Tag Archives: Iran

Iran’s Nuclear Program: IAEA Desperate to Find “Smoking Gun”

In its latest report, the IAEA once again repeats the standard accusations about Iran “not providing the necessary cooperation”[1]. Following from this, the agency claims to be “unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”[2]

It is not surprising that mainstream media is gleefully jumping on these claims. Among the usual suspects is the New York Times, pointing out that over the summer Iran has “doubled the number of centrifuges installed deep under a mountain near Qum.”[3]

However, this process is nothing that Iran hadn’t already declared almost three years ago. As we can see in an IAEA report from November 2009:

“The IAEA verified Iran’s declaration that the facility was designed to hold 16 cascades of approximately 3000 P-1 centrifuges, though Iranian officials noted that the plant could be reconfigured to hold centrifuges of a more advanced design should such a decision be taken. Iran stated that the facility will be operational in 2011.”[4]

As the New York Times states, the current number of Fordow-based centrifuges is 2140, not yet the estimated 3000 from the 2009 report.[5]

In addition, the repeated claim of Iran still having an increased stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium can hardly be described as an illegal act. 20 percent enrichment is needed in order to build isotopes serving medical purposes. Gareth Porter points out that Iran has actually been quite cooperative on this matter as well:

“Iran has actually reduced the amount of 20-percent enriched uranium available for any possible breakout to weapons grade enrichment over the last three months rather than increasing it.”[6]

As we see from the IAEA report, all the enrichment taking place in the facilities of Fordow as well as Natanz is being carried out under the use of the so-called IR-1 type of centrifuges. This type of centrifuge is outdated (from the 1970s) and is inefficient for high enrichment of uranium. By using this type of method “you lose a lot of material”, according to Olli Heinonen, former deputy director of the IAEA.[7] In fact, Pakistan replaced these systems back in the 80s in order to develop their own nuclear weapons:

“This is why A.Q. Khan [Pakistani nuclear scientist and founder of the country’s atomic bomb project] in the 1980s himself gave up the P-1 design and developed the more efficient centrifuges used today by Pakistan.”[8]

Christina Walrond, a research analyst for the Institute for Science and International Security, referred to the outdated centrifuges as well. According to The Daily Beast:

“It is interesting to note they have not yet deployed any of the advanced machines despite having worked on them for a long time.”[9]

Might there be a chance that Iran has not yet installed advanced machines in order not to give the US/Israeli warmongering establishment any pretense that they could use as “justification” for their plans to attack? Obviously the factions pushing towards an attack on Iran do not leave any option unexplored when it comes to the creation of accusations, absurd as they may be.

In addition, unlike Israel, Iran has joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This treaty does not allow the creation of nuclear weapons, and enrichment for peaceful purposes is legal. The watchdogs so far have not found any evidence for non-peaceful nuclear enrichment in Iran, and they have permanent access to the country’s nuclear facilities. Despite that, the IAEA demands access to the military site of Parchin. However meeting this kind of requirement is not mandatory, according to the NPT. Iranian MP Jalil Jafari explains the refusal by Iran’s government for IAEA inspections in Parchin as follows:

“In one of the clauses of the report, the issue of inspecting the Parchin site has been stated once again. But the point that should be taken into consideration is that no nuclear activity has been carried out at the Parchin site and the Parchin site is a military site. And permission to inspect military centers has not been granted to IAEA inspectors under any of the articles of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”[10]

Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, members of the Bush administration at least made an effort to invent fake evidence on the alleged existence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. This time, against Iran, accusations without any basis seem to be sufficient in order justify a pro-war policy.

Notes

[1]     http://www.isisnucleariran.org/assets/pdf/Iran_report_–_August_30_2012.pdf.

[2]    Ibid.

[3]     http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/world/middleeast/nuclear-inspectors-confirm-iranian-progress.html.

[4]     http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2009/gov2009-74.pdf.

[5]     http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/world/middleeast/nuclear-inspectors-confirm-iranian-progress.html.

[6]   http://therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/92-more-blog-posts-from-gareth-porter/1237–iaea-report-shows-iran-reduced-its-breakout-capacity.

[7]    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/30/the-silver-lining-on-iran-s-nukes.html.

[8]    Ibid.

[9]    Ibid.

[10]   http://www.tehrantimes.com/component/content/article/101155.

Published on:

Global Research, September 5, 2012

 

 

 

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VIDEO: Iran P5+1 Talks: Last Chance for Diplomacy?

