The former Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) said in a new published report that he had not seen "a shred of evidence" that Iran was "building nuclear-weapons facilities and using enriched materials."
Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient who spent 12 years at the IAEA, told investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, "I don't believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran."
El Baradei, who is now a candidate for the presidency of Egypt, added, "The core issue is mutual lack of trust. I believe there will be no solution until the day that the United States and Iran sit down together to discuss the issues and put pressure on each other to find a solution." El Baradei stepped down as IAEA head in Nov., 2009.
El Baradei's remarks are contained in an article by Hersh titled "Iran And The Bomb," published in the June 6th issue of The New Yorker magazine.
Hersh points out that the last two U.S. National Intelligence Estimates (N.I.E.s) on Iranian nuclear progress "have stated that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb since 2003."
An N.I.E. Report supposedly represents the best judgment of the senior offices from all the major American intelligence agencies.
The latest report, which came out this year and remains highly classified, is said by Hersh to reinforce the conclusion of the last N.I.E. Report of 2007, that "Iran halted weaponization in 2003."
A retired senior intelligence officer, speaking of the latest N.I.E. Report, told Hersh, "The important thing is that nothing substantially new has been learned in the last four years, and none of our efforts---informants, penetrations, planting of sensors---leads to a bomb."
Hersh revealed that over the past six years, soldiers from the Joint Special Operations Force, working with Iranian intelligence assets, "put in place cutting-edge surveillance techniques" to spy on suspected Iran facilities. These included:
# Surreptitiously removing street signs and replacing them with signs containing radiation sensors.
# Removing bricks from buildings suspected of containing nuclear enrichment activities and replacing them "with bricks embedded with radiation-monitoring devices."
# Spreading high-powered sensors disguised as stones randomly along roadways where a suspected underground weapon site was under construction.
# Constant satellite coverage of major suspect areas in Iran.
Going beyond these spy activities, two Iranian nuclear scientists last year were assassinated and Hersh says it is widely believed in Tehran that the killers were either American or Israeli agents.
Hersh quotes W. Patrick Lang, a retired Army intelligence officer and former ranking Defense Intelligence Agency(DIA) analyst on the Middle East as saying that after the disaster in Iraq, "Analysts in the intelligence community are just refusing to sign up this time for a lot of baloney."
The DIA is the military counterpart of the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA).