Paragraph 35 on page 7 of the latest International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) 2011 report on Iran’s nuclear program, released on 9 June 2011, states:
Based on the Agency’s continued study of information which the Agency has acquired from many Member States and through its own efforts, the Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. Since the last report of the Director General on 25 February 2011, the Agency has received further information related to such possible undisclosed nuclear related activities, which is currently being assessed by the Agency. As previously reported by the Director General, there are indications that certain of these activities may have continued beyond 2004. The following points refer to examples of activities for which clarifications remain necessary in seven particular areas of concern:
• Neutron generator and associated diagnostics: experiments involving the explosive compression of uranium deuteride to produce a short burst of neutrons.
• Uranium conversion and metallurgy: producing uranium metal from fluoride compounds and its manufacture into components relevant to a nuclear device.
• High explosives manufacture and testing: developing, manufacturing and testing of explosive components suitable for the initiation of high explosives in a converging spherical geometry.
• Exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonator studies, particularly involving applications necessitating high simultaneity: possible nuclear significance of the use of EBW detonators.
• Multipoint explosive initiation and hemispherical detonation studies involving highly instrumented experiments: integrating EBW detonators in the development of a system to initiate hemispherical high explosive charges and conducting full scale experiments, work which may have benefited from the assistance of foreign expertise.
• High voltage firing equipment and instrumentation for explosives testing over long distances and possibly underground: conducting tests to confirm that high voltage firing equipment is suitable for the reliable firing of EBW detonators over long distances.
• Missile re-entry vehicle redesign activities for a new payload assessed as being nuclear in nature: conducting design work and modelling studies involving the removal of the conventional high explosive payload from the warhead of the Shahab-3 missile and replacing it with a spherical nuclear payload.
(The bold emphasis is mine.)
For Jonathan S. Tobin, neocon writer for Commentary magazine, this somehow constitutes ‘overwhelming evidence that Iran is working on building a nuclear bomb’. However, a closer analysis of what the IAEA has actually written reveals quite clearly that not only is the ‘evidence’ not ‘overwhelming’, it does not even exist.
Let’s start with the opening sentence of the paragraph. It talks of basing its conclusions on the study of ‘information it has acquired’ from ‘many member states and through its own efforts’. That’s fine, but ‘information’ is hardly verifiable evidence let alone ‘overwhelming’. And one has to ask; what ‘Member states’ were the source of this ‘information’? The US? Israel? Both of these nations have a proven propensity to manipulate information and a track record of outright lying about other nations so-called ‘weapons of mass destruction’. The information they pass on to the IAEA cannot in any way be credible.
And what exactly was this ‘information’ anyway? Do they relate to the list of ‘seven particular concerns’?
The ‘seven particular areas of concern’ that the IAEA list are actually just a list of stuff that Iran (or anyone else) would need to do if, indeed, they were building a nuclear bomb. The only item in the list that is Iran-specific is the reference to the Shahab-3 missile; otherwise the list could equally apply to anyone or any nation seeking to build a nuclear weapon. In fact, it is a list of things both the US and Israel, and all of the other nations that have nuclear weapons, would have done as their nuclear weapon programs evolved so there is nothing at all original about the list that can be called ‘evidence’ as it is supposed to apply to Iran.
Finally, the use of words in the report like ‘possible’ and ‘may’ and ‘indications’ and ‘clarifications’ as they are used in the context of the report testify to the non-existence of any actual evidence.
Like most documents that Tobin and his fellow neocons refer to as they pedal their warmongering garbage, they hope that their audience don’t actually read them.