Originally aired on Press TV, April 14, 2012

Interview with Phil Wilayto, Chris Bambery and Benjamin Schett

After over a year hiatus, talks between Iran and the P5+1 group will be taking place in Istanbul on Sat. Going into the talks, it was reported that the White House officials were confident that Iran is not engaged in making nuclear weapons. This is while prior to that, the US had opted to sanction Iran’s oil exports, not that it was successful. Fast forward one week: Iran has answered US-led sanctions with counter sanctions against countries like Germany and Spain, prior to that France and the UK and Greece. And it is within this context that the stage was set for these talks.

For transcript, visit http://www.presstv.ir/detail/236228.html

 

 

 

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VIDEO: Obama Desperate for Excuse to Attack Iran

Interview on Russia Today, March 7, 2012

RT: Israel says it is unlikely Iran will give up its controversial nuclear activity without “a real military alternative.” The statement comes from the PM’s top adviser after the six powers agreed to resume talks with Iran over its nuclear program.

“It should be clear that without a real military alternative, the Iranians will not relent in the negotiations. And without there being a serious alternative, they will not enter the negotiations, and in any event there has to be readiness for the negotiations failing,” Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Yaakov Amidror, said on Wednesday.

Although he added that there “will be no one happier” than Israel “if it emerges that in these talks Iran will give up on its military nuclear capability.”

Speaking during a news conference in the White House, US President Barack Obama said there is a “window of opportunity” to solve the tension around Iran’s nuclear program peacefully.

However, some, like global affairs researcher Benjamin Schett, are skeptical about this. He believes the U.S. could be waiting for an excuse to attack.

“It seems to be some kind of theater that the Israeli or American officials are playing,” Schett told RT.

He adds that “Obama’s soft power that he is using to meddle in Iran’s interior affairs probably will not succeed, not with economic sanctions. Although they will hit Iran hard, there are still countries like China, India, even Japan and South Korea and others who are still importing Iranian oil. “

“So, probably at some point the American administration will say well, we tried everything in diplomacy and they will of course support Israel’s attacks,” Schett speculates.

On Tuesday the EU foreign policy head, Catherine Ashton, said that the six big powers, the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, had agreed to resume talks on Iran’s nuclear program and hope negotiation will help to restore “international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, while respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”

Also on Tuesday Tehran said it would also allow nuclear inspectors to visit a secret military Parchin site, which is yet to be arranged.

“It is not the first time Iran tries to find some kind of compromise with the West. Iran always tried to please the US side,” Schett concluded.

Previous visits by UN atomic officials could not reach any conclusion on the existence of weapons because they were denied access to key facilities.

Source: Russia Today, March 7, 2012

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Debunking Anti-Iran Propaganda: The Myth of the “New Holocaust”

In a pattern of propaganda now well-established in the mainstream media, fear-mongering against Iran is reaching an all-time peak. A case in point includes ongoing accusations that Iran is in violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, despite statements to the contrary from U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta as well as a number of American intelligence officials[1].

In addition, claims that Iran is involved in terrorist activities were released by the Obama administration, fabricating an Iranian conspiracy with the goal to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. (For details, see: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27094)

Most recently, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of having planned terrorist attacks in India, Georgia and Thailand. (For details, see: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29320)

As it stands, the intensification of propaganda is fuelling an anti-Iranian proxy conflict in Syria and creating the serious danger of aggression against Iran in the coming months by Israel’s extremist government and/or the Obama administration. These media fabrications also do not question why the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran would increase worldwide tensions so much more than the hyper-developed nuclear weapons programs of countries like Israel and the United States. (Notwithstanding the fact that there is no existing proof that suggests that Iran is doing anything other than developing a peaceful civilian atomic program.)

Opponents of possible armed aggression against Iran are regularly accused of repeating the mistakes from the period prior to World War II, namely of not taking seriously the purportedly dangerous eliminatory “anti-Semitism” of the Iranian regime. This charge is echoed by the Anti-Defamation League, one of the biggest pro-Zionist U.S. groups, who is lobbying for taking any “necessary” measures in order to overthrow the Iranian government and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views place him and the Iranian regime among the foremost threats to Jews and the state of Israel.”[2]

Moreover, Israeli President Shimon Peres called Iran a “danger to the entire world” while addressing the German Bundestag in a speech marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2010.

The symbolism of such actions is clear: whoever refuses to participate in the campaign against Iran is neglecting the threat of a new Holocaust, the insinuation being that if Iran were to get nuclear weapons, it would use them against the state of Israel.

