Yousaf Butt on Washington Post/ISIS Magnets Story

I just had to draw readers’ attention to yet another great new piece by Yousaf Butt, this time in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In a really first class piece of explanatory journalism, Yousaf takes apart and persuasively discredits a Washington Post story based on information and analysis provided by ISIS and David Albright. Yousaf is once again shining the light of actual scientific and objectively analytical rigor, upon the analysis of ISIS and Albright that has become widely seen as superficial, speculative, and agenda driven.


17 Comments on “Yousaf Butt on Washington Post/ISIS Magnets Story”

  1. Bob Kelley says:

    When you read in the Post that a B2B inquiry was an “order” you don’t have to read any further. This is runaway hype. The purposes of this equipment are subject to interpretation. These particular objects have non-nuclear uses and Albright may have misidentified the purpose of the objects. Albright and the Washington Post have tried to take the evidence further than warranted.

    • yousaf says:

      It would appear to be, perhaps, part of some kind of pattern?

    • Rene says:

      Excellent article, Yousaf! One question: how difficult would it be for Iran to manufacture such magnets?

      One other point that seems to undermine connections with centrifuges is that 50,000 new IR-1 centrifuges seems too many, especially if they’ve gotten a hang of building the more efficient IR-2m machines.

      • yousaf says:

        Good point: If India can make them, Iran can also. It is a 60 year old technology. Iraq was making similar things. It may be that the alleged Chinese middleman can get them cheaper so if it is non-governmental non-sensitive application like loudspeakers that a Iranian loudspeaker company _may_ have tried to source them from abroad to save money over possibly more expensive domestic magnets. Just a hypothesis.

  2. What would be wrong with Iran ordering parts for centrifuges anyway? That’s not only perfectly legal but NWS like China are OBLIGATED to share nuclear technology with NNWS signatories to the NPT such as Iran.

    • Reginald Bartholomew III says:

      There is nothing legally wrong with it, but there are political roadblocks as implemented inn UNSC resolutions and also US and other unilateral sanctions that place an embargo on not only these loudspeaker magnets. RT — explains the difference:

      “We were told by the IAEA that they (the Iranians) will install next generation centrifuges,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow on Thursday. “However, (Iran) is doing everything in line with their commitments under the Safeguards Agreement.”

      “The IAEA has been notified, and the IAEA will be there and will supervise this, but I’d like to repeat that this is a legal aspect of the matter, while the political aspect is that we, along with the other Security Council members, have called on Iran to freeze enrichment operations during the negotiations,” Lavrov emphasized.

      Everyone clear — Russia, part of P5+1 says it is LEGAL for Iran to enrich, but it is a pesky POLITICAL issue.

      Got it?

  3. Very well researched article, Yousaf. Totally destroys the Washington Post piece.

    Unfortunately, the original is in the Washington Post and your article is in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

    Who do you think has the greater readership?

    And this is why the recent Gallup poll shows an astonishing NINETY-NINE PERCENT of the US electorate thinks Iran is a “threat to the U.S.”…

    I keep telling the Leveretts that going on Al-Jazeera to debunk this stuff is not helping, because Al-Jazeera has a two percent market penetration in the US – and obviously not everyone in those markets even listens to Al-Jazeera. Or Russia Today. Or Scott Horton’s radio show.

    What people who understand the Iran issue need to do is get on Jon Stewart’s or Stephen Colbert’s show. THAT’S media. Get on the mainstream news shows.

    Except that’s not possible because the MSM is part of the problem.

    • yousaf says:

      I encourage people to write a short email of their own design and choosing to alert the WaPo ombudsman that a deeply flawed story has been running in WaPo, should they wish:

      His name is Patrick and he is a good fellow.

  4. yousaf says:


    have a look at the full document from which I took ElBaradei’s quote for my piece. Just preceding the “magnet” part that I quoted him on, he has a piece on “aluminum tubes”

    Ah, yes. Al tubes. We all know what Al tubes are used for right?

  5. b says:

    Thanks to Prof. Butt for his write up on the magnets.

    My own attempt on this was to polemic to be linked?

    Anyway. You certainly have much more cloud and that is what is needed here. Picking up on the Iraq case is a very helpful addition.

    Albright is continuing to discredit himself and we should all help him along that way.

  6. yousaf says:

    My piece in REUTERS Opinion section:

    “the obvious trip-wires should be either the expulsion of IAEA inspectors or the detection of diversion of nuclear material to non-peaceful uses – not some artificial red line drawn by a non-NPT member state…..In 1992, Netanyahu, then a parliamentarian, said Iran was three to five years from a bomb. Then, as now, he was urging the United States to do Israel’s dirty work – and, perhaps, suffer the possible blowback – saying the alleged threat must be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.”

    Netanyahu’s crystal ball on Iran was cloudy 20 years ago ‑ and it seems still cloudy now.”

    • Very nice article. Would be nice to see this quoted in Reuters NEWS pages instead of their blog. This sort of thing should be in the New York Times pages where people can see it.

      The antiwar crowd is seriously losing the media war, given that 99% of the US electorate believes Iran is a “threat to the US.” In fact, the media war is LOST – in fact, decimated.

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