New ISIS/Albright Report on Lashkar Ab’ad

David Albright has just released yet another report, this time focusing on a facility at Lashkar Ab’ad in Iran.  The basic gist of the report is, this is a facility where Iran conducted undeclared laser enrichment activities before 2003, when it was halted under IAEA verification. Now, 10 years later, there has been construction at the site. Therefore, Iran must be reconstituting its undeclared laser enrichment activities there, and the IAEA needs to go in and investigate.

Do you get Albright’s M.O. yet?  Its exactly the same one present in his reports on the Parchin facility. See Yousaf’s great piece on that here.  It seems that every time Iran undertakes construction on any facility that has ever even been alleged to have a connection to nuclear activity, Albright is convinced that this is evidence of clandestine, nefarious ongoing nuclear work there, or an equally nefarious cover up operation. As if laser enrichment, a common uranium enrichment technology, could possibly be described that way in any event.

So once David’s satellite photos show landscaping, he’s off to the races with another breathless report on how important this turn of events is, and how its now a “priority”
for the IAEA to be allowed to visit the site to make sure there’s no nuclear work going on there.

Just how much this approach is a travesty of the IAEA’s safeguards system, I hope readers of this blog have come to understand from previous posts.  I mean just think about it. What country would ever agree to a safeguards system, whereunder whenever they do construction on either civilian or military facilities, they have to let the IAEA come in and monitor the construction and make sure there isn’t anything that could possibly be used in a nuclear energy program? That’s not reflective of the spirit of the IAEA safeguards system, or it’s letter. I stand by what I’ve said before about Albright, and the apparent hand-in-glove nature of ISIS’ relationship to the U.S. Government and its foreign policy agenda on Iran.

I think it’s also important to bear in mind that, in terms of the letter of Iran’s safeguards agreement, it isn’t necessary to declare design information or activity at facilities at which no fissile material is present. The IAEA under the CSA is a fissile material accounting agency. They do not have a mandate to find out about activity that could in the future be connected to fissile material, but is not at the moment connected to it through the presence of fissile material at the same facility. So as long as there isn’t any fissile material at the Lashkar Ab’ad site, Iran is under no obligation to declare to the IAEA what it’s doing there.  IT’S NONE OF THE IAEA’s OR ALBRIGHT’s BUSINESS. And until Albright can conjure up some evidence with his satellites that there has actually been diversion of fissile material from peaceful applications to military applications in Iran, he should spare us all his fear-mongering, pseudo-scientific rhetoric.  


21 Comments on “New ISIS/Albright Report on Lashkar Ab’ad”

  1. etienne says:

    Where is Albright’s 20-page report on South Korea’s laser enrichment program ?

  2. Nick says:

    The people that fund his work are not interested in S. Korea. They just want him to find more dirt on Iran.

  3. etienne says:

    It simply beggars belief that His Imperial Excellency, The Right Honourable, Doctor of Things and Weapons Inspector At-Large, David “The Druid” Albright can display such a lack of self-awareness and hypocrisy. Oh no, sorry, it does not…I forgot, he is a USG Tool.

    • Dan Joyner says:

      Yeah that “weapons inspector” handle really annoys me. Others have written about it at more length:
      (although note Ritter’s retraction and correction in the comments of claims regarding Bob Kelley’s role:

      All I’ll say is this: look at what Albright actually says in his own bio on the ISIS website:

      Click to access Albright_IAEA.pdf

      Reading over it, it appears to me that he never actually claims to have formally been a member of the IAEA Action Team. He uses words like “cooperation with” the Action Team.

      So here’s my question: how can you have been an UN/IAEA weapons inspector when you, by your own description, weren’t formally a part of the inspection team? I would really like to hear his answer to that question.

      Again, I’m just basing this question on what he appears to say in his own bio.

      Here’s what one of Albright’s FRIENDS has said on the subject:

      “I don’t always agree with David — and I cringe when I see him described as a former weapons inspector — but I always have found him to put the analysis ahead of the agenda.”

      • etienne says:

        “…and I cringe when I see him described as a former weapons inspector…” – Jeffrey Lewis

        But does Judge Jeffrey cringe as well when the description is explicitly made (confirmed) by Doctor Albright himself ?

        Sam Husseini: “[D]o you maintain that you are a former U.N. weapons inspector?”
        David Albright: “I certainly do…”

        ( at 00:20sec)

        So there we have it, from the mouth of the Good Doctor himself: He is indeed a Former UN Weapons Inspector. Case closed.

        I considered querying Monsieur Head Wonk regarding his level of cringe at hearing/seeing The Good Doctor’s personal confirmation of his own phantom career, but being familiar with the Head Wonk’s propensity for BANNING ORDERS, I’ve decided to let it go…for now. Besides, it’s Sunday, and Iran has a new President. Goodwill to all nations !

  4. yousaf says:

    Heavens! Are the Iranians building buildings again?

    Even if true, there are many isotopes besides U that one could experiment with in such work.

    More importantly, this technology is a challenge even for the West so it is not a worry even if the experimentation is really going on. If they get it working on a large scale we should try to recruit their scientists to show us how it is done.

    If we really want Iran’s agreement to intrusive inspections to check all this fluff out then we might consider offering them some sweeteners, else it would appear we are not really truly worried at all.

  5. Johnboy says:

    Here is a research a facility.
    It is an expensive facility, full of expensive equipment.

    That facility was being used to do research into xxxxxxxx (whatever, it doesn’t really matter to the point I’m going to make).

    That research project gets canned
    That research can no longer be carried out: more, no how, no way.

    According to Albright-logic (I know, I know) that **must** mean that this very expensive research facility **must** sit there idle just growin’ cobwebs.

    And if it isn’t sitting idle then, Albright-logic-wise, it must still be carrying out that (supposedly-canned) research project xxxxxxxx.


    This is an expensive research facility, full o’ expensive research equipment.

    You don’t let a facility like that go to waste just because project xxxxxxxxx got canned.

    You look around for **another** research project, and you do **that** research instead.

    Honestly, David Albright doesn’t come across as all that bright, does he?

  6. Cyrus says:

    And note the timing, with the Iran sanctions vote in Congress…

    • etienne says:

      Very valuable point you make there, Cyrus. It is as if the Bright One must, must yelp as soon as the other dogs bark. Truly Pavlovian.

  7. Iran had actually publicly announced its program for laser research a few years ago. This is not secret. But, the intended applications have nothing to do with nukes.

    I am writing a piece on this.

    • Dan Joyner says:

      Great! Please send it when it’s done.

    • sirous says:

      i hope allbright the allmighty reads academic journals, and how the U.S helped , better say gave away iran a token, to start working on laser enrichment, have a look at:
      Anton Khlopkov (2013): HOW THE UNITED STATES HELPED IRAN BUILD A LASER ENRICHMENT LABORATORY, The Nonproliferation Review, 20:1, 39-62

      as prof. butt has allready mentioned it: the paper in all explains that how laser enrichment was not taken seriously in the U.S at that time and the main guy working on it found only iran at the time that was interested on this issue and had the money and continues with how the laser equipment was sent to iran and etc.

  8. Cyrus:

    In my 2004 article on the history of Iran’s nuke program, I referred to that extensively. Here is the link where I give the history of laser as linked with nuke in Iran

  9. yousaf says:

    It is straightforward to gain Iran’s cooperation to intrusive inspections such as those ISIS proposes: one only needs to make Tehran a serious quid-pro-quo offer —

    If the USG is unwilling to make Tehran a serious offer this indicates that the concern level is less than that expressed by ISIS — there may be a good reason the USG’s concern level is less than ISIS’s.

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