Aletho News


The Arak “Plutonium Reactor”: Laughing out loud at the NY Times’ coverage of Iran, again.

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | January 29, 2014

It is always fun to start out the morning with a funny, over-the-top and so obviously completely bullshit “news article” about Iran of the sort that you can only find in the New York Times.

Today they have an article by Alan Cowell and Rick Gladstone entitled “U.N. Inspectors Visit Uranium Mine in Iran, Media Report.” Had Mr Cowell and Gladstone been actual reporters and the New York Times an actual newspaper that actually covered the actual news when it comes to Iran, the article could have noted that IAEA officials had first visited Iran’s uranium mines years ago, when Iran officially invited them there, and furthermore that uranium mines were never required to be shown to inspectors in the first place. In fact the entire controversy about this mine — whether it was supposedly related to the military or not — is not terribly relevant, legally, since nothing in the NPT prohibits such an arrangement nor requires its disclosure. The reporters could have confirmed this with a bit of effort.

But instead of you know, actual news and analysis, we get this beauty of an attempt at fear-mongering which sounds like government talking points, dumbed-down to the point of absurdity for you the mass consuming audience to chew on:

“The Arak plant produces heavy water for a plutonium reactor still under construction, which Iran describes as designed to generate energy. If it became operational, however, it would produce plutonium that could be used in a nuclear weapon. Inspectors visited it in December.”

Wow. Gotta love it.

OK, for a start, they fail to note that Iran was never under any obligation to allow any inspections of the heavy water plant. The authority of inspectors, under Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA, extends only to nuclear material and the places where they are kept and related records etc. — in fact the inspector’s authority is specifically stated TWICE in the safeguards agreement to be limited “exclusively” to verifying Iran’s declarations and that’s all. Heavy water is not nuclear material, and therefore the IAEA has no legal authority to demand to see it. But yet again, Iran compromised an allowed it.

Secondly, “Which Iran describes to generate energy…”

Well, I’m not aware of any reactor that is NOT designed to generate energy. Every reactor generates energy — that’s why they are built.

Third: “If it became operational, however, it would produce plutonium”

Well, similarly, every reactor produces plutonium once it becomes operational. That’s just physics not an Iranian conspiracy. The Tehran Research Reactor and the Bushehr reactor are right now producing plutonium as you read this sentence. OH MY GOD! RUN FOR THE HILLS! SEEK SHELTER!

Fourth: “that could be used in a nuclear weapon”

No, it can’t. The plutonium is the byproduct of the nuclear reaction, and is accumulated in the highly radioactive fuel rods that are placed inside the reactor. In order for it to be used for weapons, those extremely deadly fuel rods have to be removed (typically when the reactor is being refueled) and then put through a dangerous and complicated process called “reprocessing” — basically crushing up and chemically removing the plutonium. And then all you have is some plutonium — you then have to actually make a nuke with it.

Aside from the fact that the reactors and their fuel rods are subject to standard IAEA monitoring, Iran doesn’t even have the reprocessing facilities according to the IAEA itself. The fuel rods at Bushehr go back to Russia for reprocessing. The Iranians have repeatedly stated that they have no interest in developing reprocessing facilities and are willing to agree to “Refrain from reprocessing or producing plutonium” as part of a compromise with the US.

Needless to say these Iranian compromise offers were consistently ignored or undermined by the US, which was not interested in actually resolving any actual proliferation threats but instead was using the “Iranian nuclear threat” as a pretext, to hide an entirely different policy of imposing regime-change in Iran (just as “WMDs in Iraq” was used as a pretext.) Remember the 2003 faxed offer, or the Turkey-Brazil brokered deal which the Obama administration killed after Iran had agreed to it, much to the displeasure of both Brazil and Turkey. This was a pattern.

So was imposing the demand that Iran first abandon enrichment before any talks could be held. All a deliberate effort by the US to keep the “Iranian nuclear threat” pretext alive and prevent its resolution.

Today the question is whether the Obama administration has given up on this approach and is genuinely interested in resolving the standoff, or whether they’ve just engaged in a tactical step back from their obviously over-reaching position of “give in before we talk” to a more nuanced effort which is still ultimately intended to accomplish regime change rather than resolving any genuine nuclear weapons concern. We have yet to see. Certainly, the Israelis are worried and are making a stink, and the likes of Dennis Ross have scurried out of their dark damp holes to write articles insisting that in dealing with Iran the only choices are war or Iran “rolling back” its nuclear program. Well, sorry Dennis but a 5000-year old nation of 80 million people isn’t going to give up its technological accomplishments to suit your exaggerated fears and no Iranian negotiator dares to return to Iran with such an offer. The demand “Rollback” is just as much a fantasy as “zero enrichment” and is being used deliberately to kill the talks in the same way.

January 30, 2014 - Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , ,

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