Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Iran Is Not (but probably is) Seeking Nuclear Weapons

Imagine my relief this morning when I saw the following Reuters headline: IAEA: Iran Not Seeking Nuclear Weapons (see update). After all the revelations and speculations about Iran's clandestine nuclear activities, it was good to know that that madman, Ahmadinejad, wasn't going to have his finger anywhere near a nuclear missile launch button.

Then I started reading the article...

TOKYO - A report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency shows there is no proof Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, Iran's foreign minister said Tuesday in Japan.

"They could not find evidence which shows that Iran has diverted from its peaceful purposes of nuclear activities in Iran," said Manouchehr Mottaki, who was in Tokyo to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

A confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report made available to The Associated Press Monday said that a more than three-year probe has not revealed "any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

Hmm. Well, that didn't seem nearly as positive as the headline, but still, clearly the burden of proof is on those who assert that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. If the IAEA has done a thorough investigation, and nothing was found, then the conclusion has to be in favor of innocence on that score. But then I read the next paragraph:

But it also said that because of lack of sufficient cooperation from the Iranian side, the agency remains unable "to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran." The report suggested that unless Iran drastically increases its cooperation, the IAEA would not be able to establish whether past clandestine activities were focused on making nuclear arms.

Ah! So, the report actually says that the agency was unable to do a thorough investigation due to stonewalling by the Iranian government, and therefore, it cannot conclude that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons. It's fortunate for the Iranian government that they are not being investigated by the SEC or DOJ, because stonewalling an investigation is enough to get you jail time over here--and it's enough to prove your guilt on the original charge in the minds of the media and the public.

Well, but the headline writer for Yahoo News has decided that this lack of evidence due to a lack of cooperation is proof positive that Iran is NOT seeking nuclear weapons. Move along folks, nothing to see here. Whatever you do, don't read to the bottom of the article, not if you want to be able to sleep well at night...

But the IAEA report showed Iran pressing ahead with enrichment at home by going from testing a lone centrifuge — a machine that spins uranium gas into enriched uranium — to introducing the gas into 10 centrifuges and beginning enrichment between Feb. 11 and Feb 15.

Furthermore, said the report, Iran began final maintenance of an additional 20 centrifuges a week ago, reflecting determination to further expand enrichment.

That would leave Iran still far short of the thousands of centrifuges it needs to enrich substantial amounts of uranium. Still, it reflected the country's plans to forge ahead with domestic enrichment even as it talks with Moscow.

And just a few months down the road, "commencement of the installation of the first 3,000 ... (centrifuges) is planned for the fourth quarter of 2006," said the report.

Experts estimate that Iran already has enough black-market components in storage to build the 1,500 operating centrifuges it would need to make the 45 pounds of highly enriched uranium needed for one crude weapon.

The Iranians have been ranting for the past 27 yrs that we are the Great Satan, and calling for our destruction. They've put a madman in charge of their country who recently called for the destruction of Israel and swore that any Muslim nation that recognizes Israel's right to exist "will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury." If they are enriching weapons grade uranium, though, we should be unconcerned about that. We should recognize that a nation that's floating in oil has every right to develop nuclear technology to produce electricity, and not worry that they might be developing it for a more sinister purpose.

Like hell we should.

Update: It appears that the headline for the article cited above has now been changed to reflect the actual contents of the article. A small victory for objective news reporting. In addition, a new article is up on Yahoo News that emphasizes the fact that Iran is expanding its nuclear program (current headline: Report: Iran Aims to Expand Nuke Program.

I was able to get a screen capture of the original headline. Given that it was corrected so quickly, I will chalk this one up to incompetence rather than bias.

1 comment:

Steven Brockerman, MS said...

Yeah, right.

And Hitler had no interest in conquering Europe; Mussolini was misunderstood; Stalin really liked the Kulaks; Pol Pot was a nice guy; Pinochet was a hummanitarian; Mugabe is an avid supporter of rights & freedom; Bafur is just experiencing a lot of tourist traffic; Hamas never killed anybody; the KKK is a charitable organization; the moon is made of green cheese--the Earth is flat--& fanatics with nukes don't kill people, nukes kill people.

What next, an AP story verifying that the Easter Bunny lives in Peoria, right next door to the Tooth Fairy?