The Washington Post decided to bury a story on page A17 today on how the IAEA responded to a House Intelligence Committee report on Iran (.pdf). The report, which came out to media fanfare a few weeks ago, was drafted by John Bolton’s hyper-hawkish lieutenant Fred Fleitz, who’s reportedly currently drafting a report on North Korea’s capabilities.
Anyway, the IAEA was none too happy with Mr. Fleitz’s handiwork, calling attention to several unsupported claims, among them that Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium at Natanz, noting that the 3.5 percent to which Iran has enriched is a far cry from the roughly 90 percent that is needed for a weapon.
The IAEA was similarly displeased with Mr. Fleitz’s accusation that Mohamed el Baradei kicked an inspector off the Iran project for worrying that Iran was deceiving inspectors. The IAEA responded by calling this allegation “outrageous and dishonest,” pointing out that the inspector in question was still working on Iran.
More alarming by far, though, is David Albright’s* characterization of what’s been going on:
This is like prewar Iraq all over again. You have an Iranian nuclear threat that is spun up, using bad information that’s cherry-picked and a report that trashes the inspectors.
*Albright’s outfit, the Institute for Science and International Security, really has been doing yeoman’s work on the Iran question, including its analysis (and posting) of Iran’s August 22 response to the EU3+US proposal. If you want as dispassionate an analysis as you can get of the issue, go to ISIS. Good stuff.