Keelan Balderson, Contributing Writer
The hypocrisy over Iran’s nuclear energy program continues today after IAEA officials were refused access to a military base in Parchin, where the West and Israel claim Iran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons.
“It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin during the first or second meetings,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement today. “We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached.” The media and bizarrely the IAEA itself have ignored the fact that inspectors have already been to the site before, and found nothing.
Although it’s difficult for many in the West to get their heads around due to years of sensational headlines, the very concept of Iran building nuclear weapons is unfounded speculation, compounded by wild accusations and window-dressed intelligence by biased nations with ulterior motives. Why should Iran grant Western backed officials the right to gallivant around their country and snoop at military installations? Is Iran allowed to send officials to snoop around American military sites? Does the UN get to roll into Israel’s illegal nuclear facilities?
How exactly do we take an organization like the IAEA seriously, when it’s being pressured by a nuclear state that isn’t even a member of the Nuclear non-Proliferation treaty (Israel), and America, who has used nuclear weapons in the past and is involved militarily in hundreds of nations across the world ?
Iran is not a nation whose history is littered with covert operations, coups d’état, and illegal wars of aggression and mass murder.
Nor is it a country that obliterated hundreds of thousands of people and flattened an entire city like America did to Japan during WWII, or a nation that has a policy to use nuclear weapons in the future like Israel and its Samson Option ; a plan to go out all nukes blazing if significantly attacked itself.
The hysteria over the Parchin military complex is much ado about nothing. It’s not an evil James Bond villain hideout where Ahmadinejad sits stroking a cat. It has been well established for years as a testing ground for liquid-propellant engines and Ballistic missiles. The Russian and US intelligence community have been keeping tabs on the site since at least 1997 , and there’s absolutely no evidence that it suddenly, somehow morphed, without anybody noticing, in to a nuclear bomb factory.
According to the media, aerial photos show an evil bus-sized steel container , that they say may or may not have been there the whole time, and that may or may not be capable or playing a role in testing material related to a nuclear weapon. Although they assured us this would be documented in the coming IAEA report, the only report released was a 25-page summary with none of the photos .
Images shown by the media are not adequately labeled to know what we’re even looking at, and appear to be taken from Google Earth for visual stimulation rather than anything scientific.
Although Iran says the the container is simply a toilet block , if we go along with the talking heads and assume it is some kind of testing tank, the IAEA report admits that it’s not direct evidence of a nuclear weapons program, and it may just be used for regular high explosives testing – the kind the complex has been conducting since 1997.
Where’s the evidence of warheads? Where’s the evidence of trucks shipping in uranium? If there was evidence of trucks shipping in uranium (which there isn’t) it would only be enriched to 20% as documented by the IAEA, which is some 70% short of the grade needed to develop a nuclear weapon.
If we play Devil’s advocate and make the baseless jump that it is testing nuclear material, does it look to be at any significant level? Where’s the fallout? Where are the radioactive craters in the desert? If it’s underground, hidden below the toilets, where’s the seismic activity?
To reiterate what the media clearly states, this is a bus-sized steel container. What exactly do you think they can be testing that is such a threat, from inside what amounts to a tin can?
Former IAEA inspector Robert Kelley agrees that the claim is crazy. “We’ve been led by the nose to believe that this container is important, when in fact it’s not important at all,” the ex-chief weapons inspector in Iraq told the Real News Network . “You have to be crazy to do hydrodynamic explosives in a container,” he said. “There’s no reason to do it. They’re done outdoors on firing tables.”
The IAEA report notes that a foreign scientist helped develop the steel container. The media has universally fingered Russian, Vyacheslav Danilenko as that scientist. Danilenko on the other hand is having none of it. “I am not a nuclear physicist and am not the founder of the Iranian nuclear program,” he declared . And it’s quite well established that he’s telling the truth.
Danilenko is in fact a world-renowned pioneer in the production of nanodiamonds, and has worked in this field his entire career according to all available documentation. CounterPunch notes :
It now appears that the IAEA and David Albright, the director of the International Institute for Science and Security in Washington, who was the source of the news reports about Danilenko, never bothered to check the accuracy of the original claim by an unnamed ‘Member State’ on which the IAEA based its assertion about his nuclear weapons background…The unnamed member state that informed the agency about Danilenko’s alleged experience as a Soviet nuclear weapons scientist is almost certainly Israel, which has been the source of virtually all the purported intelligence on Iranian work on nuclear weapons over the past decade.
Worryingly, there is no indication that the IAEA have done any independent verification on the matter. The entire report is based on intelligence from these unnamed UN member states. The equivalent of Chinese whispers.
