Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 28, 2008

Iran Election Ploy

There is another run of bomb-Iran news making the rounds. The IAEA released a new report (pdf) and immediately the media bashing began. The NYT had a completely misleading report  which Cyrus Safdari thankfully takes down in detail.

In August last year the IAEA and Iran made a deal on how to proceed on the then open questions. Those procedures were followed and in February the IAEA gave Iran essentially a clean bill of health. The agreement was fulfilled. But at the same time the U.S. gave the IAEA some very dubious 'evidence' derived from the 'Laptop of Death' that alleged projects of nuclear militarization. Iran has answered questions about some but not all of this 'evidence' which it says is at least in part forged.

This sequence of events does of course not prevent the Washington Post editors from lying to their readers:

LAST AUGUST, the International Atomic Energy Agency struck a deal with Iran on a "work plan" for clearing up outstanding questions about its nuclear program within three months -- in other words, before December 2007.
On Monday, some six months after the expiration of the deadline, the IAEA issued a report saying, in essence, that Iran had not acted in good faith and was engaging in delaying tactics.

The report says no such thing and the December 'deadline' never was one. But through it we learn a bit more about the alleged 'evidence'. One of the "documents shown to Iran in connection with the alleged studies" is about "High Explosives Testing":

Five page document in English describing experimentation undertaken with a complex multipoint initiation system to detonate a substantial amount of high explosive in hemispherical geometry and to monitor the development of the detonation wave in that high explosive using a considerable number of diagnostic probes.

In English?!?

And why a hemisphere? A hemisphere implosion device is needed for Plutonium bombs. Iran is not even alleged to work on anything with Plutonium. For a bomb based on Uranium much simpler ways are available to start the nuclear reaction. Why would Iran, unlike Pakistan, take the more complicate route?


21. Concerning the documents purporting to show administrative interconnections between the alleged green salt project and a project to modify the Shahab-3 missile to carry a nuclear warhead, Iran stated that, since some of the documents were not shown to it by the Agency, it could not make an assessment of them. Although 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.

So at least part of the alleged 'evidence' has only been 'shown' to the IAEA and has not been provided to Iran at all. How is Iran to refute 'evidence' that it has never seen but that, to them, is mere hearsay? If this 'evidence' is relevant why is it not given to the IAEA to confront Iran? In another part of the report the IAEA also says that some of the 'evidence' only exists in "electronic form" which is of course prone to easy falsification.

As the IAEA notes later, the standard for verification is 'access to documents'.

23 .The Agency is continuing to assess the information and explanations provided by Iran. However, at this stage, Iran has not provided the Agency with all the information, access to documents and access to individuals necessary to support Iran’s statements.

So while Iran is not even allowed to see the 'evidence' it is supposed to deliver documents to refute it.

Adding to the manipulative reporting about the nuclear issues, there is a constant stream of attack warnings. Alex Cockburn wrote about  new plans of a U.S. undercover war against Iran three weeks ago. Yesterday Muhammad Cohen wrote in ATOL about bombs on Iran:

The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.
The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that the US plans an air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC's elite Quds force.

Now this may be the truth or it may be that the source, likely Richard Armitage, manipulates or has been manipulated.

As Col. Sam Gardiner shows, the administration communication theme before the 2004 election was 'terrorism' and it led to an incredible spike in media reports and news releases that included the term. He sees a similar communication strategy and spike coming for the 2008 election. This time the threat theme is "Iran".

An attack on Iran may come. But so far this might only be an election ploy. If an attack really comes, it is unlikely that we will be sure of it before the bombs fall. But remember:

"Over that summer of 2002," McClellan writes, "top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war. . . . In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage."

Posted by b on May 28, 2008 at 14:01 UTC | Permalink


Remember: War in Iraq = War on Terrorism.

Therefore, War in Iran = War on Terrorism.

Any further questions, all you sympathizers and coddlers?

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 28 2008 14:39 utc | 1

Ah yes, the US is going to bomb Iran just before the start of the Beijing Olympics.

The fun thing about this report is that it's actually quite specific about the timing - so, what happens when the bombers fail to materialise in said timeframe?

It's very hard to take the so-called "sourcing" seriously.

Posted by: dan | May 28 2008 15:27 utc | 2

excellent report b.

the IAEA and Iran made a deal on how to proceed on the than open questions.

should read 'then open questions'.

Posted by: annie | May 28 2008 15:28 utc | 3

Thanks annie, corrected.

The Malaysian National News Agency has a more realistic report than any "western" media ..
ElBaradei Under Pressure To Release Iran Report

ElBaradei in his report unveils unilateral requests in the absence of the other party's cooperation. Though pursuing double-standards, the report shows that it has not been prepared in a safe and calm atmosphere and under ordinary conditions and he had been under more pressure than before in writing and compiling it.

On February 22, Iran has got clean health bill after it responded to all outstanding issues in line with the Modality Plan signed between the two parties on August 21, 2007.

The six outstanding questions were the plutonium issue, the P1 and P2 centrifuges, the metal uranium document, source of contamination in a technical college in Tehran, polonium 210 and the Gatchin mine.

Following Iranian responses to the six outstanding issues, the International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in his report that 'the answers delivered by Iran to the outstanding issues support documentation'.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has so far offered its assessment of the claims or `alleged studies' -- as envisaged by the August 21 agreement.

From Tehran's point of view all the claims are baseless, faked and fabricated.

Posted by: b | May 28 2008 16:42 utc | 4

There's a fascinating link at Cyrus' site about the USS Vincennes and the US operations against Iran in the 1980s. Similar cast of characters Ted Koppel looks good in hindsight compared to the 'news' we have today, but of course the report is four years after the fact. Why change the play book if no one else bothers to read it?


(Good Persian Gulf map links from the link as well.)

Posted by: biklett | May 28 2008 17:53 utc | 5

Thanks, biklett.

Now that's reporting. Quotes, citations, FOIA documents ...

the story of US navy luring Iranian gunboats and destroying them, night-time silent helicopters destroying any traffic near the convoys of Kuwaiti tankers ...

kinda makes you think about what they are doing in the Persian Gulf right now.

Posted by: jonku | May 28 2008 18:56 utc | 6

Surely the Hezbollah attack against the Israeli frigate with an anti-ship missile was a calling card for Admiral Mullen, wait a sec, he's gone.

Posted by: | May 28 2008 19:21 utc | 7

Laura Rosen goes after an important detail of the Mohammad Cohen article and finds it is "flat out untrue": Putting a Rumor to Rest

(Found via The Friday Lunch Club)

Posted by: Alamet | May 28 2008 22:20 utc | 8

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