Progress in Iran Nuclear Talks Depends on the Israeli Government Coming Clean on its Nuclear Disinformation Campaigns

I’m pleased to host another guest post by friend of ACL Dr. Yousaf Butt. Yousaf’s research and writing is always provocative, in the best sense, and I think provides important analysis and critique that you hear from few other voices. I especially appreciate Yousaf’s technical expertise, which few have and which is extremely useful as we lawyers try to understand and work in this highly technical issue area.

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Progress in Iran Nuclear Talks Depends on the Israeli Government Coming Clean on its Nuclear Disinformation Campaigns

Dr. Yousaf Butt, a nuclear physicist, is Director of the Emerging Technologies Program at the Cultural Intelligence Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting fact-based cultural awareness among individuals, institutions, and governments. The views expressed here are his own.

One of the sticking points in the on-going Iran nuclear negotiations is the fate of the so-called “Possible Military Dimensions” (aka “Alleged Studies”) file. This is a compendium of allegations against Iran’s nuclear program – largely gathered by third-party intelligence agencies – that the IAEA would like Iran to respond to. Not only are the allegations largely outside the IAEA legal authority and expertise (because they do not directly deal with nuclear material diversion), but Iran has not been allowed to see much of this secret evidence that is being used against it. Such a process is, of course, not consistent with normal Western legal practice. Iran has responded to what little it has been shown of the PMD file by saying that the evidence thus far shown is fabricated.

Though this Iranian response is often cast as Iran “not cooperating with the IAEA” (or “refusing to discuss the matter”), another possibility must be considered: that Iran is correct. That is, that at least some the evidence has indeed been cooked-up by an adversarial Intelligence service (or by an agent recruited by such an Intelligence service).

A wonderful new book by Gudrun Harrer on the IAEA inspections in Iraq sheds some light on which countries could be involved in fabricating and planting such fake nuclear “evidence”. On p. 185 of the book, it is confirmed that Israel provided the IAEA with false information on Laser Isotope Separation activities in Iraq. The reference for this information is the author’s interview with David Albright of ISIS (see at this insert the relevant scanned pages from the book):

Harrer on Albright Israel

Israel has, of course, long been suspected of being behind some of the forged and suspect evidence against Iran: the neutron initiators, AP graphs, etc., but until now it was hard to definitely pin the blame on that country. Thanks to David Albright at ISIS, we now know that Israel has been guilty of planting disinformation with the IAEA in the past.

The German intelligence agency has also discredited much of the secret evidence against Iran.

Having myself analyzed some of what is (evidently) in this PMD file – with Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies – I can say that the evidence is certainly of poor quality and/or an amateurish forgery. It does not look like anything a state-level research scientist would produce. There are large and conspicuous mathematical and physical errors in the material.

Similarly, Robert Kelley has assessed that at least some of the evidence purporting to show weaponization research work continuing past 2004 is less than compelling:

 [The] evidence, according to the IAEA, tells us Iran embarked on a four-year program, starting around 2006, to validate the design of a device to produce a burst of neutrons that could initiate a fission chain reaction. Though I cannot say for sure what source the agency is relying on, I can say for certain that this project was earlier at the center of what appeared to be a misinformation campaign…. Mohamed ElBaradei, who was then the agency’s director general, rejected the information because there was no chain of custody for the paper, no clear source, document markings, date of issue or anything else that could establish its authenticity…

David Albright’s confirmation of Israeli nuclear disinformation goes hand-in-glove with statements from former IAEA director, and Nobel Prize winner, Mohammed ElBaradei.  In his biography, ElBaradei says that the documents that the IAEA had about the alleged neutron initiators in Iran circa 2008 were given to the Agency by Israel. He further states that Israel gave him permission to show the evidence to Iran.

So the question is, why has the IAEA not cooperated with Iran in evaluating material like they did with Iraq circa 1995, in the incident mentioned by Harrer?

Iran could be genuinely helpful if they were allowed to see the original evidence and comment on it. When the IAEA worked with Iraq to evaluate documents, the Iraqis helpfully pointed out mistakes that the IAEA could independently confirm.  Isn’t that the example we would like to see with Iran?

