“This is like déjà vu all over again”

14 September 2006, 2149 EDT

These are the opening paragraphs of today’s BBC story about the IAEA’s reaction to a much-discussed August 23 congressional report, which played up Iran’s alleged nuclear “threat”:

The UN nuclear watchdog has protested to the US government over a report on Iran’s nuclear programme, calling it “erroneous” and “misleading”.

In a leaked letter, the IAEA said a congressional report contained serious distortions of the agency’s own findings on Iran’s nuclear activity.

The letter called one part of the report “outrageous and dishonest.” The House Intelligence Committee report made this false allegation:

the spring 2006 decision by IAEA Director General ElBaradei to remove Mr. Christopher Charlier, the chief IAEA Iran inspector, for allegedly raising concerns about Iranian deception regarding its nuclear program and concluding that the purpose of Iran’s nuclear program is to construct weapons, should give U.S. policymakers great pause.

Charlier, in fact, continues to lead the IAEA’s Iran section. He cannot make on-site inspections any more because, as allowed under the rules the IAEA makes with all states, Iran asked that he be removed. There was no IAEA coverup or effort to silence him on the question of Iran.

This was not appeasement.

The House report also implies that the IAEA had found that Iran’s nuclear program successfully enriched uranium to weapons-grade.

In reality, the IAEA only found small amounts of enriched uranium — “at far lower levels.”

As Bill wrote here last week, the US Senate only recently started releasing information documenting some of the political distortions of the Iraq WMD evidence. Those distortions occurred 4 years ago.

It’s good to see the IAEA is on the ball here, correctly the errors as they occur.

Truth to power and all that.

Then again, we’ve been down this road with the IAEA and Washington Republicans before.


Note: This post title quote is typically attributed to Yogi Berra.

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