Israel suspected over Iran nuclear programme inquiry leaks

(The Guardian) – 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. Western diplomats believe the leaks may have backfired, compromising a UN-sanctioned investigation into Iran’s past nuclear activities and current aspirations.

The latest leak, published by the Associated Press (AP), purported to be an Iranian diagram showing the physics of a nuclear blast, but scientists quickly pointed out an elementary mistake that cast doubt on its significance and authenticity. An article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists declared: “This diagram does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax.”

An “intelligence summary” provided to AP with the graph appeared to go out of its way to implicate two men in nuclear weapons testing who had been targeted for assassination two years ago. One of them, Majid Shahriari, was killed on his way to work in Tehran in November 2010 after a motorcyclist fixed a bomb to the door of his car. The other, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, was wounded in a near identical attack the same day.

A book published earlier this year by veteran Israeli and American writers on intelligence, called Spies Against Armageddon, said the attacks were carried out by an assassination unit known as Kidon, or Bayonet – part of the Mossad.

One western source said the “intelligence summary” supplied with the leaked diagram “reads like an attempt to justify the assassinations”.

Mossad Behind Tehran Assassinations, Says Source

Iran’s nuclear programme: the holy grail of the intelligence world

(The Guardian) – It is the world’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), that draws the world’s international agencies. Its quarterly board meetings are attended by top security officials and nuclear scientists from around the world, including Iran, and the spies follow them to Vienna.

As the international stakes rise, so have the pressures on the IAEA. Yukiya Amano, currently director general, was elected in 2009 by a very narrow margin after a divisive contest in which Amano was widely perceived as being the west’s candidate. The leaks have emerged as he is seeking re-election and at the same time trying to strengthen the investigative powers of the safeguards department – the part of the IAEA devoted to verifying the declarations made by states – in the face of resistance led by Russia and about a dozen other countries.

Opponents of Amano’s plan are concerned that the proposed reforms would make the IAEA increasingly reliant, in cases like Iran, on intelligence and information supplied by the west and Israel.

In a report on the new safeguards plan, Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Russia’s stance on the IAEA board was being dictated directly by President Vladimir Putin, who sees it as an arena for confronting US influence.

“Currently, Russia’s intelligence agencies are heavily intervening in IAEA safeguards matters, and they fear the IAEA could become a tool of the United States and its allies, countries that have supplied nearly all of the intelligence pointing to military and nuclear weapons activities in Iran,” he wrote.

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