Being charged with secret evidence also goes against every notion of Western justice. The IAEA either needs to drop the PMD file, or amend their procedures.

Unfortunately, it is quite likely that the Israeli government is once again carrying out nuclear disinformation, possibly in collaboration with the MEK, an Iranian terrorist – in some nations, formerly terrorist – organization opposed to the current Iranian regime.

Over the past weekend, it was also confirmed that Israel masterminded the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. These assassinations, too, perhaps were carried out with local MEK collaboration. If the Israeli government is capable of assassinating civilian Iranian scientists, would fabricating nuclear intel on Iran trouble their consciences? Presumably not. Especially as they have done it in the past, according to David Albright at ISIS.

Before further pursuing Iran on the PMD file – which may contain substantial forged evidence – it would make sense to ask Israel to come clean about any fabricated intelligence it may have planted with the IAEA. It is quite possible that some of the PMD file is not fake. Israel’s assistance and cooperation in identifying what is fake and what is not would be most helpful. If David Albright of ISIS has further insight into this – as he did in the Iraqi case – his involvement would also, of course, be very welcome.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to give credibility to hyperbolic Israeli statements about Iran’s underhandedness in pursuing its nuclear program, when Israel itself has been underhanded in pursuing clandestine disinformation campaigns against NPT states, while itself remaining resolutely outside the NPT.

There are several points for the IAEA to consider in light of these recent developments:

1. Should the IAEA reject all evidence from Israel against Iran and other adversarial states now?

2. Should the IAEA, generally, not accept intelligence from non-NPT states?

3. The IAEA should show Iran any evidence it wants an Iranian response on. Anything less is not consistent with Western notions of justice. Furthermore such cooperation could unveil the origin of any possible forgeries in the PMD file.

4. The IAEA and the US should ask Israel to come clean on any fabricated “evidence” it may have inserted into the PMD file.

5. As I have suggested previously, it would be best to simply drop the PMD file as it relates to decade old unauthenticated allegations of possible research. It is not even clear that what is in the PMD file – even if true – would be a violation of the NPT or the safeguards agreement.

6. If the IAEA really wants to pursue the content of the PMD in a legal way they can initiate special inspections or undertake arbitration as provided for in the CSA. The IAEA does not even have the technical expertise in-house to undertake investigations of missiles, warheads etc. which are mentioned in the PMD file.

7. Since Iran is now in compliance with its safeguards agreement, Iran’s nuclear file – currently hung-up in the Security Council – should return to the IAEA. The referral to the Security Council was unorthodox and politicized to begin with, and there is no rationale for Iran’s nuclear file to remain there post-2008. (Footnote 38 of the latest IAEA report on Iran makes clear that the remaining issues are not IAEA safeguards issues but extraneous UNSC ones).

8. This also means that the UNSC nuclear-related sanctions on Iran should now be dropped. In fact, they ought to have been dropped in 2008.

David Albright must be commended for his helpful insight into fabricated Israeli intelligence in Iraq, and hopefully can assist in tracking down similar disinformation in the case of Iran.

Relatedly, we must thank him and ISIS also for showing the international community expensive satellite pictures of Parchin, in which one can see that west of the paving activity, the site is untouched, and so the IAEA could get environmental samples there (if they even needed those). This undercuts ISIS’ own conclusion that the site has been magically “sanitized” by paving. Normally, of course, the IAEA would take such swipe samples from within the buildings where any suspect U naturally collects: in the corners and at the places where the walls meet the floor.

The technical weaknesses in ISIS’ and IAEA’s approach to Parchin were previously commented on.

The IAEA’s technically unsound obsession with environmental sampling at Parchin may also mean they are confusing the site at Marivan (where open-air implosion tests may have taken place) with the site at Parchin (where implosions in a chamber are alleged).

From the May 2008 Board report, referring to the Marivan site:

A.2. High Explosives Testing

[………….]

