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Entries in Institute for Science and International Security (6)


Iran Analysis: Hype & Substance --- 3 Key Points on Latest IAEA Nuclear Report

The International Atomic Energy Agency has completed its latest quarterly report on Iran's nuclear programe. As always, extracts were leaked by "Western diplomats" to compliant reporters to portray an escalating Iranian threat, buttressed by "analysis" from the Institute for Science and International Security.

So, cutting through the propaganda, what are the significant points about the report?


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Iran Special: Taking Apart the "Iran's Plan B for a Nuclear Bomb" Scare Story

The Daily Telegraph's not-so-dramatic "dramatic" photograph of the Arak heavy-water plant and reactor under construction (Photo: Digital Globe/Mackenzie Intelligence)

This morning's Page 1 headline in the Daily Telegraph of London proclaims, "Iran's Plan B for a Nuclear Bomb":

Iran is developing a second path to a nuclear weapons capability by operating a plant that could produce plutonium, satellite images show for the first time.

The story, written by four reporters, is dramatic. It is scary.

It also has nothing "exclusive" pointing to the "first time". And it has nothing that comes close to a "Nuclear Bomb".

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Iran Special: The US Nuclear "Experts" at ISIS --- When Propaganda Replaces Analysis

EA Video Analysis: How to Become An Expert on the Iranian Nuclear Programme

ISIS Founder David AlbrightIf the ISIS was to admit any evidence that Iran is not on the verge of weapons-grade uranium --- indeed that Iran has been converting a good part of its uranium to non-military uses --- then it would undermine the demand of the US and European powers that Tehran has to shut down its enrichment, close down its plant, and ship out the 20% stock.

That cannot be entertained, because ISIS's analysts are committed to "Stop, Shut, and Ship". Thus the report is not just an error in analysis. With its assumptions, its speculations, and its ignorance of vital evidence, it is propaganda in support of a political quest.

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The Latest from Iran (26 May): Propaganda Watch

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Propaganda, Negotiations, and the Economic Ties That Bind
Friday's The Latest from Iran (25 May): On to The "Last Chance" Nuclear Talks in Moscow

1605 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Laura Rozen adds valuable detail to our news and analysis of the nuclear talks in Baghdad. She describes how there nearly was no agreement to another meeting in Moscow --- some of the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia) were pushing for a harder line than others on the language to be offered to the Iranians in a statement summarising Baghdad's discussions and looking to the future.

In the end, the European Union's Catherine Ashton, the lead negotiator for the 5+1, worked out a compromise text. In her press conference at the end of the meetings, she said, "Significant gaps remain" between Iran and the 5+1, but there was enough common ground for another round of talks.

Ashton reportedly used the Iraqi hosts and the Chinese and Russian delegations to ensure the acceptance of the Iranians, who proposed Astana in Kazakhstan, Beijing, or Moscow as the next venue.

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The Latest from Iran (16 May): Remembering Political Prisoners from Science to Religion

7 Detained Baha'i Leaders (see 0500 GMT)1825 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Asr-e Iran post a catalogue of the President's speeches in which he blames "conspirators" for the Government's problems.

1814 GMT: Political Prisoners Watch (Journalists Edition). Almost 130 Iranian journalists have called on head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani to take action against the on-going repression of those in the media.

The journalists highlighted the recent imprisonment of journalists Mahsa Amrabadi and Reza Ansari-Rad, as well as a flogging sentence handed down to cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraye: “Precisely at a time when the suspect in the [detainee abuse scandal at] Kahrizak detention centre [Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi] is promoted, and the forces under your authority turn a blind eye to the accusations against him, Iranian journalists are, one by one, imprisoned, defamed and even physically abused.”

They said that while “the main suspects and culprits" in the $2.6 billion bank fraud" could continue freely with their extravagant lifestyles, Mahsa Amrabadi, Reza Ansari-Rad and other Iranian journalists were being jailed “for the sole crime of writing".

Last week, Amrabadi was summoned to serve a one-year sentence in Evin Prison. Her husband, journalist Masoud Bastani, has been imprisoned for six years.

The statement declared, “We call for an end to the flogging; we call for an end to all forms of lawlessness, injustice and disrespect towards those who hold the pen. We call for the implementation of the law. We seek respect for the pen.”

More than 100 journalists have been imprisoned since the 2009 Presidential elections. Dozens are still behind bars, while others are on heavy bail and under threat of being summoned to serve their sentences.

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Iran Propaganda 101: Nanodiamonds, Nukes, "Western Officials", and The Washington Post

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A discussion, including David Albright and Karim Sadjadpour, on a Sunday talk show about the IAEA report and Iran's nuclear programme

See also Iran Feature: Did Unnamed Officials Use the Media to Turn Nanodiamonds into Nuclear Bombs?

A classic case study in how information/propaganda --- choose the word according to your perspective --- circulates between Western governments, supportive media, and "think tanks"....

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