First of all, suggesting that the current situation in Iran is even remotely comparable to the crimes committed by the Nazis inexcusably downplays the suffering of Jews, Roma, Communists, Slavic nations and other victims of Fascism.

In addition, while the strategic motivation behind arguments made by Israeli decision-makers is clear, the facts are not. In fact, the alleged statements made by Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to be “wiped of the map” were proven to be fake thanks to a false translation from Farsi into English. (See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/jun/14/post155) This has been well known already for some time, although it does not seem to faze the war propagandists.

The other question that should be asked by anyone investigating accusations against the Iranian government of being the “foremost threat against Jews” is how do Jews actually live in Iran? If the Iranian president is supposed to be some kind of reborn Hitler, would that not be reflected in imposed anti-Jewish legislature in his country, calls for pogroms, etc.?

The evidence on Jewish life in Iran, from various sources, including Jewish and American mainstream is revealing. For example, a website belonging to the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture (FASSAC) acknowledges that:

“While Jewish communities in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria have all but vanished, Iran is home to 25,000 – some here say 35,000 – Jews.”[3]

This makes Iran’s Jewish community the largest in the Middle East, outside of Israel. Furthermore, many Iranian Jews show pride in their mixed Jewish-Iranian heritage and would not consider emigration:

“Jewish leaders say their community has far stronger roots in Iran than other Middle East Jewish communities, which were virtually eradicated by massive immigration to Israel in the 1940s and 1950s. Esther, the biblical Jewish queen who saved her people from persecution in the fifth century B.C., is reputed to be buried in Hamadan, in western Iran. The grave of the Old Testament prophet Daniel lies in southwestern Iran.”

As we see, Jewish roots in Iran date back to biblical times: “The Jews trace their heritage in Iran to the Babylonian Exile of the 6th century BC…”[4]. Indeed, several Persian kings enjoy a positive reputation in the Old Testament because of their friendly attitude towards the Hebrew people.

Today, Jewish religion and culture is still present in everyday life in Iran:

“Tehran has 11 functioning synagogues, many of them with Hebrew schools. It has two kosher restaurants, and a Jewish hospital, an old-age home and a cemetery. There is a Jewish representative in the Iranian parliament. There is a Jewish library with 20,000 titles…”

It can’t be denied that there must have been considerable concern among Iranian Jews in the time following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, as it was hard to predict how things would develop under the new radically anti-Zionist leadership, and many chose to emigrate on this account. Nonetheless:

“Khomeini [the spiritual leader of the Islamic Revolution] met with the Jewish community upon his return from exile in Paris and issued a ”fatwa” decreeing that the Jews were to be protected. Similar edicts also protect Iran’s tiny Christian minority.”

The Iranian leadership seems to draw a clear line between Zionism as a political ideology (inspired by Western European colonialist ideas in the 19th century), and Judaism. This conclusion can be underlined by several statements President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made throughout recent years. In a Christmas message to the people of Great Britain, broadcast by Channel Four, Ahmadinejad started his speech with the following lines:

“Upon the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, Son of Mary, the Word of God, the Messenger of mercy, I would like to congratulate the followers of Abrahamic faiths, especially the followers of Jesus Christ, and the people of Britain.”

The religious pathos might not be to everybody’s taste, but the more relevant question would be whether these could realistically be the lines of a fanatical preacher of hate, as he is portrayed by mainstream media in the West. In fact, by addressing the “followers of Abrahamic faith”, president Ahmadinejad expresses his respect for the three religions of the book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Critics might argue that a conciliatory message prepared for a Western audience might serve the purpose of leaving the people outside Iran in the dark about its real hidden agenda. Thanks to the Internet, it is not necessary to speak Farsi to get an impression of what Ahmadinejad is saying in front of an audience in his own country. In a speech delivered in May 2007 in the city of Esfahan (available on YouTube with English subtitles), he explains to the crowd what his response is to people who accuse him of being anti-Semitic on account of his heavy criticism of the Israeli regime:

“Some officials from that country (USA)… said all kinds of things. One of them was: “They [the Israeli leaders] are Jewish, why are you anti-Jewish?” I said: I am not anti-Jewish at all… But they are lying. They are not Jewish, but a bunch of corrupt criminals abusing the name of Judaism.”[5]

In May 2006, the National Post published an article claiming that the Iranian parliament had passed a sumptuary law forcing religious minorities, Jews included, to follow a specific dress code:

“It also envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public. The new codes would enable Muslims to easily recognize non-Muslims so that they can avoid shaking hands with them by mistake, and thus becoming najis (unclean).”[6]

However, the story turned out to be a hoax and the National Post issued an apology by its editor-in-chief[7]. But the intention of this falsification is obvious: it was meant to remind people of the yellow star that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany, and thereby create fears of similar events happening in Iran that might lead to some kind of new Holocaust.

