 26, 2006.
These “topics,” purportedly revealed in documents taken from a mysterious stolen Laptop of Death, the authenticity of which has long been known to rest somewhere on the spectrum of dubious to fabricated, and which was provided to the IAEA by the United States by way of the MEK by way of the Mossad in late 2005; in fact, information gleaned from the laptop does not even contain any words such as nuclear or nuclear warhead.
It is unsurprising, then, that IAEA chief ElBaradei once stated, “The IAEA is not making any judgment at all whether Iran even had weaponisation studies before because there is a major question of authenticity of the documents.”
The IAEA continued to use the term informally throughout 2006 and early 2007, before elevating the term to an official section heading in its August 30, 2007 report. It was subsequently used as such until May 26, 2008, when the more alarmist phrase “Possible Military Dimensions” superseded “Alleged Studies” in IAEA nomenclature. These allegations, unverified and long considered to have questionable authenticity by the IAEA’s leadership, were suddenly resurrected and “assessed by the Agency to be, overall, credible,” when Yukiya Amano (the America’s man in Vienna who has proudly boasted of being, not an objective arbiter of truth and evidence, but as “solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision”) took over stewardship of the agency and began secretly meeting with White House and National Security Council officials before presenting biased IAEA reports on Iran.
Back to the AP report: While Dareini notes that “Tehran has in the past allowed IAEA inspectors twice into Parchin,” he fails to explain that because Parchin is not a nuclear facility, but rather a military complex not safeguarded by the IAEA, it is therefore off-limits legally to its inspectors. When Iran voluntarily allowed two rounds of inspections of Parchin by IAEA personnel in 2005, the agency revealed that its inspectors “did not observe any unusual activities in the buildings visited, and the results of the analysis of environmental samples did not indicate the presence of nuclear material at those locations.”
Regarding the current accusations centered around an alleged detonation chamber located at the site (a charge made in documents provided to the IAEA by Israel), nuclear expert and former IAEA inspector Robert Kelley has explained, “The IAEA is stretching its mandate to the limit in asking for access to a military site based on tenuous evidence.” Kelley also called the Parchin impasse “a secondary issue” that is deliberately serving Israel and the West as “a distraction for the negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (the ‘P5+1′).” He adds (and explores in depth) that “the case for visiting the Parchin site—a matter on which the IAEA continues to insist—is not as clear-cut or compelling as some experts and officials portray it.”
It is undeniable that AP‘s Dareini is nowhere close to the propagandist that his colleague George Jahn is. Considering Jahn contributed “additional reporting” to Dareini’s article, perhaps the problematic sections were his work.
Regardless, for the Associated Press to omit crucial and easily accessible information from its characterizations of Iran’s nuclear program is irresponsible and serves to continually misinform (or under-inform) the public on the facts. And when facts aren’t important, innuendo, allegations and demonization take over, inevitably setting the stage for something far more dangerous: an uncritical and unscrupulous press, aiding and abetting (wittingly or not) the dissemination of propaganda, dutifully presenting a manufactured justification for the supreme international crime, the initiation of (yet another) a war of aggression.
That Associated Press story displaying a graph alleged to be part of an Iranian computer simulation of a nuclear explosion — likely leaked by Israel with the intention of reinforcing the media narrative of covert Iranian work on nuclear weapons – raises serious questions about the International Atomic Energy Association’s (IAEA) claim that it has credible evidence of such modeling work by Iran.
The graph of the relationship between energy and power shown in the AP story has now been revealed to contain absurdly large errors indicating its fraudulence.
Those revelations indicate, in turn, that the IAEA based its publication of detailed allegations of nuclear weapons-related Iranian computer modeling on evidence that should have been rejected as having no credibility.
Former senior IAEA inspector Robert Kelley, who has challenged the accuracy of IAEA reporting on Iran, told Lobe Log in an e-mail that “It’s clear the graph has nothing to do with a nuclear bomb.”
“The pretty, symmetrical bell shaped curve at the bottom is not typical of a nuclear explosion but of some more idealized natural phenomena or mathematical equation,” he said. “Clearly it is a student example of how to perform integrals to which someone has attached some meaningless numbers.”
