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Leak inquiry launched over ‘NYT’ Story on American-Israeli cyberwar targeting Iran

by Alex Kane, source

The Obama administration’s war on leaks has now ensnared General James Cartwright, a four-star general and a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a high-level body of military leaders. Cartwright is the target of an investigation over “a politically sensitive leak of classified information about a covert U.S. cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear program,” as NBC News’ Michael Isikoff reported last night. The cyber attack was developed in coordination with Israel.

National security blogger Marcy Wheeler raises an intriguing, albeit speculative, question in Salontoday: is Cartwright being investigated for what he revealed about U.S. officials’ anger at Israel over a cyberwar program gone awry?

Wheeler is perhaps the smartest writer on national security and civil liberties issues out there, so her theory is worth listening to–even if it’s just a theory at this point. So here it is:

The New York Times ran an important front-page article last year by David Sanger on the Israeli-U.S. cyberwar on the Iranian nuclear program. Sanger reported that “President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons.”

But Sanger (and two other Times reporters) had already reported in 2011 that the U.S. and Israel had developed the Stuxnet virus–the name of the cyber weapon– to cripple Iran’s program. So why is the Obama administration investigating the 2012 story and Cartwright’s role in it, and not the 2011 story (as far as we know)?

Wheeler thinks it’s because of an explosive passage in the 2012 article pertaining to a 2010 meeting with the president after it was discovered that the Stuxnet “worm, which was never supposed to leave the Natanz machines, had broken free, like a zoo animal that found the keys to the cage.” Key players involved in the creation of Stuxnet and its use–including Cartwright–had to break this news to Obama. Here’s the passage:

“We think there was a modification done by the Israelis,” one of the briefers told the president, “and we don’t know if we were part of that activity.”

Mr. Obama, according to officials in the room, asked a series of questions, fearful that the code could do damage outside the plant. The answers came back in hedged terms. Mr. Biden fumed. “It’s got to be the Israelis,” he said. “They went too far.”

Cartwright was in that meeting. Here’s Wheeler’s speculation on why he’s now the target of the leak investigation:

Was it the diplomatically dangerous accusation from Biden —“It’s got to be the Israelis”— that DOJ now suspects Cartwright of sharing with Sanger, in addition to technical details that likely come from Sanger’s broad range of sources? (Sanger notes, as have others, that it remains unconfirmed who bears responsibility for the code that led StuxNet to escape.)

Whether or not this accusation against Israel is the big secret that might get Cartwright in trouble, it’s worth noting that just weeks before this StuxNet leak investigation started, the House tried to legally mandate investigations into leaks that “degrad[e] Israel’s ability to defend itself.”

“I recently traveled to the Middle East, where we met with senior Israeli officials,” said Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), who introduced the measure. “Their number one concern was that for the first time in our long relationship, United States was releasing classified operational information and capabilities, willfully putting at risk the lives of Israeli people.”

Have we gotten to the point where America’s most fiercely guarded secrets — the kind that could put a retired General in legal jeopardy — concern not America, but Israel?

Iran, Rouhani: Nuclear program will keep on, Syria gov’t will stay till 2014

Al Manar

The Iranian President-elect Sheikh Hasan Rouhani said on Monday that Tehran will present more transparency in its nuclear program than before, but the Islamic Republic won’t abandon its uranium enrichment process.

During his first press conference, Rouhani stressed that Iran will adopt the doctrine of moderation and not of extremism, noting that recent elections opened another chapter in the country.

Offering thanks to all categories of the Iranian people, Rouhani said that he will fulfill his promises even though they need time to be achieved, but he will arrange files according to their priorities.

The Iranian president called upon the people of Iran for unity, stressing that he will work on reviving economy and constructive cooperation with the world countries.

Fielding a journalist question, Rouhani said that priority will be for boosting the economy, prompting the livelihood and eliminating unemployment.

Regarding the foreign policy, The Iranian president pointed out that the new government will seek friendly relations with all neighboring states, particularly the Saudi Arabia, in accordance with mutual respect and common interests.

On the US-Iran relations, Sheikh Rouhani said that Iran does not seek to increase tensions, but every single step will be in accordance with the then conditions.

“They (the U.S. administration) must not interfere in Iran’s internal affairs, must recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium and must abandon the policy of pressures,” he stated.

“If we feel their good intention, then we are ready to ease the current pressure.”

As for the Syrian crisis, Rouhani said that the Syrian people is the only party who has the right to decide its destiny, noting that Iran rejects terrorism and internal fights, and warning against any kind of foreign intervention in Syria. He also voiced hope that all world and regional states will contribute to restore stability and peace to Syrian Arab Republic.

“The Syrian crisis must be resolved by the people of Syria. We are against terrorism, civil war, and foreign intervention. Hopefully, with the help of all countries of the region and the world, peace and calm will return to Syria,” the cleric said.

“The Syrian crisis must be resolved by a vote by Syrians. We are concerned by the civil war and foreign interference. The government (of President Bashar al-Assad) must be respected by other countries until the next (2014 presidential) elections and then it is up to the people to decide.”

Touching on the Iranian nuclear program, Dr. Rouhani indicated that the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic are unjust and the Iranians don’t deserve them, believing that the only beneficiary is the Zionist entity, whereas the western countries suffer of them also.

The president reiterated that Iran will be more transparent in its nuclear program, but it won’t halt the uranium enrichment.

“We will move two steps to end the sanctions: firstly we will double our transparency, and secondly we will enforce confidence between Iran and the International community. In other word, we will work upon lifting the embargo by adopting the policy of step-by-step,” sheikh Rouhani stated.

Answering a question of France 24 correspondence about Irans’ readiness to suspend the uranium enrichment, the President-elect indicated that Iran has passed this stage, recalling that he had agreed with the former French president Jack Shirak on the Iranian nuclear program many years ago. However, the Britons didn’t approve it due to the U.S. pressure.

