Friday, March 7, 2008

The losers' game

Diplomatic manoeuvres to force Iran to prove a negative about its halted nuclear weapons programme ... now where have I seen that before?

By Scott Ritter
The Guardian

"With all the courage of conviction that comes from being anonymously sourced, a "senior British diplomat" has cast doubt on the veracity of a recent US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003. This unnamed official was backed up by Simon Smith, the British representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who noted that a recent briefing given by the IAEA had raised doubts about Iran's claims that it never had a nuclear weapons programme.

Smith is no unbiased observer. As the spokesperson for the so-called "EU-3" (Great Britain, France and Germany), he serves as the face of a group which has a considerable political investment in maintaining the notion of Iran as a non-compliant player in the diplomatic game that is Iran's nuclear programme......

I have seen this game played before: as a chief inspector with the United Nations in Iraq, I participated in similar efforts to construct briefings composed of fragmentary sourcing of questionable quality. The end product, comprising visually-pleasing organisations charts, communications diagrams and procurement records, was used to brief the security council members in an effort to strengthen their resolve to confront a recalcitrant Iraq. These briefings generated the myth of a retained Iraqi WMD capability, which lived on until proven false in the aftermath of the US-British invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003......"

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