Nuclear physicists Yousaf Butt and Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress also pointed out that the graph depicted by AP is not only so rudimentary and crude that it could have been done by an undergraduate student, but is based on a fundamental error of mind-numbing proportions.
The graph shown in the AP story plots two curves, one of energy versus time, the other of power output versus time. But Butt and Dalnoki-Veress noted that the two curves are inconsistent. The peak level of power shown in the graph, they said, is nearly a million times too high.
After a quick look at the graph, the head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Cal State Sacramento, Dr. Hossein Partovi, observed, “[T]he total energy is more than four orders of magnitude (forty thousand times) smaller than the total integrated power that it must equal!” Essentially, the mismatch between the level of total energy and total power on the graph is “more than four orders of magnitude”, which Partovi explained means that the level of energy is 40,000 times too small in relation to the level of power.
One alert reader of the account of the debunking of the graph at the Mondoweiss blog cited further evidence supporting Kelley’s observation that the graph shown by AP was based on an another graph that had nothing to do with nuclear explosions.
The reader noted that the notation “kT” shown after “energy” on the right hand scale of the graph does not stand for “kilotons” as Jahn suggested, but “Boltzmann constant” (k) multiplied by temperature (T). The unit of tons, on the other hand, is always abbreviated with a lower case “t”, he pointed out, so kilotons would be denoted as “kt”.
The reader also stated that the “kT” product is used in physics as a scaling factor for energy values in molecular-scale systems, such as a microsecond laser pulse.
The evidence thus suggests that someone took a graph related to an entirely different problem and made changes to show a computer simulation of a 50 kiloton explosion. The dotted line on the graph leads the eye directly to the number 50 on the right-hand energy scale, which would lead most viewers to believe that it is the result of modeling a 50 kiloton nuclear explosion.
The graph was obviously not done by a real Iranian scientist — much less someone working in a top secret nuclear weapons research program — but by an amateur trying to simulate a graph that would be viewed, at least by non-specialists, as something a scientist might have drawn.
Although AP reporter George Jahn wrote that officials who provided the diagram did so “only on condition that they and their country not be named”, the country behind the graph is not much of a mystery.
Blogger Richard Silverstein has reported that a “highly-placed Israeli source” told him the diagram “was stolen by the Mossad from an Iranian computer” using one of the various malware programs deployed against Iran.
Whether one chooses to rely on Silverstein’s reporting or not, it is clear that the graph is part of a longer stream of suspicious documents supposedly obtained by Israeli intelligence from inside Iran’s nuclear program and then given to the IAEA over the past few years.
Former IAEA Secretary General Mohammed ElBaradei refers in his memoirs to documents provided by Israel in 2009 “purportedly showing that Iran had continued with nuclear weapons studies until at least 2007.” ElBaradei adds that the Agency’s “technical experts” had “raised numerous questions about the documents’ authenticity”, and suggested that US intelligence “did not buy the “evidence” put forward by Israel” in its 2007 National Intelligence Estimate.
Jahn’s story indicates that this and similar graphs were the basis for the IAEA’s publishing charges by two unnamed states that Iran had done computer modeling that the agency said could only have been about nuclear weapons.
Jahn cites a “senior diplomat who is considered neutral on the issue” as confirming that the graph accompanying his story was one of “a series of Iranian computer-generated models provided to the IAEA by the intelligences services of member nations.”
Those “computer generated models” were discussed in the November 2011 report, which referred to “[i]nformation provided to the Agency by two Member States relating to modelling [sic] studies alleged to have been conducted in 2008 and 2009 by Iran….” The unnamed member states were alleging that the Iranian studies “involved the modelling [sic] of spherical geometries, consisting of components of the core of an HEU nuclear device subjected to shock compression, for their neutronic behaviour at high density, and a determination of the subsequent nuclear explosive yield.”
Nothing in that description of the alleged modeling is documented by the type of graph shown by the AP story.
The IAEA report concludes by saying, “The information also identifies models said to have been used in those studies and the results of these calculations, which the Agency has seen.”
