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The Escalating Crisis Over Iran’s Nuclear Inspections

By Scott Ritter | Consortium News | June 29, 2020

The Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration pulled out of last year is on the verge of collapse.

The National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament last Tuesday ratified a motion that required the Iranian government to cease its voluntary implementation of its Additional Protocol agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The motion, if turned into law, would represent a death knell to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA), the groundbreaking agreement between Iran and the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European Union to end the crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.

There is still time before the matter could be brought up for a vote; indeed, the committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on July 6, and has invited Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and Nuclear Chief Ali-Akbar Salehi to testify.

IAEA Resolution

The current crisis over Iran’s nuclear program was triggered by the IAEA Board of Governors, which on June 19 passed a resolution expressing its “serious concern” over Iran’s refusal to provide “access to the Agency under the Additional Protocol to two locations.” The resolution said that “discussions engaged, for almost a year, to clarify Agency questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear related activities in Iran have not led to progress.”

The Board of Governors resolution required that “Iran shall cooperate fully and in a timely manner” with the IAEA in implementing its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, including “by providing acces.” The resolution reaffirmed that such “cooperation and implementation are essential for the IAEA to reach the Broader Conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.”

The First Three Years of the Deal

The Board of Governor’s June 19 resolution did not occur in a vacuum. For the first three years of the JCPOA’s implementation, Iran was repeatedly certified as being in full compliance with all of its obligations, including granting IAEA inspector’s access to facilities and locations mandated by the additional protocol.

The protocol is an expanded set of requirements for information and access between Iran and the IAEA. It assists IAEA inspectors to confirm that states are using nuclear material for solely peaceful purposes. The protocol is a voluntary agreement and is independently constructed between a state and the IAEA.

Iran negotiated its additional protocol with the IAEA in 2003, which was signed but never ratified. Nevertheless, Iran implemented the protocol on a voluntary basis from 2003 to 2006 before ending its cooperation in the face of allegations that Iran was cheating.

Iran and the IAEA then entered a decade-long confrontation, which was only resolved with the implementation of the JCPOA nuclear deal, which was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2231 on July 20, 2015. That made the JCPOA binding under both international and U.S. constitutional law.

The nuclear deal established a road map, framed by mutually binding commitments, that took Iran from zero tolerance over nuclear enrichment, to a time when Iran would be able to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes without restriction, as long as the IAEA confirmed that Iran’s entire nuclear program had no military intentions. According to the deal, Iran would be subjected to stringent safeguards inspections that included the additional protocol.

Iran Reacts to Trump’s Move

When the Trump administration, acting on President Trump’s belief that the JCPOA was a “bad agreement,” withdrew from the JCPOA and began re-imposing U.S. economic sanctions, which had been lifted under the terms of the deal, Iran indicated that it would reconsider its participation.

For the time being, Iran continued to abide by its obligations under the deal, accepting European Union and the other JCPOA nations’ guarantees that regardless of what the U.S. did vis-à-vis sanctions, the other nations would not follow suit, and thereby fulfill their commitments to Iran under the terms of the JCPOA.

A year after the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, however, Europe collectively reneged on that commitment, succumbing to the threat of U.S. secondary sanctions, which threatened any European business that engaged in commerce with Iran.

In response, Iran invoked Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. Article 26 holds that if new nuclear-related sanctions are imposed on Iran by any party to the deal it will constitute “grounds (for its authorities) to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.”

Article 36 states that if actions by parties to the JCPOA “constitute significant non-performance, then (Iran) could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part and/or notify the UN Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance.”

Iran stressed at the time that its retaliatory measures would be reversible as soon as Europe ignored the threat of secondary U.S. sanctions and fulfilled its obligations regarding sanctions-free trade with Iran.

Initially, Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms limit set by the JCPOA. When the Europeans continued to balk, Iran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA limit of 3.76 percent.

Next, when Europe failed to meet a 60-day deadline to fulfill its commitments, Iran began to operate advanced centrifuges capable of boosting its enriched uranium stockpile, as well as activating advanced centrifuges for research and development purposes.

Lastly, in November 2019, Iran began injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at its Fordow plant, something which, while prohibited under the JCPOA, was conducted under IAEA inspection.

Interestingly, the IAEA Board of Governor’s June 19 resolution did not address these actions in any depth. Instead, the focus of attention was on the issue of Iran’s implementation of the additional protocol.

As noted, Iran had entered into voluntary compliance with the IAEA of an additional protocol agreed in 2003, but withdrew in 2006 in the face of allegations derived from intelligence provided to the IAEA by Israel of Iranian cheating [see: article published today in Consortium News, “Israel Leverages Dubious ‘Nuclear Archives’ to Re-Enlist IAEA in Campaign Against Iran.“]

Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to implement its additional protocol on a “provisional” basis for up to eight years before it became legally binding.

Iran insisted on these terms in order to prevent the kind of scenario that is, in fact, playing out today, where the United States has re-imposed sweeping economic sanctions against Iran, and is seeking to trigger so-called “snap-back” sanctions that would return Iran to the regimen of measures previously imposed by the Security Council, but terminated upon the council’s endorsement of the nuclear deal.

Israeli Allegations

The Board of Governor’s resolution mentions two sites that are alleged to be engaged in ongoing, undeclared nuclear activity. Normally, these sites would be ideal candidates for the kind of inspections envisioned under the protocol, and indeed Iran has a history of providing similar access to other sites.

What separates these sites from the others is that Iran claims the allegations about them are a product of Israeli intelligence, and as such are deemed to be fabrications designed to provoke Iran. “No country,” Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador told the Board of Governors before its vote on the June 19 resolution, “opens its territory to the inspections only based on continuous allegations provided by its own enemy, even if it is evident that the result of which will prove those allegations to be false.”

Iran’s position on the two sites does not appear to be out of fear over what would be discovered—indeed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations in September 2019 that, “If the U.S. Congress ratifies the JCPOA and lifts all sanctions permanently, Iran is ready to pursue the immediate ratification of the Additional Protocol in the Iranian parliament as a permanent law.”

‘Nothing to Hide’

Rather, it is a matter of principle for Iran. Indeed, Foreign Minister Zarif noted in a tweet that “an agreeable solution is possible” for the IAEA’s request for access to the two nuclear sites in the country—but not if Iran was subjected to pressure in the form of a Board of Governor’s resolution predicated on Israeli intelligence.

“We’ve nothing to hide,” Zarif tweeted. “More inspections in Iran over last 5 yrs than in IAEA history. An agreeable solution is possible, but Res will ruin it.”

