Gareth Porter: Recent IAEA alarmist report on Iran misstates enrichment numbers, putting Iran program closer to Israeli “red line”.
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Porter Report with investigative journalist Gareth Porter. Gareth writes regularly for Inter Press Service, and he’s working on a new book, Manufactured Crisis: The History of the Iran Nuclear Scare. Thanks very much for joining us, Gareth.
GARETH PORTER, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Hi, Paul. Glad to be back on The Porter Report.
JAY: So talk to us about what’s happening vis-à-vis the IAEA and Iran.
PORTER: Well, what’s—my most recent story is about the last IAEA report, of November 16, which generated a lot of press, as usual, which had a distinctly alarmist cast, saying on one hand that Iran had vastly, sharply increased the size of the stockpile of the very politically sensitive 20 percent enriched uranium that they have been producing in recent months, and thus bringing them closer to the Israeli red line and also closer to the possibility of a breakout capability, the capability to enrich to a higher level necessary to build a bomb. And what I showed in my article was that the IAEA had really fudged the numbers very seriously in its account of this question of the 20 percent enriched uranium that Iran has been producing and made it look like a nearly 50 percent increase in the size of that stockpile, when in fact if you really look very carefully at the numbers, it turns out that it was only a 20 percent increase, roughly, in the stockpile, and really not much higher at all than it has been in the past.
JAY: I thought there was actually a report recently that the Israelis acknowledge that a large part of this had actually been converted to medical purposes, and the Israelis acknowledge this.
PORTER: That’s exactly right. And, in fact, I brought that into my story, because the Israelis not only acknowledged that the Iranians have in fact diverted a good deal of the 20 percent enriched uranium to the Tehran Research Reactor, turning it into powder for fuel plates for that medical reactor, but in fact the Israelis acknowledge that the Iranians have carefully regulated the size of this 20 percent enriched uranium stockpile, so that it hasn’t really risen much above 110 kilograms in any particular period during the last year. So they’ve basically acknowledged that the Iranians have in fact been operating to show their good faith, to gain the confidence of the rest of the world, to show that they’re not really heading for a breakout capability, as has been charged by many.
JAY: Right. Now, you’re working on this new book, Manufactured Crisis. So tell us a little bit about what you’re planning.
PORTER: Well, this book is going to pull together all the work that I’ve done in the past on the issue of the Iranian nuclear program, and it will show—and I’m going to include a lot of interviews and other material that I’ve not published previously—it’s going to show just how fundamentally the global political system has gotten the Iranian nuclear program wrong, and, in fact, politically has distorted the real face of that program for decades. So it’s going to really be the first work that fundamentally, systematically shows just how badly both the world’s press and governments have dealt with this issue of Iran’s nuclear program.
JAY: Now, viewers who are interested in this book can actually help support getting it written and published. How can they do that?
PORTER: Well, there’s a fundraising effort, a campaign being waged through the kickstarter website, and people can go to that website and put in my name, Gareth Porter, and they will find the proposal for the book and a short video that I’ve done to introduce them to the book.
JAY: Great. Okay. We look forward to more Porter Reports and to the new book. Thanks for joining us, Gareth.
PORTER: Thanks very much, Paul.
JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.