In May 2009, US Senate Foreign Relation Committee headed by Jew Zionist Senator Joe Lieberman had accused Tehran of pursuing to develop a nuclear warhead before halting its nuclear weapon-related research in 2003. The false and forged documents were provided by Israel.
Douglas Frantz, who was one of the sources of the forged documents – is a former journalist for the Los Angeles Times. He had extensive contacts with high-ranking Israeli military, intelligence and Foreign Ministry officials before joining the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff. He and co-author Catherine Collins conducted interviews with those Israeli officials for The Nuclear Jihadist, published in 2007. The interviews were all conducted under rules prohibiting disclosure of their identities, according to the book.
Last Thursday, Olli Heinonen, the deputy director of safeguards of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resigned under allegations that he was the driving force in turning IAEA into an Israeli Hasbara (propaganda) tool. Olli was forging documents to fool the Western public opinion against the Islamic Republic’s civilian nuclear program so that Israeli poodles in Obama administration can push for UNSC crippling sanctions against Tehran.
Gareth Porter in his report published by IPS on July 2, 2010, wrote:
Long-time IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei and other officials involved in investigating and reporting on Iran’s nuclear programme were immediately sceptical about the authenticity of the documents. According to two Israeli authors, Yossi Melman and Meir Javadanfar, several IAEA officials told them in interviews in 2005 and 2006 that senior officials of the agency believed the documents had been “fabricated by a Western intelligence organisation”.
Heinonen, on the other hand, supported the strategy of exploiting the collection of intelligence documents to put Iran on the defensive. His approach was not to claim that the documents’ authenticity had been proven but to shift the burden of proof to Iran, demanding that it provide concrete evidence that it had not carried out the activities portrayed in the documents.
From the beginning, Iran’s permanent representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, denounced the documents as fabrications. In Governing Board meetings and interviews, Soltanieh pointed to several indicators, including the absence of official stamps showing receipt of the document by a government office and the absence of any security markings.
The tensions between Heinonen and the senior officials over the intelligence documents intensified in early 2008, when Iran provided detailed documentation to the agency disproving a key premise of the intelligence documents.
Kimia Maadan, a private Iranian company, was shown in the intelligence documents as having designed a uranium conversion facility as part of the alleged military nuclear weapons research programme. Iran proved to the satisfaction of those investigating the issue, however, that Kimia Maadan had been created by Iran’s civilian atomic energy agency solely to carry out a uranium ore processing project and had gone out of business before it fulfilled the contract.
Senior IAEA officials then demanded that Heinonen distance the organisation from the documents by inserting a disclaimer in future agency reports on Iran that it could not vouch for the authenticity of the documents.
Instead Heinonen gave a “technical briefing” for IAEA member countries in February 2008 featuring a diagram on which the ore processing project and the uranium processing project were both carried out by the firm and shared the same military numbering system.
The IAEA report published just three days earlier established, however, that the ore processing project number — 5/15 — had been assigned to it not by the military but by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran. And the date on which it was assigned was August 1999 – many months before the purported nuclear weapons programme was shown to have been organised.
Heinonen carefully avoided endorsing the documents as authentic. He even acknowledged that Iran had spotted technical errors in the one-page design for a small-scale facility for uranium conversion, and that there were indeed “technical inconsistencies” in the diagram.
He also admitted Iran had provided open source publications showing spherical firing systems similar to the one depicted in the intelligence documents on alleged tests of high explosives.
Heinonen suggested in his presentation that the agency did not yet have sufficient information to come to any firm conclusions about those documents. In the May 2008 IAEA report, however, there was no mention of any such caveats about the documents.
Instead, the report used language that was clearly intended to indicate that the agency had confidence in the intelligence documents: “The documentation presented to Iran appears to have been derived from multiple sources over different periods of time, is detailed in content and appears to be generally consistent.”
That language, on which Heinoen evidently insisted, did not represent a consensus among senior IAEA officials. One senior official suggested to IPS in September 2009 that the idea that documents came from different sources was not completely honest.
“There are intelligence-sharing networks,” said the official. It was possible that one intelligence organisation could have shared the documents with others, he explained.
“That gives us multiple sources consistent over time,” said the official.
The same official said of the collection of intelligence documents, “It’s not difficult to cook up.”
Nevertheless, Heinonen’s position had clearly prevailed. And in the final year of ElBaradei’s leadership of the agency, the Safeguards Department became an instrument for member states – especially France, Britain, Germany and Israel – to put pressure on ElBaradei to publish summaries of intelligence reports portraying Iran as actively pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.
The active pressure of the United States and its allies on behalf of the hard line toward Iran was the main source of Heinonen’s power on the issue. Those states have been feeding intelligence on alleged covert Iranian nuclear activities to the Safeguards Division for years, and Heinonen knew that ElBaradei could not afford to confront the U.S.-led coalition openly over the issue.
The Bush administration had threatened to replace ElBaradei in 2004 and had reluctantly accepted his reelection as director-general in 2005. ElBaradei was not strong enough to threaten to fire the main antagonist over the issue of alleged studies.
ElBaradei’s successor Yukio Amano is even less capable of adopting an independent position on the issues surrounding the documents. The political dynamics of the IAEA ensure that Heinonen’s successor is certain to continue the same line on the Iran nuclear issue and intelligence documents as Heinonen’s.