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by Stephen Lendman
Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 at 8:50 AM
Debunking the Spurious Iranian Nuclear Threat
by Stephen Lendman
Previous articles debunked claims of Iran's alleged nuclear threat. For months, major media scoundrels regurgitated official lies.
Yet at least since 2007, America's annual intelligence assessment found none. Media reports ignored it. Suddenly old news is new news.
Quelle surprise! It's now headlined. More on that below, and a review of past intelligence assessments. Previous articles explained them.
Why the change? Iran faces frequent false accusations. In recent months alone, they include the fake US Saudi assassination plot, being the world's leading sponsor of terror, targeting Israeli officials in India, Georgia and Thailand, and, of course, claims about a nonexistent nuclear weapons program. They all fail the smell test.
Defusing Iran's nuclear issue relates directly to Washington designating Syria target one. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. Both countries are targeted for regime change.
Confronting enemies works best one at a time. If a pro-Western regime replaces Assad, Iran loses its key regional ally. Isolated, it's more vulnerable.
Attacking both countries simultaneously means war on two fronts against militaries far from pushovers. Though no match for Washington or Israel's nuclear arsenal, both can hit back hard enough to raise concerns in high places.
As a result, downplaying Iran's nuclear issue for now plays into likely planned war on Syria. Daily events suggest it. So-called Friends of Syria urge it. Heated rhetoric practically demands it. Calls grow for involving foreign troops.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal openly called killing Syrians a "great idea." Riyadh's been actively involved in doing it for months along with Qatar, Turkey, Israel, and other rogue regional states.
Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the Russian Natsionalnaya Oborona (National Defense) magazine told Russia Today:
"The armed opposition which rejects dialogue is responsible for escalating violence in Syria," falsely blamed on Assad. He added that UK and other foreign forces in Syria are directly aiding insurgents. Yet "despite all these developments," he said, "Damascus is still open for dialogue with the opposition."
He also explained that unrest is mainly in small parts of the country, contrary to Western media reports. In fact, most Syrians support Assad, but spurious accounts suggest otherwise.
America's Media Discover No Iranian Nuclear Threat
On February 24, The New York Times headlined, "US Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb," saying:
America's intelligence assessment finds "no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb." The CIA and 15 other US intelligence agencies concur: Iran has no known military related program. All along, Tehran denied one.
Repeatedly, Iranian leaders and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied Iran seeks nuclear weapons. Most recently Khamenei called them "useless, harmful and dangerous."
Western powers know "we are not seeking nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic of Iran considers possession of nuclear weapons a sin. (Iran) wants to prove to the world that possessing (them) does not bring power...."
US Intelligence Confirms It
On February 16, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the US Intelligence Community's Worldwide Threat Assessment.
He found no evidence of an Iranian terror threat. He called "a mass attack by foreign terrorist groups involving a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) weapon in the United State unlikely in the next year.”
He discussed potential Iranian WMD threats, saying:
"We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons," but no evidence suggests an ongoing program. "We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons." (It's) technically feasible, but unlikely."
At the same Senate meeting, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA director General David Petraeus, and Joint Chiefs head General Martin Dempsey concurred with Clapper. The alleged Iranian threat is entirely bogus.
Other high US, European and Israeli officials also believe Iran poses no threat, has no ongoing military nuclear program, and has no likely intention to initiate one. Claiming otherwise is spurious and inflammatory.
Experts have known it for years. So have major media scoundrels, but until now said otherwise, while at the same time, trying to have it both ways.
Another February 24 Times article headlined, "Atomic Agency Says Iran Is Making Fuel at Protected Site," saying:
IAEA "inspectors reported on Friday that Iran was moving more rapidly to produce nuclear fuel than many outsiders expected, at a deep underground (Fordo) site....The report is likely to inflame the debate over whether Iran is nearing what Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, calls entering a 'zone of immunity.' "
According to National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor:
"....Iran's actions demonstrate why (it) has failed to convince the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful."
Fordo's enriching uranium to 20% purity. Previous reports called it crossing the line toward developing nuclear weapons.
In fact, Iran uses a small reactor to produce medical isotopes that require 20% enrichment. On site IAEA cameras monitor operations. So do agency inspections. No evidence suggests diverting uranium for military purposes. Yet the canard's frequently raised.
In its February 24 report, The Times agreed, saying the "claim appears to be true, at least in part." In other words, the alleged full truth remains elusive.
"The fact that Iran is increasing production further has heightened suspicions in the West that it wants to stockpile the fuel in case it decides, in the future, to produce bomb-grade material. It would take relatively little additional work to get that fuel to the 90 percent purity needed for weapon fuel."
Nothing, in fact, suggests it. Reporting it keeps the nuclear threat alive, when it has no credibility whatever based on years of intensive intelligence.
At the same time, multiple rounds of stiff sanctions remain in place, including an attempted oil embargo effective July 1. It affects crude oil, petroleum and petrochemical products, oil related business, equipment and technology, selling Tehran refined products, new investments, and dealing with its central bank.
A previous article said Europe's shooting itself in foot by going along with Washington. The Obama administration's done the same thing, based on how major purchasers reacted.
Important ones, wholly or in part, dismissed the sanctions, including Russia, China, India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, and others. For its part, Iran can play the same game, and did by demanding complicit EU nations sign long-term agreements and guarantee payments. If not, Tehran won't wait for July 1. It may immediately cut them off entirely.
At the same time, it's no longer shipping oil to Britain and France, Europe's two main bullies. They're partnered with Washington's worst crimes, including likely war on Syria.
Given world tensions, oil prices and Iran's revenue keep rising. On Friday, Brent crude topped 5 a barrel and and US WTI approaches 0. As long as current conditions are uncertain, the trend remains up. For Iran, it's not only pure profit, but as Progressive Radio News Hour regular Bob Chapman explains:
Iranian oil sanctions haven't worked. The embargo's "ridiculous. This has to be one of the most ill thought through schemes ever....Talk about shooting oneself in the foot. This has been a case of the Illuminists' shooting themselves in both feet."
Iranian crude buyers won't bow to Washington, including on how they make payments. They'll circumvent Tehran's central bank sanctions by using multiple currencies, barter and gold. As a result, "Iran is breaking the hold on the petrodollar," and weakening America in the process.
"Keeping Iran out of Swift Code for bank transfers is dumb." Alternatives are easily found via China, Russia or India. Dollar strength will weaken more. Whoever dreamed up this scheme should be fired. Iran's beating Washington at its own game. The longer it practices rogue politics, the more friends it finds won't go along.
Iran's Nuclear Program
Accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons is cover for planned regime change. February 24 major media headlines exposed the false charge, at least in part. A previous article explained the following:
In December 2007, America's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) said:
"We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; (perhaps it never existed); we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons..."
The NIE also said:
"We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop (them)."
"Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop (them) than we have been judging since 2005."
In February 2010, America's Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said:
"We do not know....if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons." No evidence of an ongoing program exists.
In March 2011, the US Intelligence Community Worldwide Threat Assessment for the Senate Armed Services Committee said precisely the same thing. No evidence suggests an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
In other words, years of sophisticated satellite, covert, and other intelligence showed nothing.
For the moment, baseless accusations yielded partially to grudging truths, but for how long. If Washington replaces Assad, Iran becomes target one. As a result, expect old baseless accusations revived along with new ones to heighten fear levels enough to justify intervention.
America wants total regional dominance. Achieving it requires replacing all independent regimes with client ones by any means, including war.
It's happened enough previous times to imagine what's coming, and with it potentially catastrophic consequences. Given America's preemptive nuclear strike policy, the threat is terrifyingly real.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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