One of the particularly critical Jewish responses to this provocation came from Iran’s Jewish Member of Parliament, Moris Motamed. (It should be noted that Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians all have their own guaranteed seat in the Iranian Parliament (Majilis), which is one of the results of Khomeini’s fatwa calling for the protection of these religious minorities). As Motamed outlined in an interview with Counterpunch:

“Unfortunately, this was fake news published in a Canadian newspaper. I considered this news a big insult to the religious minorities of Iran. I refuted the story vigorously, to the point that the source of the news and the Canadian government officially apologized to the Iranian government.”[8]

The same Motamed, who officially represents the Iranian Jewish community, does not criticize Iran’s nuclear program, unlike many foreigners who claim to act in favour of Judaism by encouraging “strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities”:

“As a Jewish Iranian, I consider enrichment of peaceful nuclear technology the obvious right of Iranian society. What is sad here — and I’m so sorry about it — is that before the Islamic Revolution, we witnessed… western Europe and America pressuring Iran to obtain nuclear technology and establish a nuclear power plant. Now the idea is brought up: “Why do you want nuclear technology? What is the point of nuclear technology for you when you have rich resources like fuel and gas and oil?” My question here is why at that earlier time, the problem of natural resources was not brought up?”

In further demonizing the Iranian state, Western media and pro-Zionist lobbyists accuse Ahmadinejad of making ambiguous statements about the Holocaust. Clearly, however, holocaust denial does not represent the official position of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Otherwise it couldn’t be explained why in 2007 the Iranian state television broadcast a series emphasising the suffering of Europe’s Jews in the Second World War, in what can be likened to an Iranian version of “Schindler’s List”:

“The central character is an Iranian diplomat, who provides false Iranian passports to enable Jews to flee the Nazi-occupied France, a sort of Iranian Schindler. He even has a love affair with a Jewish woman.”[9]

This Iranian diplomat saving Iranian Jews, named Abdol Hossein Sardari, actually existed in real life and has been honoured in past decades by Jewish organisations, including the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.[10]

It should not be the goal of this article to make a final judgement on Jewish life in Iran, because this would be an almost impossible enterprise without having the personal experience of how life looks when belonging to a religious minority in a very religious country. But it is important to put the collected information into perspective. It is apparent Iranian Jews have the right to freely practice their religion and to maintain their culture and traditions. Jewish institutions such as synagogues, Jewish libraries, hospitals and restaurants are well-established across the country.

By contrast, the impression we get from one of America’s closest Middle Eastern allies, the totalitarian Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (a rival of Iran), looks very different. Neither Jewish nor Christian worship is allowed, and Saudi school textbooks spread hateful messages such as the following, according to Daily Mail:

“In one, for ninth-graders, students are taught the annihilation of the Jewish people is imperative. One text reads in part: ‘The hour (of judgment) will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. There is a Jew behind me come and kill him.'”[11]

This is not the first time that the U.S. government is fighting alongside extremists against states that they perceive as barriers to the proliferation of their economic, geopolitical and imperial agendas, while at the same time pretending to combat “terrorism”, “ethnic cleansing” and other crimes against humanity.

All things considered, the hypocrisy is plainly clear. It is therefore not only necessary but also imperative to oppose the dangerous propaganda and warmongering spread by the most aggressive factions within the U.S. and Israeli establishments, and ensure that truth prevails over rampant militarization.

Notes

[1] http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-01-08/iran-nuclear-weapons/52451620/1.
[2] http://www.adl.org/main_International_Affairs/ahmadinejad_words.htm.
[3] http://www.sephardicstudies.org/iran.html.
[4] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/293359/Iran.
[5] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEDqygQMoZ8.
[6] Original article: http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=398274b5-9210-43e4-ba59-fa24f4c66ad4&k=28534&p=1.
[7] http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=6df3e493-f350-4b53-bc16-53262b49a4f7
[8] http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/07/14/talking-to-iran-s-only-jewish-member-of-parliament.
[9] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7119474.stm.
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdol_Hossein_Sardari.
[11] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2077658/The-Arabic-textbooks-children-chop-hands-feet-Sharia-law.html.

Published on:
Global Research, March 06, 2012

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