The IAEA’s latest report on Iran, leaked today to a number of media outlets, has sparked a wild array of stories and speculation, though it appears to say very little. CNN’s headline “IAEA: Iran still enriching uranium” perhaps says it all, as there was no one who actually thought they had stopped.
Still, taking nothing about Iran and turning it into a massive scare piece has become something of a cottage industry within Western journalism, and within hours Britain’s Telegraph was announcing “Iran on brink of nuclear weapon” because the IAEA report noted that low level uranium enrichment had continued and its stockpile of low-enriched uranium had, of course, grown.
Other stories seized on the usual “matters of concern” in these reports, including the IAEA’s complaint that Iran had vetoed some of its proposed inspectors, something Iran has every right to do.
The White House was quick to declare the report “troubling” and insisted it proved Iran was “closer to a nuclear weapons capability,” something that does not appear to be supported by its content. And while Iran complained that the tone was less impartial than it had been under Mohamed ElBaradei, they insisted the report was vindication that reaffirmed that they were complying with the IAEA’s rules.