Independent repeats false charge that Mossad contradicted Bibi on Iran nukes

Early in March we posted about an extremely misleading Guardian editorial charging that Binyamin Netanyahu’s claim regarding Iran’s progress towards producing a nuclear bomb was contradicted by the Mossad.
We demonstrated that, based on a fuller reading of the same leaked cables cited by the Guardian in their editorial, the Mossad was in general agreement with the prime minister’s assessment “that Iran is in pursuit of a bomb and is …closing in on that objective”.
On April 3, The Independent repeated this misleading Guardian narrative, in an article by Lamiat Sabin titled ‘Benjamin Netanyahu ‘strongly opposes’ Iran nuclear deal and demands recognition of Israel‘.
Here are the relevant passages from the Indy report.

[Netanyahu] claims that Iran is harbouring plans to unleash nuclear chaos on the world were contradicted by his own secret service Mossad, who leaked a document stating that Iran was using uranium to generate electricity.

Evidence passed by Mossad to a South African agency, before being published by Al Jazeera and Guardian, states Iran is “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons” and “doesn’t appear to be ready to enrich [uranium] to higher levels.”

First, note that, in the second passage above, the Indy’s use of a passage from the Mossad document, that Iran is “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons“, only uses part of the quote.
Here’s the full quote.

“Bottom line: Though Iran at this stage is not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons, it is working to close gaps in areas that appear legitimate such as enrichment, reactors, which will reduce the time required to produce weapons from the time the instruction is actually given.

Further, passages from the Mossad report contradicting the desired narrative, and omitted by the Indy, include these:

  • Iran is “making efforts” to put the IR40 reactor in Arak into operation, which is “expected to produce enough military-grade plutonium for one bomb per year”.
  • In the area of nuclear of weapons,” the report stated, “there is continued R&D activity at SPND, under the Iranian Defense Ministry, which we understand is intended for accumulating know-how and creating an organizational framework [which] it will be able to make use of to produce nuclear fuel, when the order is given.”

As Times of Israel military correspondent Mitch Ginsburg concluded in his superb critique of the Guardian expose last month, “Netanyahu and the Mossad agree that Iran is in pursuit of a bomb and is continually closing in on that objective.” 
Ginsberg went on to elaborate on that progress.

[Iran] has advanced on two tracks, uranium and plutonium; and that it has amassed enough five-percent-enriched uranium for several bombs, some of which has been further enriched to 20%. 

The disunity between Netanyahu and the Mossad, concluded Ginsberg, is not whether Iran is “performing the activity necessary to produce weapons,” as has been suggested, but rather around the speed with which this action is being taken.
Bottom line: The Indy’s implicit claim that the Mossad doesn’t believe Iran is on the path towards nuclear weapons is completely false.

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