The Parchin Deception

The latest wrinkle in the War Party’s propaganda campaign aimed at Iran is a drawing – yes, you read that correctly – of an alleged nuclear weapons development project at the Parchin military facility. An Associated Press “exclusive” describes this new “evidence” of Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions:

A drawing based on information from inside an Iranian military site shows an explosives containment chamber of the type needed for nuclear arms-related tests that U.N. inspectors suspect Tehran has conducted there…. The computer-generated drawing was provided to The Associated Press by an official of a country tracking Iran’s nuclear program who said it proves the structure exists, despite Tehran’s refusal to acknowledge it.”

The article goes on to say that “the image is based on information from a person who had seen the chamber at the Parchin military site” – Scout’s honor, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die.

This sort of “proof” wouldn’t fool a child – but then again, it isn’t meant to prove anything. The successful deployment of war propaganda requires nothing in the way of real evidence but merely the constant reiteration of accusations – so that the casual observer may be led to believe that with that much smoke being generated there must be fire. The key to understanding the Parchin “nuclear chamber” deception is the ancillary “evidence” released by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) – murky satellite images [.pdf] of water around the edges of a building at Parchin.

ISIS is saying this is an attempt by the Iranians to “cleanse” the area in advance of IAEA inspectors visiting the site: yet the idea that radioactivity could be eliminated in this way is laughable. In order to “cleanse” the site, it would be necessary to raze the building – and a great deal of the earth under and around it. The AP/ISIS narrative lacks even the most basic scientific credibility. A more likely explanation for the “activity” around the Parchin site involves the creation of nanodiamonds, which have medical applications in the treatment of cancer. Indeed, if you look at the so-called “nuclear explosives containment chamber” drawn by our anonymous spy, and a photo of an explosives chamber used for the creation of nanodiamonds, they are very similar if not quite identical.

Indeed, the specialty of the “former Soviet scientist” the IAEA and ISIS accuse of helping the Iranians weaponize their nuclear technology – Vyacheslav Danilenko – isn’t nuclear weaponry but the creation of nanodiamonds using just such a method.

It’s been a busy time for the Iran-is-building-nukes mini-industry that has grown up around the Israel lobby’s energetic push for an US attack on Iran. Another discredited tall tale recently pushed by US officials is the myth of Iranian cooperation with al-Qaeda. When US Undersecretary of the Treasury David S. Cohen made the accusation public, last July, it was seized on by the Weekly Standard and other neoconservative outlets as proof positive of an Iranian-al Qaeda “alliance.” Yet the release of documents discovered in the raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout – showing bin Laden’s unmitigated hostility to Iran – detailed the real reason Tehran released al Qaeda detainees in Iranian jails: AQ had kidnapped an Iranian diplomat and the release was a prisoner exchange.

As of this writing, we have ten days to go before the Baghdad talks, aimed at resolving the Iranian nuclear question, are slated to begin – plenty of time for the War Party to torpedo the prospects for peace with yet another Iraq-like “weapons of mass destruction” propaganda campaign. That they enjoy the active complicity of the US and other Western media makes their job a lot easier.

The average American, whose knowledge of the complex technical issues is severely limited, doesn’t realize these allegations lack content or credibility. After years of being assaulted by claims of Iranian nuclear duplicity, they are ready to believe the worst. With each new cock-and-bull story projected by the “mainstream” media on the large screen of our well-stoked fears, the likelihood of war with Iran grows stronger with each passing day.

In this game, there are several players, including foreign governments and their intelligence agencies, who are not above deploying “dirty tricks” on American soil. For example: where did ISIS get those satellite photos of the purported Iranian effort to “cleanse” Parchin? As Gareth Porter pointed out:

The satellite photographs … did not come from U.S. intelligence. Former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Giraldi told IPS that a U.S. intelligence official had confirmed to him that the officials in question were not talking about intelligence provided by U.S. intelligence.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland refused to answer specific questions at a Mar. 8 briefing about whether U.S. intelligence had such satellite photos or whether the U.S. believes that such intelligence exists. She referred to such intelligence only in the conditional tense.”

So where did the photos come from? As Porter puts it, the officials pushing this story “were either from Israel or one of its three European allies – the British, French and Germans – who have been working closely with Israel to undermine and finally force a revision of the U.S. intelligence community’s 2007 conclusion that Iran has not worked on developing a nuclear weapon since 2003.”

While foreign intelligence operatives are no doubt at work in the US, beating the war drums, they are also at work in Iran, where numerous Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated. The Israelis are widely suspected. Which is why the news that a South Korean IAEA inspector, Okseok Seo, was killed in a car “accident” while in Iran should make us sit up and take notice.

While it is certainly true that driving on Iranian roads is a risky business, there are other even more risky activities that may put someone with Seo’s job in mortal danger – such as not going along with the program of Western governments pushing for war. The supposed “accident’ took place on a road near the Iranian nuclear facility at Arak at around midnight – a weird time for an UN weapons inspector to be driving around. That Mr. Seo may have crossed the wrong people – or, more accurately, the wrong country – is a live possibility. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time an inspector from the IAEA was the victim of possible foul play. While not pinning the blame – if blame is to be pinned – on anyone, the record of the Israelis in this regard needs to be taken into consideration.