Zarif’s warning was of no avail. Shortly after the Board of Governors passed its resolution, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement declaring that:

“Iran’s denial of access to IAEA inspectors and refusal to cooperate with the IAEA’s investigation is deeply troubling and raises serious questions about what Iran is trying to hide. Over the past months, Iran has not only continued its nuclear escalation and extortion, but it has also stonewalled the IAEA. These actions are unacceptable and underscore the continued threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program to international peace and security.”

The battle lines have been drawn. By caving in to pressure from the United States to force a resolution by the Board of Governors, the European nations who are party to the JCPOA have done great harm to that agreement.

Having forced a showdown with Iran over the issue of access to sites based upon intelligence of questionable provenance, the IAEA has once again opted to take the world to the brink of a crisis with Iran which could ultimately see that nation withdraw not only from the JCPOA, but also the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Not only would such an outcome undermine the issue of global nuclear nonproliferation, but also more than likely put Iran on a path toward the kind of decisive military confrontation that would spell ruin for the Middle East and, by extension, the entire world.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 16 Comments

Iran ready for coop with IAEA as long as it retains independence: Rouhani

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani
Press TV – June 24, 2020

President Hassan Rouhani says Iran is prepared, as before, to continue its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as long as the UN nuclear watchdog does not deviate from the legal frameworks and does not fall under Israeli and American influence.

“Iran is prepared to take the agency’s legal inspections and engage in close cooperation with it within the framework of the [standing] regulations,” Rouhani said, addressing a cabinet session in Tehran on Wednesday.

“For us, cooperation with the agency has always formed the basis,” he said, adding, “We will maintain this [principle] today too.”

He said the Islamic Republic has invariably enjoyed a “friendly” relationship with the watchdog, whose inspectors have examined the country’s nuclear facilities regularly and confirmed its non-diversion from a 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world countries in more than a dozen reports.

The president, however, cautioned that “the agency too should pay attention not to deviate from its legal path.”

On Friday, the IAEA’s Board of Governors adopted a resolution — drawn up by the UK, France, and Germany — that called on Iran to allow access to two sites that Israeli intelligence services claim are related to Tehran’s nuclear program. Tehran has condemned the resolution, rebuffed the allegations, and reminded the agency that it cannot request inspections based on accusations made up by intelligence agencies.

“I fear these charlatans may tarnish the agency,” Rouhani said, referring to the Israeli regime and the United States that changelessly backs the regime’s stances and allegations. “They dupe the agency and push it away from its course.”

“The agency’s task consists of reporting on the manner of application of nuclear materials. That is what the agency is supposed to do,” the president said.

He, accordingly, urged the IAEA to act justly in its assessments and retain its independence.

Rouhani, meanwhile, berated the European trio for their falling under Tel Aviv and Washington’s pressure in devising of the anti-Iranian resolution, while praising Russia and China for their decisive stance against the resolution.

On US offer of talks

Separately, the chief executive referred to the United States’ new offer of talks with Iran.

The Islamic Republic is always prepared for negotiations as soon as the US renews commitment to the international regulations, he said, adding that it was Washington that left the negotiation table in the first place by reneging on its commitments.

Washington left the nuclear deal in 2018, although the accord has been endorsed by the UN Security Council as a resolution.

“They were the ones, who created trouble, broke the negotiation table, and tyrannized the Iranian nation,” Rouhani said.

He also urged that the US apologize to the Iranian people for the economic damage that it has tried to afflict on them through the sanctions that it reinstated after leaving the deal, and compensate the nation.

June 24, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

China does not approve of further tension over Iran nuclear program: Foreign Ministry

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian
Press TV – June 22, 2020

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian says his country opposes any measure leading to exacerbation of tensions over the Iranian nuclear program in the wake of the recent adoption of an anti-Iran resolution by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“China supports the IAEA in playing its role in an objective, professional and neutral manner in verifying Iran’s compliance with its safeguards obligations. We are against politicizing its work,” Zhao said at a regular press conference on Monday.

He pointed to an explicit announcement by the IAEA that the “safeguards issue is neither urgent nor poses a proliferation risk” and welcomed Iran’s readiness to resolve issues through dialogue and said, “Under such circumstances, China does not approve of actions that artificially exacerbate tensions and escalate the situation.”

He expressed hope that all relevant parties to the international 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will remain calm, exercise restraint, and support the settlement of issues between Iran and the UN nuclear agency through dialogue and cooperation.

“On the Iranian nuclear issue, China’s unwavering aim is to uphold the JCPOA, multilateralism, peace and stability in the Middle East, and the international order based on international law,” the Chinese diplomat said.

He expressed Beijing’s readiness to work closely with the sides in order to find a “political and diplomatic” way to solve issues pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program.

The Board of Governors at the UN’s nuclear agency on Friday passed the anti-Iran resolution, put forward by Britain, France and Germany – the three European signatories to the JCPOA.

The resolution, the first of its kind since 2012, urges Iran to provide the IAEA inspectors with access to two sites that the trio claims may have been used for undeclared nuclear activities in the early 2000s.

The Islamic Republic rejects any allegations of non-cooperation with the IAEA, insisting that it is prepared to resolve potentially outstanding differences with the IAEA.

Russia and China, two other permanent members of the UN Security Council and signatories to the JCPOA, voted against the resolution.

The Chinese diplomatic mission to the IAEA also warned on Twitter that the resolution could have “huge implications” for the future of the JCPOA.

Iran’s reduction of JCPOA compliance result of US maximum pressure

In response to a question about the E3 foreign ministers’ last week statement on the JCPOA, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman once again stressed the importance of upholding and implementing the nuclear deal as the “only right way” to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.

Zhao added that Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had recently sent letters to the UN secretary general and the rotating president of the Security Council to emphasize that the JCPOA, endorsed by Security Council Resolution 2231, is an “important outcome of multilateral diplomacy and a key element in international nuclear non-proliferation system.”

“Iran’s reduction of compliance is a result of the US maximum pressure. We urge the US to abandon unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’, and return to the right track of observing the JCPOA and the Security Council resolution,” the Chinese diplomat said.

He highlighted the significance of earnestly implementing all provisions in Resolution 2231 and said, “In the meantime, all parties to the JCPOA should take concrete measures to restore the balance of rights and obligations under the agreement.”

Pointing to the withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, he said Washington “has no right to ask the Security Council to launch the snapback mechanism that allows the re-imposition of sanctions.”

He reminded the trio’s foreign ministers that they have reaffirmed their commitment to keeping the JCPOA in place and implementing Resolution 2231.

