Cracks Open in Iran Nuke Charges

Many Washington pundits who championed the false tales about Iraq’s WMD have returned to center stage in the new accusations about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. And some of the Iran charges are falling apart just like the Iraq ones, as Gareth Porter reports.


By Gareth Porter


A former inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repudiated its major new claim that Iran built an explosives chamber to test components of a nuclear weapon and carry out a simulated nuclear explosion.

The IAEA claim that a foreign scientist – identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko – had been involved in building the alleged containment chamber also has now been denied firmly by Danilenko himself in an interview with Radio Free Europe published on Friday.

The latest report by the IAEA cited “information provided by Member States” that Iran had constructed “a large explosives containment vessel in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments” – meaning simulated explosions of nuclear weapons – in its Parchin military complex in 2000.

IAEA Iran Report Spins Intelligence — Gareth Porter expounds:


The report said it had “confirmed” that a “large cylindrical object” housed at the same complex had been “designed to contain the detonation of up to 70 kilograms of high explosives”. That amount of explosives, it said, would be “appropriate” for testing a detonation system to trigger a nuclear weapon.

Robert Kelley is an American nuclear scientist and a former director in the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA

But former IAEA inspector Robert Kelley has denounced the agency’s claims about such a containment chamber as “highly misleading”.

Kelley, a nuclear engineer who was the IAEA’s chief weapons inspector in Iraq and is now a senior research fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, pointed out in an interview with the Real News Network that a cylindrical chamber designed to contain 70 kg of explosives, as claimed by the IAEA, could not possibly have been used for hydrodynamic testing of a nuclear weapon design, contrary to the IAEA claim.

“There are far more explosives in that bomb than could be contained by this container,” Kelley said, referring to the simulated explosion of a nuclear weapon in a hydrodynamic experiment.

Kelley also observed that hydrodynamic testing would not have been done in a container inside a building in any case. “You have to be crazy to do hydrodynamic explosives in a container,” he said. “There’s no reason to do it. They’re done outdoors on firing tables.”

Kelley rejected the IAEA claim that the alleged cylindrical chamber was new evidence of an Iranian weapons program. “We’ve been led by the nose to believe that this container is important, when in fact it’s not important at all,” Kelley said.

The IAEA report and unnamed “diplomats” implied that a “former Soviet nuclear weapons scientist”, identified in the media as Danilenko, had helped build the alleged containment vessel at Parchin. But their claims conflict with one another as well as with readily documented facts about Danilenko’s work in Iran.

The IAEA report does not deny that Danilenko – a Ukrainian who worked in a Soviet-era research institute that was identified mainly with nuclear weapons – was actually a specialist on nanodiamonds. The report nevertheless implies a link between Danilenko and the purported explosives chamber at Parchin by citing a publication by Danilenko as a source for the dimensions of the alleged explosives chamber.

Associated Press reported on Nov. 11 that unnamed diplomats suggested Volodymyr Padalko, a partner of Danilenko in a nanodiamond business who was described as Danilenko’s son-in-law, had contradicted Danilenko’s firm denial of involvement in building a containment vessel for weapons testing.

The diplomats claimed Padalko had told IAEA investigators that Danilenko had helped build “a large steel chamber to contain the force of the blast set off by such explosives testing.”

But that claim appears to be an effort to confuse Danilenko’s well- established work on an explosives chamber for nanodiamond synthesis with a chamber for weapons testing, such as the IAEA now claims was built at Parchin.

One of the unnamed diplomats described the steel chamber at Parchin as “the size of a double-decker bus” and thus “much too large” for nanodiamonds.

But the IAEA report itself made exactly the opposite argument, suggesting that the purported steel chamber at Parchin was based on the design in a published paper by Danilenko. The report said the alleged explosives chamber was designed to contain “up to 70 kg of high explosives” which it claims would be “suitable” for testing what it calls a “multipoint initiation system” for a nuclear weapon.

But a 2008 slide show on systems for nanodiamond synthesis posted on the Internet by the U.S.-based nanotechnology company NanoBlox shows that the last patented containment chamber built by Danilenko and patented in 1992, with a total volume of 100 cubic meters, was designed for the use of just 10 kg of explosives.

David Albright -- Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS)

An unnamed member state had given the IAEA a purported Iranian document in 2008 describing a 2003 test of what the agency interpreted to be a possible “high explosive implosion system for a nuclear weapon.” David Albright, director of a Washington, D.C. think tank who frequently passes on information from IAEA officials to the news media, told this writer in 2009 that the member state in question was “probably Israel.”

Although the process of making “detonation nanodiamonds” uses explosives in a containment chamber, the chamber would bear little resemblance to one used for testing a nuclear bomb’s initiation system.

The production of diamonds does not require the same high degree of precision in simultaneous explosions as the initiator for a nuclear device. And unlike the explosives used in a multipoint initiation system, the explosives used for making synthetic nanodiamonds must be under water in a closed pool, as Danilenko noted in a 2010 PowerPoint presentation.

Having endorsed the IAEA’s claims, Albright concedes in a Nov. 13 article that the IAEA report “did not provide [sic] Danilenko’s involvement, if any, in this chamber.”

In an interview with Radio Free Europe on Friday, Danilenko denied that he has any expertise in nuclear weapons, saying, “I understand absolutely nothing in nuclear physics.” He also denied that he participated in “modeling warheads” at the research institute in Russia where he worked for three decades.

Danilenko further denied doing any work in Iran that did not relate to “dynamic detonation synthesis of diamonds” and said he has “strong doubts” that Iran had a nuclear weapons program during those years.

Albright and three co-authors published an account of Danilenko’s work in Iran this week seeking to give credibility to the IAEA suggestion that he worked on the containment chamber for a nuclear weapons program.

The Albright article, published on the website of the Institute for Science and International Security, said that Danilenko approached the Iranian embassy in 1995 offering his expertise on detonation diamonds, and later signed a contract with Syed Abbas Shahmoradi who responded to Danilenko’s query.

Albright identifies Shahmoradi as the “head of Iran’s secret nuclear sector involved in the development of nuclear weapons,” merely because Shahmoradi later headed the Physics Research Center, which the IAEA argues has led Iran’s nuclear weapons research.

But in late 1995, Shahmoradi was at the Sharif University of Technology, which is a leading center for nanodiamonds in Iran. Albright argues that this is evidence supporting his suspicion that nanodiamonds were a cover for his real work, because the main center for nanodiamond research is at Malek Ashtar University of Technology rather than at Sharif University.

However, Sharif University had just established an Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in 2005 that was intended to become the hub for nanotechnology research activities and strategy planning for Iran. So Sharif University and Shahmoradi would have been the logical choice to contract one of the world’s leading specialists on nanodiamonds.


Edited by : Debbie Menon

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006.

This story was first published by Inter Press Service.


The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICY

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4 Responses to "Cracks Open in Iran Nuke Charges"

  1. LOB2065  November 25, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Back in 2001 President Bush and Co hired their own group of ‘Intelligence people’ who after being briefed by the Whitehouse then proceeded to write a report saying that Iraq had WMDs. This report was then used to justify a war with Iraq. Bush declared afterwards that the ‘Intelligence people’ were wrong but it was what the US Gov based its decisions on.

    Now obviously no one is stupid enough to believe any intelligence reports coming out of either the US or Israel that says that Iran has nuclear weapons – even really dumb America. And Obama does not want to be considered a war criminal like Bush, Cheney and Blair.

    So now we have the next best thing – someone has obviously gotten the IAEA to lie about Iran having WMDs.

    None of America’s allies are going to fall for this one either. OK the usual suspects – the UK, Canada and US have instigated new sanctions against Iran because of the IAEA reports ‘findings’ but these little piggies all have their snouts eating out of the same trough and one of them obviously paid for the report to be written.

    What do you do when the people you hang around with are filth that belong in a gutter? Are lying swine that do anything for money including killing people on mass for profit and to steal their assets?

    Many of look at the Russians and North Koreans and believed that they are brainwashed into believing the ridiculous by their government run media – well lets add Americans to the list.

    This IAEA report is a disgrace.

  2. Latney Davis  November 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I hope that this isn’t an issue of Mossad/CIA/FBI is losing its touch. I hope it is more an issue of more “watchers” being in-touch and calling BULLSH*T early in the “game”. Anything short of another 9/11 style lie is being closely scrutinized.

    If THEY pull that level of atrocity out of their bag-of-tricks, then scrutiny goes out the window. The sleeping masses will awake long enough to endorse bombing Iran off the map. THEY are apparently running out of simple “hat tricks”. Makes me more than a little bit nervous.

  3. Debbie Menon  November 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Yep! Someone has got to get past the wall of silence which surrounds false flags and who waves them.

    America is despised not because of what it is, who or what its citizens are, or how they live or what they stand for, but for what it appears that they stand for in their Foreign Policy, and what they are doing in the execution of it!

  4. The Rahnameh  November 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Cracks? I consider it a fairy tale – a short story, literally.

    Look, if one were to plot on a calendar all of these “revelations” about Iran, one would see clearly an orchestrated attempt to ramp up pressure for sanctions on Iran based on failed attempts to fool the public.

    I don’t think Dagan ever disagreed with Bibi. I think they played charades to take the focus off Palestine.

    That’s what this is all about:


    Israel has been betting this time you’d be writing instead about: Iran * Iran * Iran.

    They win, again. Bottom line: Israel (bibi et. al.) all have a secret land-grabbing motive to create a Greater Israel comparable to the size of Iran (4x Iraq, the size of UK, France, Spain and Germany combined). They must accomplish this through militarist means. This would be the only reason they would start a regional conflict with Iran – to give them access to more land grabs by “fog” of war and, of course, Goebbelesque control of the image. But Israel knows it can’t achieve this by attacking Iran. In fact, it knows it would commit suicide — this is no secret to anyone. Thus, because it has already puffed its chest for its internal audience and run a cost, politically speaking, the Israeli leadership must now come out the media winner in the disengagement with Iran or keep toeing the line to war without actually going there. After all, this maintains a price in the oil market – a veritable push-button to create events that raise and lower global market speculation over crude. In the end, Israel hopes to position itself as the feared, but restraint, hegemon re: Iran. It’s secondary effect is a distraction from the domestic protesting and inflating Palestinian issue. If Israel can dominate Iran by mere threat, then it can dominate any Arab country in the region – particularly those it has lost due to the Arab Spring.

    Israel’s calculus was that its media could control opinion as strongly as it had for the past decades. Israel’s dreamy songs, however, no longer sung to its Western audience with a sweet tone but one that sounds like a Thanksgiving Turkey after losing its voice from partying the night before. Or maybe one that sounds more like the cold blooded murderer of 1400 Palestinian civilians before Obama came into Presidency. Or the one that looks like it comes from a monster that sent a 1000 man navy to slaughter a 19 year old American kid trying to bring food and supplies to an impoverished and politically punished civilian population like a good human being. The internet reveals truth like no other, and the Israel has never been a friend of the truth. So, Israel now has hijacked the portions of the internet that work against it. For instance, they feed you bad information through back channels (straw men pretending to be others) about an “impending war” they “plan on” executing “any day now” and the truth-centric blogosphere runs it, obviously hoping to avoid war by making public the looming threat.

    Except, like other threats, it was an Israeli fabrication.

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