Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Truth And The Hype

By Cernig

Sean-Paul at The Agonist been reading the actual IAEA report - rather than the media spin on the report - on Iran's nuclear program. He writes that while it is clear Iran still isn't co-operating over matters that would implicate Pakistan in proliferation, the media hype just doesn't match reality over the alleged leaps and bounds the Iranian program has been taking.
What the report details and conversations with arms control experts confirm is that the Iranians have made no major breakthroughs like that claimed by David E. Sanger of the New York Times. Furthermore, his story of May 15 was, as one expert put it, "misleading and sensationalized."

The relevant portions of the IAEA Report, released today, conclude:
Since the Director General's last report, Iran has fed approximately 260 kg of UF6 into the cascades at FEP. Iran has declared that it has reached enrichment levels up to 4.8% U-235 at FEP, which the Agency is in the process of verifying. On 13 May 2007, eight 164-machine cascades were operating simultaneously and were being fed with UF6; two other similar cascades had been vacuum tested and three more were under construction.
Dr. Jeffrey Lewis of the Belfer Center wrote "[that] Iran does seem to be making steady progress toward continuous operation of their centrifuges." But this is hardly indicative of a nuclear program about to start spitting out bomb grade material next week.

This evidence, presented in the IAEA report, says Paul Kerr of Arms Control Today does not support [the] rapid progress" described by Sanger in his article and portrayed by the media as a whole. Kerr added, "it doesn't seem like [the Iranians] have crossed a major threshold."

The claims filtering in and out of the media that Iran is one to two years away from producing bomb grade material are, to put it mildly, wildly inaccurate, as the report notes the Iranians are only reprocessing moderate amounts of UF6 to 4.8% U-235, and bomb grade material must be at least 80%.

Will the media correct its inflamed and sensationalized claims in light of this latest of IAEA reports?
Of course they won't, Sean Paul.

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