Once Again, Iran Protests IAEA Leaks

Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA is not happy. Speaking to PressTV today, he protested a report yesterday that final plans are in the works for the next round of meetings between Iran and the IAEA to discuss long-standing issues on Iran’s nuclear program:

A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plans to visit the Iranian capital, Tehran, in the coming days to continue talks with Iranian officials.

Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi said on Friday that Tero Varjoranta, the deputy director general and head of the Department of Safeguards of the nuclear monitoring body, will head the team.

The envoy also expressed concern about Iran’s secret nuclear information obtained by the IAEA leaking out.

“It is regrettable that classified information in the agency has not been protected again, and while Iran and the agency were busy planning [the meeting], the news was published by a Western media outlet,” he said.

“This issue once again confirms Iran’s misgivings that spying exists in the agency,” Najafi said.

But wait, you might say. Where is the harm in breaking the news that a meeting is planned? The first clue might come from the suspect report itself, a Reuters article by Fredrik Dahl:

The U.N. nuclear agency is expected to make a new attempt soon to advance its investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by Iran, diplomats said on Thursday, more than a month after Tehran missed a deadline for cooperation.

They said experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran may meet early next week in Tehran, with the IAEA seeking to achieve progress in the slow-moving inquiry into the country’s nuclear program.

There was no immediate comment from the IAEA, a Vienna-based U.N. agency which for years has been trying to investigate Western allegations that Iran has worked on designing a nuclear warhead. Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

True to the usual path employed by Dahl and his fellow Vienna-based colleague from AP, George Jahn, Dahl relies on “diplomats” for his inside information. Note also that Dahl reports that the IAEA did not have a comment for him to include in the report. This suggests that the IAEA and Iran were still in the process of planning the next meeting and not ready to announce it publicly yet.

If meeting plans were the only leaks to come out of IAEA through “diplomats” in Vienna, then this would be a non-story. But there is much more. Here is PressTV in January of 2012 after an Iranian nuclear scientist had been assassinated:

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman says confidential information on the country’s nuclear experts has been leaked to the terrorists by the so-called inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Certain individuals who came to Iran under the pretext of inspecting the country’s nuclear facilities have identified Iranian scientists and given their names to the terrorist groups,” Ramin Mehmanparast said on Friday.

The Iranian official highlighted that Tehran would pursue the case in relevant international bodies.

The comments came in the wake of the assassination of Iranian scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan on January 11 when an unknown motorcyclist attached a magnetic bomb to his car near a college of Allameh Tabatabaei University in Tehran.

He was killed immediately and his driver, who sustained injuries, died a few hours later in hospital.

Just who are the “diplomats” in Vienna who cause all this harm? Much attention focuses on Israelis:

Israel is suspected of carrying out a series of leaks implicating Iran in nuclear weapons experiments in an attempt to raise international pressure on Tehran and halt its programme.


The leaks are part of an intensifying shadow war over Iran’s atomic programme being played out in Vienna, home to the IAEA’s headquarters.

The Israeli spy agency, the Mossad, is highly active in the Austrian capital, as is Iran and most of the world’s major intelligence agencies, leading to frequent comparisons with its earlier incarnation as a battleground for spies in the early years of the cold war.

The highlight of this pipeline from “diplomats” to Dahl and Jahn is the infamous Laptop of Death, which makes a veiled appearance at the end of Dahl’s Thursday report:

The IAEA published a report in 2011 with intelligence indicating Iran had a nuclear weapons research program that was halted in 2003 when it came under increased international pressure, given the U.S.-led invasion of neighboring Iraq that same year and the exposure in 2002 by Iranian exiles of its underground enrichment plant at Natanz.

The intelligence suggested some activities may have resumed later. The report identified about 12 specific areas that it said needed clarification.

And it’s not just Israel that is spreading secret information about Iran. Recall that the Justice Department is attempting to quash a lawsuit against United Against Nuclear Iran, suggesting that UANI has state secrets that could be divulged if the lawsuit is fully litigated.

