Daily Israel Report

Doubts on Iran's Nuclear Aims -- Fact or Fancy?

A NY Times report that the Mossad and US agree there's no proof Iran is working for a nuclear bomb, but does not quote Israeli sources.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/18/2012, 9:08 AM

Iranian centrifuges in Natanz
Iranian centrifuges in Natanz
Reuters

The New York Times reports Israel’s Mossad spy agency agrees with the U.S. that there is no direct proof that Iran is working for a nuclear weapon, but the newspaper does not quote any Israeli source.

If the report is correct, it would place the Mossad in sharp contrast to the political echelon in Israel, which openly claims that Iran aims to achieve nuclear weapons.

The Times is known to be a convenient source for “leaks” from the Obama administration, and the newspaper has been a defender of the president and an antagonist towards Israel. President Barack Obama is running for reelection and is viewed as pressuring Israel not to take any military action against Iran before the ballots are counted.

The report in Sunday’s newspaper stated, “The difficulty in assessing the [Iranian] government’s ambitions was evident two years ago, when what appeared to be alarming new intelligence emerged, according to current and former United States officials.

President Barack Obama has placed stiff sanctions against Iran on the assumption, largely provoked by information from Israel, that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, and United Nations nuclear experts have recently have admitted that there is increasing evidence supporting Israel’s stand.

The Times emphasized in its report that the foggy information from Iran offers “more insight about what the Iranians are not doing than evidence of what they are up to.”

It quotes American officials who cast doubt on whether Iran has restarted its program for nuclear weapons, but there are no quotes from Israeli sources. Mainstream media around the world headlined Sunday that the newspaper said, "The Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, agrees with the American intelligence assessments…Their people ask very hard questions, but Mossad does not disagree with the U.S. on the weapons program.”

Not only is there not information based on Israeli reports, but the references to the Mossad also were restricted to two short paragraphs in the middle of the article. The only source for supposed agreement of the Mossad was “one former senior American intelligence official.”

Further adding to the possibility that the report is a plant by the Obama administration, is the fact the American intelligence officials only a few months ago reversed their previous stand and admitted they were wrong in a previous assessment that Iran has abandoned its nuclear weapon programs. The admission confirmed Israel’s warnings that had been rejected by the United States.

The report also does not raise the question of why Iran continues to impose obstacles against United Nations inspection of its nuclear plants, while willing to suffer intense economic hardship from Western sanctions because of the lack of transparency.