“They believe that the strategy of maximum pressure will not effectively address shared concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. As any unilateral attempt to trigger UN sanctions snapback would have serious adverse consequences in the UNSC, they would not support such a decision which would be incompatible with current efforts to preserve the JCPOA,” Zhao pointed out.

He vowed that Beijing would work with the three European parties to the JCPOA and the larger international community to stick to the nuclear agreement and Resolution 2231, uphold multilateralism, and work for the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.

“In the meantime, we will resolutely safeguard our own legitimate rights and interests,” he added.

June 22, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran parliament: IAEA resolution proof of structural discrimination within UN nuclear watchdog

Press TV – June 21, 2020

The majority of lawmakers at the Iranian parliament have denounced an anti-Iran resolution recently passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors, saying the document is another indication of “structural discrimination” within the UN atomic watchdog.

In a statement read out on Sunday by Ali Karimi Firouzjaee, a member of the parliament’s presiding board, 240 MPs argued that the IAEA resolution — introduced by the three European signatories to a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, namely France, Germany, and Britain — explicitly demonstrated the trio’s “excessive demands.”

The Islamic Republic has voluntarily implemented the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and allowed the IAEA to conduct the most rigorous inspections of its nuclear sites in the history of the Vienna-based agency, read the statement.

The lawmakers further complained about the hypocrisy of the European trio, saying they devised “the illegal anti-Iran resolution” contrary to their claims to remain committed to the Iran deal and to make efforts to salvage the deal.

The IAEA resolution clearly indicates, the MPs warned, that the three European states “have once again fallen into the trap of the United States and the Zionist regime, and joined forces with them in the failed US project of exerting maximum pressure against Iran, hence dealing another blow to international multilateralism.”

Passed by a 25-2 margin with seven abstentions, the IAEA resolution called on Iran to “fully cooperate” with the IAEA and “satisfy the Agency’s requests without any further delay,” including by providing “prompt” access to two nuclear sites.

Tehran has rejected allegations of non-cooperation with the IAEA, arguing that the mentioned sites are totally irrelevant to its current nuclear program, and that the agency’s insistence on inspecting the two locations comes on the basis of fabricated information provided by Israel.

“Iran’s parliament strongly condemns the IAEA Board of Governors’ resolution, which was adopted against Iran’s national interests based on a proposal by three European countries, Britain, France and Germany, under pressure from the US regime and the fake Zionist regime on June 19, 2020,” the statement read, adding that the resolution was “another sign of structural discrimination within the IAEA.”

The Iranian lawmakers also expressed their gratitude to China and Russia for voicing their opposition to the biased resolution, which they called “an obvious attempt at political extortion.”

“In addition to expressing gratitude to the states that did not support the move, the parliament considers the non-binding resolution another sign of the culture dominating the IAEA, which allows nuclear-armed member states not honoring their own NPT commitments to block other states’ access to peaceful nuclear technology.”

June 21, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran Insists IAEA Provided No Credible Reasoning for Request to Visit 2 Sites

Sputnik – March 5, 2020

Iran insists that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) request to visit two locations that were specified in a report on Tehran’s alleged violations of nuclear commitments lacked credible reasoning and was instead based on data provided by Israel, Iran’s permanent mission to the UN nuclear watchdog said on Thursday.

“Quite to the contrary, in its request for clarification and access to two locations, the Agency did not present any credible and reliable legal reasoning. Copies of papers presented to Iran by the Agency as the basis for its requests, are neither authentic nor related to the open-source, but rather claimed by the Israeli regime to have been acquired through a so-called secret operation,” the mission said, referring to Israel’s claims that it had information about Iran’s nuclear program.

The Iranian diplomats reaffirmed Tehran’s determination to continue cooperation with the UN agency, but “strictly in line with its commitment.”

“In view of this, Iran has announced to the Agency that it is ready to enter into a political dialogue with the Agency to enhance the common understanding in this regard. Accordingly, Iran has accepted the visit by the DDG [Deputy Director General Massimo] Aparo for further discussion, which the Agency preferred to issue a written report instead,” the mission added.

Earlier in the week, Reuters reported, citing the agency’s extraordinary report on Iran’s nuclear activities, that Tehran had accumulated more than a tonne of low-enriched uranium — in violation of the nuclear deal’s restrictions — since scrapping its core commitments under the accord in response to renewed US sanctions.

The IAEA urged Iran to provide access to two locations that were listed in the report. In an explanatory note, published on its website, Iran’s permanent mission to the IAEA said on Thursday that the organisation’s Additional Protocol, which gives it the authority to carry out inspections, stipulates that the IAEA’s requests should “specify the reasons for access”.

In April 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israeli intelligence had obtained about 100,000 files from a secret compound in Tehran that allegedly proved Iran’s nuclear program had a military dimension, codenamed the “Amad Project.” Iran has repeatedly denied the claim.

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Uranium Particles Discovered by IAEA in Iran Not Related to JCPOA – Russian Senior Official

Sputnik – November 12, 2019

According to Russian Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov, the undeclared uranium particles found by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Iran has nothing to do with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“There is a lot of speculation around this phrase, it is presented as a kind of ‘hot’ fact, testifying to Iran’s dishonesty. This is a distortion of the real situation because it concerns the discovery of uranium particles that date from a period approximately between the beginning of the 1990s and no later than 2005. This has nothing to do with the JCPOA, nor does it indicate any gross violations by Iran,” Ulyanov stressed.

Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at the European signatories of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, challenging their assertion that they had ‘fully upheld commitments under the JCPOA‘.

The IAEA said in its latest “confidential” report, which had been leaked to the Western media, that the agency had detected “natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency.”

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | April 22, 2019

April 26 marks the 33rd anniversary of the 1986 radiation disaster at Chernobyl reactor Number 4 in Ukraine, just north of Kiev the capital. It is still nearly impossible to get scientific consensus on the vast extent of the impacts. The explosions and two-week long fire at Chernobyl spewed around the world something between one billion and nine billion curies of radiation — depending on whose estimates you choose to believe. The accident is classified by the UN as the worst environmental catastrophe in human history.

Chernobyl’s radioactive fallout has been blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths, but the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) acknowledges only 56 deaths among firefighters who suffered and died agonizing deaths in the disaster’s immediate aftermath. However, the IAEA’s officially chartered mission is “to accelerate and enlarge the contributions of nuclear power worldwide.” Because of its institutional bias, one can dispute nearly everything the IAEA says about radiation risk.

