Arak nuclear reactor in Iran

Five ways the myth that Iran was developing nuclear weapons was hyped

How an Iranian nuclear-weapons program became accepted wisdom.

Arak nuclear reactor in Iran

Arak nuclear reactor in Iran

More and more men and women are either born with a talent for, or are developing skill in, technical matters, especially computer hardware and software. With those capabilities now widespread, it’s odd that more people don’t take the time to acquaint themselves with the technical issues surrounding Iran’s alleged nuclear-weapons program. While the issues may be somewhat daunting to non-technical types such as this author ― though certainly not beyond our capacity to understand with a little effort ― they’re easy for the technically gifted. True, they’re on the dry side, but it can’t be any more tedious than trying to figure out how to draw more clicks to an ad.

Apologies if it seems like I’m trying to shame people into reading Gareth Porter’s recent book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (Just World Books, 2014). In the course of the book, he outlines how the United States and Israel, supported by England, France, and Germany, along with the media, used fabricated evidence to make it appear as if Iran were developing nuclear weapons. Five elements of the campaign follow:

1. The discovery of the Natanz enrichment facility in 2002. Writes Porter: “The United States and its allies … exploited Iran’s nuclear secrecy effectively to create a pervasive suspicion that Iran was using its civilian nuclear program to hide a covert ambition for nuclear weapons.” Iran insisted on its right, as guaranteed by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium, but had kept it secret for fear of an attack by the United States or Israel, as well as to hide Chinese cooperation both for China’s and its own sakes.

2. “Like other states with uranium enrichment capabilities,” writes Porter, “Iran expected such capabilities to add a ‘latent deterrent’ to its overt conventional deterrence of foreign aggression. … US officials and some intelligence analysts were well aware of that motive and recognized that it did not mean that Iran intended to obtain nuclear weapons. But one administration after another deliberately confused the two issues in public pronouncements.”

3. Israel Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu “used the alleged threat from Iran’s nuclear and missile programs to achieve a set of political-strategic aims that had little or nothing to do with Iran. [They] professed alarm about an Iranian threat that Israel’s top intelligence officials did not accept and that served multiple political-diplomatic ends for their respective governments.”

4. The George W. Bush administration “focused on the occupation of Iraq as the fulcrum of policy toward the rest of the region … to keep open a path to regime change in Iran. That entailed explicitly refusing to countenance an agreement between the European three (the United Kingdom, France, and Germany) with Iran in 2004-5 that would have committed Iran to a minimal nuclear program that would not have constituted a proliferation threat.”

5. “Virtually every new quarterly report from the [International Atomic Energy Agency] on its investigation in 2004 and 2005 generated a new round of media stories of suspected Iranian covert enrichment or weapons work. … however, none of those suspicions turned out to be correct, and the IAEA had to acknowledge in the end that it had found no evidence of Iranian weapons-related activity in any of the cases it investigated.”

Meanwhile, just as it did with Iraq and the weapons of mass destructions charges, the establishment media allowed itself to be led down the primrose path to another possible war. You’d think one nonexistent nuclear weapons program as a pretext for war per generation was enough.

If you wish to understand, once and for all, how the United States, Israel, their European allies, and the media willfully obscured the truth about Iran’s uranium enrichment program, read Manufactured Crisis. Even if you’re familiar with the issue, it’s full of surprises.

Cross-posted from the Foreign Policy in Focus blog Focal Points.

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