The warmongers have been caught red handed again – this time using lies to spin the case for a war on Iran.
A US Congress committee on intelligence recently released a report which claimed to provide evidence that Iran was secretly producing nuclear weapons with the connivance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The committee’s report was immediately regurgitated by the pro-war press, alongside dire warnings that Iran had missiles capable of reaching Europe.
It slams US spy agencies for being too timid to divulge Iran’s nuclear ambitions after they had been caught out over Saddam Hussein’s non-existent “weapons of mass destruction”.
But the report has now been exposed as riddled with lies. The IAEA describes it as containing “erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements”.
According to the Congress committee, “Iran has covertly produced the short-lived radioactive element polonium-210”, a low level source used mainly to power the batteries in satellites.
Not true, says the IAEA – Iran is under no obligation to report the production of polonium-210, so the assertion that it was “covertly” produced is misleading.
The report also states, “Iran is currently enriching uranium to weapons grade using a 164-machine centrifuge cascade.”
Another lie, according to the IAEA. Iran has only enriched uranium to 3.6 percent, commonly used for light water reactors. Nuclear weapons usually contain over 80 percent enriched isotope uranium-235.
The most damaging allegation in the report is that the IAEA has been complicit in a cover up.
The committee claims the nuclear agency dismissed an inspector “for allegedly raising concerns about Iranian deceptions regarding its nuclear programme and concluding that the purpose of Iran’s nuclear programme is to construct weapons”.
It says the inspector, Chris Charlier, was removed for not “having adhered to an unstated IAEA policy of barring officials from telling the whole truth”.
The nuclear agency dismissed the claim as “outrageous and dishonest”. The agency points out that the Iranian government has only objected to one out of 200 nuclear inspectors – and it is within its rights to do so.
The allegations made by Charlier centre around an inspection of a supposed nuclear site in the Iranian capital Tehran.
He said inspectors became suspicious when they found that “everything had been changed. There were new tiles to the roof, everything was brand new. It was still smelling of paint.”
He admitted that his team found no evidence of high level nuclear enrichment – even though they often only gave two hours notice ahead of an inspection.
The IAEA expresses disbelief that the report’s claims were not clarified with experts at the agency. “The IAEA secretariat is ready to assist your committee in correcting the erroneous and misleading information contained in your report,” it says.
Like the dodgy dossiers in the run up to the invasion of Iraq, the Congress report is based on recycling newspaper articles and press briefings by US officials. Its main sources are US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and head of US national intelligence John Negroponte.
Cyrus Safdari, an independent Iranian analyst, has monitored the controversy around Iran’s nuclear research.
“The ‘secret programmes’ were the subject of scientific papers published by Iranian authors and distributed worldwide,” he told Socialist Worker.
At every point, Safdari says, Iran made public its developments and negotiations: “Iran’s plans to enrich uranium were never a secret. It announced uranium discoveries, invited the IAEA to inspect uranium mines, and informed the agency of plans to build enrichment facilities.
“It is precisely because evidence of a weapons programme is lacking that the nature of George Bush administration’s accusations against Iran has morphed to the absurd.”
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