The director of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Fereydoon Abbasi, wrote in an article published Thursday by pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat that Iran had sometimes provided false information to IAEA to protect its nuclear program from foreign espionage. Abbasi did not specify the nature of the false information. (The New York Times, 21 September)
“We presented false information sometimes in order to protect our nuclear position and our achievements, as there is no other choice but to mislead foreign intelligence,” Abbasi wrote. “Sometimes we present a weakness that we do not in fact really have, and sometimes we appear to have power without having it.”
Iran has also refused IAEA demands to provide unfettered access to its inspectors to investigate suspicions about the existence of of the existence of a nuclear weapons research program.
“Others accuse us, and the agency (IAEA) seeks to establish these accusations, like what happened with the regime of Saddam Hussein, wanting a legal framework by which to isolate Iran and toughen sanctions on it,” Abbasi said.
On Monday, Mr. Abbasi said at an IAEA meeting that the agency had been infiltrated by “terrorists and saboteurs.” He also linked a previously unreported explosion of power lines to the country’s Fordo uranium enrichment facility to information gained by saboteurs through compromised security within the IAEA.
It is still unclear why Iran should admit to having issued false information on its nuclear program during a tense period in its relations with the West and Israel. It could be that some of the information was to come up in the open and Iran wanted to preempt its impact. Very strange nonetheless!