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A new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report criticizing Iran’s nuclear program was leaked via the Internet. Although slated to be made public in early June, US corporate media seized the opportunity to put a spin on the report’s findings. The Real News Network’s analyst Pepe Escobar provides his analysis of the day’s headlines.

Story Transcript

PEPE ESCOBAR, ANALYST, THE REAL NEWS NETWORK: The International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, has a new report on the Iranian nuclear program, forwarded to the members of the UN Security Council. An IAEA spokesperson confirmed to The Real News that the report, which will only be made public in early June, was leaked by the Web site of the Institute for Science and International Security, ISIS. There’s been a lot of spinning by US corporate media. According to The New York Times, the report is unusually blunt and detailed. US media is virtually unanimous saying that Iran has not come clean on: I quote, “high-explosives testing.” An AP report quotes the usual unnamed US official blaming Iran. At least The Los Angeles Times said the report, I quote, “finds no proof of a continued nuclear arms program.” Iranian Press TV, on the other hand, stress the IAEA has not detected the use of nuclear material linked to Iran’s alleged studies of weaponization. This is the key link in the report. The alleged studies on the Green Salt Project, high-explosives testing, and the missile reentry vehicle project remain a matter of serious concern. Clarification of these is critical to an assessment of the nature of Iran’s past and present nuclear program. Iran has agreed to address the alleged studies. However, it maintains that all the allegations are baseless and that the data have been fabricated. Then the report goes on to say, “It should be emphasized, however, that the agency has not detected the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies.” After a similar report two months ago, the UN Security Council, pressed by the US, imposed new sanctions on Iran. These waves of sanctions are biting really, really hard, especially the country’s business community. But now Javier Solana, the European Union defense chief, he says he has a new European package to offer Iran if they stop nuclear enrichment. The convergence of interests between western Europe and Iran is very, very significant in terms of finding a peaceful solution for this crisis. Iran, they need European investment in its oil and gas industry, and Europe needs Iran’s gas to counterbalance its dependence on Russian gas. So that’s what the Iranian press is stressing, that the report says Iran has basically come clean and, I quote, “Iran has agreed to address the alleged studies”—the studies on the explosives and missile testing. This latest report comes a week after the IAEA chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, said at the World Economic Forum in the Middle East that there is no, I quote, “concrete evidence” that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb. And last December, as everybody remembers, a national intelligence estimate in the US conceded with, I quote, “high confidence” that Iran that does not have a nuclear weapons program. But whatever the spin in Washington and Tehran, one thing is certain: none of this will matter to the Dick Cheney war faction and the neocons in Washington.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.