Category Archives: Iran

AP believes it found evidence of Iran’s work on nuclear weapons

open quoteUncritical, fear-mongering media propaganda is far too common to take note of each time it appears, but sometimes, what is produced is so ludicrous that its illustrative value should not be ignored. Such is the case with a highly trumpeted Associated Press “exclusive” from Tuesday which claims in its red headline to have discovered evidence of “Iran Working on Bomb”.

What is this newly discovered, scary evidence? It is a “graph” which AP says was “leaked” to it by “officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program to bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon” (how mysterious: the globe is gripped with befuddlement as it tries to guess which country that might be). Here’s how AP presents the graph in all its incriminating, frightening glory:

This, says AP, shows that “Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.” Moreover, “an intelligence summary provided with the drawing” – provided, that is, by the mysterious “country critical of Iran’s atomic program” – “linked [the graph] to other alleged nuclear weapons work – significant because it would indicate that Iran is working not on isolated experiments, but rather on a single program aimed at mastering all aspects of nuclear arms development.”

Where to begin? First, note that AP granted anonymity here not merely to an individual but to an entire country. What’s the proffered justification for doing so? The officials wanted it, so AP gave it: “officials provided the diagram only on condition that they and their country not be named.” That’s very accommodating of AP.
Binyamin Netanyahu UN with bomb Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a diagram illustrating Iran’s nuclear programme.

Second, this graph – which is only slightly less hilariously primitive than the one Benjamin Netanyahu infamously touted with a straight face at the UN – has Farsi written under it to imbue it with that menacing Iranian-ish feel, but also helpfully uses English to ensure that US audiences can easily drink up its scariness. As The Atlantic’s Robert Wright noted: “How considerate of the Iranians to label their secret nefarious nuke graph in English!”. It’s certainly possible that Iranian scientists use English as a universal language of science, but the convenient mixing of Farsi and English should at least trigger some skepticism.

Third, 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.close quote (Read more)

Iran’s currency plunges 40 percent, riot police called out

From earlier this month:

open quoteMany bazaar merchants had closed their shops the day before and authorities reported arrests amid efforts to clampdown on black market money exchangers, who effectively set the rates around the country. Trash bins were set ablaze during sporadic confrontations with security forces.

The Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran said 16 people have been detained for “disrupting” the currency — an apparent reference to speculators trying to take advantage of the rial’s declining value.

Iran’s rial has lost nearly 40 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar in the past week. The rate Thursday — about 32,000 rials for the dollar — was a bit higher than the record low earlier this week.close quote (Read more)

Netanyahu: Iran on brink of nuclear bomb in six-seven months

open quoteWASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran was just six to seven months away from the brink of being able to build a nuclear bomb, adding urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a “red line” for Tehran in what could deepen the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades.

Taking to the television airwaves to make his case directly to the American public, Netanyahu said that by mid-2013 Iran would be “90 percent of the way” toward enough enriched uranium for a weapon. He again urged the United States to spell out limits that Tehran must not cross if it is to avoid military action – something Obama has refused to do.close quote (Read more)

Netanyahu pushing hard for US-Iran war

open quotePrime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday continued his campaign to get the United States and the world to lay down a “red line” for Iran, amid initial signs that US President Barack Obama might now be willing to do so.

Netanyahu, during a meeting with a group of wounded US and Israeli veterans, said that the clearer the red line, the less likelihood there is of bloodshed.close quote (Read more)

Blizzard cuts off Iranian access to World of Warcraft

So stupid.

open quoteUS trade sanctions have led game maker Blizzard to cut off access to World of Warcraft (Wow) in Iran.

Blizzard posted a statement to its player-forum site after hundreds of Iranian players said they had lost access to the game.

Access was lost recently, it said, because it had “tightened up its procedures” to comply with sanctions.

This also meant, said Blizzard, that it could not give refunds to players or transfer their accounts.close quote (Read more)

New Navy Admiral Trying to Provoke Iran War

I wonder who was behind this idiot’s promotion.

open quoteVice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff had amassed an impressive résumé, rising through the ranks to command a cruiser and a warship group after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Following a customary path to three stars, he had also spent as much time in Washington as he had at sea, including stints at the Defense Intelligence Agency and as director of the Clinton White House Situation Room.

Cosgriff — backed by a powerful friend and boss, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) chief Adm. William J. “Fox” Fallon — was itching to push the Iranians, Todd and other present and former Navy officials say.

“There was a feeling that the Navy was back on its heels in dealing with Iran,” according to a Navy official prohibited from commenting in the media. “There was an intention to be far more aggressive with the Iranians, and a diminished concern about keeping Washington in the loop.”

Two people who were there said Cosgriff mused in a staff meeting one day that he’d like to steam a Navy frigate up the Shatt al Arab, the diplomatically sensitive and economically crucial waterway dividing Iraq and Iran. In another, they said, he wanted to convene a regional conference to push back Iran’s territorial claims in the waterway, a flash point for the bloody Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.close quote (Read more)

Romney: ‘No option should be excluded’ in stopping a nuclear Iran

open quoteJERUSALEM—Speaking against the backdrop of the historic Old City, Mitt Romney signaled he supports Israel’s right to “defend itself” against its enemies and said “any and all measures” should be considered in the world’s efforts to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

The Republican candidate said preventing a nuclear Iran should be America’s “highest national security priority.” And while he argued that diplomatic efforts should continue, Romney insisted that all options should be on the table in dealing with Iran, including a military strike.close quote (Read more)

Romney: The President Doesn’t Need Congress’ Approval For War In Iran

open quote“I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world,” Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Face The Nation Sunday. “I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.”close quote (Read more)

Confirmed: US and Israel created Stuxnet, lost control of it

open quoteIn 2011, the US government rolled out its “International Strategy for Cyberspace,” which reminded us that “interconnected networks link nations more closely, so an attack on one nation’s networks may have impact far beyond its borders.” An in-depth report today from the New York Times confirms the truth of that statement as it finally lays bare the history and development of the Stuxnet virus—and how it accidentally escaped from the Iranian nuclear facility that was its target.

The article is adapted from journalist David Sanger’s forthcoming book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, and it confirms that both the US and Israeli governments developed and deployed Stuxnet. The goal of the worm was to break Iranian nuclear centrifuge equipment by issuing specific commands to the industrial control hardware responsible for their spin rate. By doing so, both governments hoped to set back the Iranian research program—and the US hoped to keep Israel from launching a pre-emptive military attack.close quote (Read more)

Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran

open quoteFrom his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised. close quote (Read more)

Israel hints it may be behind ‘Flame’ super-virus targeting Iran

open quoteA top Israeli minister yesterday fed speculation that the Jewish state could be responsible for a powerful new virus said to have been used in a fresh attack on computers in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The discovery of the unprecedented complex data-stealing “Flame” virus was disclosed by a Russian-based digital security firm Kaspersky Lab. Its experts reported on Monday that it had been applied most actively in Iran, but also in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister, told the country’s Army Radio: “Anyone who sees the Iranian threat as a significant threat – it’s reasonable [to assume] that he will take various steps, including these, to harm it.”

Mr Yaalon, a former military Chief of Staff, added: “Israel was blessed as being a country rich with high-tech. These tools that we take pride in open up all kinds of opportunities for us.”close quote (Read more)