AIPAC’s doomsday conference

It’s the End of the World Again

by WILLIAM BLUM, source

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) recent convention in Washington produced the usual Doomsday talk concerning Iran’s imminent possession of nuclear weapons and with calls to bomb that country before they nuked Israel and/or the United States. So once again I have to remind everyone that these people – Israeli and American officials – are not really worried about an Iranian attack. Here are some of their many prior statements:

In 2007, in a closed discussion, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that in her opinion “Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel.” She “also criticized the exaggerated use that [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears.”

2009: “A senior Israeli official in Washington”, reported the Washington Post(March 5), asserted that “Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation.”

In 2010 the Sunday Times of London (January 10) reported that Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, -pillar of the Israeli defense establishment, and former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, “believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons.”

January 2012: US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a television audience:

“Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No, but we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability.”

Later that month we could read in the New York Times (January 15) that “three leading Israeli security experts – the Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, and a former military chief of staff, Dan Halutz – all recently declared that a nuclear Iran would not pose an existential threat to Israel.”

Then, a few days afterward, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in an interview with Israeli Army Radio (January 18), had this exchange:

Question: Is it Israel’s judgment that Iran has not yet decided to turn its nuclear potential into weapons of mass destruction?

Barak: People ask whether Iran is determined to break out from the control [inspection] regime right now … in an attempt to obtain nuclear weapons or an operable installation as quickly as possible. Apparently that is not the case.

In an April 20, 2012 CNN interview Barak repeated this sentiment: “It’s true that probably [Iranian leader] Khamenei has not given orders to start building a [nuclear] weapon.” 

And on several other occasions, Barak has stated: “Iran does not constitute an existential threat against Israel.” 

Lastly, we have the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in a January 2012 report to Congress: “We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.” … There are “certain things [the Iranians] have not done” that would be necessary to build a warhead.

So why, then, do Israeli and American leaders, at most other times, maintain the Doomsday rhetoric? Partly for AIPAC to continue getting large donations. For Israel to get massive amounts of US aid. For Israeli leaders to win elections. To protect Israel’s treasured status as the Middle East’s sole nuclear power.

Listen to Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at America’s most prominent neo-con think tank, American Enterprise Institute:

The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don’t do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, “See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn’t getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately.” … And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem.

Former insiders criticize Iran policy as US hegemony

by Gareth Porter, source

IPS — Going to Tehran arguably represents the most important work on the subject of U.S.-Iran relations to be published thus far.

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett tackle not only U.S. policy toward Iran but the broader context of Middle East policy with a systematic analytical perspective informed by personal experience, as well as very extensive documentation.

More importantly, however, their exposé required a degree of courage that may be unparalleled in the writing of former U.S. national security officials about issues on which they worked. They have chosen not just to criticise U.S. policy toward Iran but to analyse that policy as a problem of U.S. hegemony.

Their national security state credentials are impeccable. They both served at different times as senior coordinators dealing with Iran on the National Security Council Staff, and Hillary Mann Leverett was one of the few U.S. officials who have been authorised to negotiate with Iranian officials.

Both wrote memoranda in 2003 urging the George W. Bush administration to take the Iranian “roadmap” proposal for bilateral negotiations seriously but found policymakers either uninterested or powerless to influence the decision. Hillary Mann Leverett even has a connection with the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), having interned with that lobby group as a youth.

After leaving the U.S. government in disagreement with U.S. policy toward Iran, the Leveretts did not follow the normal pattern of settling into the jobs where they would support the broad outlines of the U.S. role in world politics in return for comfortable incomes and continued access to power.

Instead, they have chosen to take a firm stand in opposition to U.S. policy toward Iran, criticising the policy of the Barack Obama administration as far more aggressive than is generally recognised. They went even farther, however, contesting the consensus view in Washington among policy wonks, news media and Iran human rights activists that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election in June 2009 was fraudulent.

The Leveretts’ uncompromising posture toward the policymaking system and those outside the government who support U.S. policy has made them extremely unpopular in Washington foreign policy elite circles. After talking to some of their antagonists, The New Republic even passed on the rumor that the Leveretts had become shills for oil companies and others who wanted to do business with Iran.

The problem for the establishment, however, is that they turned out to be immune to the blandishments that normally keep former officials either safely supportive or quiet on national security issues that call for heated debate.

In Going to Tehran, the Leveretts elaborate on the contrarian analysis they have been making on their blog (formerly “The Race for Iran” and now “Going to Tehran”) They take to task those supporting U.S. systematic pressures on Iran for substituting wishful thinking that most Iranians long for secular democracy, and offer a hard analysis of the history of the Iranian revolution.

In an analysis of the roots of the legitimacy of the Islamic regime, they point to evidence that the single most important factor that swept the Khomeini movement into power in 1979 was “the Shah’s indifference to the religious sensibilities of Iranians”. That point, which conflicts with just about everything that has appeared in the mass media on Iran for decades, certainly has far-reaching analytical significance.

The Leveretts’ 56-page review of the evidence regarding the legitimacy of the 2009 election emphasises polls done by U.S.-based Terror Free Tomorrow and World Public Opinon and Canadian-based Globe Scan and 10 surveys by the University of Tehran. All of the polls were consistent with one another and with official election data on both a wide margin of victory by Ahmadinejad and turnout rates.

The Leveretts also point out that the leading opposition candidate, Hossein Mir Mousavi, did not produce “a single one of his 40,676 observers to claim that the count at his or her station had been incorrect, and none came forward independently”.

Going to Tehran has chapters analysing Iran’s “Grand Strategy” and on the role of negotiating with the United States that debunk much of which passes for expert opinion in Washington’s think tank world. They view Iran’s nuclear programme as aimed at achieving the same status as Japan, Canada and other “threshold nuclear states” which have the capability to become nuclear powers but forego that option.

The Leveretts also point out that it is a status that is not forbidden by the nuclear non-proliferation treaty – much to the chagrin of the United States and its anti-Iran allies.

In a later chapter, they allude briefly to what is surely the best-kept secret about the Iranian nuclear programme and Iranian foreign policy: the Iranian leadership’s calculation that the enrichment programme is the only incentive the United States has to reach a strategic accommodation with Tehran. That one fact helps to explain most of the twists and turns in Iran’s nuclear programme and its nuclear diplomacy over the past decade.

One of the propaganda themes most popular inside the Washington beltway is that the Islamic regime in Iran cannot negotiate seriously with the United States because the survival of the regime depends on hostility toward the United States.

The Leveretts debunk that notion by detailing a series of episodes beginning with President Hashemi Rafsanjani’s effort to improve relations in 1991 and again in 1995 and Iran’s offer to cooperate against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and, more generally after 9/11, about which Hillary Mann Leverett had personal experience.

Finally, they provide the most detailed analysis available on the 2003 Iranian proposal for a “roadmap” for negotiations with the United States, which the Bush administration gave the back of its hand.

The central message of  Going to Tehran is that the United States has been unwilling to let go of the demand for Iran’s subordination to dominant U.S. power in the region. The Leveretts identify the decisive turning point in the U.S. “quest for dominance in the Middle East” as the collapse of the Soviet Union, which they say “liberated the United States from balance of power constraints”.

They cite the recollection of senior advisers to Secretary of State James Baker that the George H. W. Bush administration considered engagement with Iran as part of a post-Gulf War strategy but decided in the aftermath of the Soviet adversary’s disappearance that “it didn’t need to”.

Subsequent U.S. policy in the region, including what former national security adviser Bent Scowcroft called “the nutty idea” of “dual containment” of Iraq and Iran, they argue, has flowed from the new incentive for Washington to maintain and enhance its dominance in the Middle East.

The authors offer a succinct analysis of the Clinton administration’s regional and Iran policies as precursors to Bush’s Iraq War and Iran regime change policy. Their account suggests that the role of Republican neoconservatives in those policies should not be exaggerated, and that more fundamental political-institutional interests were already pushing the U.S. national security state in that direction before 2001.

They analyse the Bush administration’s flirtation with regime change and the Obama administration’s less-than-half-hearted diplomatic engagement with Iran as both motivated by a refusal to budge from a stance of maintaining the status quo of U.S.-Israeli hegemony.

Consistent with, but going beyond the Leveretts’ analysis is the Bush conviction that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq had shaken the Iranians, and that there was no need to make the slightest concession to the regime. The Obama administration has apparently fallen into the same conceptual trap, believing that the United States and its allies have Iran by the throat because of its “crippling sanctions”.

Thanks to the Leveretts, opponents of U.S. policies of domination and intervention in the Middle East have a new and rich source of analysis to argue against those policies more effectively.

‘Zionist lobby hinders a change in the US policies towards Iran’

by Yusuf Fernandez, source

There is no doubt that many people in the world welcomed US Vice President John Biden´s statement, made during the recent Munich security conference, that his country was willing to have bilateral contacts with Iran, which many consider crucial in order to put an end to the dispute over Iran´s nuclear program.

At the same time, President Barack Obama´s decision to nominate Senator Chuck Hagel as the new Secretary of Defence, despite the pro-Israeli Right´s allegations that he is too “soft” on Iran, was also well-received by many American circles thinking that it is time to initiate a new phase in the US policy towards Iran. Obama´s choice for Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, was also praised by some media outlets because he is considered a “realist” in foreign policy in open contrast to the hawkish positions of Hillary Clinton.

Nowadays, more and more people in the US and Europe are aware of the failure of the US and European coercive policies, which have not prevented Iran from pursuing its civilian nuclear program. US and European sanctions are trying to bar any type of commerce between Iran and other countries and prevent the access of this country to the international banking system. However, Western governments, in their arrogance, have forgotten that there are many countries and companies in the world that are not willing to cave in to US pressure.

At the same time, the sanctions have become an opportunity for Iran to develop its self-sufficiency in many spheres and create an alternative commerce and a new banking system that do not depend on the dollar or Western rules. On the other hand, Iran has access to many markets, including the Russia, China and India ones, all of them being rising economic powers and with a clear political interest in supporting Iran in order to prevent the US from expanding its influence in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf and damaging their own interests. Iran has also developed good political and economic relations with all its neighbours, particularly Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others.

Some US experts are claiming that only honest diplomacy with Iran and the end of the economic pressure could make a breakthrough in nuclear negotiations. Sanctions will not succeed for many reasons and by betting on them, the US has already set the scenario for a new failure in the next negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 in Almaty (Kazakhstan). Iranian people are nationalist and patriotic and they will not bow to pressure. In fact, and despite the damage they have caused in the Iranian economy, sanctions have actually strengthened Iranian people´s support for the nuclear program, which is now considered an important national symbol, as a recent Gallup poll has showed.

Therefore, the US Administration is deeply wrong if it thinks that sanctions will lead Iran to end its nuclear program. Iran has consistently showed that it is willing to reach an agreement and has allowed international inspectors to monitor its nuclear facilities. But it is not willing to bow to illogical US and Western demands.

Any Western offer should recognize the fact that Iran has made continuos progress in the nuclear field. It has managed to convert the enriched uranium into plates and it means that the country already possesses an independent fuel cycle. All these activities are completely legal according to the rules of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In this sense, a full recognition of Iran´s right to enrich uranium would be a necessary starting point for any serious offer.

At the same time, the offer should also require a calendar for the lifting of economic sanctions. Some statements by Western experts and politicians speak of “relaxing or reducing” the scope of the sanctions but a final agreement should include a timetable to completely remove these illegal and inmoral sanctions.

Some experts see Israel and the Zionist lobby in the US as the largest obstacles for a change in the US policies towards Iran. Israel is completely opposed to any US-Iran agreement that preserves Iran´s nuclear program and it can use the pro-Israeli lobby and its influence over US congressmen, many of whom are bought and paid for by AIPAC, in order to torpedo the negotiation process and any deal.

Doubts on Obama´s sincerity

On the other hand, there are doubts about how sincere Obama is, despite all his empty rhetoric, in pursuing a new policy, especially taking into account the recent US decision to increase the sanctions and Obama´s background on Iran. Some experts warn that President Obama could actually discredite engagement by claiming that he tried but failed to reach out to Iran when the truth is that he has never seriously tried. Since 2009, the Obama administration has taken part in many nuclear talks with Iran and it has used Iran´s rejection to surrender to its demands as a reason to impose more and more brutal sanctions on this country.

“Most of Obama´s so-called diplomacy with Iran has been predicated on intimidation, illegal threats of military action, unilateral ‘crippling’ sanctions, sabotage, and extrajudicial killings of Iran´s brightest minds,” wrote an Iran expert, Reza Nasri, in the site pbs.org. This, despite a consensus in the US intelligence community that Tehran is not developing a nuclear weapon and has not made the political decision to do so.

In a recent article in the New York Times, columnist Roger Cohen quoted the book “The Dispensable Nation” by Vali Nasr, who spent two years working for the Obama administration before becoming dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In the book, Nasr shows Obama´s ambivalence about any deal on the nuclear program. “Pressure has become an end in itself”, he wrote.

“The dual track of ever tougher sanctions combined with diplomatic outreach was not even dual. It relied on one track, and that was pressure,” said Nasr. “Engagement was a cover for a coercive campaign of sabotage, economic pressure and cyberwarfare.”

In this sense, some analysts consider that Obama is currently promoting another half-baked inflexible strategy still based on coertion and threats, and, as a result, it will fall short of achieved the desired results as the other ones that preceded it.

The joke of the “gold” offer

Unfortunately, those analysts seem to be right. A recent strange Western offer under which Iran would be “allowed” to take part in international commerce using gold if it shuts down the Fordo uranium enrichment and which largely leaves sanctions intact is just a joke. Firstly, the incentive here is almost non-existent and, secondly, it is based on the principle that Iran does not have a right to a peaceful nuclear program, although it actually does according to the IAEA rules.

The ridiculous nature of the offer and the huge demands that it contain make it difficult to imagine it would be accepted. If this is what the West has to offer to Iran, then it is right to raise questions about what is the true strategy that Western policy-makers are preparing for the approaching talks in Kazakhstan.

In this sense, some analysts are pessimistic after knowing that the new Western offer that will be presented in the Almaty talks will be very similar to the one that was rejected by Iran last year. The West insists that Iran should put an end to uranium enrichment to the 20% level, send its stocks of this material abroad and close the Fordo plant. At the same time, Tehran would be offered a limited relaxing of sanctions, but not the end of the oil embargo. Clearly, this offer is totally insufficient for Tehran.

However, the US is wrong if it thinks that a nuclear deal would be favorable only to Iran. In reality, the pressure on Iran takes place in a context where the US´s position in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf is in free fall. The failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the support for the continuos Israeli occupation of Arab territories, the war on terror, which targets Muslim populations everywhere, and the threats against Iran are fuelling intense anti-American sentiments. If the US keeps on threatening another Muslim country over some weapons of mass destruction that it does not have, the blowback against US economic and political interests will be disastrous.

The only thing that will work in the negotiations and for the US Administration itself is to acknowledge Iran´s rights -including uranium enrichment- and respect its interests. If the US accepts that its previous strategy towards Iran was wrong and shows that it is ready for a real change, based on a realist, non-hostile and honest approach, it would pave the way for a permanent solution of the nuclear question and other security-related issues in the region and the world.

Israeli lies on Iranian nuclear program become exposed

irannp

by Yusuf Fernandez, source

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 [in] February when an Iranian defector going by the pseudonym Reza Kahlili published a 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 from 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 by his lies against Iran. A US official was 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 the 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. 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 sign 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 allegatins 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 27 November 2002, the Associated Press agency published a report claiming that it had discovered the existence of an 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 it the diagram? It said that officials of that country wanted it, 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 in 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 last 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 US and 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 the Israeli 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 no one 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 the humanity.

US cooks up nuclear fairy tale on Iran

by Dr. Ismail Salami, source

In a 155-page report, four US nuclear experts have called upon the Obama administration to impose tougher economic sanctions against Iran and resort to ‘overt operations’ through using warplanes and missiles on Iranian nuclear sites.

Apart from the fact that morbid mindset of this nature only helps fan up chaos and serves as an impetus to widespread pandemonium in the region, any mention of any such policy let alone an adoption of it will gradually terminate in an endless array of military legitimizations.

Co-authored by Mark Dubowitz, who runs the Zionist Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) and David Albright, a physicist who heads the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) and who was responsible for concocting lies and myths about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and drawing the country into an abysmal vortex of destruction and devastation, the report can be but seen in the light of yet another overtly brash attempt by the US to push ahead with further militarism in the Middle East.

Dubbed as ‘U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East,’ the report falls short of mentioning any other Middle Eastern countries, which may be seeking a nuclear weapons program, and instead focuses heavily on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The authors of the conspiratorial report urge Washington to “undertake additional overt preparations for the use of warplanes and/or missiles to destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities with high explosives” and “increase Iranian isolation, including through regime change in Syria and deepening Iran’s diplomatic isolation.”