In other words, the only evidence that the IAEA had actually seen was the graphs of the alleged computer modeling, of which the graph shown in the AP story is alleged to be an example. But the fact that data on that graph has been credibly shown to be off by four orders of magnitude suggests that the Israeli claim of Iranian computer modeling of “components of the core of an HEU nuclear device subjected to shock compression” was completely fabricated.
Former IAEA Inspector Kelley also told Lobe Log that “We can only hope that the claim that the IAEA has relied on this crude hoax is false. Otherwise their credibility has been shattered.”
- Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
In a statement issued on Friday, NAM strongly condemned the opposition of the US, Russia, Britain and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the conference that was originally scheduled to be held in Finland’s capital, Helsinki, in December, upon an agreement reached during the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
The movement emphasized that the conference should be held before the end of 2012, voicing the NAM member states’ full support for the establishment of a Middle East region free of nuclear weapons.
It also urged the Israeli regime, the only non-signatory to the NPT in the Middle East, to destroy its nuclear weapons, place its nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) supervision and carry out all its atomic activities in accordance with international non-proliferation regulations.
On November 23, the US announced that the Helsinki conference cannot be convened at this point due to the special conditions in the Middle East.
The major event has reportedly been cancelled on US worries that its long-time ally in the region, the Israeli regime, would come under fire as the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
Israel is widely known to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaei called on Friday for joint efforts to pursue the idea of creating a Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction.
He said that the nuclear weapons of Israel, which has a dark background in state terrorism and resorting to aggression, threat and bullying against other countries, are a real threat to regional and international peace.
“It is necessary that the international community swiftly and firmly counter this threat,” the Iranian envoy pointed out.
The Israeli regime rejects all the regulatory international nuclear agreements – the NPT in particular – and refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspections.
- Iran Urges Israel to Join NPT (en.rian.ru)
- NAM calls for total nuclear disarmament (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- US cancels ME nuclear conference to protect “Israel” & over 100 NAM states support Iran’s program (realisticbird.wordpress.com)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says there is no evidence suggesting that Iran has made any decision to militarize its nuclear energy program.
In an interview with the Russian daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Tuesday, Lavrov said Iran’s nuclear energy program is under the full supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the country is enriching 4.5-percent uranium to meet its fuel needs, Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported.
Lavrov emphasized that the production of nuclear fuel is not a violation of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and confirmed the legitimacy of Iran’s bid to produce 20-percent enriched uranium to provide fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR).
Iran decided to enrich uranium to 20-percent level to provide fuel for TRR, which produces medical isotopes for cancer patients, after potential suppliers failed to provide the Islamic Republic with the required nuclear fuel.
On September 17, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Fereydoun Abbasi, said Iran has no intention of enriching uranium above the 20-percent level.
Abbasi added that Iran started producing 20-percent enriched uranium when it could not obtain fuel for TRR from international market due to sanctions imposed against the country.
The Iranian official added that the main objective of 20-percent enrichment is to produce radiopharmaceuticals, but certain parties are trying to connect Iran’s nuclear activities to non-civilian purposes.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program, but Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the NPT and a member of the IAEA, it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s nuclear energy program has been diverted toward military objectives.
- The Constant Countdown: Never-Ending Hype, Hysteria, and Hyperbole about Iran’s Nuclear Program (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Analysis of latest IAEA report on Iran – August 2012 (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Sometimes in reviewing some of the older material in my files, I run across little things that just make me laugh out loud when I’m reminded of the events. Tonight, this caused a substantial chuckle:
Remember when NeoCon Oliver Kamm wrote an article (behind paywall) in Rupert Murdoch’s Times (of London) in which he dramatically “exposed” a document that supposedly proved that Iran had conducted tests with atomic bomb detonators (known as neutron triggers)? Naturally, it quotes David Albright too, claiming that this is “strong evidence” of continued Iranian nuclear weapons work. The Times even published an image of the document itself, quite helpfully. It is always great when a news outlet publishes the primary material which forms the basis of their reporting rather than simply passing off hearsay and rumor, often from anonymous sources, as fact. Congratulations, The Times and Oliver Kamm. You deserve a Medal of Journalism for that…
It turned out that there are all sorts of suspicious things about that document. The collective intelligence of the web kicked in and nitpicked the document and noticed some interesting things, namely, that there were no security markings of any sort on the document as would be expected, and furthermore, it wasn’t even typed with Farsi fonts but was instead typed using Arabic fonts. Hmmm… that’s kinda weird, huh? Gareth Porter did a great job pointing out the… inconsistencies?… with this document.