Document 3: Five page document in English describing experimentation undertaken with a complex multipoint initiation system to detonate a substantial amount of high explosive in hemispherical geometry and to monitor the development of the detonation wave in that high explosive using a considerable number of diagnostic probes.

 And the alleged weapons’ studies annex Nov 2011:

 43. Information provided to the Agency by the same Member State referred to in the previous paragraph describes the multipoint initiation concept referred to above as being used by Iran in at least one large scale experiment in 2003 to initiate a high explosive charge in the form of a hemispherical shell. [……] Further information provided to the Agency by the same Member State indicates that the large scale high explosive experiments were conducted by Iran in the region of Marivan.

So what is the point of carrying out environmental sampling at Parchin (where chamber experiments are alleged) and not at Marivan where open-air experiments were allegedly done? Is the IAEA – and ISIS – confused between Marivan and Parchin?

The IAEA’s unprofessionalism in vetting the content of the PMD file, and in the obsession over Parchin (which the IAEA visited twice already) vs. Marivan smacks of an agenda to target Iran rather than any sound technical analysis. It is likely to blow up the Iran nuclear deal for no good reason. Iran has cooperated with the IAEA on the PMD file by saying that the material it was shown was fabricated – this may be true. Now Israel should also cooperate and come clean about what forged material – or material from compromised sources like “Curveball” – may be within this file. David Albright, with his past knowledge and evident expertise in fabricated Israeli intelligence should also step up to the plate.

And, certainly, Iran should be shown any evidence it is being asked to answer to by the IAEA. The Agency should also spend about half an hour and check whether the site it is interested in for environmental sampling is Marivan or Parchin. Environmental sampling at Parchin makes little sense. At Parchin, swipes would be taken from within the buildings since chamber-based implosions are alleged. While it is at it, the IAEA should also review the technical basis of their conclusions on Syria.

It is hard to take the Agency seriously when it persists in being blatantly unprofessional.

Dr Jim Walsh, a research associate at MIT, has an excellent suggestion about what to do with Iran’s “PMD” file – as paraphrased by Mark Hibbs: “If the nuclear activities were in the past, I don’t care. It’s dead, and it’s regretful, but let’s do a deal with Iran that moves forward.”

But before we do that, the IAEA should ask Israel to come clean about its potential role in fabricating some of the “evidence” within the PMD file.

Given its historical misuse, the IAEA should also re-visit whether it will continue to accept intelligence from third-parties, especially non-NPT member states.


20 Comments on “Progress in Iran Nuclear Talks Depends on the Israeli Government Coming Clean on its Nuclear Disinformation Campaigns”

  1. Fiorangela says:

    The information that Dr. Butt states is reported in Gudrun Harrer’s “Dismantling the Iraqi Nuclear Programme: The Inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency, 1991-1998” is at the heart of Gareth Porter’s recent book, “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare,” according to the “four stories” he related to an audience in Washington, DC on Feb 14 in Washington, DC, when the book was launched.

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  2. Marianne says:

    Neither Peter Jenkins nor anyone else can really speak with confidence about whether Iran is in compliance with its safeguards agreement unless the IAEA is able to verify the “completeness and correctness” of Iran’s declarations, assure non-diversion from declared nuclear material which the IAEA continues to do, and provide assurance of the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities, which the IAEA has not done.

    As stated in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference that was adopted by a consensus that included Iran:

    17. The Conference reaffirms that the implementation of comprehensive safeguards agreements pursuant to Article III, paragraph 1, of the Treaty should be designed to provide for verification by IAEA of the correctness and completeness of a State’s declaration
    so that there is a credible assurance of the non-diversion of nuclear material from declared activities and of the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.

    Marianne

    • Dan Joyner says:

      Yes, perhaps it should be designed that way. But as I’ve demonstrated over and over, the existing legal sources (CSA and AP) are not so designed.

      • yousaf says:

        I think also there was a “should” about disarmament at an early date.

      • Marianne says:

        Dan, we probably will continue to disagree and neither of our demomstrations to the contrary over and over will change that. However, you give significant weight to the conclusions of parties to the NPT when they are expressed as agreed documents at NPT Review Conferences, so it is worth spelling out what they say. To me they place your assertions in doubt.