Naturally, the words have been deliberately and carefully chosen in the report. By ‘overt preparations’, the authors explicitly admit that the US government has in the past used ‘covert operations’ as well i.e. assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists and infiltrating and disrupting the computer systems. Somewhere in the report, the authors unambiguously refer to Washington’s sabotage activities in Iran. They say, “Press reports indicate that sabotage has been used to slow the Iranian nuclear program, including through infiltration and disruption of procurement networks and cyberattacks designed to inflict physical damage to the program. Judicious use of this tool should be included in continued U.S. efforts to constrain the Iranian nuclear program.”

Iran will save itself, the report says, only if it accepts the terms set by the authors. In other words, Iran has to kowtow to the terms set by the report which are as follows:

1) Suspension by Iran of the following proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities: (a) all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA; and (b) work on all heavy water-related projects, including the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water, also to be verified by the IAEA;

2) Provision by Iran of such access and cooperation as the IAEA requests to be able to verify the suspensions and to resolve all outstanding issues, as identified in IAEA reports;

3) A full accounting and resolution of all outstanding questions about Iran’s past and any current (as of the time of agreement) nuclear weapons related activities;

4) Complete closure of the Fordow facility and any other deeply buried enrichment facility that is either complete or under construction; and

5) Iran’s binding agreement to intrusive and comprehensive inspections that are at a minimum as stringent as those outlined in the IAEA’s Additional.

If truth be told, these terms are nothing new and only reek of a Zionist influence contaminating the already decomposing American policy. On May 9, 2012, just ahead of the May 23 talks in Baghdad, where six world powers were slated to sit down with Iranian officials and resolve the so-called nuclear issue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the talks will be successful only if Iran agrees to “halt all uranium enrichment, ship its current stockpile of enriched uranium out of the country and dismantle an underground enrichment facility near the city of Qom (Fordow).” Interestingly, when the IAEA-Iran meeting took place in May, these three demands were exactly (but not coincidently) put on IAEA’s agenda and the Iranian side was demanded to abide by these if it sought any resolution of the issue.

What strikes the mind as reasonably acceptable is that the authors are no political well-wishers; rather, they are indeed so morbidly obsessed with paving the way for another ravaging war in the Middle East that they are cooking up another fairy tale as David Albright and his ‘company’ did in Iraq.

In point of fact, similar lies were told about Iraq before the US invaded the country. US intelligence agencies announced in 2003 that Iraq “could be planning a chemical or biological attack on American cities through the use of remote-controlled “drone” planes equipped with GPS tracking maps”. They even said that these “vehicles have already been, or could be, transported” inside the United States. Add to this a more blatant lie: Iraq could be ‘months away’ from building a nuclear bomb. Analysts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said in 2002 that Saddam Hussein could be “months” away from assembling a nuclear bomb and has stockpiled possibly thousands of liters of deadly anthrax”.

Former US president George W. Bush who was extremely keen on launching a war in the Middle East came up with ‘new evidence’ which he said showed Iraq’s ‘continued appetite’ for nuclear bombs. His evidence: Iraq had tried to buy thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes which Bush said “were used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon”. Bush presented this as a document to the UN to justify his future invasion of Iraq. However, UN weapons inspectors conducted investigations for weeks and acquired conviction that the tubes were never meant to be used for enriching uranium (See Iraq, Lies, Cover-Ups, and Consequences By Rodney Stich p. 141).

The Iraq war was waged on the strength of a heap of lies disseminated by all and sundry in the US government and that which claimed the lives of over one million people.

The bitter irony is that those who are responsible for playing havoc with the lives of a million people are not surprisingly fettered by shackles to await a sore chastisement as the essence of humanity necessitates it; instead, they are free and to crown it all, they are even allowed the latitude to continue with their myths and engage in yet another military mischief.

Iran foils several assassination attempts against nuclear scientists

Moqawama

A senior nuclear official disclosed Sunday that the Iranian intelligence and military forces defused several assassination plots on the lives of the country’s nuclear scientists, adding that Iran has intensified security measures to protect its scientists.

“At present the military and intelligence forces are doing their duty and they have discovered some assassination (plots),” Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereidoun Abbasi unveiled.

In parallel, he stated that the assassination threats against the lives of Iran’s nuclear scientists were not limited only to those five scientists who were assassinated between 2010 and 2012, alluding that more scientists have also faced such threats which were foiled by the Iranian security and intelligence forces.

In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, terrorists killed a 32-year-old Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, and his driver on January 11, 2012.

The blast took place on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.

The assassination method used in the bombing was similar to the 2010 terrorist bomb attacks against the then university professor, Fereidoun Abbassi Davani – who is now the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization – and his colleague Majid Shahriari. While Abbasi Davani survived the attack, Shahriari was martyred.

Another Iranian scientist, Dariush Rezaeinejad, was also assassinated through the same method on 23 July 2011.

‘Iranian bomb graph appears adapted from one on internet’

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Iranian Bomb Graph Appears Adapted from One on Internet

by Gareth Porter, source

WASHINGTON, (IPS)  — The suspect graph of a nuclear explosion reportedly provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as evidence of Iranian computer modeling of nuclear weapons yields appears to have been adapted from a very similar graph in a scholarly journal article published in January 2009 and available on the internet.

The graph, published in a November 27 Associated Press story but immediately found to have a mathematical error of four orders of magnitude, closely resembles a graph accompanying a scholarly article modeling a nuclear explosion. It provides a plausible explanation for the origins of the graph leaked to AP, according to two nuclear physicists following the issue closely.

The graph in the scholarly journal article was well known to the IAEA at the time of its publication, according to a knowledgeable source.

That means that the IAEA should have been able to make the connection between the set of graphs alleged to have been used by Iran to calculate yields from nuclear explosions that the agency obtained in 2011 and the very similar graph available on the internet.

