The Buried Lede on Iran: All Nuclear Sites Routinely Inspected, No Violations
There are some “scary” reports out in the last few days about Iran beginning uranium enrichment at an underground bunker at the Fordow site near Iran’s holy city of Qom and “diplomats” are saying it is “particularly worrying because the site is being used to make material that can be upgraded more quickly for use in a nuclear weapon than the nation’s main enriched stockpile.”
The diplomats said that centrifuges at the Fordo site near Iran’s holy city of Qom are churning out uranium enriched to 20 percent. That level is higher than the 3.5 percent being made at Iran’s main enrichment plant and can be turned into fissile warhead material faster and with less work.
You have to read on – like, you know, beyond the headline and the first paragraph – to understand that it was back in February 2011, almost a year ago, that Iran sent a letter to IAEA explaining that they would begin enrichment for medical radioisotopes to treat cancer patients “by this summer” (which makes them 5 months late). Iran agreed in August that Forodow fell under IAEA safeguards and would not be making highly enriched uranium needed to build a bomb. In fact, the underground enrichment site at Fordow has been inspected at least ten times since October 2009. In fact, all of Iran’s 15 declared nuclear sites are routinely inspected by the IAEA, making cheating nearly impossible (these links are all from the twitter account of Micah Zenko, Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has been great on this issue in the last few days). And, to reiterate, the last IAEA report again confirmed the non-diversion of nuclear materials from any of these declared sites, meaning that all of it is accounted for and none is confirmed as being highly enriched anywhere close to the point needed for weapons-grade material.
All of that should be the lede in these news reports. But instead, the jingoistic media bias on the Iranian nuclear issue again illustrates the journalistic obedience and servility to the power structure in Washington.