However if we still play Devil’s advocate and assume that they are testing something, wouldn’t it actually be wise to test for the effects of a nuclear explosion? Considering there are several war-mongering countries in the world that do posses nuclear weapons, it would be in Iran’s best interest to learn how to protect itself from such attacks. Equally, since it has a nuclear power program wouldn’t it be forward thinking of them to do nuclear tests in case of a meltdown, bombing campaign against their reactors, or a natural disaster like Fukushima? There’s an endless list of non-weapon applications for handling and testing nuclear-related material. High schools and universities regularly carry out nuclear experiments. Is Iran somehow barred from pursuing scientific endeavor?
So why doesn’t Iran just let the IAEA in and be done with it?
They already did!
Even though Iran is under no obligation to allow inspectors to assess military bases under the Nuclear-Non-Proliferation Treaty (which Israel never signed up to), it opened its doors regardless, on January 13, 2005 after Bush began beating the war drum. The IAEA’s February 2006 report notes:
The Agency 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.
The Mysterious Laptop:
The second main accusation, paraded throughout the media as evidence of Iran’s nuclear weapon intent, are documents alleging to show graphs and simulations relating to nuclear warhead design. The smoking gun, however, that these are crude fabrications is that the documents are written in English!
Ask yourself this: If Iran is conducting a secret nuclear weapons program would it really produce documents in a non-native language?
Nonproliferation expert Jeffrey Lewis of the New America Foundation noted how the documents were “utterly unconnected from reality.”
“Some of the reports indicated that some of the view graphs were done in PowerPoint, which suggested to me that the program was not terribly sophisticated,” he concluded .
Nobel Peace Prize winner and former head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, also saw through the propaganda. “I do not believe that the Iranians are actually producing nuclear weapons”, he said in 2010 . “[The NPT] lost its legitimacy in the eyes of Arab public opinion because of the perceived double standard [with Israel].”
As reported by the New York Times, in July 2005, the Bush administration briefed ElBaradei on the contents of the laptop, although experts weren’t convinced.
The session on July 18 on the top floor of the American mission in Vienna was a meeting of former rivals. Before the Iraq war, Dr. ElBaradei had attracted the wrath of the Bush administration by declaring that his agency had found no evidence that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear program. And the administration had tried to oust Dr. ElBaradei, an Egyptian, from his post, partly because they found him insufficiently tough on Iran.
Assessing just how far the Iranians have gone from plan to product is difficult. ‘It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that beautiful pictures represent reality,’ a senior intelligence official said. ‘But that may not be the case.’
Although ElBaradei has been vindicated on Iraq, he was still ousted from the IAEA, in what appears to be be a complete repeat of the Iraq deception with Iran.
“The idea that we’ll wake up tomorrow and Iran will have a nuclear weapon is an idea that isn’t supported by the facts as we have seen them so far,” said ElBaradei before his departure in 2009 .
The laptop was not something discovered independently by inspectors. German officials identified the source in November 2004 as the Mujahideen e-Khalq (MEK) , an Iranian terrorist opposition group with a clear motive to play a role in fabricating the evidence. It has since been established that the MEK work hand-in-hand with Israel’s Mossad. Quoting US officials, NBC says the group “is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service.”
How can this laptop have any credibility without something more tangible to back it up?
Iranian Nuclear Timeline:
1957 – The United States and Iran signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement as part of the United States Atoms for Peace program. The agreement provided for U.S. technical assistance and the lease of enriched uranium to Iran. It also called for research cooperation on peaceful nuclear energy uses.
1967 – November – The Tehran Nuclear Research Center, supplied by the United States, opened. It was equipped with a 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor called the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), fueled by highly enriched uranium.
1968 July 1 – Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Parliament ratified it in February 1970. Uranium enrichment was allowed under the treaty.
1974 May 15 – Iran signed the NPT’s Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The safeguards allowed inspections for the purpose of verifying that nuclear enrichment for peaceful nuclear energy is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
November – West German company Kraftwerk Union, a subsidiary of Siemens, agreed to construct two 1,200-megawatt light water reactors to produce nuclear energy at Bushehr. Construction began in August 1975, but the formal contract was not signed until mid-1976.
1975 The Ford administration expressed support in principle for the shah’s plan to develop a full-fledged nuclear power program to diversify Iran’s energy sources. The shah wanted the capacity to generate 23,000 megawatts of electricity with the ability to reprocess U.S.-supplied fuel.
1976 April 20 – President Gerald Ford issued National Security Decision Memorandum 324 supporting the shah’s ambitions and helping Iran formulate a plan to build 23 nuclear power reactors. But the administration refused to allow Iran to have the independent reprocessing capabilities sought by the shah. Ford’s memorandum instead approved a multinational reprocessing plant in Iran that would also enable the United States to participate in the project. Iran rejected the multinational option and pushed for a comprehensive national nuclear program.
