The Little Iran Nuclear Report that Couldn’t

A key allegation in the IAEA report on Iranian nuclear activities has fallen apart. Gareth Porter has been able to use interviews and other material to demonstrate that Vyacheslav Danilenko, a Russian scientist referred to without being identified in the report, is not a nuclear weapons expert. His field is nanotechnology (making tiny machines), and Iran has been looking into making diamonds with nanotechnology, bypassing the middle man.

Danilenko in a WP op-ed explains further.

Iran responds to the charges in the IAEA affair.

Russia has already signaled that it does not intend to allow further security council sanctions to be placed on Iran, despite the new report.

The Danilenko mistake reminds me of an incident in Iraq. In 2000 and after, US surveillance satellites picked up renewed activity at an old biological weapons lab. The hawks in the administration took the information as proof that Saddam Hussein had started back up his quest for biological weapons.

After the US invasion, inspectors were sent to this site and they found it that it had been looted. All the metal pipes, etc., were gone.

So what the US had interpreted as a sign of a revived weapons laboratory was no such thing.

Caveat emptor

19 Responses

  1. It is a pity that the main stream media is obsessed by the Iran nuclear issue when they are all aware of the Iraq fiasco…or they r being pressurized to?
    More so they know that the “US” trained Alamo is incompetent but again the same rhetoric..

  2. Professor Cole,
    One would think that after the debacle in Iraq based by false information of weapons of mass destruction, our government would proceed with deliberate caution about a possible air strike against these so-called “nuclear facilities” in Iran. And I have just read an article in David Remnick’s blgg at The New Yorker that states Israeli jet fighter pilots are practicing for a possible air strike around the holiday season or in early January. Have your heard anything about these possible air strike. How creditable is this rumor or allegation?

  3. I guess this would qualify as a black flag operation. Here are a couple of examples of wars started with bogus intelligence.

    link to

    My favorite is the Iraqi Mobil lab, or as some laughingly called it, The Winnebago of Death. Bush/Cheney/Rice and Rumsfeld still contended this “Lab” was used to make biological weapons, even after the military concluded they were used to fill weather ballons with gas.

  4. “So what the US had interpreted is a sign of a revived weapons laboratory was no such thing.”

    Didn’t matter what it was – they were determined to get their war so and to get it they pretended to believe that Irak was busily engaged in producing everything from biological weapons to Starwars deathstars.

    I hate to say it but I have to agree with your reader Oliver T who wrote the following comment on your:

    “Iraq, Iran and the Nuclear Phantasm: We’ve Seen this Picture” posting:

    Perhaps a better option would be for the US to withdraw to the Western Hemisphere where it lives, and leave the rest of us to get on with our lives where we live.

    In other words mind your own business and get out of our faces and we’ll mind our business and keep out of your way.

    Perhaps when you’ve learnt some humility & grace and to act like a responsible adult rather than steroid hyped hubris filled bully we can renew the acquaintance

    (Source: Comment made 11/11/2011 at 12:28 am)

  5. […] The Obama Presidency Originally Posted by John099 The Little Iran Nuclear Report that Couldn't | Informed Comment Judging from the text I do not get the impression that the good prof Cole, whom I otherwise […]

  6. “A key allegation in the IAEA report on Iranian nuclear activities has fallen apart.” -J. Cole

    This is literally beside the point. The propagamda damage is done. The screaming headlines connecting Iran with nuclear weapons are all most people remember. Fact based reports contradicting the original assertions won’t receive anywhere near as much publicity. They’re more nuanced; they required digging deeper into a story than merely a blurb or a headline.

    It seems like the US public is being primed and getting used to the idea for an Israeli attack on Iran.

    • Your exactly right. I was talking to a group of vets this morning.We all agreed that a 10 year war was irresponsible and unnecessary. They even agreed weith me that the best way to support the troops was to bring the troops home.

      Then I lost them. I told them the same neocons who got us into Iraq were trying to get us involved in a war with Iran. A former marine looked at me and said, “Now that Ak-me-deed-a-job is a nut! I just read this week that he is trying to build a nuclear bomb, and we have got to stop him!”

      So you’re right Jeffery, the con job to demonize Iran is in full force and building support.