Also on the low-end of fatality estimates is the World Health Organization which has to have its radiation studies approved by the IAEA! In 2006, the WHO’s “Expert Group concluded that there may be up to 4,000 additional cancer deaths among the three highest exposed groups over their lifetime (240,000 liquidators; 116,000 evacuees, and the 270,000 residents of the Strictly Controlled Zones).” The WHO added to this 4,000 the estimate that “among the five million residents of areas with high levels of radioactive cesium deposition” in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine” predictions suggest “up to 5,000 additional cancer deaths may occur in this population from radiation exposure…”

Alternately, Ukraine’s Minister of Health Andrei Serkyuk estimated in 1995 that 125,000 people had already died from the direct effects of Chernobyl’s radiation. Serkyuk said a disproportionate share of casualties were among children, pregnant women and rescue workers or “liquidators.” Liquidators were soldiers ordered to participate in the removal and burial of radioactive topsoil, heavy equipment, trees, and debris, wearing no protective clothing, respirators or radiation monitors.

On January 10, 2010 The Guardian reported that “reputable scientists researching the most radiation-contaminated areas of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine” dispute the IAEA estimates that only 56 firefighters died “and that about 4,000 will die from it eventually.” The paper noted for example, that, “The International Agency for Research on Cancer, another UN agency, predicts 16,000 deaths from Chernobyl; an assessment by the Russian academy of sciences says there have been 60,000 deaths so far in Russia, and an estimated 140,000 in Ukraine and Belarus.”

The Guardian further noted that, “Meanwhile, the Belarus national academy of sciences estimates 93,000 deaths so far and 270,000 cancers, and the Ukrainian national commission for radiation protection calculates 500,000 deaths so far.”

The Los Angeles Times reported in 1998 that, “Russian officials estimated 10,000 Russian ‘liquidators’ died.” The article quoted health officials who said “close to 3,600 Ukrainians who took part in the cleanup effort have died of radiation exposure.” In 2001, the BBC upped the estimate and reported, “More than 30,000 Russians have died from radiation, half of whom were involved in dealing with the immediate aftermath….”

An August 4, 2003 New Yorker magazine article noted vaguely that, “Thousands of people died of cancers and other diseases in the years after the Chernobyl disaster,” while The New York Times said April 23, 2003, “Thyroid cancer, leukemia and other cancers have skyrocketed in the area around the reactor.” Around the 10th anniversary, under the headline, “Genetics: Chernobyl’s burst in mutations,” The Washington Post reported that, “Studies indicated that people … living near Chernobyl are giving birth to offspring with a higher number of genetic mutations.” In her April 27, 1996 dispatch for the Associated Press, journalist Angela Charlton noted “a hundred-fold increase in the incidence of childhood thyroid cancers in the affected region.”

Chernobyl’s health effects were felt much further away than the area around the reactor. The Los Angeles Times reported July 25, 1996, that radiation from Chernobyl was “linked to leukemia cases in Greece.” Epidemiologic Reviews in Oxford Journals for March 30, 2005 reported, “The releases of radioactive materials were such that contamination of the ground was found to some extent in every country in the Northern Hemisphere.” In its 1988 Report to the General Assembly, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation found, “The accident at the Chernobyl … resulted in radioactive material becoming widely dispersed and deposited … throughout the northern hemisphere.”

In 2001, Alex Kuzma, executive director of the Children of Chernobyl Relief Fund, documented an 80-fold increase in cancers in Belarus and Ukraine, and reported that 50 million people, including 1.26 million children, are affected. Eugene Cahaill of the Dublin-based Chernobyl Children’s Project reported in the Irish Times in 2005 that, “Nine million people in Belarus, the Ukraine and Western Russian have been directly affected by the fallout.”

Thirty-six hundred deaths, or 125,000? Nine million people affected, or 50 million? The health effects of exposing everyone in the hemisphere to Chernobyl’s radiation (and Windscale’s, and Santa Susana’s, and Fukushima’s) — effects that are often delayed for decades — are quite incalculable. Got cancer?

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

April 22, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

US bid to create crisis in Iran-IAEA ties ‘falling flat’: Report

Press TV – January 26, 2019

The US has failed to create a crisis in Iran’s cooperation with the UN atomic agency which has repeatedly confirmed the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program, Bloomberg reports.

Bloomberg said the US was pushing to open “a special investigation” into Iran’s past nuclear work, but “it’s not gaining traction among the international officials who can make it happen.”

The financial news provider said it had obtained documents and interviewed diplomats who attended a meeting between US officials and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna last week.

“American officials have been ratcheting up pressure at the International Atomic Energy Agency in recent weeks, threatening new sanctions and advocating for more aggressive inspections,” Bloomberg said.

“However, the efforts are falling flat,” it said, citing three diplomats who participated in the meeting.

It’s a rare pushback for the US at the IAEA … the episode illustrates the rising difficulty American officials face in convincing allies to follow the US on Iran,” it added.

During the private meeting held on January 20 and attended by 70 diplomats assigned to the IAEA, the participants heard what hawkish US national security adviser John Bolton called “substantial evidence” that Iran had lied to IAEA inspectors.

“There is a sense that the administration is frustrated that their campaign to renegotiate the deal isn’t working,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“What we see is the US maximum pressure campaign is heating up even further,” she added.

The diplomats said the fresh US allegation was based on an analysis by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Institute for Science and International Security, which used data supplied by Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has on several occasions drawn international ridicule for his allegations about Iran’s “secret” nuclear activities.

Last September, Netanyahu went to the UN to show pictures of an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons storage site, which turned out to be a carpet cleaning factory, with the IAEA ignoring the claim.

“There has been a concern that the US and some other countries want to precipitate an inspection crisis,” Geranmayeh said. “But there’s been resistance to this. The deal’s stakeholders feel they have a good grip on what’s happening in Iran.”

The US has been trying to coerce the Europeans into following its lead and withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which President Donald Trump renounced in May.

Since the US left, the deal’s remaining powers — China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK — have struggled to provide the sanctions relief promised when Iran agreed to nuclear caps.

The Europeans are currently trying to put a special purpose vehicle designed to protect companies from US sanctions into operation, but are facing Washington’s threats of retribution for any trade with Tehran.

Bloomberg cited the diplomats in Vienna as saying that “while they will continue engaging with the US, they want to avoid provoking a scenario that will escalate into a new crisis with Iran.”

One envoy said the US was forcing the IAEA to “rehash 20-year-old information” which had already been settled by the nuclear agency, warning that it could shut the doors to diplomacy and lead to “tragic consequences”.