As we approach a crossroads in our dealings with Iran, there are several powerful factors pushing us in the direction of open conflict. The Israelis have been ramping up the volume of their accusations against Tehran and threatening to attack Iran on their own, pretending they’d be willing to risk Israeli lives and world opprobrium. Their real game, however, is to get us to do their dirty work for them: after all, it worked in Iraq. Our European allies, too, have been busy, along with the Israelis, trying to debunk the CIA’s 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded “with high confidence” Iran terminated all nuclear weapons work in the fall of 2003.

That estimate, which still stands, is one of the biggest obstacles on the road to war, and the War Party has been focused on pushing it out of the way – so far with mixed success. The next few days and weeks will witness a gathering storm of allegations against Tehran: the Parchin deception is only the beginning. The Iranians, for their part, have been more forthcoming than usual with conciliatory statements, and their spokesmen aver they mean to dispose of the nuclear issue “quickly and simply” at the negotiating table. Yet when one is dealing with a coalition of powers determined to launch a new war in the Middle East, nothing is simple – least of all the possibility of peace.

The American people are sick unto death of constant warfare, and yet the powerful Israel lobby in this country – the primary force behind the push for war with Iran – hasn’t given up. Far from it: instead, they have redoubled their efforts, utilizing their agents and collaborators within and outside the administration to ratchet up the war talk. And their efforts have succeeded: polls show Americans would support war if it could be shown the Iranians are on the brink of acquiring nukes. If you’re wondering what it would take to convince them of this, the history of the past decade clearly provides us with the answer: not very much. Remember what happened in the run-up to war with Iraq?

You’ll recall the War Party created a series of ad hoc governmental agencies – the “Office of Special Plans,” and others – which did an end run around the official intelligence community and doctored the data to present a false picture of Saddam’s alleged nuclear program. It wasn’t until we marched into a devastated Iraq that we found out it was all an elaborate fabrication – or, as official Washington put it, a “mistake.”

Last time we went around this block the “mainstream” media played the exact opposite of its supposed role as watchdog and fact-checker: instead of looking skeptically at government-provided “evidence” of Iraqi WMD, Western media acted as facilitators and enablers of Washington’s propaganda campaign. We have no reason to expect anything different when it comes to Iran.

And to add a political note to all this: with the media almost openly in bed with President Obama, any war launched by the US before election day is likely to receive nearly uncritical support in such “mainstream” venues as the Washington Post, the New York Times, MSNBC, and other semi-official organs of the Obama cult.

These venues don’t have to drop everything and do a fundraising drive to stay in business during this critical time: they can continue their war propaganda uninterrupted and undiminished by financial considerations. We, on the other hand, don’t have that luxury: we are forced to focus on fundraising right now – you’ll note our Spring drive has already begun – for the simple reason that we are out of money, or very close to it.

I’d love to make this fundraising drive short and sweet: my experience tells me, however, it is far more likely to be long and scary. Long because people are broke, these days, thanks in large part to the draining of our resources by a government that spends more on “defense” than all other nations on earth combined. Scary because it’s downright frightening to contemplate the consequences if we don’t make our fundraising goal: the complete elimination of the internet’s first and premier antiwar site, a site that has been debunking the schemes of the War Party for fourteen years.

The War Party has billions in resources, vital connections to major US media complexes, and a vocal and powerful cabal in the Obama administration – as well as within the GOP – openly agitating for war with Iran. The next few months will show us whether their years of scheming and planning have succeeded. The front lines of this fight are on the Internet, where the battle for public opinion in an important election year is being shaped. That’s why is so important: we’re debunking and counteracting the endless war propaganda coming at us from the “mainstream” media in a constant stream, and we’re doing it 24/7.

We may be outgunned and outspent, but we have one advantage in this fight: the truth is on our side. And in the age of instant communications, it’s very difficult if not impossible to push a lie and mask it as “truth,” because lies are almost instantly debunked the moment they appear in the headlines.

The only problem is the inequity of resources: a government bent on war can flood the airwaves – and the internet – effectively drowning out the truth in a fusillade of falsehoods. A major news organization – or a brace of them – can do the same, echoing the government’s pronouncements as if they’re uncontested fact, and bamboozling the public as they did when we invaded Iraq. Rest assured that the same well-compensated liars are hard at work today, with Iran in their crosshairs this time: the only question is whether they will go about their sinister business unopposed.

The next few weeks are crucial: if we are to go to war with Iran, we’ll know it soon enough. can make a difference in such a close contest – but only if we are allowed to continue our work. And that decision, my gentle readers, is completely up to you. That’s why I’m urging you to help me make this fundraising short and sweet, rather than long and scary: please make your tax-deductible contribution today.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].