Tag - IAEA

Breaking: IAEA Inspectors Are As Smart As Bloggers

I’ve been thinking this for some time, haven’t said it, so I know I don’t get credit, but both Mark Hibbs and Julian Borger said it today: IAEA inspectors had the same questions about that AP graph purporting to show Iranian nuclear weapon calculations that a number of bloggers and other commentators, including me, brought up since the graph surfaced.


Debate in the media over the meaning of the leaked Iran document probably resembled internal discussion of how to interpret some documentary evidence obtained by the IAEA. Conversations with enough people who might know have persuaded me that the IAEA had likely seen and evaluated the document before it was leaked to the press, and that there was an internal discussion at the IAEA about whether the document was genuine and what it implied.


“This is just one small snapshot of what the IAEA is working on, and part of a much broader collection of data from multiple sources,” the diplomat said.

“The particular document turns out to have a huge error but the IAEA was aware of it and saw it in the context of everything it has. It paints a convincing case.”

When you step back a little from the keyboard and the need to be the smartest guy in the class with what’s wrong with everyone else’s homework, it should be obvious that the questions you’re asking might be thought up by someone else. I know that in all the kerfuffle, there were at least three of us who suggested that kT might not mean kilotons, because that is usually abbreviated kt, for only one example.

I’m not sure I agree with Borger’s theme that the release of the graph has undermined the IAEA. Only those who felt that AP’s source was reliable seem to believe this. But let me think about that overnight.

Borger also points out that Mossad is very active in Vienna. Golly gee, do you think they might be some of those anonymous officials and diplomats that people like the AP’s George Jahn quote?

Both articles contain a lot more.

de Bellaigue: Sanctions On Iran Cause Economic Strife But Are Not Working

Christopher de Bellaigue on why sanctions on Iran have thus far been, and will likely continue to be, a failure:

The assumption is that the more Iranians suffer, the more their leaders will feel the pressure and either change course or be overthrown in a popular uprising. And yet, there is no evidence to suggest that this is probable, and the Iraqi case suggests the opposite. During the U.N. blockade, Saddam was able to blame foreigners for the nation’s suffering, and ordinary Iraqis—those who might have been expected to show discontent at his misrule—grew more and more dependent on the rations he distributed. Furthermore, America’s insistence that an end to sanctions was conditional on Saddam’s departure removed any incentive he might have had to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors. In 1997, he stopped doing so, with the results we all know.

This time, the U.S. is at pains to show that the Islamic Republic will gain a life-saving reprieve if it falls in with U.N. resolutions calling on it to stop enriching uranium. If that happens, Hillary Clinton said in October, sanctions might be “remedied in short order.” But Iran’s supreme leader dismissed her words as a “lie.”

Khamenei and those around him believe that sanctions policy is part of a bigger American project of Iraq-style regime change. There is some logic to this; recent western tactics against Iran include sabotage, assassination and diplomatic isolation—hardly indicative of a desire for detente. The most recent round of nuclear negotiations foundered, in part, on Iran’s growing conviction that the U.S. will make no significant concession on sanctions unless Iran drastically scales down its program of uranium enrichment. That seems unlikely to happen–not simply for reasons of image and prestige, but because, as American hostility sharpens, Iran may judge its nuclear program to be the best defense it has against the fate that befell Saddam.

h/t Trita Parsi