January 26, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

IAEA dismisses Israel’s call to inspect Iran facility

Press TV – October 2, 2018

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has declined to “take at face value” a recent Israeli claim that Iran has a secret atomic warehouse.

“The Agency uses all safeguards relevant information available to it but it does not take any information at face value,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Although Amano did not make an explicit reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim against Iran, it is his first public pronouncement since the premier’s speech.

“It should be noted that under the existing verification framework, the Agency sends inspectors to sites and locations only when needed,” he added.

During his speech on Thursday at the 73rd annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Netanyahu once again took the stage to bring out fresh theatrics against Iran, repeating his threadbare allegation that the country is working to develop nuclear weapons at a “secret” site and urged the IAEA to inspect it.

“In May, we exposed the site of Iran’s secret atomic archive. Today, I’m revealing the site of a second facility; Iran’s secret atomic warehouse,” claimed the Israeli PM, who added, “Iran has not abandoned its goal to develop nuclear weapons.”

Amano further emphasized that the IAEA’s work related to nuclear verification “must always be impartial, factual, and professional,” saying, “In order to maintain credibility, the Agency’s independence in relation to the implementation of verification activities is of paramount importance.”

The IAEA chief added that the agency is conducting verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran signed with major world powers.

“These activities will continue to be carried out within the parameters of the relevant decisions and resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council as appropriate,” he pointed out.

Pointing to his reports to the IAEA Board of Governors, Amano noted that the agency would continue its evaluations regarding the absence of “undeclared nuclear material and activities for Iran.”

“The Agency continues to evaluate Iran’s declarations under the Additional Protocol, and has conducted complementary accesses under the Additional Protocol to all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit,” the head of the UN nuclear agency said.

In his introductory statement to the Board of Governors in Vienna on September 10, Amano said Iran is living up to all its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

He added that the IAEA would continue to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement.

Later in his opening address to the IAEA’s 62nd General Conference in Vienna on September 17, the IAEA director general reaffirmed that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear agreement.

October 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

How Syrian-Nuke Evidence Was Faked

By Gareth Porter | Consortium News | November 19, 2017

When Yousry Abushady studied the highly unusual May 2008 CIA video on a Syrian nuclear reactor that was allegedly under construction when an Israeli jet destroyed it seven months earlier, the senior specialist on North Korean nuclear reactors on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s staff knew that something was very wrong.

Abushady quickly determined that the CIA had been seriously misled by Israeli intelligence and immediately informed the two highest officials of the Vienna-based IAEA, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and Deputy Director for Safeguards, Olli Heinonen, that the CIA’s conclusions were not consistent with the most basic technical requirements for such a reactor.

But it did not take long for Abushady to realize that the top IAEA officials were not interested in drawing on his expertise in regard to the alleged Syrian reactor. In fact, the IAEA cited nonexistent evidence linking the site to a Syrian nuclear program while covering up real evidence that would have clearly refuted such a claim, according to Abushady and other former senior IAEA officials.

When Abudhsady met with Heinonen to discuss his analysis of the CIA’s case in May 2008, Abushady asked to be included on the team for the anticipated inspection of the al-Kibar site because of his unique knowledge of that type reactor.

But Heinonen refused his request, citing an unwritten IAEA rule that inspectors are not allowed to carry out inspections in their countries of origin. Abushady objected, pointing out that he is Egyptian, not Syrian, to which Heinonen responded, “But you are an Arab and a Muslim!” according to Abushady.

Heinonen has declined a request for his comment on Abushady’s account of the conversation.

A Curious Inspection

In June 2008, an IAEA team consisting of Heinonen and two other inspectors took environmental samples at the al-Kibar site. In November 2008, the IAEA issued a report saying that laboratory analysis of a number of natural uranium particles collected at the site “indicates that the uranium is anthropogenic,” meaning that it had been processed by humans.

The implication was clearly that this was a reason to believe that the site had been connected with a nuclear program. But former IAEA officials have raised serious questions about Heinonen’s handling of the physical evidence gathered from the Syrian site as well as his characterization of the evidence in that and other IAEA reports.

Tariq Rauf who headed the IAEA’s Verification and Security Policy Coordination Office until 2011, has pointed out that one of the IAEA protocols applicable to these environmental samples is that “the results from all three or four labs to have analyzed the sample must match to give a positive or negative finding on the presence and isotopics or uranium and/or plutonium.”

However, in the Syrian case the laboratories to which the samples had been sent had found no evidence of such man-made uranium in the samples they had tested. ElBaradei himself had announced in late September, three months after the samples had originally been taken but weeks before the report was issued, “So far, we have found no indication of any nuclear material.” So the November 2008 IAEA report claiming a positive finding was not consistent with its protocols.

But the samples had been sent to yet another laboratory, which had come up with a positive test result for a sample, which had then been touted as evidence that the site had held a nuclear reactor. That in itself is an indication that a fundamental IAEA protocol had been violated in the handling of the samples from Syria.

One of the inspectors involved in the IAEA inspection at al-Kibar later revealed to a fellow IAEA inspector what actually happened in the sample collection there. Former senior IAEA inspector Robert Kelley recalled in an interview that, after the last results of the samples from the al-Kibar inspection had come back from all the laboratories, the inspector, Mongolian national Orlokh Dorjkhaidav, came to see him because he was troubled by the results and wanted to tell someone he trusted.

Negative Results

Dorjkhaidav told Kelley that all the samples taken from the ground in the vicinity of the bombed building had tested negative for man-made uranium and that the only sample that had tested positive had been taken in the toilet of the support building.

Dorjkhaidav later left the IAEA and returned to Mongolia, where he died in December 2015. A video obituary for Dorjkhaidav confirmed his participation in the inspection in Syria. Kelley revealed the former inspector’s account to this writer only after Dorjkhaidav’s death.

In an e-mail response to a request for his comment on Kelley’s account of the Syrian environmental samples, Heinonen would neither confirm nor deny that the swipe sample described by Dorjkhaidav had been taken inside the support building. But in January 2013, David Albright, Director of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., who has co-authored several articles with Heinonen, acknowledged in a commentary on his think tank’s website that the al-Kibar uranium particles had been “found in a changing room in a building associated with the reactor.”

Given the dispersal of any nuclear material around the site by the Israeli bombing, if man-made uranium was present at the site, it should not have shown up only inside the support facility but should have been present in the samples taken from the ground outside.

Former IAEA senior inspector Kelley said in an e-mail that a “very likely explanation” for this anomaly is that it was a case of “cross contamination’ from the inspector’s own clothing. Such cross contamination had occurred in IAEA inspections on a number of occasions, according to both Kelley and Rauf.