1977 August – President Carter reopened negotiations on the shah’s quest for a nuclear energy program.
1978 January – Iran and the United States initialed a nuclear agreement in which Iran agreed to safeguards beyond NPT requirements. In return, the United States granted Iran “most favored nation” status for reprocessing so that Iran would not be discriminated against when seeking permission to reprocess U.S.-supplied fuel.
1979 After the 1979 revolution, the United States stopped supplying highly enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor.
July 31 – Kraftwerk Union terminated work on the Bushehr reactor when Iran failed to make payments.
1984 February – German engineers returned to Iran to do a feasibility study to complete the Bushehr reactor.
March 24 – Iraq’s attack on the Bushehr nuclear power plant did serious damage.
December – Iran opened a nuclear research center at Isfahan with China’s assistance. In 1985, China supplied the center with a “training reactor.”
1987 May 5 – After 18 months of negotiations, Argentina concluded a $5.5 million deal with Tehran to supply a new core for the Tehran Research Reactor so it would operate with only 20 percent enriched uranium, instead of the previous 90 percent. In 1989, Argentina replaced the core. In 1993, Argentina delivered around 50 pounds of 20 percent enriched uranium to fuel the reactor.
1990 Oct. 9 – Iran decided to rebuild the damaged Bushehr nuclear power plant.
1992 Aug. 25 – Russia and Iran signed a cooperation agreement on the civil use of nuclear energy, including construction of a nuclear power plant.
1995 January –Iran signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy to build a light water reactor at Bushehr under IAEA safeguards. Russia was under a contractual obligation to complete the plant within 55 months. The project’s completion was delayed until August 2010.
1997 May – The IAEA expanded the Safeguards Agreement by adopting the Additional Protocol. Under the latter, inspectors would be allowed to conduct short notice inspections and be provided with multiple entry/exit visas. Iran signed the Additional Protocol in 2003, but had not ratified it as of 2010.
1998 Feb. 23 – The Clinton administration opposed Iran’s nuclear energy program on grounds that Iran had sufficient oil and gas reserves for power and that work on the nuclear power reactor could indirectly contribute to a weapons program.
March 6 – Under U.S. pressure, Ukraine announced that it would not sell two turbines for use at the Bushehr reactor.
1999 May 7 – Russia said Iran wanted to expand nuclear cooperation, potentially including the building of a second nuclear power plant.
May 19 – President Mohammad Khatami paid a five-day state visit to Saudi Arabia, where Iran and Saudi Arabia issued a joint statement expressing support for turning the Middle East into a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. They said Israel’s production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, along with its non-compliance with international laws and treaties, posed a serious threat to peace and security in the region.
2000 March 14 – President Clinton signed the Iran Nonproliferation Act, which allowed the United States to sanction individuals and organizations providing material aid to Iran’s nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile weapons programs.
2001 March 12-15 – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Khatami signed nuclear and military cooperation accords. Khatami said Iran wanted a second nuclear power plant after the completion of Bushehr.
2002 Jan. 8 – Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said, “Iran is not seeking to arm itself with non-conventional weapons.”
Aug. 15 – The National Council of Resistance of Iran, an exiled opposition group, revealed that Iran was building two secret nuclear sites – a uranium enrichment plant and research lab at Natanz and a heavy water production plant in Arak. President Khatami acknowledged the existence of Natanz and other facilities on Iran’s state-run television and invited the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit them.
Sept. 1 – Russian technicians began to assemble heavy equipment in the Bushehr reactor, despite U.S. attempts to convince the Russians not to participate. But the plant faced frequent delays in construction.
2003 Feb. 9 – President Khatami said Iran had discovered and extracted uranium in the Savand area. He cited Iran’s “legitimate right to obtain nuclear energy for peaceful aims” and expressed readiness to accept international inspections of its nuclear activities.
May 6 – Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization presented the United Nations with a sketch of Iran’s nuclear program, insisting that the program was peaceful.
May 17 – Tehran backed a proposal by Syria to rid the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction.
June 19 – An IAEA report did not find Iran in violation of the NPT but said Iran should have been more forthcoming about the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and the Arak heavy water production plant. The U.N. watchdog agency later urged Iran to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would allow inspectors more access to nuclear sites and the right to sudden inspections.
Aug. 26 – IAEA inspectors found traces of highly enriched uranium at Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant. Iran claimed the traces came from equipment imported from another country.
