by Jason Ditz, February 18, 2010 | antiwar.com
Those agitating for war with Iran claimed a major victory today when a draft IAEA report on Iran contained unsubstantiated references to “possible” Iranian work on a “nuclear payload for a missile.”
Later in the day, another IAEA report was leaked which included another wiggle word speculation about the “possibility of nuclear-related activities” in Syria, again with a total absence of new data backing up these claims.
Both draft reports came straight from the desk of new IAEA chief Amano Yukiya, who replaced former chief Mohamed ElBaradei. Amano’s reports were careful to include enough mentions of “possibilities” and “questions” to avoid making any direct claims, which would be flat out lies given the paucity of evidence in both cases, the rhetoric was clearly designed to be sensational. Unsurprisingly, the media dutifully latched onto the messages, excised any mentions of “questions,” and reported the reports at proof of new threats.
Amano was widely supported by Western nations as a replacement for ElBaradei, and it is becoming increasingly apparent why. Though ElBaradei was far from perfect, he saw it as a sort of duty to avoid including any speculation which might be used as a pretext for war. Amano seems far less scrupulous about this, and seems content to speak his mind about what “possibilities” exist, absent any evidence, and regardless of the possible consequences.
At some point, the media will likely get used to the new, more alarmist statements coming out of the IAEA. In the meantime, media scare pieces about “unprecedented” IAEA comments, backed with materially nothing, will be the order of the day.