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ElBaradei Foes Leak Stories to Force His Hand on Iran


ElBaradei Foes Leak Stories to Force His Hand on Iran
Analysis by Gareth Porter | IPS News

Western officials leaked stories to the Associated Press and Reuters last week aimed at pressuring the outgoing chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, to include a summary of intelligence alleging that Iran has been actively pursuing work on nuclear weapons in the IAEA report due out this week.

The aim of the pressure for publication of the document appears to be to discredit the November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the Iranian nuclear programme, which concluded that Iran had ended work on nuclear weapons in 2003.

The story by Reuters United Nations correspondent Louis Charbonneau reported that "several" officials from those states had said the IAEA has "credible information" suggesting that the U.S. intelligence estimate was "incorrect".

The issue of credibility of the NIE is particularly sensitive right now because the United States, Britain, France and Germany are anticipating tough negotiations with Russia and China on Iran's nuclear programme in early September.

The two parallel stories by Charbonneau and Associated Press correspondent George Jahn in Vienna, both published Aug. 20, show how news stories based on leaks from officials with a decided agenda, without any serious effort to provide an objective historical text or investigation of their accuracy, can seriously distort an issue.

Reflecting the hostile attitude of the quartet of Western governments and Israel toward ElBaradei, the stories suggested that ElBaradei has been guilty of a cover-up in refusing to publish information he has had since last September alleging that Iran has continued to pursue research on developing nuclear weapons. Read more.

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