Israel suspected of leaking Iran nuclear data
Israel has been accused of leaking information that implements Iran in nuclear weapons experiments in an attempt to stall its government.
The latest leak, published by the Associated Press (AP), shows a supposed Iranian diagram depicting the physics of a nuclear test.
However, scientists quickly pointed out a mistake: “This diagram does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax,” Yousaf Butt and Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress declared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
It is believed Israel leaked the diagram in a show of impatience for what it sees as western compliance with the supposed Iranian nuclear regime.
The leaks come after an intensifying row over the issue being played out in Vienna, home of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters.
The release of the diagram has raised questions about a file of intelligence on the nuclear programme compiled by the IAEA. This was published in November 2011 and trigged a new round of EU and US sanctions.
The purpose of the leak may have been to impact the ongoing UN investigation, a European diplomat told The Guardian: “This is just one small snapshot of what the IAEA is working on, and part of a much broader collection of data from multiple sources,” the diplomat said. “The particular document turns out to have a huge error but the IAEA was aware of it and saw it in the context of everything it has. It paints a convincing case.”
Until 2003 there was a general consensus from western governments, Russia and China, as well as many independent experts, that the evidence collected pointed towards an Iranian nuclear weapons programme. However, since then there has been little unified thought concerning what activities may be going on within the country, and the IAEA inquiry has not yet found a “smoking gun”.
Iran denies all allegations of a nuclear programme and a new round of negotiations between Iran and six world powers over sanction relief is due to start in the next few weeks.