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We had a breather during the final stretch of the presidential election campaign, but the way is now cleared for a renewal of the propaganda campaign urging war with Iran. The latest salvo: a UN report claiming Iran plans on building 3,000 new centrifuges, and headlines are screaming — in the West, at any rate — that Iran will have enough uranium to build a nuclear bomb by sometime next year. Is this true?

Undoubtedly not. To begin with, let’s go through the news accounts: here‘s a typical one, a Reuters dispatch, which reports a “stand off” between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), run by the UN, which monitors nuclear activities of member states. To the ordinary person just glancing at the headline, the assumption is that the “stand off” is over Iran’s unwillingness to keep its nuclear facilities open to inspection. Not so. Yet Reuters reports:

“An inquiry by the UN nuclear watchdog into alleged atom bomb research by Iran has degenerated into a silent standoff a few months after Tehran asserted u2018the matter is over’, UN officials said on Wednesday.”

If your eyes glaze over at this point, and you don’t get much further than the lede, then the story seems to be describing Iranian nuclear research that will inevitably result in the production of a weapon. Reuters cites a whiny UN official, who complains: “We had gridlock before but until September at least we were talking to each other. Now it’s worse. There is no communication whatsoever, no progress regarding possible military dimensions in their program.” It isn’t until several paragraphs later that it becomes apparent to the casual reader that the program he’s talking about ended in 2003:

“The report said that unless Iran produced credible evidence for its denials that it tried to u2018weaponise’ nuclear materials, or permitted inspections beyond declared atomic sites, the IAEA could not verify Iran’s enrichment was wholly peaceful.”

Remember last year, when the CIA issued its definitive assessment of the alleged Iranian nuclear threat? It declared with “high confidence” that Tehran had ceased its military research program four years previously. According to the CIA, all those diagrams and dicey computer disks that somehow showed up in the hands of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), and were pushed by the War Party as evidence of Iran’s perfidy, detailed a program that hadn’t been functional for years. (At any rate, those documents turned out to be forgeries.)

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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