The IAEA did not identify the member countries that provided the intelligence about the alleged Iran studies. However, Israel provided most of the intelligence cited by the IAEA in its 2011 report, and Israeli intelligence has been the source of a number of leaks to the AP reporter in Vienna, George Jahn.

The graph accompanying an article in the January 2009 issue of the journal Nuclear Engineering and Design by retired Swiss nuclear engineer Walter Seifritz displayed a curve representing power in a nuclear explosion over fractions of a second that is very close to the one shown in the graph published by AP and attributed by the officials leaking it to an Iranian scientist.

Both graphs depict a nuclear explosion as an asymmetrical bell curve in which the right side of the curve is more elongated than the left side. Although both graphs are too crudely drawn to allow precise measurement, it appears that the difference between the two sides of the curve on the two graphs is very close to the same in both graphs.

The AP graph appears to show a total energy production of 50 kilotonnes taking place over about 0.3 microseconds, whereas the Seifritz graph shows a total of roughly 18 kilotonnes produced over about 0.1 microseconds.

The resemblance is so dramatic that two nuclear specialists who compared the graphs at the request of IPS consider it very plausible that the graph leaked to AP as part of an Iranian secret nuclear weapons research programme may well have been derived from the one in the journal article.

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 believes the authors of that graph “were told they ought to look into the literature and found that paper, copied (the graph) and made their own plot from it.”

Yousaf Butt, a nuclear scientist at the Monterey Institute, who had spotted the enormous error in the graph published by AP, along with his colleague Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, said in an interview with IPS that a relationship between the two graphs is quite plausible, particularly given the fact they both have similar asymmetries in the power curve.

“Someone may just have taken the Seifritz graph and crudely adapted it to a 50-kilotonne yield instead of the 18 kilotonnes in the paper,” Butt said.

He added that “it’s not even necessary that an actual computer model was even run in the production of the AP graph.”

Apparently anticipating that the Seifriz graph would soon be discovered, the source of the graph given to AP is quoted in a December 1 story as acknowledging that “similar graphs can be found in textbooks, the internet and other public sources.”

Butt said that he doesn’t know whether the AP graph is genuine or not, but that it could well be a forgery.

“If one wanted to plant a forgery,” he wrote, “it would make sense to manufacture something that looked like the output from the many unclassified ‘toy-models’ available on-line or in academic journals, rather than leak something from an actual high-fidelity classified study.”

The Seifritz graph came to the attention of the IAEA secretariat soon after it was published and was referred to the staff specialist on nuclear weapons research, according to a source familiar with the IAEA’s handling of such issues.

The source, who refused to be identified, told IPS the reaction of the official was that the graph represented fairly crude work on basic theory and was therefore not of concern to the agency.

The agency was given the alleged Iranian graph in 2011, and a “senior diplomat” from a different country from the source of the graph said IAEA investigators realised the diagramme was flawed shortly after they received it, according to the December 1 AP story.

The IAEA’s familiarity with the Seifritz graph, two years before it was given graphs that bore a close resemblance to it and which the agency knew contained a huge mathematical error, raise new questions about how the IAEA could have regarded the Israeli intelligence as credible evidence of Iranian work on nuclear weapons.

Yukiya Amano, the director-general of the IAEA, refused to confirm or deny in an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington December 6 that the graph published by AP was part of the evidence of Iranian “activities” related to nuclear weapons cited by the agency in its November 2011 report. .

Amano responded to a question on the graph, “I can’t discuss this specific information.”

In its November 2011 report, the IAEA said it had “information” from two member states that Iran had conducted “modeling studies” aimed at determining the “nuclear explosive yield” associated with components of a nuclear weapon. It said the “information” had identified “models said to have been used in those studies and the results of these calculations, which the Agency has seen”.

The “senior diplomat” quoted by AP said the IAEA also had a spreadsheet containing the data needed to produce the same yield as shown on the graph – 50 kilotonnes – suggesting that the spreadsheet is closely related to the graph.

Butt observed, however, that the existence of the spreadsheet with data showing the yield related to a 50 kilotonne explosion does not make the graph any more credible, because the spreadsheet could have been created by simply plugging the data used to produce the graph.

Kemp of MIT agreed with Butt’s assessment. “If it’s simply data points plotted in the graph, it means nothing,” he told IPS.

After Butt and Dalnoki-Veress identified the fundamental error in the graph AP had published as evidence of Iranian work on a 50-kilotonne bomb, the Israeli source of the graph and an unidentified “senior diplomat” argued that the error must have been intentionally made by the Iranian scientist who they alleged had produced the graph.

A “senior diplomat” told AP the IAEA believed the scientist had changed the units of energy used by orders of magnitude, because “nobody would have understood the original….”

That explanation was embraced by David Albright, who has served as unofficial IAEA spokesman in Washington on several occasions. But neither Albright nor the unidentified officials quoted by Jahn offered any explanation as to why an accurate graph would have been more difficult for Iranian officials to understand than one with such a huge mathematical error.

Further undermining the credibility of the explanation, Jahn’s sources suggested that the Iranian scientist whom they suspected of having devised the graph was Dr. Majid Shahriari, the nuclear scientist assassinated by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad in 2010.

No evidence has been produced to indicate that Shahriari, who had a long record of publications relating to nuclear power plants and basic nuclear physics, had anything to do with nuclear weapons research.

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Iran dialogue or US diplomatic detour? (click to read)

UN urges “Israel” to open nuclear facilities

Moqawama

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Monday calling on the Zionist entity to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backing a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East which was just canceled.

All the Arab nations and Iran had planned to attend the conference in mid-December in Helsinki, Finland, but the United States announced on Nov. 23 that it wouldn’t take place. It was learned the US had cancelled the scheduled conference as “Israel” refused to attend.

