Friday, April 3, 2015

AP's Iran Infographic is Ignorant on IAEA Inspections

Accompanying an otherwise eyeroll-worthy article about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu's temper tantrum following yesterday's announcement of a nuclear deal framework between Iran, the United States, Russia, France, Great Britain, China, and Germany, the Associated Press has put together an infographic about what the emerging details of the deal mean.

Here it is:

Whoever put this thing together apparently doesn't know a whole lot about the constant inspections Iran's nuclear facilities are subject to under the nation's long-standing safeguards agreement with the IAEA. If one were to believe this graphic, Iran's nuclear sites were unmonitored until the interim agreement of November 2013 came into effect.

Here's a quick factcheck:

Associated Press: Tehran - A medical research reactor in Iran's capital would be opened to inspectors.

Fact: The Tehran Research Reactor is already a declared, safeguarded facility and regularly inspected by the IAEA.

Associated Press: Isfahan - Facility that turns uranium into a gas would be opened to inspectors.

Fact: The Uranium Conversion Facility is already a declared, safeguarded facility and regularly inspected by the IAEA.

Associated Press: Bushehr - Nuclear power plant would be opened to inspectors.

Fact: The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is already a declared, safeguarded facility and regularly inspected by the IAEA.

With such sloppy and misleading reporting, it's no wonder people like Michael Kaplow, program director at the Israel Institute, can write garbage like this about the supposed choices facing those negotiating with Iran:
Put more simply, option one is to allow Iran to resume its nuclear program in a hellbent manner and with no inspections or safeguards in place, and option two is to put inspections and safeguards in place to try and frustrate Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Leaving the dumbness of using the word "hellbent" to describe a decades-long process of slowly advancing a legal, safeguarded nuclear program that's never - ever - been found to have had military applications, Kaplow's suggestion that, were current talks to break up without a signed deal, Iran's program would "resume" with "no inspections or safeguards in place" is asinine.

Regardless of what happens in Switzerland over the next few months, Iran is not leaving the NPT, nor will it cease its cooperation and legally-binding Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. To claim otherwise is pure hysteria, based in ideology (or wishful, warmongering, thinking) rather than fact.

Iran has the singularly most surveilled, inspected, monitored, and scrutinized nuclear program ever. IAEA inspectors are present in Iran every single hour of every single day of the year. They conduct routine inspections of safeguarded facilities, as well as unannounced and short-notice inspections of Iran's two enrichment sites at Fordow and Natanz.

With infographics like the one above, published by a mainstream news wire service and distributed worldwide, it becomes just a little clearer why informed analysis of Iran's nuclear program remains so hard to find.