  7. Porter misunderstands both the technology involved and the way the Soviet secret cities worked.

    Nobody who worked at Snezhinsk in the 1960s could have been unaware of the weapons work; further, it is highly likely that anyone working there would have been working on weapons.

    Of course, the weapons work would have been classified and would remain classified today; hence Porter could not have found it unless he had talky contacts in Russia.

    And he quotes no sources. It is true that Danilenko has denied involvement, but for a competent journalist, this doesn’t mean much.

    • Cheryl, thank your for your comment.
      I like to add that for anyone familiar with Russian/Soviet culture, he must know that standard default answer to any question is DENIAL (abnegation.)

  8. Cole’s claim that “a key allegation…has fallen apart”, should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I have read the piece in the WP and I was astounded by some very peculiar facts.

    For a staret while the aricle do acknowledge that Danilenko worked in diamond fabrication he also cites the scientist did work for almost 40 years in the Soviet nuclear program, and only later changed to civil engineering. So what we have is a nuclear scientist who also knows to blown diamonds.

    The second issue is that Danilenko denies any relation with the Iran Nuclear program, and who would so? Since it seems the Irainian-related nuclear scientist are been assassinate all over the world, hence I don’t expect for any person to admit so.

    Lastly, one can be connected with the nuclear program even without been a nuclear physicist, for example triggering the bomb you need to have explosion experts who know how to coordinate a very precise detonation. I it seems that this is exactly what Danilenko was doing.

    All in all, the WP/AP article does raises more questions than answer them !

  9. With all due respect to Ms Rofer, who herself worked for the U.S. in the weapons world @ Los Alamos, her take on the above has to be given much weight. Good to know the opinions are based in factual content besides mere speculation.

  10. For those who are so certain that Iran’s nucclear activities have nothing to do with weaponization, you offer no more evidence than those (like the IAEA) who claim that Iran is working on nuclear weaponization. In fact, the IAEA offers a bit more evidence to support its claim than anything I have seen here taking the opposing view.

    As for the tired mantra that the “debacle in Iraq” is somehow applicable to Iran, I would offer the thought that in the 1991 Gulf War, it was found that Iraq was much further advanced in its nuclear capability than was originally thought. It seems to me that anyone who takes the categorical position that those (including the IAEA) who claim that Iran shows evidence of working on nuclear weaponization are somehow stooges of the US and the West, are themselves stooges of their own ideological predisposition.

  11. For the current regime running Israel along with their settler equivalent to brown shirts, truth is just another item to be manipulated in the daily propaganda. As Sarkozy said, “I can’t stand Netanyahu, he is such a liar” For once I can agree with the President.

  12. The process of creating artificial diamonds mimics the natural process – heat and extreme pressure converts carbon into a different crystalline structure. One way to do this is an implosion, using shaped explosives to apply pressure inwards rather than outwards using a containment vessel. The expertise of this scientist appears to be in this area of mathematics and geometry rather than nano-technology

    An ability to create a controlled implosion is also useful in creating the critical mass necessary to trigger nuclear fission – in other words, to create an nuclear weapon.

    Iran may indeed be moving towards acquiring nuclear weapons but this is not our problem. There is no reason for Iran to bomb Europe and it and the US are both well out of range and could retaliate with overwhelming force.

    Israel has a problem but not an immediate one as Iran is not silly enough to launch a strike on a nation with a reported 200 nuclear weapons. However, capacity for nuclear retaliation by Iran will limit the capacity of Israel to bomb and bully other nations of the Middle East at will.

    Nuclear obliteration of Tel Aviv and Tehran is no-ones interest. Israel is working overtime to get the US and Europe to attack Iran and it is in our long-term interest to lower the risk of a nuclear war.

    Israel has the problem and before we lift a finger to pull them out of the fire their belligerence has caused, we should be setting a few conditions.

    First, Israel must sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and submit to IAEA inspections – as Iran always does.

    Second, Israel must freeze all building in occupied Palestine, agree to secure borders and other issues in this festering standoff so as to create a viable Palestinian state.

    Do that and we will gladly help with any pressure, sanctions and even a bombing campaign on Iranian nuclear sites. Give us a call when you are ready , Bibi.