Kelley, who had been in charge of inspections in Iraq in the early 1990s, recalled that a set of environmental swipes taken from nuclear facilities that the United States had bombed in Iraq had appeared to show that that Iraq had enriched uranium to 90 percent. But it turned out that they had been taken with swipe paper that had been contaminated accidentally by particles from the IAEA laboratory.

But what bothered Abushady the most was that the IAEA report on Syria had remained silent on the crucial fact that none of the sample results had shown any trace of nuclear-grade graphite.

Abushady recalled that when he challenged Heinonen on the absence of any mention of the nuclear graphite issue in the draft report in a Nov. 13, 2008 meeting, Heinonen said the inspectors had found evidence of graphite but added, “We haven’t confirmed that it was nuclear-grade.”

Abushady retorted, “Do you know what nuclear-grade graphite is? If you found it you would know it immediately.”

Heinonen was invited to comment on Abushady’s account of that meeting for this article but declined to do so.

After learning that the report scheduled to be released in November would be silent on the absence of nuclear graphite, Abushady sent a letter to ElBaradei asking him not to release the report on Syria as it was currently written. Abushady protested the report’s presentation of the environmental sampling results, especially in regard to nuclear-grade graphite.

“In my technical view,” Abushady wrote, “these results are the basis to confirm the contrary, that the site cannot [have been] actually a nuclear reactor.”

But the report was published anyway, and a few days later, ElBaradei’s Special Assistant Graham Andrew responded to Abushady’s message by ordering him to “stop sending e-mails on this subject” and to “respect established lines of responsibility, management and communication.”

A Clear Message

The message was clear: the agency was not interested in his information despite the fact that he knew more about the issue than anyone else in the organization.

At a briefing for Member States on the Syria reactor issue on Feb. 26, 2009, the Egyptian representative to the IAEA confronted Heinonen on the absence of nuclear-grade graphite in the environmental samples. This time, Heinonen had a different explanation for the failure to find any such graphite. He responded that it was “not known whether the graphite was in the building at the time of the destruction,” according to the diplomatic cable reporting on the briefing that was later released by WikiLeaks.

But that response, too, was disingenuous, according to Abushady. “Graphite is a structural part of the reactor core in the gas-cooled reactor,” he explained. “It is not something you add at the end.”

The IAEA remained silent on the question of graphite in nine more reports issued over more than two years. When the IAEA finally mentioned the issue for the first time officially in a May 2011 report, it claimed that the graphite particles were “too small to permit an analysis of the purity compared to that normally required for use in a reactor.”

But American nuclear engineer Behrad Nakhai, who worked at Oak National Laboratories for many years, said in an interview that the laboratories definitely have the ability to determine whether the particles were nuclear grade or not, so the claim “doesn’t make sense.”

News outlets have never reported on the IAEA’s role in helping to cover up the false CIA claim of a North-Korean-style nuclear reactor in the desert by a misleading portrayal of the physical evidence collected in Syria and suppressing the evidence that would have made that role clear.

Heinonen, who was directly responsible for the IAEA’s role in the Syria cover-up, left the IAEA in August 2010 and within a month was given a position at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has continued to take positions on the Iran nuclear negotiations that were indistinguishable from those of the Netanyahu government. And he is now senior adviser on science and non-proliferation at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank whose positions on the Iran nuclear issues have closely followed those of the Likud governments in Israel.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian on U.S. national security policy and the recipient of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, published in 2014.

[For a previous segment of this two-part series, see https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/18/israels-ploy-selling-a-syrian-nuke-strike/]

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Existential Question of Who to Trust

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | April 30, 2017

The looming threat of World War III, a potential extermination event for the human species, is made more likely because the world’s public can’t count on supposedly objective experts to ascertain and evaluate facts. Instead, careerism is the order of the day among journalists, intelligence analysts and international monitors – meaning that almost no one who might normally be relied on to tell the truth can be trusted.

The dangerous reality is that this careerism, which often is expressed by a smug certainty about whatever the prevailing groupthink is, pervades not just the political world, where lies seem to be the common currency, but also the worlds of journalism, intelligence and international oversight, including United Nations agencies that are often granted greater credibility because they are perceived as less beholden to specific governments but in reality have become deeply corrupted, too.

In other words, many professionals who are counted on for digging out the facts and speaking truth to power have sold themselves to those same powerful interests in order to keep high-paying jobs and to not get tossed out onto the street. Many of these self-aggrandizing professionals – caught up in the many accouterments of success – don’t even seem to recognize how far they’ve drifted from principled professionalism.

A good example was Saturday night’s spectacle of national journalists preening in their tuxedos and gowns at the White House Correspondents Dinner, sporting First Amendment pins as if they were some brave victims of persecution. They seemed oblivious to how removed they are from Middle America and how unlikely any of them would risk their careers by challenging one of the Establishment’s favored groupthinks. Instead, these national journalists take easy shots at President Trump’s buffoonish behavior and his serial falsehoods — and count themselves as endangered heroes for the effort.

Foils for Trump

Ironically, though, these pompous journalists gave Trump what was arguably his best moment in his first 100 days by serving as foils for the President as he traveled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday and basked in the adulation of blue-collar Americans who view the mainstream media as just one more appendage of a corrupt ruling elite.

Breaking with tradition by snubbing the annual press gala, Trump delighted the Harrisburg crowd by saying: “A large group of Hollywood celebrities and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom” and adding: “I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from [the] Washington swamp … with much, much better people.” The crowd booed references to the elites and cheered Trump’s choice to be with the common folk.

Trump’s rejection of the dinner and his frequent criticism of the mainstream media brought a defensive response from Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, who complained: “We are not fake news. We are not failing news organizations. And we are not the enemy of the American people.” That brought the black-tie-and-gown gathering to its feet in a standing ovation.

Perhaps the assembled media elite had forgotten that it was the mainstream U.S. media – particularly The Washington Post and The New York Times – that popularized the phrase “fake news” and directed it blunderbuss-style not only at the few Web sites that intentionally invent stories to increase their clicks but at independent-minded journalism outlets that have dared question the elite’s groupthinks on issues of war, peace and globalization.

The Black List

Professional journalistic skepticism toward official claims by the U.S. government — what you should expect from reporters — became conflated with “fake news.” The Post even gave front-page attention to an anonymous group called PropOrNot that published a black list of 200 Internet sites, including Consortiumnews.com and other independent-minded journalism sites, to be shunned.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 5, 2003

But the mainstream media stars didn’t like it when Trump began throwing the “fake news” slur back at them. Thus, the First Amendment lapel pins and the standing ovation for Jeff Mason’s repudiation of the “fake news” label.