Reuters acknowledges that Iran is upset about yesterday’s story. From a story today:

Diplomats told Reuters on Thursday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was expected to make a new attempt soon to advance its long-running investigation into Iran’s nuclear program and that a meeting might be held in the Iranian capital early next week.

Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador to the Vienna-based U.N. agency, said the IAEA delegation would be led by the head of its division dealing with nuclear safeguards issues, Deputy Director General Tero Varjoranta.

In an apparent reference to Thursday’s Reuters article, Najafi was quoted as saying on the web site of Iran’s Press TV television: “It is regrettable that classified information in the agency has not been protected again.”

It may or may not mean anything, but the Thursday article carries Dahl’s byline, while today’s article has no byline but credits only Dahl at the bottom for his reporting.

10 replies
  1. Don Bacon says:

    “U.N. nuclear watchdog pushes for headway in Iran inquiry: diplomats”
    By Fredrik Dahl
    “The U.N. nuclear agency is expected……”
    The IAEA is NOT an agency of the UN.
    The Agency’s genesis was US President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 8 December 1953. These ideas helped to shape the IAEA Statute, which 81 nations unanimously approved in October 1956. The Statute outlines the three pillars of the Agency’s work – nuclear verification and security, safety and technology transfer.” — http://www.iaea.org/
    And the IAEA is NOT a UN watchdog
    ARTICLE III: Functions
    A. The Agency is authorized:
    1. To encourage and assist research on, and development and practical application of, atomic energy for peaceful uses…
    2. To make provision, in accordance with this Statute, for materials, services, equipment, and facilities to meet the needs of research …
    3. To foster the exchange of scientific and technical information …
    4. To encourage the exchange of training of scientists and experts …
    5. To establish and administer safeguards designed to ensure that special fissionable and other materials, services, equipment, facilities, and information made available by the Agency or at its request or under its supervision or control are not used in such a way as to further any military purpose; and to apply safeguards, at the request of the parties, to any bilateral or multilateral arrangement, or at the request of a State, to any of that State’s activities in the field of atomic energy; . . .
    #5 is to insure non-diversion of nuclear fuel to weapons programs, under the NPT. The IAEA has consistently and repeatedly found Iran to be in NPT compliance.

  2. Don Bacon says:

    Iran ought to know better than to provide identity information on its nuclear experts to the IAEA, so any further assassinations are on them.
    In fact Iran might be “assassinating back” — offing Israelis — and it’s not publicized. I hope that’s the case.

  3. TarheelDem says:

    And the start of the next military campaign begins.

    Next up: John McCain and the Bomb-tone with that old classic “Bomb Bomb Iran”.

    Bibi and Barack didn’t look to happy in their confab this week. Bibi couldn’t get Barack to shut up about settlements and Barack was irritated with Bibi’s insistence on sabotaging the talks with Iran right now. Is that how it went down?

    Right now Iran is a relative island of stability in a band of chaos that stretches from Aswan and Zintan to the Khyber Pass. Some group of someones wants that last piece to fall.

    No wonder depression is on the rise in the US.

  4. Don Bacon says:

    Fredrik Dahl is quoting “diplomats” who “said” things, when Dahl should be reading the recent Sep 5 IAEA report on Iran.
    This matter of possible military dimensions, based on unsubstantiated allegation provided to the IAEA, has been going on for years and is in NO WAY RELATED to the current nuclear negotiations. The IAEA has been making a ridiculous issue of Parchin. That is nothing new. (more later)
    from “Possible Military Dimensions” in the IAEA report (pp. 12-13):

