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Israel Implicated in Leaking Misleading Info on Iran Nuke

Faulty graph, now debunked, came from likely source

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

A largely misleading and vastly exaggerated "exclusive" "leak" published by the Associated Press last week, which boasted that the news agency had obtained information proving that Iran was working on a nuclear bomb, and was quickly debunked by the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald and several others, was likely given to AP by Israeli officials, the Guardian reports Monday.

At the U.N. September 27, 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a graphic to show how far he says Iran will be by mid-2013 in a quest to develop nuclear weapons. He drew the red line to mark where he says Iran must be stopped. (Lucas Jackson /Reuters /Landov) "Western diplomats" told the Guardian they believe Israel leaked the slipshod documents to AP, which included a "graph" that was as Greenwald wrote, "only slightly less hilariously primitive than the one Benjamin Netanyahu infamously touted with a straight face at the UN," from an incomplete and inaccurate excerpt of an ongoing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigation in Iran in a "bid to raise global pressure on Tehran."

On the graph, Greenwald wrote:

...even if one assumes that this graph is something other than a fraud, the very idea that computer simulations constitute "evidence" that Iran is working toward a nuclear weapon is self-evidently inane. As John Glaser extensively documents, "experts from across the spectrum have agreed with the military and intelligence consensus [from the US and Israel] that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and presents no imminent threat." Buried in the AP article is a quote from David Albright explaining that though "the diagram looks genuine [it] seems to be designed more 'to understand the process' than as part of a blueprint for an actual weapon in the making."

Nonetheless, AP ran with the story, all the while granting anonymity to the source's country who leaked the faulty information—as doing so would have revealed ulterior motives.

"The Israeli government did not reply to a request for comment and AP described the source of the latest leak only as 'officials from a country critical of Iran's atomic program,'" the Guardian reports.

One western diplomat told the Guardian that the leaked "intelligence summary" in question "reads like an attempt to justify the assassinations"—in reference to a series of assassinations targeting Iranian nuclear scientists and commonly tied to Israel's Mossad.

The Guardian has more:

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." [...]

Western officials say they have reasons to suspect Israel of being behind the most recent leak and a series of previous disclosures from the IAEA investigation, pointing to Israel's impatience at what it sees as international complacency over Iranian nuclear activity. [...]

Iran rejects the evidence against it as forged and has not granted access to its nuclear scientists or to a site known as Parchin where IAEA inspectors believe the high-explosive components for a nuclear warhead may have been tested.

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