Oh but it is OK because Oliver Kamm wrote back to the commentator, George Maschke, who initially brought these points to light in the comments section of the article, and Oliver Kamm explained these inconsistencies. The following is the very first sentence of what Oliver Kamm, journalist, wrote in reply to Maschke:
George Maschke, the whole of your comment is undermined by your mistake in assuming that the document that you read online was the document in its original form…
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you perhaps the funniest and also most insightful description of journalism at the begining of 21st Century. It should be written in gold and posted on every corner of the world.
You see, if you expect that a document published by the likes of Oliver Kamm and the Times of London to actually be what they claim it is, then you are mistaken. It is your mistake to think that the press will not try to pass off a fake, edited and altered document as the original. You are mistaken to think that these people believe in any sort of honesty or accuracy, or that the Times would not allow an agenda-driven ideologue with a track record of lying to present himself as a journalist.
You are mistaken to think that Oliver Kamm would mention that the Israelis tried to pass off this document to the IAEA in 2009 as evidence of a continued nuclear weapons program in Iran, that the IAEA Director Elbaradei dismissed the document as a a suspected bit of fraud intended to undermine the 2007 US National Intelligene Estimate that judged Iran had no nuclear weapons program, and then the Israelis turned around and fed it to Kamm who dutifully published it in The Times, after he edited and altered it without telling his readers. If you think Oliver Kamm would mention any of these facts in his article, it was your mistake.
In fact, let me explain something to you: there are more laws imposing a duty of honesty and accuracy on used car salesmen than there are on “journalists”. In other words, you can rely on what a used car salesman says, more than you can rely on what you read in The Times or any other media outlet. They can lie directly in your face, and there’s nothing to stop them. They can make up complete crap — like that Iraq had mobile biological weapons labs and aluminum tubes intended to make nuclear weapons, that Ahmadinejad is secretly Jewish, that Iran requires Jews to wear yellow stars, that Iran’s soccer players wore green wristbands as indicators of their political support for the riotors in the aftermath of the 2009 Presidential elections in Iran, or that Iran secretly funded the presidential campaign of Turkey’s Prime Minister — and there’s NOTHING to stop them (yes, the Turkish PM won a libel suit against the Telegraph and Con Coughlin for that false claim about Iranian campaign funding — but that hardly stopped the Telegraph and Con Coughlin from continuing to write nonsense about Iran.)
This is the state of the media and these are the ”journalists” you are stuck with to try to figure out what’s going on in the world. And if you think anything they write can be taken at face value, you are mistaken.
And here’s something else to consider. That alleged neutron trigger work supposedly happened… at Parchin. Yes, the same Parchin that Albright is jumping up and down about, that was already inspected — twice — by the IAEA which found nothing but which is still mentioned as evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons work.
- Iran: “We Lied!” – not really (alethonews.wordpress.com)
TEHRAN – In a statement read out at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday, Iran and other members of the Non-Aligned Movement called for total nuclear disarmament in the world.
The statement was read out by the Iranian ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, on behalf of the NAM member states, during a meeting of the First Committee on all disarmament and international security agenda items.
Following are the main points of the statement:
- NAM reaffirms its principled positions on nuclear disarmament, which remains its highest priority. The movement reiterates its deep concern over the threat to humanity posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and of their possible use or threat of use and expresses its concern over the lack of progress by the Nuclear-Weapon States (NWS) to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
- NAM reaffirms that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and reaffirms further that all Non-Nuclear-Weapon States (NNWS) should be effectively assured by the NWS against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
- The movement remains deeply concerned by the strategic defense doctrines of the Nuclear-Weapon States and NATO’s Deterrence and Defense Posture Review adopted at its summit in May 2012 that set out the rationales for the use of nuclear weapons. NAM strongly calls for the complete exclusion of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons from their military doctrines.
