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Drudge, Jerusalem Post sensationalize story about nuclear Iran

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An article in the Jerusalem Post trumpeted by the conservative Drudge Report grossly sensationalizes the comments of Mohamed El-Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The piece, titled "El Baradei: Iran only months away from a bomb," takes a comment Baradei made to the British newspaper The Independent completely out of context.

According to the Independent, Baradei said he wasn't sure if the Iranians were building a nuclear weapon:

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Although IAEA officials have said it would take at least two years for Natanz to become fully operational, Mr ElBaradei believes that once the facility is up and running, the Iranians could be "a few months" away from a nuclear weapon. "That's why there is the concern of the international community about Iran," he said, "because lots of people feel it could be a dual purpose programme".

Did he believe the Iranians were building a nuclear weapon? "The jury's out," he said. "It's difficult to read their intention. We're still going through the programme to make sure it's all for peaceful purposes.

"I know they are trying to acquire the full fuel cycle. I know that acquiring the full fuel cycle means that a country is months away from nuclear weapons, and that applies to Iran and everybody else."

The Jerusalem Post, meanwhile, turned Baradei on his head -- not only ignoring the fact that he said he wasn't sure Iran was developing a nuclear weapon, but also adding "will" where Baradei had said "could":

IAEA chairman Muhammad ElBaradei on Monday confirmed Israel's assessment that Iran is only a few months away from creating an atomic bomb.

If Teheran indeed resumed its uranium enrichment in other plants, as threatened, it will take it only "a few months" to produce a nuclear bomb, El-Baradei told The Independent.

However, ElBaradei didn't confirm Israel's assessment, since - in the worst case scenario - Iran is two years and a few months away from being able to acquire the full fuel cycle.

NOTE - Some more lines from the Independent article were added to show ElBaradei's use of "could" and the last paragraph was included to show that the timeframe was skewed.

Originally published on Monday December 5, 2005

 


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