The resolution, approved by a vote of 174-6 with 6 abstentions, calls on “Israel” to join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) without further delay and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Those voting “no” were “Israel”, the US, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

Just before Monday’s vote, Iranian diplomat Khodadad Seifi told the assembly “the truth is that the “Israel” is the only party which rejected to conditions for a conference.” He called for “strong pressure on that regime to participate in the conference without any preconditions.”

Resolutions adopted by the 193-member General Assembly are not legally binding, but they do reflect world opinion and carry moral and political weight.

“Israel” refuses to confirm or deny it has nuclear bombs though it is widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal. It has refused to join the NPT.

The Arab proposal to create a mass-destruction-weapons free zone in the Mideast, and to pressure “Israel” to give up its undeclared arsenal of perhaps 80 nuclear warheads, was endorsed at an NPT conference in 1995 but never acted on.

In 2010, the 189 parties to the 1970 treaty called for convening a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

Iranian medicine saving American lives: Report

Press TV

Iranian medicine has been saving the lives of Americans while the illegal US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic have been adversely affecting the lives of many Iranian patients.

A Sunday report on the website of the Wall Street Journal said the US Defense Department needs Iranian-researched and -produced medicine to treat the foreign forces in Afghanistan who get bitten by “Oxus cobras, Haly’s pit vipers” and other snakes peculiar to southwest Asia.

“Medical guidance issued by US Central Command says drugs made by Iran’s Razi Vaccine & Serum Research Institute ‘should be the first line of antivenin therapy,’” the report cited a US officer as saying.

“The Iranian antivenin is the best,” said Colonel Rob Russell, the medical director of the pharmacy at British-run Camp Bastion hospital, adjacent to the Camp Leatherneck US Marine base in southern Afghanistan.

The report highlighted the fact that the antivenins produced in the US and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “won’t work on Afghan snake bites.”

This comes as the US-engineered sanctions are putting the lives of Iranian patients in jeopardy. Though the US has not imposed any bans on American firms to sell medicine and medical supplies to Iran, exporters have been required to apply for special licenses. In the wake of the sanctions, the impossibility of transferring money through banks has cast its cumbersome shadow upon medicine and healthcare in Iran, thereby jeopardizing the lives of millions of patients suffering from special diseases such as thalassemia, hemophilia, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and many others.

In November, a hemophiliac Iranian teenager lost his life in hospital due to the shortage of required medication caused by the US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Prominent Iranian author Dr. Ismail Salami has highlighted the inhumane nature of the US-engineered sanctions.

“The sheer idea of imposing illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic and jeopardizing the lives of millions of patients is indeed an act of brutality which runs counter to the very true spirit of humanity as well as to international humanitarian laws,” Dr. Salami wrote in an op-ed on the website of Press TV on October 19.

Referring to the Iranian antidotes, Hadi Zareh, the lead researcher in Razi’s antivenin department, said, “We make this to save lives, and it doesn’t matter if the person is Iranian or Afghan or American. We are happy to hear we have saved a person’s life, even an American soldier.”

The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Fake AP graph exposes Israeli fraud and IAEA credulity

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by Gareth Porter, source

*view diagram in source

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 outthat 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 theMondoweiss 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 also provided a key piece of evidence indicating that the source of the graph was Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad. He reports 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.

That information links the graph in question to a longer stream of 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.”

US cancels ME nuclear conference to protect “Israel” & over 100 NAM states support Iran’s program

US Cancels ME Nuclear Conference to Protect “Israel”

Moqawama

US cancelled Friday a proposed conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East for fear that it would focus on “Israel”.

In her statement, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland claimed that her country “regrets to announce that the conference cannot be convened because of present conditions in the Middle East and the fact that states in the region have not reached agreement on acceptable conditions for a conference.”

“We would not support a conference in which any regional state would be subject to pressure or isolation,” Nuland said, in a clear reference to “Israel”.

She further stated that “the United States believes that a deep conceptual gap persists in the region on approaches toward regional security and arms control arrangements.””These differences can only be bridged through direct engagement and agreement among the states in the region. Outside states cannot impose a process on the region any more than they can dictate an outcome,” the US official claimed.

It is worth mentioning that “Israel” possesses between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads. Moreover, it rejects all the regulatory international nuclear agreements – the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in particular – and refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspections.

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Over 100 NAM states support Iran nuclear energy program: Official

Press TV

Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says more than 100 member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) have once again voiced support for Iran’s nuclear energy program.

“At the meeting of the NAM today (Friday), a five-page statement was passed in support of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program and it will be read at the meeting of the [IAEA] Board of Governors next week,” said Ali Asghar Soltanieh in a Friday interview.

Soltanieh pointed to two previous NAM statements in support of Iran’s nuclear energy program over the past 10 years and expressed Tehran’s gratitude over the movement’s supportive stance.

He also called for further cooperation and unity among the NAM states.

Iran currently holds the rotational presidency of the NAM.

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.

Media distortions on Iran’s enrichment program

An Incentive for Negotiation?

by GARETH PORTER, source

News stories on the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report suggested new reasons to fear that Iran is closer to a “breakout” capability than ever before, citing a nearly 50-percent increase in its stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium and the installation of hundreds of additional centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment installation.

But the supposedly dramatic increase in the stockpile of uranium that could theoretically be used to enrich to weapons grade is based on misleading figures in the Nov. 16 IAEA report. The actual increase in the level of that stockpile appears to be 20 percent.

The coverage of the completion of the installation of 2,800 centrifuges at Fordow, meanwhile, continued the media practice of ignoring the linkage between large numbers of idle centrifuges and future negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme.

The latest round of media coverage of the Iran issue again highlights the failure of major news outlets to reflect the complexity and political subtleties of the Iranian enrichment programme.