        {As an aside: Yousaf questions whether States should provide information to the IAEA about other States and whether the IAEA should act on it. Here is what the 1995 and 2000 NPT conferences agreed on (based on a proposal by Iran in 1995).

        “States parties that have concerns regarding non- compliance with the safeguards agreements of the Treaty by the States parties should direct such concerns, along with supporting evidence and information, to IAEA to consider, investigate, draw conclusions and decide on necessary actions in accordance with its mandate.” NPT 2000 Final Document, para. 7.

        [It speaks of “States Parties,” but an NPT Conference is ill-placed to tell others what they should do about NPT safeguards agreements, as as opposed for example, to calling on them to join the NPT. It doesn’t preclude others from joining in or the IAEA from paying attention. (It is not an NPT organization.]

        We should all agree that the IAEA should “consider” and “investigate” and act only when it considers the information to be credible.}

        Question? Does INFCIRC/153 include legal mandate for the IAEA to address “correctness and completeness” of declarations or only diversion from declared stock

        Answer: Yes. From NPT 2000, para. 18:

        18. The Conference notes the measures endorsed by the IAEA Board of Governors in June 1995 for strengthening and making more efficient the safeguards system, and notes also that these measures are being implemented pursuant to the existing legal authority conferred upon IAEA by comprehensive safeguards agreements.

        [NOTE: These include, “Information on past nuclear activities (to the extent necessary to enable the Agency to verify the completeness and correctness of the State’s declarations) through access to existing records on production of nuclear material and on related facilities;” and environmental sampling to “facilitate the assessment of the completeness of initial reports and other declarations and provide increased assurance of the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in connection with safeguarded nuclear facilities and LOFs. END NOTE]

        Question? Are the tools to do so present.

        Yes, as noted above, but NPT 2000 says in Para. 20; “INFCIRC/153 [has] been successful in [its] main focus of providing assurance regarding declared nuclear material and [has] also provided a limited level of assurance regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.

        Question: Can the IAEA’s ability to draw such conclusions be strengthened.

        Answer: Yes. NPT 2000, para. 20: “The Conference notes that implementation of the measures specified in the Model Additional Protocol will provide, in an effective and efficient manner, increased confidence about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State as a whole and that those measures are now being introduced as an integral part of IAEA’s safeguards system.”

        Question: Did the Additional Protocol provide for the first time the legal authority to verify “correctness and completeness.”

        Answer: No. It is clear that the actions of the Board and the consensus at the NPT conferences are based on the predicate that the legal authority is present in INFCIRC/153, the tools are there bu limited; and that the AP strengthened them, It did not create the mandate or provide for the first time the authority.

        On PMD: The IAEA has the authority under NPT safeguards agreement to address PMD to the extent that a PMD suggests that nuclear material is involved that was not declared. Plus, it doesn’t have to invoke any special authority to do so. It only has to ask. States may cooperate, which is their obligation to do, or they may not. If not the IAEA and the Board have the right to make judgments, including the implications of a failure to cooperate, and use other authorities.

        Marianne

      • yousaf says:

        Sorry — my reply was to this thread but got pasted elsewhere.

        The bottom line is that the IAEA says “Marianne” is wrong — besides the obvious point about footnote 38 I made the post above: Let’s all play “Ask the IAEA” –

        “Marianne” — Please copy and save the page so we don’t have to return to this issue again:
        =====================
        http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Factsheets/English/sg_overview.html

        What verification measures are used?

        Safeguards are based on assessments of the correctness and completeness of a State’s declared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities. Verification measures include on-site inspections, visits, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Basically, ******* two sets ***** of measures are carried out in accordance with the type of safeguards agreements in force with a State.

        One set relates to verifying State reports of ******declared******** nuclear material and activities. These measures – authorized under NPT-type comprehensive safeguards agreements – largely are based on nuclear material accountancy, complemented by containment and surveillance techniques, such as tamper-proof seals and cameras that the IAEA installs at facilities.