Sept. 19 – President Khatami said, “We don’t need atomic bombs, and based on our religious teaching, we will not pursue them…but at the same time, we want to be strong, and being strong means having knowledge and technology.”
Sept. 25 – U.N. weapons inspectors found traces of highly enriched weapons-grade uranium at a second site near the capital city of Tehran. The IAEA set a deadline of Oct. 31 for Iran to prove it was not making nuclear weapons.
Oct. 21 – In talks with Britain, France and Germany (EU-3), Iran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and processing activities and to open nuclear sites to unannounced inspections by the U.N. watchdog agency. It also agreed to sign the Additional Protocols of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
Oct. 24 – 1,500 Iranian protestors gathered in Tehran to denounce the recently concluded agreement between Tehran and the EU-3.
Nov. 12 – The IAEA concluded there was no evidence of a secret nuclear weapons program in Iran but showed concern about its production of plutonium. President Khatami said that the plutonium was used for manufacturing pharmaceuticals and the small amount produced by Iran could not make a nuclear bomb.
Dec. 18 – Tehran signed the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Safeguards Agreement. The Additional Protocol granted IAEA inspectors greater authority in their nuclear verification programs. Since then, Iran has at times voluntarily allowed more intrusive inspections, but the Iranian parliament has not yet ratified the Additional Protocol.
2004 Feb. 22 – Iran acknowledged having secretly bought nuclear parts from international sources, although Tehran continued to insist that its goal was electricity production and not nuclear weapons.
Apr. 7 – Iran declared its plans to construct a heavy water reactor to produce radioisotopes for medical research. Western envoys warned that the facility could reprocess the spent fuel rods to produce plutonium.
Aug. 28 – President Khatami said Iran had a right to enrich uranium and was willing to provide guarantees to the IAEA that it was not developing nuclear weapons.
Oct. 6 – Tehran announced that it had produced tons of the hexafluoride gas needed to enrich uranium by converting a few tons of yellowcake uranium.
Nov. 14 – In negotiations with Britain, France and Germany, Iran accepted the Paris accord, which recognized Tehran’s rights to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and reaffirmed Iran’s commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons. In exchange, Iran voluntarily agreed to temporarily suspend uranium enrichment activities and allow the IAEA to monitor the suspension.
Nov. 15 – The IAEA reported that it had not found any evidence that Iran had tried to develop nuclear weapons, although it could not rule out the existence of nuclear materials that had not been declared.
Nov. 22 – Iran invited the IAEA to monitor the suspension of all enrichment-related activities.
Nov. 30 – Iran said that it had not abandoned its right to enrich uranium and that the suspension was only temporary. European officials hoped to make the suspension permanent in return for trade deals and other incentives.
Dec. 22 – Iran’s intelligence minister announced the arrest of more than 10 people on spying charges. Tehran charged the spies were passing sensitive information on Iran’s nuclear program to the Israeli Mossad and the CIA.
2005 Jan. 13 – IAEA inspectors were only allowed partial access to the Parchin military base near Tehran. Under the NPT, Iran was not required to allow inspectors into its military bases. But the Bush administration consistently expressed concern that Iran’s failure to allow full access to its suspected military bases and facilities was linked to a secret nuclear weapons program.
Jan. 17 – President Bush said military action against Iran remained an option, “if it continues to stonewall the international community about the existence of its nuclear weapons program.”
Feb. 7 – Iran’s Minister of Defense Ali Shamkhani said in an interview that it was not in Iran’s national interest to acquire nuclear weapons.
Feb. 28 – Tehran and Moscow signed an agreement that stipulated that Russia would supply nuclear fuel for the Bushehr facility and that Iran would return all spent fuel rods to Russia to ensure the fuel was not diverted for other use.
May 15 – Iran’s parliament approved a non-binding resolution urging the government to resume uranium enrichment for peaceful use.
Aug. 1 – Iran informed the IAEA that it had decided to resume activities at the Isfahan uranium conversion center. The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency urged Iran not to take any action that would prejudice negotiations with Britain, France and Germany (the EU-3) or undermine the IAEA inspection process.
Aug. 5 – Britain, France and Germany (the EU-3) proposed the “Framework for a Long-term Agreement” to Iran. The deal offered assistance in developing peaceful nuclear energy in exchange for a binding commitment that Iran would not to pursue fuel cycle activities other than for light water power and research reactors. It also called for a halt on construction of a heavy water research reactor at Arak. Iran rejected the proposal, as it required Tehran to abandon all nuclear fuel work.
Aug. 8 – Iran resumed uranium conversion at the Isfahan facility under surveillance of the IAEA.
Aug. 9 – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa forbidding the “production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.”