The IAEA report created understandable confusion about the stockpile of uranium enriched to 20-percent – also called 20 percent LEU (low enriched uranium). It does not use the term “stockpile” at all. Instead, it says Iran produced 43 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium during the three months since the August report and cited a total of 135 kg of 20-percent uranium now “in storage”, compared with only 91.4 kg in August.

Based on those figures, Reuters suggested that Iran might already be two-thirds of the way to the level of 200-250 kg that “experts say” could be used to build a bomb. The Guardian’s Julian Borger wrote that Iran was enriching uranium at a pace that would reach the Israeli “red line” in just seven months.

But analysis of the figures in the last two reports shows that the IAEA total for 20-percent LEU “in storage” actually includes 20-percent LEU that has been sent to the Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant in Esfahan for conversion to powder for fuel plates to be used by Iran’s medical reactor but not yet converted.

The November IAEA report includes the information that, as of Sep. 26 – six weeks after the data in the August report were collected – the total amount of 20-percent LEU fed into conversion process in Esfahan stood at 82.7 kg.

That figure is 11.5 kg more than the total of 71.25 kg fed into the conversion process as of the August report.

The difference between the two indicates that 11.5 kg had been taken out of the stockpile and sent to the Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant at Esfahan during September 2012.

In another indicator of the difference between the IAEA’s “in storage” figure and the actual stockpile size, the current IAEA report gives the figure of 73.7 kg of 20-percent LEU from the Fordow facility “withdrawn and verified” by the IAEA over the entire period of such enrichment. That total is 23.7 kg higher than the total of 50 kg from Fordow “withdrawn and verified” given in the August report.

A total of 23.7 kg of 20-percent LEU was evidently taken out of the stockpile available for higher level enrichment and sent for conversion to powder for fuel plates during the last quarter.

The current IAEA report nevertheless uses the same overall total of 96.3 kg of 20-percent LEU fed into the conversion process that it used in the August report.

Subtracting the 23.7 kg additional uranium “withdrawn and verified” by the IAEA during the quarter from the total 20-percent enriched uranium production of 43 kg during the quarter reduces the amount added to the stockpile of 20-percent LEU to 19.3 kg.

Adding the 19.3 kg to the August total of 91.4 kg gives a total for the stockpile of 110.7 kg – a 20-percent increase over the August level rather than the nearly 50-percent increase suggested by news stories.

The IAEA declined to respond to the substance of an IPS e-mail query citing the apparent inconsistencies in the data presented in the last two reports. IAEA Press Officer Greg Webb said in an e-mail that safeguards department officials who had been sent the query “reply that the report is clear and accurate as it stands”.

However, the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., which normally supports everything in IAEA reports, said in a Nov. 16 commentary that the current report “does not make it clear if Iran has sent additional near 20 percent LEU hexafluoride to the Esfahan conversion site after August 2012.”

The Washington think tank added, “However, it if did, the near 20 percent LEU remains in the form of hexafluoride.” The comment implied that the IAEA may have included 23.7 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium sent to the Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant during the quarter as being “in storage”.

The IAEA report also said Iran had halted its conversion of 20-percent LEU for fuel plates during the quarter, although it did not indicate how long the halt might last.

Reuters cited that halt as “another potentially worrying development”. But in light of the actual level of the stockpile, that halt could simply reflect the fact that Tehran is content to keep the figure from rising too far above 100 kg.

The spokesman for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, Hossein Naqavi, said Oct. 6 that Iran was taking “a serious and concrete confidence-building measure” by converting some of the 20-percent LEU into powder for fuel plates.

More surprisingly, an Israel official leaked to an Israeli daily that Iran was believed to have consciously avoided allowing its stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium to go much beyond 110 kg by diverting much of it for conversion to fuel for its scientific research reactor.

Citing “defense sources”, Ha’aretz military correspondent Amos Harel wrote Oct. 9 that the Israeli policymakers had new information they considered “highly reliable” that each time new production of 20-percent enriched uranium could have brought the total above 130 kg, Iran had “diverted 15 or 20 kg to scientific use”.

Harel indicated that the new information was the justification for the Israeli position that the threat of Iranian threat of a breakout capability had receded for many months.

Media coverage of the addition of the last of 2,800 centrifuges added to Fordow enrichment facility over the past year played up the idea that the centrifuges could become operational at any time. “They can be started any day,” a “senior diplomat” from an unnamed country was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The fact that half of those centrifuges have not been put into operation was treated as a mystery. The Los Angeles Times said, “For unknown reasons, Iran has not begun feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into more than half of the machines….”

None of the stories mentioned the obvious connection between Iran’s continuing to add centrifuges but not putting them into operation and its maneuvering for a deal with the United States.

Iran has been suggesting both publicly and privately throughout 2012 that it is open to an agreement under which it would halt all 20-percent enrichment and agree to other constraints on its enrichment programme in return for relief from harsh economic sanctions now levied on the Iranian economy.

Iranian strategists evidently view the unused enrichment capacity at Fordow facility as an incentive for the United States and the P5+1 to seek such an agreement.

“Israeli” PM: US-led sanctions on Iran have failed

Moqawama

“Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the US-led sanctions against Iran have failed to stop Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

“Neither sanctions nor diplomacy have yet had any impact on Iran’s nuclear program,” Netanyahu said.
During a meeting with visiting US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday, Netanyahu addressed Panetta saying “America and “Israel” have … made clear that all options are on the table. You yourself said a few months ago that when all else fails, America will act.”

“But these declarations have also not yet convinced the Iranians to stop their program.”
He added that ‘forceful’ statements have failed to force Iran into believing that the West is serious about stopping its nuclear activities and added time to resolve the issue ‘peacefully’ was running out.
On Tuesday the US administration imposed new illegal economic sanctions against Iran’s energy sector.

One day after Obama announced new sanctions against Iran, the US Congress also approved more illegal embargoes against Tehran, which seek to punish banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Tehran sell its oil.

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