        *** Another set **** adds measures to strengthen the IAEA’s inspection capabilities. They include those incorporated in what is known as an “Additional Protocol” – this is a legal document complementing comprehensive safeguards agreements. The measures enable the IAEA not only to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material but also to provide assurances as to the ********absence of undeclared nuclear material************* and activities in a State.

        ==========================

        Happy to discuss further. But I hope there is no need and we can take the IAEA’s word for it: Absent an AP the IAEA’s authority is limited. Even with it it is still limited.

        Else there would be no need for an AP.

        This is just like the situation with the police: they have a ____mandate____ to stop crime, and should “seek” to stop all and any crime no matter how petty. But the police does not have the ____legal authority_____ to come into your bedroom at 3am just to make sure you’re not indulging in criminal behavior.

        Let’s give an example: let’s say some enemies of Amano made claims he is beating his wife. This is not usually grounds enough for the police to come busting in on Amano’s bedroom at 3am to check, even though they would like to check Amaon’s PWBD (Possible Wife Beating Dimensions) file.

        Besides that, no one can currently verify whether Brazil or Argentina’s nuclear program is purely peaceful. In all, there are 53 other states like Iran for which the IAEA’s “evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities [… remain] ongoing.”

        There is NOTHING unique about the IAEA’s limited ability to verify completeness in Iran — the only thing is that we get regular country reports on Iran. If we had regular country reports on Argentina, Brazil and others it would have to say the same — and, in fact, the IAEA does say the same for 53 other countries: “evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities [… remain] ongoing.”

        In any case, that is not the main point of the post, is it? Let’s talk about the main point shall we?

      • Dan Joyner says:

        Hi Marianne,
        As in previous comments, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and recognize that you are among very few people who even try to engage in a meaningful international legal analysis of these questions.

        That being said, you and I do continue to disagree on the points you address. Yes, i do give considerable credence to the consensus statements of NPT review conferences on questions of the interpretation of the NPT itself. That is in accordance with VCLT Article 31. But since IAEA safeguards are separate treaties, NPT review conferences do not have any special powers of interpretation of them.

        I think that the specific examples you provide are also fairly weak statements, e.g. the conference “noting” something.

        I maintain that a proper legal analysis of the safeguards treaties themselves demonstrates that the IAEA does not have the authority to investigate or assess the completeness of a state’s declaration, rather only its correctness. And similarly I disagree that there is any mandate for the IAEA, on the basis of these safeguards agreement or the IAEA Statute, for the IAEA to investigate or assess weaponization issues not involving fissile material.

        But again, I welcome the continued engagement with you on these issues.

    • yousaf says:

      Well there’s an easy way to check who is right — besides the obvious point about footnote 38 I made the post above: Let’s all play “Ask the IAEA” —

      “Marianne” — Please copy and save the page so we don’t have to return to this issue again:

      =====================
      http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Factsheets/English/sg_overview.html

      What verification measures are used?

      Safeguards are based on assessments of the correctness and completeness of a State’s declared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities. Verification measures include on-site inspections, visits, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Basically, ******* two sets ***** of measures are carried out in accordance with the type of safeguards agreements in force with a State.

      One set relates to verifying State reports of ******declared******** nuclear material and activities. These measures – authorized under NPT-type comprehensive safeguards agreements – largely are based on nuclear material accountancy, complemented by containment and surveillance techniques, such as tamper-proof seals and cameras that the IAEA installs at facilities.

      *** Another set **** adds measures to strengthen the IAEA’s inspection capabilities. They include those incorporated in what is known as an “Additional Protocol” – this is a legal document complementing comprehensive safeguards agreements. The measures enable the IAEA not only to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material but also to provide assurances as to the ********absence of undeclared nuclear material************* and activities in a State.
      ==========================

      Happy to discuss further. But I hope there is no need and we can take the IAEA’s word for it: Absent an AP the IAEA’s authority is limited. Even with it it is still limited.

      Else there would be no need for an AP.