Aug. 11 –The IAEA urged Iran to suspend all enrichment activities and re-instate IAEA seals.
Sept. 24 –The IAEA found Iran in noncompliance with the NPT Safeguards Agreement and decided to refer Tehran to the U.N. Security Council for further action. The decision followed Iran’s repeated failure to fully report its nuclear activities.
However with the assistance of Pakistan a group of US government experts and international scientists concluded that traces of bomb-grade uranium found in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and were not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program in Iran.
IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei reported that “most” highly enriched uranium traces found in Iran by agency inspectors came from imported centrifuge components, validating Iran’s claim that the traces were due to contamination. Sources in Vienna and the State Department reportedly stated that, for all practical purposes, the HEU issue has been resolved.
Nov. 20 –Iran’s parliament approved a bill requiring the government to stop voluntary implementation of the Safeguards Agreement’s separate Additional Protocol, which allowed more intrusive and surprise inspections, if Iran were referred to the Security Council. The parliament did not move to block normal inspections required under the Safeguards Agreement, which had been ratified by parliament in 1974.
2006 January – Iran broke open internationally monitored seals on the Natanz enrichment facility and at two related storage and testing locations, which cleared the way to resume nuclear fuel research under IAEA supervision.
Feb. 4 – The IAEA voted to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council for its non-compliance with its NPT Safeguards Agreement obligations.
July 31 – The U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1696 demanding that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities within one month. No sanctions were imposed but the resolution warned that “appropriate measures” would be taken in the case of Iranian non-compliance. Tehran called the resolution illegal.
Aug. 26 – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated a heavy water production plant at Arak. The United States expressed concern that the heavy water would be used in the heavy water reactor at Arak to produce plutonium, an ingredient in making nuclear weapons.
Oct. 2 – President Bush signed into law the Iran Freedom Support Act, which imposed economic sanctions on nations and companies that aided Iran’s nuclear program.
…From that point on sanctions and media spin took over.
After decades of cooperation with the IAEA, at times going above and beyond what was even required, on a nuclear energy program initially created with the help of the US, the mainstream media still paint a picture like Iran is the bad guy and playing hardball. Are they to keep letting inspectors in until they find another tin can somewhere that the media can spin? There’s something called national sovereignty, the West ought to learn to respect it.
Something also worth considering is the likelihood of any nation ever using a nuke again. In the current geopolitical situation Iran nuking Israel or the West is just going to get them obliterated one way or another. What’s the point? In fact if they were credibly pursuing nuclear weapons, it would be all over the media and they’d find themselves invaded in a heartbeat. Instead the West and Israel have to slowly build up a web of lies before action can be taken.
And if the West and Israel ever considered using a nuclear weapon against the Middle-East and they truly believed Iran had a secret nuke, it would cause a stalemate, because they know Iran would fire back. Nobody is ever going to use one.
In reality the whole nuclear debate itself is just a facade to placate the public. The Israeli linked Neo-Conservative agenda of Full Spectrum Dominance, as outlined by General Wesley Clark, was always about taking over the Middle-East for the benefit of the West and Israel. Everything else is just propaganda to suit this end.
The Bush administration had signed off on a war with Afghanistan even prior to 9/11 . We were then told Bin Laden orchestrated the attacks and was hiding in the region. Rumsfeld showed detailed diagrams of comic-book style bunker complexes, carved in to the mountains.
None of these were ever found and no evidence was ever presented of Bin Laden’s involvement, beyond an alleged “confession tape” that was exposed as a gross and no doubt deliberate mistranslation on German television , that wasn’t enough for the FBI to list 9/11 as one of Bin Laden’s crimes .
We were told Iraq had WMDs, and were presented with similar aerial photos as proof . Documents and “intelligence” claimed warheads that could destroy the West and Israel could be ready within 45 minutes , yet Saddam didn’t think to use them when US planes were approaching his airspace for the invasion. It was soon revealed that it was all lies. There were no WMDs, and the intelligence was “sexed-up” , which itself was a massive understatement.
The crux of the Iranian nuclear argument comes down to “Iran could develop a nuclear weapon at some point in the distant future. We don’t really have any solid evidence but lets bomb them anyway”. Well pigs could fly tomorrow, and the West could invade another sovereign nation based on lies to pillage resources for the corporations and to continue the New World Order. I know what the most likely scenario is, and it has nothing to do with Iran getting nukes!
This article first appeared at Wide Shut.
Keelan Balderson is an independent journalist, documentary filmmaker and Internet radio host from the UK. You can listen to his WideShut Webcast every Monday at 8pm GMT on Resistance Radio. Please support his work by visiting his website: WideShut.co.uk.
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