  13. A couple of points.

    Firstly I think that Cheryl Rofer’s involvement in the nuclear military industrial complex gives her good insights to the web of deceit that surrounds secret weapons programs but conversely naturally colours her interest in the Iran/US strategic confrontation. No one works in the US nuclear weapons complex without being vetted for unyielding patriotism.

    Secondly, outside of the US and its allies the latest IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear thought crimes has produces variously shrugs of indifference at its lack of content and shudders of disgust and its blatant political intent. It seems that the IAEA is yet another organization that is going to lose its vital reputation for impartiality as a militarily constrained US increasingly sees the control of international institutions as the most cost effective pursuit of war by other means.

    Thirdly Bill’s argument about the first Iraq war somehow making the second one less of a debacle and guaranteeing the next, highly necessary, one against Iran will go swimmingly. It is not an argument, it is a collection of neoconservative talking point and it is worth reading his post a few times to famililiarize yourself with them. You will read and hear a lot more of these war advertisements.

    Point (A): At the time of the first Iraq war the US was surprised by the comparatively advanced state of the weapons research programs:


    Iraq’s unconventional weapons capacity had not up to then been a serious topic of interest for the west as Iraq was a western ally, hence the feigned shock and horror. End of story. This could not be less relevant to the case of Iran’s current extensively probed “weapons program of the mind”.

    Point (B): The stoking up of tensions and the push for sanctions against Iran and the attempt to make conflict more likely has nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq, it stands on its own merits:

    Nonsense: The anti-Iranian conspiracy has exactly the same cheerleaders and would serve the same geopolitical aims as the weakening of Iraq through sanctions and its eventual invasion and balkanization. It is the same people, with the same agenda but with an improved feeling for PR and more plausible salespeople (Susan Rice vs John Bolton). Never forget that the anti-Iranian conspirators are the same people who lied and lied until they got what they wanted in Iraq – the horrifying destruction of a country on multiple levels, bloodshed on a massive scale and a bigger slice of the budgetary pie for the military industrial complex.

  14. 1–These recurring alarms about Israel taking a shot at Iran serve a very objective purpose: to build the background noise/assumption that “those people” are bound and determined to get the bomb, and our only “friend” in the region has to do whatever…to save us and themselves. This appears to be a deliberate process of building an acceptance of an inevitability.

    2–The “Winnebago of Death,” is a great example of the need to think and exercise judgement: the facts, such as they are even known, will only get you so far. Who is to say that van did NOT have a hydrogen bomb, for heavens sake? Who could take the chance, as C. Rice put it, that final evidence would emerge as a mushroom cloud over Manhattan? Or that when an inspection in Iran appeared to find nothing but a vacant cave, Dr. Evil’s lab could still have been right there, 50′ beneath their feet (or 100′, or 150′, 200′, ad naseum). And of course, who’s to say, or could take the chance, that Canada is NOT at this moment poised to launch fleet of bombers from their secret bases to conquer their neighbor to the south ?????? Lets have a little sanity.

    3–On the other hand, that Bush etal were discredited in their alarms about Iraq does not mean that clear evidence of malevolent Iranian intentions does not exist. What the example of Iraq should do is merely (?) alert people to consider the case carefully, nothing more. And of course, their conclusions should lead to the issue, of “so what?”. The linkage to Iraq ONLY serves to alert people to THINK and exercise sane judgement.

    Problem: the sanity and judgement of the general population, which stands to be manipulated by people who really do know better. I’m not so sure about this (pure) democracy business.

  15. It’s interesting that Western analysts can’t just say:

    “We don’t want any other nation in Israel’s region to have nuclear capabilities that are otherwise legal. We understand that this is not consistent with the NPT, but so what? Israel is more important.”

    And then at least come from an honest position and debate from there.

    Why this blizzard of lies and misleading redefinitions and forged documents?

    The Barack Obama administration should just state its position advocate it like adults.

  16. Gareth Porter sez so?????????

    Outside of Orly Taitz, who’s LESS credible than Porter?

    Porter has no evidence for his claim other than “Danilenko’s recollections of the early period of his career…” published in some book.

    Of course, the IAEA didn’t name the guy, and it might not have been Danilenko who was interviewed by IAEA……..

    but ley’s go with “fallen apart”

    it’s suits what we wish to belief.

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