      This is just like the situation with the police: they have a ____mandate____ to stop crime, and should “seek” to stop all and any crime no matter how petty. But the police does not have the ____legal authority_____ to come into your bedroom at 3am just to make sure you’re not indulging in criminal behavior.

      Let’s give an example: let’s say some enemies of Amano made claims he is beating his wife. This is not usually grounds enough for the police to come busting in on Amano’s bedroom at 3am to check, even though they would like to check Amaon’s PWBD (Possible Wife Beating Dimensions) file.

      Besides that, no one can currently verify whether Brazil or Argentina’s nuclear program is purely peaceful. In all, there are 53 other states like Iran for which the IAEA’s “evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities [… remain] ongoing.”

      There is NOTHING unique about the IAEA’s limited ability to verify completeness in Iran — the only thing is that we get regular country reports on Iran. If we had regular country reports on Argentina, Brazil and others it would have to say the same — and, in fact, the IAEA does say the same for 53 other countries: “evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities [… remain] ongoing.”

      In any case, that is not the main point of the post, is it? Let’s talk about the main point shall we?

      • Marianne says:

        If one of the main points is whether Iraq had an LIS program or not, the IAEA reporting is clear. It did. As a result, Member States who provided information about such a program were correct on that point. Here is the IAEA’s report to the General Conference as it relates to LIS:

        GOV/2816-GC(39)/10

        THE IAEA’s ACTIVITIES CONCERNING IRAQ IN 1994 – 1995 UNDER UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS 687, 707 AND 715 (1991)

        CHRONOLOGY

        1. The twenty-sixth inspection mission in Iraq under Security Council resolution 687 (1991) took place from 22 August to 7 September 1994. It included an investigation of Iraq’s former activities in the field of laser isotope separation and routine inspections at sites associated with the former nuclear weapons programme and marked the start of the continuous presence in Iraq of IAEA’s resident inspectors in connection with the implementation of the Ongoing Monitoring and Verification (OMV) Plan.

        In May 1994, the IAEA received information from Member States indicating that Iraq had invested significant resources into uranium enrichment through laser isotope separation (LIS) involving both molecular (MLIS) and atomic vapour (AVLIS) technologies. The subject of LIS had been first raised by IAEA-7 (October 1991), in the course of which the inspection team had received two written statements from a senior Iraqi official denying that Iraq had undertaken any laser enrichment activities and stating that, as a consequence, there were no Iraqi personnel who had been involved in such activities.

        Although it was difficult to accept that, having explored such a wide range of potential enrichment technologies, Iraq would have completely ignored LIS, there was no evidence available in 1991 to support further investigation. The information received in May 1994, however, prompted a thorough re-assessment of the situation. A detailed search for laser-related topics in the current Action Team information databases identified a number of activities with respect to laser component manufacture, particularly CO2 lasers and the manufacture of components for use in laser-related experimentation. The investigation carried out by the IAEA-26 inspection team, which included five experts in laser enrichment technology, extended over five inspection days. The most significant event occurred during a seminar, presented by the Iraqi counterpart on the fifth inspection day, when a statement was made on behalf of Iraq to the effect that the Laser Section at Tuwaitha had “received an objective [in 1981] from the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission [IAEC] to work in Laser Isotope Separation.

        …. We started in two lines; one which was looking after the molecular and the other the atomic [vapour] direction”. The IAEA team was also advised that when the achievements of the Laser Section were evaluated in 1987 it was decided that the project should be downgraded to a “watching brief” and that a number of key personnel should be transferred to other projects, notably electromagnetic isotope separation [EMIS]. The seminar provided a more detailed explanation of the information given to the team in the course of the investigation; the major difference being that its connection with LIS was now acknowledged. One IAEC staff member, who had been brought to Tuwaitha specifically to take part in the seminar, described the work he had done on the photoionisation of sodium and rubidium. This individual appeared to be highly motivated and technically competent and described an experimental set-up that had a number of features similar to those of the equipment described in the information which had been provided to the IAEA by Member States. The subsequent transfer of this individual to the EMIS programme was consistent with the declared decision to downgrade the LIS related activities.

