UN Atomic Agency Cites Laptop Photos in Iran Allegations

Updated 9/17 1:35 PM EST

One day after accusing the Iranian government of blocking its probe into their alleged nuclear weapons program, the International Atomic Energy Agency has released documents and photographs which it confronted Iran with, and for which the Iranians had failed to provide substantive responses. One of the photos suggests Iran may have attempted to modify a Shahab-3 missile to make it suitable for carrying a nuclear warhead.

The IAEA described the information as “very credible,” but Iran has insisted they are crude forgeries. Of particular interest, Iran questioned why ostensibly top secret documents and photographs found by US intelligence on what was reported to be a stolen laptop would contain no seals indicating their confidential nature.

These suddenly contentious documents appear to be some of the same laptop documents the United States has been citing in its accusations against Iran since 2004. This would also mean the data the IAEA is so interested in was available when last year’s National Intelligence Estimate cited with “high confidence” that Iran had halted any work on a nuclear weapons program in 2003.

The “stolen laptop” was given to the administration by the Mujahideen al-Khalq, an organization which the US State Department describes as an “armed Iranian dissident group” with “a philosophy that mixes Marxism and Islam”. The contents of this laptop appear to be the last stumbling block for the IAEA to declare all questions about Iran’s nuclear program answered.

But Iran has insisted that the IAEA’s most recent demands are unreasonable, and would require them to disclose classified documents about their conventional arsenal. The talks appear to be at a dead end at this point, but have provided the west with yet another excuse to press for additional sanctions against Iran.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.