    The Annex to the Director General’s November 2011 report (GOV/2011/65) provided a detailed analysis of the information available to the Agency at that time, indicating that Iran has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. This information is assessed by the Agency to be, overall, credible.[sic]
    The Agency has obtained more information since November 2011 that has further corroborated the analysis contained in that Annex.
    In February 2012, Iran dismissed the Agency’s concerns, largely on the grounds that Iran considered them to be based on unfounded allegations.
    In a letter to the Agency dated 28 August 2014, Iran stated that “most of the issues” in the Annex to GOV/2011/65 were “mere allegations and do not merit consideration”. [true]
    As indicated above (para. 9), one of the seven practical measures agreed in the second step of the Framework for Cooperation on 20 May 2014 was the provision by Iran of “information and explanations for the Agency to assess Iran’s stated need or application for the development of Exploding Bridge Wire detonators”.
    In this regard, as indicated in the Director General’s previous report, Iran provided the Agency with information and explanations in April 2014 and additional information and explanations in May 2014, including showing documents, to substantiate its stated need for the development of EBW detonators and their application. At a technical meeting in Tehran on 16 August 2014, the Agency asked for additional clarifications, certain of which Iran provided.
    Since the Director General’s previous report, at a particular location at the Parchin site, the Agency has observed through satellite imagery ongoing construction activity that appears to show the removal/replacement or refurbishment of the site’s two main buildings’ external wall structures. One of these buildings has also had a section of its roof removed and replaced. Observations of deposits of material and/or debris, and equipment suggest that construction activity has expanded to two other site buildings. These activities are likely to have further undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.
    It remains important for Iran to provide answers to the Agency’s questions and access to the particular location in question.
    As indicated in the Director General’s previous report and as reiterated by the Director General following his meetings in Tehran on 17 August 2014, the Agency needs to be able to conduct a “system” assessment of the outstanding issues contained in the Annex to GOV/2011/65. This will involve considering and acquiring an understanding of each issue in turn, and then integrating all of the issues into a “system” and assessing that system as a whole.

  5. Don Bacon says:

    Cyrus Safdari at Iran Affairs on Parchin:

    May 01, 2013
    Frederick Dahl’s own-goal on Parchin speculation and Iran
    Frederick Dahl writes for Reuters that IAEA inspectors can find incredibly minute traces of nuclear material at Parchin, if Iran had conducted secret nuclear experiments there as alleged. What Frederick Dahl leaves out is that the IAEA already visited Parchin, twice in fact in 2005, and at time such environmental samples were taken. Nothing was found.
    Kinda a key fact to be left out, huh? Dahl is speculating about what could be in Parchin and could be discovered if it is inspected by the IAEA, but not mentioning that it was already inspected.
    The funny thing is that I remember just about a year ago, there was almost the same sort article published about “what cound be found” at Parchin.
    Apparently to “journalists,” Parchin has become a sort of unopened Christmas present box, which has a unique charm: You can shake it up and weigh it and toss it around, all the time speculating and imagining all sorts of wonderful and amazing things that may be in there. A pony! A race car! A nuclear bomb! Anything is possible! The limits are only your imagination.
    But not content with adding to the bullshit “suspicions” about Parchin, Dahl ends the piece with a speculative quote from Robert Kelley about how, in effect, even if no such radioactive particles are found there, even then the suspicions about Parchin should continue since the Iranians could have used a non-radioactive substitute for uranium: Tungsten! There’ could be Tungsten in the Christmas box!

    • Robert Kelley says:

      Sorry Don. Dahl did not quote me. He misquoted me to the extent that I complained to Reuters about his twisting of words. I gave him a long interview on the fact that uranium is very hard to hide but that non-radioactive tungsten will not show up in fission track detection so it was a waste of time to even look for it. And the real point I explained to him was that the Iranians would not have used tungsten and that is one more reason to know that the so-called weaponization annex is a piece of dog-doo.
      But in my numerous efforts to correct Dahl I find facts never get in his way.
      Before you lump me in with the IAEA mouthpiece Dahl please check with me first. You have been duped and are living proof that Dahl is successful in his work for his masters.
      But I will accept your apology.

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