Stolen e-mails from a U.S. intelligence firm indicate that Israel has destroyed all Iranian nuclear infrastructures on the ground.
The e-mail from the Stratfor company, released by WikiLeaks on Monday, cited a “confirmed Israeli intelligence agent.” It is one of five million e-mails that the anti-secrecy website plans to release in the coming days.
The e-mails are rumoured to have been hacked by the Anonymous hackers group, which has threatened in a YouTube video to launch cyber attacks on Israeli websites.
The Israel-Iran e-mail comes in the wake of a November 2011 explosion that killed 17 workers at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard base near Tehran, which Iran said was an accident.
“I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed the entire Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago. The current ‘let’s bomb Iran’ campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home financial problems,” read the e-mail from the Israeli source. The operation was undertaken with the help of Kurdish rebels, according to the e-mail.
The Stratfor company said in a statement Monday that the e-mails published “may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic.”
Stratfor is a global security analysis company that has been likened to a shadow CIA. Its clients include American government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Marine Corps, and the Dow Chemical Company.
A military strike of Iran’s nuclear facilities would bring about “catastrophic” consequences, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wrote in a widely circulated article on Monday.
Putin’s comments weren’t the first time Russian officials expressed opposition to the possibility of military action in Iran, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov saying last week that “any possible military scenario against Iran will be catastrophic for the region and for the whole system of international relations.”
“Therefore I hope Israel understands all these consequences … and they should also consider the consequences of such action for themselves,” Gatilov said at a news conference.
In the article published on Monday, the Russian PM said that his country was “worried about the growing threat of a strike on Iran,” adding: “If it happens, the consequences will be truly catastrophic. Their real scale is impossible to imagine.”
He said that the international community must acknowledge Iran’s right to conduct uranium enrichment in exchange for placing the program under close supervision by the UN nuclear watchdog.
Iran has insisted that its controversial uranium enrichment program is aimed at producing energy and medical isotopes, but the West believes it’s a cover for developing nuclear weapons.
“The West has gotten carried away trying to ‘punish’ some nations,” Putin said. “It reaches out for sanctions or even a military club at the drop of a hat.”
He said the western emphasis on using force could encourage more countries to seek nuclear weapons in a bid to protect themselves.
Referring to Russia’s rejection of UN action on the Syrian crisis, Putin said the West had backed the Arab Spring to advance its interests in the region, and that instead of promoting democracy, the revolts had given rise to religious extremism.
In the lengthy article, Putin defended the Russia-China decision last month to veto a UN resolution condemning Syrian President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on protests, saying that Moscow wouldn’t allow a replay of what happened in Libya, where NATO airstrikes helped Libya’s rebels oust Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.
In related news, United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a report on Friday that Iran has tripled its capacity to enrich uranium to elevated levels.
Iran’s enrichment of uranium of up to 20 per cent has caused concern in the West because it is theoretically much easier to turn such material into bomb-grade material than uranium enriched at below five per cent.
Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges for enriching to 20 per cent at its fortified underground site at Fordo, according to a report by the IAEA.
Iran has now made more than 100 kilograms of higher-enriched material, less than half the amount needed for a nuclear warhead, the document said.
Last week talks between the UN nuclear watchdog and Iran on an agreement to monitor the latter’s nuclear program ended without progress. Negotiators for the IAEA left Iran, after two days of talks, and without being allowed to inspect the Parchin military base near Tehran, a military site thought to be used for explosives testing. The failure came in the wake of increasingly tough sanctions against Iran by the international community.
Last week, Iran sent a letter to European Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton saying it would bring new initiatives to the talks.
– With files from Ha’aretz