A “surge” in US secret surveillance of Iran’s nuclear programme over the past three years, involving “hundreds” of spy drone flights, has not produced the slightest evidence to support Washington’s much-vaunted fears that the Islamic Republic is building a nuclear weapon.
The complete lack of gun, never mind smoking gun, comes days before the resumed P5 + 1 talks in Istanbul in which the US-led Western nuclear powers will no doubt try to browbeat Iran over its entirely legal and legitimate civilian nuclear programme.
The newly disclosed massive expansion of CIA personnel dedicated to the “Iranian operations division”, known as Persia House, has grown from a few dozen to several hundred individuals since President Barack Obama took office.
Yet despite the mushrooming of Pentagon resources to find evidence that Iran is trying to develop the capability of making mushroom clouds, no such evidence has been found.
This is the startling conclusion from a report disclosed in the Washington Post (April 9, 2012). However, neither the US officials quoted in the report nor the newspaper itself makes that obvious conclusion. They choose instead to congratulate on how the ever-so smart spy drones could carry out hundreds of secret missions evading Iranian defences.
The Washington Post states: “At a time of renewed debate over whether stopping Iran might require military strikes, the expanded intelligence collection has reinforced the view within the White House that it will have early warning of any move by Iran to assemble a nuclear bomb, officials said.”
In other words, there is no evidence of nuclear weapons or an effort to build nuclear weapons by Iran – just as Iran has consistently said over the several years.
“CIA stealth drones scoured dozens of sites throughout Iran, making hundreds of passes over suspicious facilities, before a version of the RQ-170 crashed inside Iran’s borders in December. The surveillance has been part of what current and former U.S. officials describe as an intelligence surge that is aimed at Iran’s nuclear program and that has been gaining momentum since the final years of George W Bush’s administration,” writes the Washington Post.
Leaving aside the criminal issue of infringing Iranian territorial air space that the disclosure admits, we can be sure that if there was single gamma-ray of evidence that Iran was engaging in an illicit nuclear weapons program, the Western intelligence agencies and their pliable mainstream media mouthpieces would have it plastered all over the front pages.
But they don’t because they don’t have any evidence – despite massive, intrusive surveillance.
This by the way, is what several US intelligence assessments have been saying as far back as 2007 – that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons programme.
In another tacit admission of the latest blank, the Washington Post reports: “The Obama administration has cited new intelligence reports in arguing against a preemptive military strike by Israel against Iranian nuclear facilities.”
In other media reports, the Western powers and illegally nuclear-armed Israel are said to be prepared to accept Iran’s right to process very low enriched uranium (three per cent) but not 20 per cent, and that for the Iranians to even have the right to the lower-enrichment yield, they must dismantle the underground processing facility at Qom. Iran must also consent to ever more rigorous site inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has shown itself to be a tool of Western intelligence, fingering the identity of Iranian nuclear scientists who have subsequently been assassinated by CIA/Mossad hitmen.
But this seeming Western concession is a provocative, unwarranted prohibition on Iran’s right to develop civilian nuclear technology for medical purposes such as radiotherapy. Uranium for weaponisation needs to be enriched to 90 per cent. How can 20 per cent enriched uranium be construed as representing a nuclear weapons ambition except to the most paranoid bigot or misinformed?
One can only conclude that despite all the brouhaha, alleged nuclear weapons have nothing to do with the US-led agenda towards Iran. The real agenda is regime change and all the (baseless) allegations and warmongering over nuclear weapons is but a pretext to hide naked imperialist designs on a vital geopolitical region.
The real issue is not “global security” but US energy security. Washington cannot say that because any rational person would rightfully see such foreign policy as predatory and programmed for war.
Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent