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The Iran Nuclear "Alleged Studies" Documents: The Evidence of Fraud

• MEPC / Gareth Porter

The authors of the laptop documents left a trail of indicators that reveal their fraudulent character. Because of their ignorance of some key facts about the Iranian nuclear program and their effort to ensure that the documents would have the desired political effect, they made a series of errors. This investigation of all the available data related to the laptop documents found eight indicators of fraud:
1) The warhead schematics shown in the documents were based on a design that had already been abandoned by the Iranian military in favor of a new and improved design.
2) The Iranian military could not possibly have assigned the project code number (Project 5/15) to the uranium-conversion project. The ore-processing project had been given that designation by AEOI some two-and-a-half years before the purported nuclear-weapons project is said to have been created.
3) The premise of the documents — that the military would have taken responsibility for work on uranium conversion — is highly implausible. The work on a different technology had already been done by civilians under the AEOI over a period of more than a decade.
4) The idea that Kimia Maadan would be asked to design a process for uranium conversion is highly implausible. The company lacked experience and expertise on that part of the process, and expertise in uranium conversion had been concentrated within the AEOI for well over a decade.
5) It is highly implausible that a project on uranium conversion would use a letter about a dual-use technology as the vehicle to compose handwritten notes mentioning the leadership of a project on redesigning the reentry vehicle of the Shahab-3 to accommodate a nuclear weapon.
6) It is highly implausible that a company that had done nothing beyond completing a flow sheet outlining a process for uranium conversion would have been authorized to immediately begin making concrete plans for equipping such a facility without going through a lengthy stage of testing the technology depicted in the flow sheet.
7) It is highly implausible that a letter about equipping a uranium-conversion facility would be sent to the leadership of a project on redesigning a missile-reentry vehicle for a "technical opinion."
8) The fact that the IAEA does not know whether the original laptop documents had official stamps and security classification markings — missing from the versions shared with the agency — means either that the United States failed to respond to an IAEA request for visual evidence of such original markings, or that it discouraged the IAEA from asking for the evidence. In either case, the logical inference must be that the original documents obtained by the United States do not have such marks of authenticity. This can be regarded as prima facie evidence of fraud.

The political implications of this evidence of fraud in the alleged-studies documents are far-reaching. No other hard evidence of an Iranian intention to manufacture nuclear weapons has been found, despite a search that has lasted at least two decades. This suggests that Iran has been interested in a "nuclear hedging option" similar to that of Japan and other nations aspiring to master the nuclear fuel cycle rather than possess nuclear weapons themselves.

The political climate in the United States has shifted in favor of confrontation with Iran — based overwhelmingly on the assumption that these documents are genuine. Now evidence has emerged that the documents are fraudulent. Therefore, a more fundamental review of U.S. policy toward the Iranian nuclear issue is necessary.

 

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