Yet, as the glitzy White House Correspondents Dinner demonstrated, mainstream journalists get the goodies of prestige and money while the real truth-tellers are almost always outspent, outgunned and cast out of the mainstream. Indeed, this dwindling band of honest people who are both knowledgeable and in position to expose unpleasant truths is often under mainstream attack, sometimes for unrelated personal failings and other times just for rubbing the powers-that-be the wrong way.

Perhaps, the clearest case study of this up-is-down rewards-and-punishments reality was the Iraq War’s WMD rationale. Nearly across the board, the American political/media system – from U.S. intelligence analysts to the deliberative body of the U.S. Senate to the major U.S. news organizations – failed to ascertain the truth and indeed actively helped disseminate the falsehoods about Iraq hiding WMDs and even suggested nuclear weapons development. (Arguably, the “most trusted” U.S. government official at the time, Secretary of State Colin Powell, played a key role in selling the false allegations as “truth.”)

Not only did the supposed American “gold standard” for assessing information – the U.S. political, media and intelligence structure – fail miserably in the face of fraudulent claims often from self-interested Iraqi opposition figures and their neoconservative American backers, but there was minimal accountability afterwards for the “professionals” who failed to protect the public from lies and deceptions.

Profiting from Failure

Indeed, many of the main culprits remain “respected” members of the journalistic establishment. For instance, The New York Times’ Pentagon correspondent Michael R. Gordon, who was the lead writer on the infamous “aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges” story which got the ball rolling for the Bush administration’s rollout of its invade-Iraq advertising campaign in September 2002, still covers national security for the Times – and still serves as a conveyor belt for U.S. government propaganda.

The Washington Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, who repeatedly informed the Post’s readers that Iraq’s secret possession of WMD was a “flat-fact,” is still the Post’s editorial page editor, one of the most influential positions in American journalism.

Hiatt’s editorial page led a years-long assault on the character of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson for the offense of debunking one of President George W. Bush’s claims about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger. Wilson had alerted the CIA to the bogus claim before the invasion of Iraq and went public with the news afterwards, but the Post treated Wilson as the real culprit, dismissing him as “a blowhard” and trivializing the Bush administration’s destruction of his wife’s CIA career by outing her (Valerie Plame) in order to discredit Wilson’s Niger investigation.

At the end of the Post’s savaging of Wilson’s reputation and in the wake of the newspaper’s accessory role in destroying Plame’s career, Wilson and Plame decamped from Washington to New Mexico. Meanwhile, Hiatt never suffered a whit – and remains a “respected” Washington media figure to this day.

Careerist Lesson

The lesson that any careerist would draw from the Iraq case is that there is almost no downside risk in running with the pack on a national security issue. Even if you’re horrifically wrong — even if you contribute to the deaths of some 4,500 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis — your paycheck is almost surely safe.

The same holds true if you work for an international agency that is responsible for monitoring issues like chemical weapons. Again, the Iraq example offers a good case study. In April 2002, as President Bush was clearing away the few obstacles to his Iraq invasion plans, Jose Mauricio Bustani, the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW], sought to persuade Iraq to join the Chemical Weapons Convention so inspectors could verify Iraq’s claims that it had destroyed its stockpiles.

The Bush administration called that idea an “ill-considered initiative” – after all, it could have stripped away the preferred propaganda rationale for the invasion if the OPCW verified that Iraq had destroyed its chemical weapons. So, Bush’s Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton, a neocon advocate for the invasion Iraq, pushed to have Bustani deposed. The Bush administration threatened to withhold dues to the OPCW if Bustani, a Brazilian diplomat, remained.

It now appears obvious that Bush and Bolton viewed Bustani’s real offense as interfering with their invasion scheme, but Bustani was ultimately taken down over accusations of mismanagement, although he was only a year into a new five-year term after having been reelected unanimously. The OPCW member states chose to sacrifice Bustani to save the organization from the loss of U.S. funds, but – in so doing – they compromised its integrity, making it just another agency that would bend to big-power pressure.

“By dismissing me,” Bustani said, “an international precedent will have been established whereby any duly elected head of any international organization would at any point during his or her tenure remain vulnerable to the whims of one or a few major contributors.” He added that if the United States succeeded in removing him, “genuine multilateralism” would succumb to “unilateralism in a multilateral disguise.”

The Iran Nuclear Scam

Something similar happened regarding the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2009 when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the neocons were lusting for another confrontation with Iran over its alleged plans to build a nuclear bomb.

IAEA director Yukiya Amano

According to U.S. embassy cables from Vienna, Austria, the site of IAEA’s headquarters, American diplomats in 2009 were cheering the prospect that Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano would advance U.S. interests in ways that outgoing IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei wouldn’t; Amano credited his election to U.S. government support; Amano signaled he would side with the United States in its confrontation with Iran; and he stuck out his hand for more U.S. money.

In a July 9, 2009, cable, American chargé Geoffrey Pyatt said Amano was thankful for U.S. support of his election. “Amano attributed his election to support from the U.S., Australia and France, and cited U.S. intervention with Argentina as particularly decisive,” the cable said.

The appreciative Amano informed Pyatt that as IAEA director-general, he would take a different “approach on Iran from that of ElBaradei” and he “saw his primary role as implementing safeguards and UNSC [United Nations Security Council] Board resolutions,” i.e. U.S.-driven sanctions and demands against Iran.

Amano also discussed how to restructure the senior ranks of the IAEA, including elimination of one top official and the retention of another. “We wholly agree with Amano’s assessment of these two advisors and see these decisions as positive first signs,” Pyatt commented.

In return, Pyatt made clear that Amano could expect strong U.S. financial assistance, stating that “the United States would do everything possible to support his successful tenure as Director General and, to that end, anticipated that continued U.S. voluntary contributions to the IAEA would be forthcoming. Amano offered that a ‘reasonable increase’ in the regular budget would be helpful.”

What Pyatt made clear in his cable was that one IAEA official who was not onboard with U.S. demands had been fired while another who was onboard kept his job.

Pandering to Israel

Pyatt learned, too, that Amano had consulted with Israeli Ambassador Israel Michaeli “immediately after his appointment” and that Michaeli “was fully confident of the priority Amano accords verification issues.” Michaeli added that he discounted some of Amano’s public remarks about there being “no evidence of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapons capability” as just words that Amano felt he had to say “to persuade those who did not support him about his ‘impartiality.’”

