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21-11-11 WMD Redux: Iran’s "Nuke Program"

21-11-11 WMD Redux: Iran’s "Nuke Program"

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Published by William J Greenberg
Seymour Hersh: "...over the years, a report will show up in a London newspaper, that will turn out to be spurious, turn out to be propaganda, whether started by us or a European intelligence agency—it’s not clear. This all happened, if you remember the Ahmed Chalabi stuff, during the buildup to the war in [Iraq], all about, you know, the great arsenals that existed inside [Iraq]. The same sort of propaganda is being used now .., that shows up over the years, over the last decade, in various newspapers."
Seymour Hersh: "...over the years, a report will show up in a London newspaper, that will turn out to be spurious, turn out to be propaganda, whether started by us or a European intelligence agency—it’s not clear. This all happened, if you remember the Ahmed Chalabi stuff, during the buildup to the war in [Iraq], all about, you know, the great arsenals that existed inside [Iraq]. The same sort of propaganda is being used now .., that shows up over the years, over the last decade, in various newspapers."

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Published by: William J Greenberg on Nov 21, 2011
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Monday, November 21, 2011
While the United States, Britain and Canada are planning to announce acoordinated set of sanctions against Iran’s oil and petrochemical industrytoday, longtime investigative journalist Seymour Hersh questions thegrowing consensus on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Internationalpressure has been mounting on Iran since the U.N. International AtomicEnergy Agency revealed in a report the "possible military dimensions" toIran’s nuclear activities, citing "credible" evidence that "indicates that Iranhas carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosivedevice." In his latest article for The New Yorker blog, titled "Iran andtheIAEA," Hersh argues the recent report is a "political document," not ascientific study. "They [JSOC] found nothing. Nothing. No evidence of anyweaponization," Hersh says. "In other words, no evidence of a facility to buildthe bomb. They have facilities to enrich, but not separate facilities to buildthe bomb. This is simply a fact."
AMY GOODMAN:
Today the United States, Britain and Canada plan toannounce a coordinated set of sanctions against Iran. ABC News andthe
Wall Street Journal
report the sanctions will target Iran’s oil andpetrochemical industry. Last weekend, President Obama warned no optionswere being taken off the table.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
The sanctions have enormous bite andenormous scope, and we’re building off the platform that has already beenestablished. The question is, are there additional measures that we cantake? And we’re going to explore every avenue to see if we can solve thisissue diplomatically. I have said repeatedly, and I will say today, we are nottaking any options off the table.
AMY GOODMAN:
International pressure has been mounting on Iran sincethe U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency revealed in a report the, quote,"possible military dimensions" to its nuclear activities. The IAEA said"credible" evidence, quote, "indicates [that] Iran has carried out activitiesrelevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." The IAEA passeda resolution Friday expressing, quote, "increasing concern" about Iran’snuclear program following the report’s findings. The speaker of Iran’s parliament said yesterday Iran would review itsrelations with the IAEA following the report. Ali Larijani indicated it may bedifficult for Iran to continue to cooperate with the nuclear watchdog.
 
ALI LARIJANI:
[translated] If the agency acts within the framework of theCharter, we accept that we are a member of it and will carry out ourresponsibilities. But if the agency wants to deviate from its responsibilities,then it should not expect the other’s cooperation.
AMY GOODMAN:
Iranian parliamentary speaker. Meanwhile, some Iranianshave expressed the desire for increased cooperation with the IAEA.
SAID BAHRAMI:
[translated] Considering the fact that the government hasmade plenty of clarifications, it would be better for it to expand itscooperation with the IAEA and let them see for themselves, close up, sothere would be no pretext for the superpowers.
AMY GOODMAN:
Last week, the Pentagon confirmed it has receivedmassive new bunker-busting bombs capable of destroying undergroundsites, including Iran’s nuclear facilities. The 30,000-pound bombs are sixtimes the size of the Air Force’s current arsenal of bunker busters. The new sanctions against Iran also follow last month’s allegations by theUnited States that Iranian officials were involved in a thwarted plot to kill theSaudi ambassador to Washington. The U.S. is expected to announce todaythat Iran’s financial sector is of "primary money-laundering concern." Thisphrase activates a section of the USAPATRIOT Act that warns European,Asian and Latin American companies they could be prevented from doingbusiness with the United States if they continue to work with Iran.Well, to talk more about the sanctions and the implications of the IAEA report, we go to Washington, D.C., to speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. He’s been reporting on Iranand the bomb for the past decade. His latestpieceis titled "Iran andthe IAEA." It’s in
The New Yorker 
.Welcome to
Democracy Now!
, Sy. Talk about what you feel should beunderstood about what’s happening in Iran right now in regards to its nuclearpower sector.
SEYMOUR HERSH:
Well, you mention, going in—by the way, the piece wasin the blog. It wasn’t in the magazine; it was on the web page.But you mentioned Iraq. It’s just this—almost the same sort of—I don’t knowif you want to call it a "psychosis," but it’s some sort of a fantasy land beingbuilt up here, as it was with Iraq, the same sort of—no lessons learned,obviously. Look, I have been reporting about Iran, and I could tell you that
 
since '04, under George Bush, and particularly the Vice President, Mr.Cheney, we were—Cheney was particularly concerned there were secretfacilities for building a weapon, which are much different than theenrichment. We have enrichment in Iran. They've acknowledged it. Theyhave inspectors there. There are cameras there, etc. This is all—Iran’s asignatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nobody is accusing them of anycheating. In fact, the latest report that everybody’s so agog about also saysthat, once again, we find no evidence that Iran has diverted any uraniumthat it’s enriching. And it’s also enriching essentially at very low levels forpeaceful purposes, so they say, 3.8 percent. And so, there is a smallpercentage being enriched to 20 percent for medical use, but that’s quitesmall, also under cameras, under inspection.What you have is, in those days, in '04, ’05, ’06, ’07, even until the end of their term in office, Cheney kept on having the Joint Special Operations ForceCommand, JSOC—they would send teams inside Iran. They would work withvarious dissident groups—the Azeris, the Kurds, even Jundallah, which is avery fanatic Sunni opposition group—and they would do everything theycould to try and find evidence of an undeclared underground facility. Wemonitored everything. We have incredible surveillance. In those days, whatwe did then, we can even do better now. And some of the stuff is verytechnical, very classified, but I can tell you, there's not much you can do inIran right now without us finding out something about it. They found nothing.Nothing. No evidence of any weaponization. In other words, no evidence of afacility to build the bomb. They have facilities to enrich, but not separatefacilities for building a bomb. This is simply a fact. We haven’t found it, if itdoes exist. It’s still a fantasy. We still want to think—many people do think—it does. The big change was, in the last few weeks, the IAEA came out with a newreport. And it’s not a scientific report, it’s a political document. It takes a lotof the old allegations that had been made over the years, that were lookedat by the IAEA, under the regime or the directorship of Mohamed ElBaradei,who ran the IAEA for 12 years, the Egyptian—he won a Nobel Peace Prize forhis work—somebody who was very skeptical of Iran in the beginning andbecame less so as Iran went—was more and more open. But the new directorof the IAEA, a Japanese official named Amano, an old sort of—from thecenter-right party in Japan—I’m sure he’s an honorable guy, he believes whathe believes. But we happen to have a series of WikiLeak documents from theAmerican embassy in Vienna, one of the embassies in Vienna, reporting onhow great it was to get Amano there. This is last year. These documents

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