Who leaked Iranian nuclear document that turned out to be a hoax?
December 13, 2012 5 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On November 27, the Associated Press published an alleged Iranian document which it said proved Iran was working on a nuclear bomb. The news agency said the disclosure was the latest in a series of similar leaks to the media by “officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program”. However, the authenticity of the document, which contained a diagram calculating the explosive force of a nuclear weapon, is now heavily disputed. An analysis of the leaked document in the latest issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists concluded that it was either massively erroneous or a hoax designed by amateurs. The Bulletin, a specialist publication founded by physicists involved in the Manhattan Project, said the document was “unlikely to have been made by research scientists working at a national level”. The obvious question is who leaked the disputed document and why? An article in British newspaper The Guardian cites unnamed “Western officials” who claim that the diagram, along with several previous disclosures of a similar nature, was leaked by Israel “in an attempt to raise international pressure on Tehran”. If this is so, the leak appears to have seriously backfired and may have compromised the credibility of an ongoing investigation into the Iranian nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This is because the leaked document was part of an intelligence file on Iran’s nuclear program, compiled by the IAEA, which formed the factual basis for a new set of penalties and sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and the European Union in November of 2011. The question that some United Nations officials are now asking is, if the leaked document is indeed a hoax, how could the IAEA guarantee the authenticity of the remaining documents on its file on Iran? And what if Israel, which has a vested interest in convincing the world that Iran’s nuclear policy poses a clear and present danger to its neighbors, is actively engaged in supplying the IAEA with similar forgeries? One unidentified European diplomat who spoke to The Guardian, assured the paper that the leaked document “is just one small snapshot of what the IAEA is working on, and part of a much broader collection of data from multiple sources”. The diplomat added that the IAEA had been aware of the “huge error” in that particular document before it was leaked to the media. The London-based paper also quotes David Albright, a nuclear expert at the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, who said that “whoever [leaked the document] has undermined the IAEA’s credibility and made it harder for it to do its work”.