In private, Amano agreed to “consultations” with the head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, Pyatt reported. (It is ironic indeed that Amano would have secret contacts with Israeli officials about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, which never yielded a single bomb, when Israel possesses a large and undeclared nuclear arsenal.)

In a subsequent cable dated Oct. 16, 2009, the U.S. mission in Vienna said Amano “took pains to emphasize his support for U.S. strategic objectives for the Agency. Amano reminded ambassador [Glyn Davies] on several occasions that he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

“More candidly, Amano noted the importance of maintaining a certain ‘constructive ambiguity’ about his plans, at least until he took over for DG ElBaradei in December” 2009.

In other words, Amano was a bureaucrat eager to bend in directions favored by the United States and Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Amano’s behavior surely contrasted with how the more independent-minded ElBaradei resisted some of Bush’s key claims about Iraq’s supposed nuclear weapons program, correctly denouncing some documents as forgeries.

The world public got its insight into the Amano scam only because the U.S. embassy cables were among those given to WikiLeaks by Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, for which Manning received a 35-year prison sentence (which was finally commuted by President Obama before leaving office, with Manning now scheduled to be released in May – having served nearly seven years in prison).

It also is significant that Geoffrey Pyatt was rewarded for his work lining up the IAEA behind the anti-Iranian propaganda campaign by being made U.S. ambassador to Ukraine where he helped engineer the Feb. 22, 2014 coup that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Pyatt was on the infamous “fuck the E.U.” call with Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland weeks before the coup as Nuland handpicked Ukraine’s new leaders and Pyatt pondered how “to midwife this thing.”

Rewards and Punishments

The existing rewards-and-punishments system, which punishes truth-tellers and rewards those who deceive the public, has left behind a thoroughly corrupted information structure in the United States and in the West, in general.

Across the mainstream of politics and media, there are no longer the checks and balances that have protected democracy for generations. Those safeguards have been washed away by the flood of careerism.

The situation is made even more dangerous because there also exists a rapidly expanding cadre of skilled propagandists and psychological operations practitioners, sometimes operating under the umbrella of “strategic communications.” Under trendy theories of “smart power,” information has become simply another weapon in the geopolitical arsenal, with “strategic communications” sometimes praised as the preferable option to “hard power,” i.e. military force.

The thinking goes that if the United States can overthrow a troublesome government by exploiting media/propaganda assets, deploying trained activists and spreading selective stories about “corruption” or other misconduct, isn’t that better than sending in the Marines?

While that argument has the superficial appeal of humanitarianism – i.e., the avoidance of armed conflict – it ignores the corrosiveness of lies and smears, hollowing out the foundations of democracy, a structure that rests ultimately on an informed electorate. Plus, the clever use of propaganda to oust disfavored governments often leads to violence and war, as we have seen in targeted countries, such as Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.

Wider War

Regional conflicts also carry the risk of wider war, a danger compounded by the fact that the American public is fed a steady diet of dubious narratives designed to rile up the population and to give politicians an incentive to “do something.” Since these American narratives often deviate far from a reality that is well known to the people in the targeted countries, the contrasting storylines make the finding of common ground almost impossible.

If, for instance, you buy into the Western narrative that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gleefully gases “beautiful babies,” you would tend to support the “regime change” plans of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists. If, however, you reject that mainstream narrative – and believe that Al Qaeda and friendly regional powers may be staging chemical attacks to bring the U.S. military in on their “regime change” project – you might favor a political settlement that leaves Assad’s fate to the later judgment of the Syrian people.

Similarly, if you accept the West’s storyline about Russia invading Ukraine and subjugating the people of Crimea by force – while also shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 for no particular reason – you might support aggressive countermoves against “Russian aggression,” even if that means risking nuclear war.

If, on the other hand, you know about the Nuland-Pyatt scheme for ousting Ukraine’s elected president in 2014 and realize that much of the other anti-Russian narrative is propaganda or disinformation – and that MH-17 might well have been shot down by some element of Ukrainian government forces and then blamed on the Russians [see here and here] – you might look for ways to avoid a new and dangerous Cold War.

Who to Trust?

But the question is: who to trust? And this is no longer some rhetorical or philosophical point about whether one can ever know the complete truth. It is now a very practical question of life or death, not just for us as individuals but as a species and as a planet.

The existential issue before us is whether – blinded by propaganda and disinformation – we will stumble into a nuclear conflict between superpowers that could exterminate all life on earth or perhaps leave behind a radiated hulk of a planet suitable only for cockroaches and other hardy life forms.

You might think that with the stakes so high, the people in positions to head off such a catastrophe would behave more responsibly and professionally. But then there are events like Saturday night’s White House Correspondents Dinner with self-important media stars puffing about with their First Amendment pins. And there’s President Trump’s realization that by launching missiles and talking tough he can buy himself some political space from the Establishment (even as he sells out average Americans and kills some innocent foreigners). Those realities show that seriousness is the farthest thing from the minds of Washington’s insiders.

It’s just too much fun – and too profitable in the short-term – to keep playing the game and hauling in the goodies. If and when the mushroom clouds appear, these careerists can turn to the cameras and blame someone else.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

April 30, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

IAEA confirms Iran’s commitment to obligations under JCPOA

Press TV – September 19, 2016

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed Iran’s commitment to a landmark nuclear agreement Tehran signed with the six world powers last year.

“Iran continues to implement its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amanon said in an introductory statement to the agency’s Board of Governors in Vienna on Monday.

He added that his report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) summarizes the verification and monitoring activities conducted by the UN nuclear agency in the last few months.

The IAEA chief said Iran has submitted its declarations under the Additional Protocol, which Tehran is applying provisionally, pending its entry into force.

“The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement,” Amano pointed out.

He noted that the IAEA would continue evaluating the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.

In a quarterly report on Iran on September 8, the IAEA confirmed Iran’s commitment to the nuclear agreement reached between the Islamic Republic and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – plus Germany on July 14, 2015.

The UN nuclear agency, which is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA, said Tehran has not exceeded the limits set in the accord on its low-enriched uranium and heavy water stockpile.

Under the JCPOA, which took effect in January, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related bans imposed against Tehran.

The deal requires Iran’s storage of uranium enriched to up to 3.67 percent purity to stay below 300 kilograms. Tehran has also agreed to keep its heavy water stockpile below 130 metric tonnes.

Since January, the IAEA has released regular reports confirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and Tehran’s commitment to the agreement.

In April, the IAEA director general hailed Iran for respecting the nuclear accord, saying the Islamic Republic has even gone beyond its obligations.

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment