It’s the end of November, time to start the war drums again. This time a piece by the Associated Press is spreading the accusation that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. Their evidence, a single graph given to the AP by “officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program.” It was released under the condition of anonymity, and the AP is protecting this source. The graph according to the anonymous source is “proof” that Iran is producing nuclear weapons.
There are several issues, however. The first problem is that the numbers in the graph are very off. The AP piece even has a scientist correct them, with David Albright telling them “The yield is too big” but they brush over it in their rush to crucify Iran. Perhaps he should have said, and been quite accurate in saying, that it is several orders of magnitude off. The Bulletin of Nuclear Scientists put it this way:
The image released to the Associated Press shows two curves: one that plots the energy versus time, and another that plots the power output versus time, presumably from a fission device. But these two curves do not correspond: If the energy curve is correct, then the peak power should be much lower — around 300 million ( 3×108) kt per second, instead of the currently stated 17 trillion (1.7 x1013) kt per second. As is, the diagram features a nearly million-fold error.
This diagram does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax.
Big oops, several levels of magnitude off. In all fairness, the AP are journalists, not nuclear physicists, but when their own interviewee says “it’s too big” then perhaps they should have done their jobs and looked a bit deeper.
But then there is the graph itself. The AP holds it up as some kind of proof, but in fact this is a common graph, produced in high school statistics classes by secondary school students around the world every year, as noted here:
— Matt (@AtomTrigger) November 28, 2012
And the example graph:
Further, the website Wide Asleep in America interviewed professor Dr. M. Hossein Partovi from Sacramento State, where he teaches thermodynamics and quantum mechanics, where he said the following:
The graph depicted in the report is a nonspecific power/energy plot that is primarily evidence of the incompetence of those who forged it: a quick look at the energy graph shows that the total energy is more than four orders of magnitude (forty thousand times) smaller than the total integrated power that it must equal!
So, if this *is* a graph produced by Iran trying to develop a bomb, we can rest assured at the ineptitude of the Iranian nuclear program. However, more likely it is a case of a government hostile to Iran attempting to drum up support for a preliminary strike against the nation.
It was just over a decade ago where a similar “anonymous information” source began drumming up support for a war against Iraq, by leaking to the press that Saddam Hussein was tied to the 2001 Anthrax attacks which killed five. Now the target has changed, but the purpose remains the same: to drum up support for a war against another nation.