        The IAEA team noted that, as now acknowledged by Iraq and contrary to Iraq’s written statements in October 1991 and the FFCl report (June 1992), a specific task to explore the feasibility of LIS as a means of producing enriched uranium had existed. The task appears to have been poorly focused and its limited achievements appear to be consistent with the equipment, personnel resources and expertise available. The team was satisfied that the information regarding the resources, capabilities and activities of the Laser Section which it had gathered during the investigation, was consistent with a loosely co-ordinated and largely empirical approach to LIS, but was not consistent with the achievement of substantial progress in what is a complex technology. There were no indications that the efforts of the Laser Section had reached the point of an integrated experiment that achieved any isotopic separation of either elemental uranium or UF6 or that they had developed even the most rudimentary capabilities in either AVLIS or MLIS technologies. It was also apparent from statements made in the course of the inspection by the Iraqi scientists and senior officials that export controls and voluntary refusals on the part of several equipment suppliers had severely hampered the Iraqi LIS activities by preventing the procurement from abroad of critical pieces of equipment, most notably copper vapour laser systems. A report on the twenty-sixth inspection mission can be found in document GOV/INF/757.

      • yousaf says:

        Are you calling David Albright a liar when he told the author that Israel planted false info with the IAEA?

      • yousaf says:

        But I am glad you have finally accepted the IAEA’s (and Dan’s and my) view on the completeness issue, and the distinct legal authority of inspections’ intrusiveness with and without an AP.

        There is NOTHING unique about the IAEA’s limited ability to verify completeness in Iran — the only thing is that we get regular country reports on Iran. If we had regular country reports on Argentina, Brazil and others it would have to say the same — and, in fact, the IAEA does say the same for 53 other countries: “evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities [… remain] ongoing.”

      • yousaf says:

        Marianne — I think I see the disconnect. You seem to think that whatever is in an official looking IAEA report must be true. What is being argued here is that certain states are planting false information which appears in these reports. Is this complicated for you to understand? e.g. from above:

        “In May 1994, the IAEA received information from Member States indicating that Iraq had invested significant resources into uranium enrichment through laser isotope separation (LIS) involving both molecular (MLIS) and atomic vapour (AVLIS) technologies…..”

        Gudrun Harrer’s book says that this is Israeli disinformation.

        Do. You. Understand?

        Not everything in an IAEA report is automatically correct.

        Especially these days.

        Especially as regards the PMD file.

        Let me know if I can help break it down for you into simpler terms.

    • Cyrus says:

      While we’re talking about “shoulds” and NPT Review Conferences:

      The Final Document of the United Nations General Assembly resolution S-10/2 which was adopted at the 27th plenary meeting of the tenth special session on 30 June 1978 stated in paragraph 69: “Each country’s choices and decisions in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be respected without jeopardizing its policies or international cooperation agreements and arrangements for peaceful uses of nuclear energy and its fuel-cycle policies”.

      This position was reiterated in the 1980 NPT Review and Extension Conference and has been consistently reiterated in every Review Conference since then, including the 1995 Review Conference and in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference. The Final Document of the 10th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2002 also reiterated that non-proliferation measures should not be used to jeopardize the inalienable rights of all States to have access to and be free to acquire technology, equipment and materials for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and that each country’s choices regarding nuclear fuel cycle policies should be respected.

  3. Don Bacon says:

    I’m older than Yousaf so ipso facto I’m more cynical than Yousaf.

    Why all this amateurish funny business which should be beneath a great power?
    Because the US needs Iran as an enemy, and therefore evidence must be concocted for the masses.
    (I wouldn’t count on the IAEA to deviate from US strategy.)

    The new US Quadrennial Defense Review is out, and it illustrates why the US will probably not reach any accommodation with Iran because the continued “threat” of Iran is essential to the Pentagon budget.

    What does the US primarily defend against in the world?

    2014 QDR: — “Challenges to our many allies and partners around the globe remain dynamic and unpredictable, particularly from regimes in North Korea and Iran.”

