Half-Truths, Non-Truths and the Phony Objectivity of the Associated Press

The IAEA also repeatedly emphasized that, despite all the allegations, “the Agency has not detected the use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies, nor does it have credible information in this regard” but still “urged Iran to engage actively with the Agency in a more detailed examination of the documents available about the alleged studies which the Agency has been authorized to show to Iran.”

In a reasonable world, that the IAEA lack both full access to and authorization over any alleged documentation purporting to show past weaponization research and testing and upon which is bases its own claims that it demand Iran substantively explain would cast considerable doubt on the authenticity of such information and clearly demonstrates the dubious integrity and political nature of the allegations themselves.  As the Iranian Mission to the IAEA has noted:

The Agency has not delivered to Iran any official and authenticated document which contained documentary evidence related to Iran with regard to the Alleged Studies.

The Government of the United States has not handed over original documents to the Agency since it does not in fact have any authenticated document and all it has are forged documents. The Agency didn’t deliver any original documents to Iran and none of the documents and materials that were shown to Iran have authenticity and all proved to be fabricated, baseless allegations and false attributions to Iran.

Iran has also wondered, “How can one make allegations against a country without provision of original documents with authenticity and ask the country concerned to prove its innocence or ask it to provide substantial explanations?”

In his own memoir, published in 2011, former IAEA head Mohammad ElBaradei echoed that question:

Absurdly, we were limited with regard to what documentation we permitted to show Iran. I constantly pressed the source of the information to allow us to share copies with Iran. How can I accuse a person, I asked, without revealing the accusations against him? The intelligence crowd refused, continuing to say they needed to protect their sources and methods.

Iran, for its part, continued to dismiss most of the allegations as fabrications.  Since the Iranians’ cooperation on the work plan had been rewarded with yet more Security Council sanctions, their cooperation on the alleged weaponization studies had been minimal. Their predicament, they said, was that proving the studies were unrelated to nuclear activities would expose a great deal about their conventional weaponry, particularly their missile program. (p. 291)

ElBaradei also lamented the “willingness, on the part of Israel and the West, to treat allegations as fact,” admitting that the IAEA “did not have the tools or expertise, however, to verify the authenticity of documents.” (p. 290)

It should also be remembered that, in early 2007, an unnamed senior official at the IAEA revealed to the Los Angeles Times, “Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that’s come to us [from the United States about the Iranian nuclear program] has proved to be wrong” and has never led to significant discoveries inside Iran.  Additionally, the paper noted that “U.S. officials privately acknowledge that much of their evidence on Iran’s nuclear plans and programs remains ambiguous, fragmented and difficult to prove.”

When, in 2009, “the Israelis provided the IAEA with documentation of their own, purportedly showing that Iran had continued with nuclear weapon studies until at least 2007,” in order to “create the impression that Iran presented an imminent threat, perhaps preparing the grounds for the use of force,” ElBaradei has written that the IAEA’s “technical experts, however, raised numerous questions about the document’s authenticity.” He also pointed out that “[t]he accuracy of these [Israeli] accusations has never been verified; however, it is significant that the conclusions of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate were not changed, indicating that they, at least, did not buy the ‘evidence’ put forward by Israel” (p. 291).

In an interview with Der Spiegel in April 2011, ElBaradei said bluntly, “I adhere strictly to the facts, and part of that is that the Americans and the Europeans withheld important documents and information from us. They weren’t interested in a compromise with the government in Tehran, but regime change— by any means necessary.”  A few months later, ElBaradei told The New Yorker, “During my time at the agency we haven’t seen a shred of evidence that Iran has been weaponizing, in terms of building nuclear-weapons facilities and using enriched materials,” before adding, “I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.”

This history of IAEA allegations and Iranian assessments is completely absent from the recent Associated Press report, leading readers to believe Iran is making claims that can’t be backed up with evidence.

Also, that reporter Dareini states that the “alleged studies” referred to by Mehmanparast is a term used by Iran “to refer to a list of questions including a dispute at Parchin,” gives the distinct impression that this term is not an official one and that only Iran claims the studies in questions are merely “alleged” to have taken place rather than “proven,” “corroborated,” and “authenticated.”

But the term “alleged studies,” is not an Iranian creation.  Rather, that phrase is a construction of the IAEA itself; Iran didn’t make it up.  The first informal use of the term, referring to “topics which could have a military nuclear dimension” appears to be found in an IAEA Safeguards report on Iran from February 26, 2006.

These “topics,” purportedly revealed in documents taken from a mysterious stolenLaptop of Death, the authenticity of which has long been known to rest somewhere on the spectrum of dubious to fabricated, and which was provided to the IAEA by the United States by way of the MEK by way of the Mossad in late 2005; in fact, information gleaned from the laptop does not even contain any words such as nuclear or nuclear warhead.

It is unsurprising, then, that IAEA chief ElBaradei once stated, “The IAEA is not making any judgment at all whether Iran even had weaponisation studies before because there is a major question of authenticity of the documents.”

The IAEA continued to use the term informally throughout 2006 and early 2007, before elevating the term to an official section heading in its August 30, 2007 report.  It was subsequently used as such until May 26, 2008, when the more alarmist phrase “Possible Military Dimensions” superseded “Alleged Studies” in IAEA nomenclature.  These allegations, unverified and long considered to have questionable authenticity by the IAEA’s leadership, were suddenly resurrected and “assessed by the Agency to be, overall, credible,” when Yukiya Amano (the America’s man in Vienna who has proudly boasted of being, not an objective arbiter of truth and evidence, but as “solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision”) took over stewardship of the agency and began secretly meeting with White House and National Security Council officials before presenting biased IAEA reports on Iran.

Back to the AP report: While Dareini notes that “Tehran has in the past allowed IAEA inspectors twice into Parchin,” he fails to explain that because Parchin is not a nuclear facility, but rather a military complex not safeguarded by the IAEA, it is therefore off-limits legally to its inspectors.  When Iran voluntarily allowed two rounds of inspections of Parchin by IAEA personnel in 2005, the agency revealed that its inspectors “did not observe any unusual activities in the buildings visited, and the results of the analysis of environmental samples did not indicate the presence  of nuclear material at those locations.”

Regarding the current accusations centered around an alleged detonation chamber located at the site (a charge made in documents provided to the IAEA by Israel), nuclear expert and former IAEA inspector Robert Kelley has explained, “The IAEA is stretching its mandate to the limit in asking for access to a military site based on tenuous evidence.”  He recently told Bloomberg News, “The IAEA’s authority is supposed to derive from its ability to independently analyze information. At Parchin, they appear to be merely echoing the intelligence and analysis of a few member states.”

Kelley has also called the Parchin impasse “a secondary issue” that is deliberately serving Israel and the West as “a distraction for the negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (the ‘P5+1’).”  He adds (and explores in depth) that “the case for visiting the Parchin site—a matter on which the IAEA continues to insist—is not as clear-cut or compelling as some experts and officials portray it.”

It is undeniable that AP‘s Dareini is nowhere close to the propagandist that his colleague George Jahn is.  Considering Jahn contributed “additional reporting” to Dareini’s article, perhaps the problematic sections were his work.

Regardless, for the Associated Press to omit crucial and easily accessible information from its characterizations of Iran’s nuclear program is irresponsible and serves to continually misinformation (or under-inform) the public on the facts.  And when facts aren’t important, innuendo, allegations and demonization take over, inevitably setting the stage for something far more dangerous: an uncritical and unscrupulous press, aiding and abetting (wittingly or not) the dissemination of propaganda, dutifully presenting a manufactured justification for the supreme international crime, the initiation of (yet another) a war of aggression.