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Here we go again. A report issued Thursday by the new Director General of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano, has injected new adrenalin into those arguing that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.
The usual suspects are hyping--and distorting--thin-gruel language in the report to "prove" that Iran is hard at work on a nuclear weapon. The New York Times' David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, for example, highlighted a sentence about "alleged activities related to nuclear explosives," which Amano says he wants to discuss with Iran.
Amano's report said:
"Addressing these issues is important for clarifying the Agency's concerns about these activities and those described above, which seem to have continued beyond 2004."
Sanger and Broad play up the "beyond 2004" language as "contradicting the American intelligence assessment"that concluded that work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003." Other media have picked that up and run with it, apparently without bothering to read the IAEA report itself.
The Times article is, at best, disingenuous in claiming:
"The report cited new evidence, much of it collected in recent weeks, that appeared to paint a picture of a concerted drive in Iran toward a weapons capability."
As far as I can tell, the "new evidence" consists of the "same-old, same-old" allegations and inferences already reported in the open press--material that failed to convince the Director of Intelligence, Dennis Blair, to depart from previous assessments during his Congressional testimony on February 2. Rather, he adhered closely to the unanimous conclusions of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies expressed in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of Nov. 2007.
So What's New? The Director General of the IAEA, for one thing.