Suspicions Persist about Iranian “Laptop of Death”

The Christian Science Monitor’s Scott Peterson reports on continued suspicions that were raised about the authenticity of the information presented in the so-called Iranian “laptop of death”–2005 information which the latest IAEA report is repeating.

Not only is the information that’s being publicized about Iran’s alleged nuclear activities “not new“, it’s also based/builds on information that was doubted by experts in the first place.

News reports at the time indicated deep skepticism, when some of the laptop contents were first shown to diplomats accredited to the IAEA. In many quarters, doubt still persists. Recognizing such skepticism, one portion of the IAEA report was devoted to addressing the credibility of the information. But Mr. Kelly, the former IAEA inspector who also served as a department director at the agency, remains unconvinced.

“The first is the issue of forgeries. There is nothing to tell that those documents are real,” says Kelley, whose experience includes inspections from as far afield as Iraq and Libya, to South Africa in 1993.

“My sense when I went through the documents years ago was that there was possibly a lot of stuff in there that was genuine, [though] it was kind of junk,” says Kelly. “And there were a few rather high-quality things” like the green salt document: “That was two or three pages that wasn’t related to anything else in the package, it was on a different topic, and you just wondered, was this salted in there for someone to find?”

It would not be the first time that data was planted. He recalls 1993 and 1994, when the IAEA received “very complex forgeries” on Iraq that slowed down nuclear investigations there by a couple of years.

“Those documents had markings on them, and were designed to resemble Iraqi documents, but when we dug into them they were clearly forgeries,” adds Kelley. “They were designed by a couple of member states in that region, and provided to the Agency maliciously to slow things down.”

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Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is an Iranian-born journalist based in Washington, DC.