Iran’s foreign nuclear scientist – who never was

The last few days have been full of headlines about a UN report that showed that Iran was getting help from foreign scientists to develop nuclear weapons. Speculation has been rife about pre-emptive strikes by Israel or the US against Iran’s “weapons facilities” and the consequences of such a strike. Discussions about sanctions have been wide-spread from nations to US Presidential candidates. But now it seems that the so-called UN evidence is actually nothing more than information manufactured by an intelligence agency (probably Mossad) and speculation from a Washington “think tank”  which is just another lobby group. The so-called foreign nuclear scientist does not exist and is actually a prominent Ukrainian  nanotechnology and nanodiamond expert, Vyacheslav Danilenko who has been in the same field all his career.

Moon of Alabama  first revealed the background of Danilenko.

November 7th: The Washington Posts alleges that the IAEA says foreign expertise has brought Iran to threshold of nuclear capability. This is of course, well, a lie. The IAEA has said nothing like that. It is simply an assertion made by the reporter and some “nuclear Iran” scare propagandists based on misinterpreting some factual points in the IAEA “evidence”. What that “evidence” says is: Iran is working on nanodiamond production.

It reminds me of the WMD debacle with Iraq, where blatant lies (by Bush, Blair, Cheney, Howard, Rice, Powell and Rumsfeld among others) were used to justify a politically driven objective. To be a little cynical, this exercise in Iraq – much to the delight of the defence industry  and the neo-con position –  has shifted the ground for what is politically acceptable for military intervention with Libya being a case in point. The Nato exercise here did not have to spend much effort in creating excuses for the intervention and European military forces were able to get rid of huge amounts of weapons and ammunition (some of which have simply disappeared). Needless to say all these “defence” materials will need to be replaced.

But perhaps this will create a stimulus for economic growth!!

The IAEA just took on board what an intelligence service had provided (thought to be Mossad) and is increasingly just becoming a tool of political objectives. After Iraq it is also clear that the US and other intelligence services are quite happy to “create” intelligence if the desired information is not available. And it would seem that Mossad spends a great deal of time in manufacturing information and not just in gathering it. (Shades of Hauser and Stapel)!

But few news agencies have followed up on this. InterPress is an exeption and Gareth Porter writes:

IAEA’s “Soviet Nuclear Scientist” Never Worked on Weapons
By Gareth Porter

The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published by a Washington think tank Tuesday repeated the sensational claim previously reported by news media all over the world that a former Soviet nuclear weapons scientist had helped Iran construct a detonation system that could be used for a nuclear weapon.

But it turns out that the foreign expert, who is not named in the IAEA report but was identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko, is not a nuclear weapons scientist but one of the top specialists in the world in the production of nanodiamonds by explosives. In fact, Danilenko, a Ukrainian, has worked solely on nanodiamonds from the beginning of his research career and is considered one of the pioneers in the development of nanodiamond technology, as published scientific papers confirm. 

It now appears that the IAEA and David Albright, the director of the International Institute for Science and Security in Washington, who was the source of the news reports about Danilenko, never bothered to check the accuracy of the original claim by an unnamed “Member State” on which the IAEA based its assertion about his nuclear weapons background. 

Albright gave a “private briefing” for “intelligence professionals” last week, in which he named Danilenko as the foreign expert who had been contracted by Iran’s Physics Research Centre in the mid-1990s and identified him as a “former Soviet nuclear scientist”, according to a story by Joby Warrick of the Washington Post on Nov. 5. 

The Danilenko story then went worldwide. ….. 

The IAEA report says the agency has “strong indications” that Iran’s development of a “high explosions initiation system”, which it has described as an “implosion system” for a nuclear weapon, was “assisted by the work of a foreign expert who was not only knowledgeable on these technologies, but who, a Member State has informed the Agency, worked for much of his career in the nuclear weapon program of the country of his origin.” ….

The member state obviously learned that Danilenko had worked during the Soviet period at the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics in Snezhinsk, Russia, which was well known for its work on development of nuclear warheads and simply assumed that he had been involved in that work. However, further research would have revealed that Danilenko worked from the beginning of his career in a part of the Institute that specialised in the synthesis of diamonds. …

The fact that the IAEA and Albright were made aware of Danilenko’s nanodiamond work in Iran before embracing the “former Soviet nuclear weapons specialist” story makes their failure to make any independent inquiry into his background even more revealing. The tale of a Russian nuclear weapons scientist helping construct an “implosion system” for a nuclear weapon is the most recent iteration of a theme that the IAEA introduced in its May 2008 report, which mentioned a five-page document describing experimentation with a “complex multipoint initiation system to detonate a substantial amount of high explosives in hemispherical geometry” and to monitor the detonation. ..

Israel has made no secret of its determination to influence world opinion on the Iranian nuclear programme by disseminating information to governments and news media, including purported Iran government documents. Israeli foreign ministry and intelligence officials told journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins about the special unit of Mossad dedicated to that task at the very time the fraudulent documents were being produced. …

Read Gareth Porter’s article 

See also: The IAEA Report: A Dud With Little Consequences For Iran

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