    Both countries — er, regimes — are the gifts that keep on giving to the obscenely high Pentagon “defense” budget, and losing either of them would have a negative financial impact in the Far East and the Middle East respectively.
    So the US probably, unless the real world interferes, will retain Iran as an enemy using concocted evidence. Even better would be regime change.

    Which isn’t intended to take anything from the clarity of Dr. Butt’s excellent writing.

    • yousaf says:

      I think one does not need to be particularly cynical: the facts speak for themselves, fairly loudly.

      Even back in the early 1990’s Samuel Huntington (of “Clash of Civilizations” fame):

      http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/kingch/Clash_of_Civilizations.html

      “The conflict between the West and the Confucian-Islamic states focuses largely, although not exclusively, on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, ballistic missiles and other sophisticated means for delivering them, and the guidance, intelligence and other electronic capabilities for achieving that goal. The West promotes nonproliferation as a universal norm and nonproliferation treaties and inspections as means of realizing that norm. It also threatens a variety of sanctions against those who promote the spread of sophisticated weapons and proposes some benefits for those who do not. The attention of the West focuses, naturally, on nations that are actually or potentially hostile to the West.”

      =======

      It has gotten much much worse since the 1990s of course, with non-proliferation reaching a pinnacle of politicization with Amano’s election, and mismanagement.

      The upshot? Hardly anyone will sign up for any future nonproliferation pacts with the West. Congratulations. Thank you Mr. Amano. Thank you DC “think-tanks”, especially those using “Science” in their title while having zero scientists. Thank you UNSC. Thank you issue-expert investigative reporters.

  4. yousaf says:

    Interesting aside —

    Reuters: Japanese Head of IAEA does not worry about Japanese WGPu

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/03/uk-japan-iaea-plutonium-idUKBREA221EE20140303

    • irani says:

      Yousaf,

      Thanks for your excellent job.

      Regarding to your last sentence “Given its historical misuse, the IAEA should also re-visit whether it will continue to accept intelligence from third-parties, especially non-NPT member states”, some excerpts from BOG, on safeguards strengthening 93+2 program records may be useful:

      Record of GOV/OR Meeting 870, 14 June 1995:

      “29. While Brazil agreed with most of the proposals made in Part 1 of the document, many questions remained, and further work would be needed in order to achieve an agreed enhanced safeguards system within existing legal authority …”

      “46. His delegation believed that only those measures described in Part 1 could be approved which, in the view of the Secretariat and of the interested States with comprehensive safeguards agreements, definitely fitted into the existing legal framework and that they should be implemented only if the implementation procedures were sufficiently clear to be the subject of negotiations with each individual State”.

      “50. On the question of the analysis of information by the Agency, his country continued to believe that recourse to ***data from intelligence sources*** should be explicitly excluded.”
      “53. Overall, his delegation disagreed with the Secretariat that all the Part 1 measures were covered by the existing legal framework and would like an additional appraisal to be carried out with the participation of governmental representatives …”

      Therefore, the CHAIRMAN concluded (Record of GOV/OR Meeting 872, 15 June 1995):

      “8. While there had been ***general*** endorsement of the measures proposed in Part 1 of document GOV/2807, some Governors had expressed concern regarding some of the proposed measures which they felt would give rise to implementation difficulties …”

      The BOG endorsed the Part 1 measures ***generally***, because of expressed concerns and that respecting to information analysis from intelligent sources it was strictly rejected, as well as that the implementation of some Part 1 measures had to be negotiated with State parties.

      However, at present, the Agency implements those measures as it deems!

      • yousaf says:

        Thanks– yes, accepting intel into the IAEA opens many cans of worms. Especially Intel from Non-NPT states. Esp if those states are adversarial to the state in question. Esp when 70% of IAEA funding comes from US+allies. (25% comes from US alone!)

  5. yousaf says:

    Re. the Israeli assassinations, a colleague sends the following info:

    Several Egyptian nuclear scientists were also assassinated by the Mossad in the 20th century, such as:

    Sameera Moussa in 1952,

    Samir Najuib in 1967,

    Yehia Al Mashad in 1980,

    Saeed Badir in 1988.


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