- The movement also calls on the NWS to immediately cease their plans to further modernize, upgrade, refurbish, or extend the lives of their nuclear weapons and related facilities.
- NAM calls for convening a high level international conference to identify ways and means of eliminating nuclear weapons, at the earliest possible date, with the objective of an agreement on a phased program for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, to prohibit their development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction.
- NAM recognizes the need to enhance the effectiveness of the UN disarmament machinery. NAM notes that the main difficulty of the disarmament machinery lies in the lack of genuine political will by some states to achieve actual progress, including in particular on nuclear disarmament.
- NAM considers the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones as an important measure, and, in this context, NAM continues its strong support for the establishment in the Middle East of a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Pending its establishment, NAM demands that Israel, the only country in the region that has not joined the NPT nor declared its intention to do so, renounce any possession of nuclear weapons, accede to the NPT without precondition and further delay, and place promptly all its nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards. The movement also calls for the total and complete prohibition of the transfer of all nuclear-related equipment, information, material and facilities, resources or devices and the extension of assistance in the nuclear related scientific or technological fields to Israel. NAM also supports the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
- NAM reaffirms the inalienable right of each state to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy, including the sovereign right to develop full national nuclear fuel cycle, for peaceful purposes without discrimination. The movement once again reaffirms the sovereign right of each state to define its national energy policies, including the inalienable right of each state to develop a full national nuclear fuel cycle.
- NAM is of the firm belief that non-proliferation policies shall not undermine the inalienable right of states to acquire and access material, equipment, and technology for peaceful purposes.
- NAM expresses its deep concern at the continued imposition of and/or maintaining limitations and restrictions on exports to developing countries of nuclear material, equipment, and technology for peaceful purposes.
- NAM once again reaffirms the inviolability of peaceful nuclear activities and that any attack or threat of attack against peaceful nuclear facilities – operational or under construction – poses a great danger to human beings and the environment, and constitutes a grave violation of international law, principles of the UN Charter and regulations of the IAEA.
- While noting that considerable progress has been made in developing and applying the latest information technologies and means of telecommunication, the movement expresses concern that these technologies and means can potentially be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security and may adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure of states to the detriment of their security in both civil and military fields. NAM emphasizes that these technologies and means should be utilized by member states in a manner consistent with international law and the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.
- NAM stresses the need for a multilaterally negotiated, universal, comprehensive, transparent, and non-discriminatory approach toward the issue of missiles in all its aspects, as a contribution to international peace and security.
- NAM stresses the importance of the sovereign rights and security concerns of all states at regional and global levels in any approach to the issue of missiles in all its aspects. NAM further stresses the importance of contribution of peaceful uses of space technologies, including space launch vehicle technologies, to human advancement.
- NAM states parties to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions call for their balanced, effective, and non-discriminatory implementation.
- NAM reaffirms the sovereign right of states to acquire, manufacture, export, import and retain conventional arms and their parts and components for their self-defense and security needs.
- NAM demands that Israel join the NPT without further delay (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- NAM calls for total abolition of chemical weapons (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Iran FM Salehi: NAM Should Oppose Sanctions, Foreign Intervention Unacceptable (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Iranian defense minister: Israel should set red lines for itself (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
Parchin is a military site that has been in the news lately because the IAEA is insisting on sending inspectors there, and Iran has been resisting the pressure. While this has naturally led many US media outlets to suggest that Iran is hiding something there, Hassan Beheshtipour explains Iran’s position over at IranReview.org
1. No country [would] ever allow the IAEA to inspect its military sites because the agency is missioned to merely visit nuclear sites, and non-nuclear military bases [are not] covered by its inspections [authority].
2. In order to prove its goodwill and reveal [the] falsehood of the Western media propaganda, Iran has already allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the site twice in 2005, and after each visit, the inspectors said nothing illegal had been found there. Olli Heinonen, the deputy to the then director general of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, had orally promised that if Iran allowed inspection of the military site in Parchin, they would announce once and for all that Parchin is a non-nuclear site and would need no further inspection. However, as the agency’s deputy director general for safeguards changed, the new deputy, Herman Nackaerts, announced in 2011 that Parchin site needs to be inspected again in the light of alleged studies whose information had been provided by some member states of the agency. This issue has caused Iran not to trust the promises given by the IAEA officials anymore.
3. Following three rounds of negotiations with delegates of the IAEA, Iran announced that the agency would be able to revisit Parchin site if two conditions are met. Firstly, they should promise that following the visit, there would be no further request to inspect Parchin again. Secondly, documents related to the agency’s alleged studies should be made available to Iran in order to make it possible for Tehran to evaluate that information and give an appropriate answer. The IAEA, in return, responded to Iran’s logical request by claiming that countries providing information about the alleged studies would not allow copies of those studies to be provided to Iran. As a result, the agency rejected Iran’s request and denied the Islamic Republic of an opportunity to defend itself by alleging that the IAEA, an impartial international organization, is competent enough to verify the studies.
4. The Islamic Republic of Iran expects the IAEA to guarantee that after its inspectors visit the military site at Parchin, there would be no leak of confidential information related to this non-nuclear military site and such information remain secret. This is a result of the background of the IAEA’s performance in similar cases. For example, during the agency’s work in Iraq, information related to non-nuclear military sites of that country were made available to other states a few years before military invasion of Iraq by the United States. Of course, the United States announced that it had not gained that information through the IAEA inspectors, but at any rate, the leak of confidential information about Iraq’s military sites dealt a drastic blow to credit of the agency regardless of the source of the leaked information.
The writer goes on the remind readers that the IAEA and Iran resolved most of the “outstanding issues” between them back in 2007-2008, after they had reached a “Modalities Agreement“ for a step-by-step process of cooperation, and,
At present, Iran is also ready to cooperate with the agency on all issues provided that the cooperation is mutual and based on a correct understanding of Iran’s security considerations.
I should point out here that regarding point no. 3 raised by Beheshtipour, former IAEA head El-Baradei wrote in his memoirs entitled “Age of Deception“ about how ridiculous a thought it was that Iran was expected to rebut evidence that it was not allowed to see. In fact, under the 2007 Modalities Agreement, which led to the resolution of all of the claims against Iran except for the “alleged studies”, Iran agreed to provide an evaluation of these claims if it was presented with the documentation first. However the US has prevented the IAEA from sharing the information with Iran, and in some cases the US has even prevented the IAEA itself from seeing the full documentation which forms the basis of these “Alleged Studies” even though there are signficant doubts about the veracity of these same documents. Iran supplied their promised evaluation in the form of a 117-page document anyway. Under the terms of that Modalities Agreement, this was all Iran was obligated to do, and the IAEA was then bound to conclude the issue. That, of course, is not what happened. Read more here
- IAEA leaks confidential information about Iran: Lawmaker (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Analysis of latest IAEA report on Iran – August 2012 (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Iran: “We Lied!” – not really (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Senior Iranian lawmaker Javad Jahangirzadeh says the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not fulfilled its responsibilities regarding the confidentiality of information obtained from Iran.
“The IAEA is obliged to protect the information about the nuclear activities of [its] member states but it has not fulfilled its responsibility regarding Iran and has transferred Iran’s nuclear information to the country’s enemies,” the member of Iran’s Majlis Presiding Board said on Saturday.
“[IAEA Director General Yukiya] Amano’s repeated trips to Tel Aviv and asking the Israeli official’s views about Iran’s nuclear activities indicates that Iran’s nuclear information has been leaked to the Zionist Regime [of Israel] and other enemies of the Islamic Republic,” Jahangirzadeh added.
“If the agency’s actions lead to Iran cutting cooperation with this international body, all responsibility will be with the IAEA director general,” the Iranian lawmaker said.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, but has never found any evidence of diversion in Tehran’s nuclear energy program toward military purposes.