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Israeli Media 30-Year ‘Reign of Error’ Predicting Iranian Nuke

maariv iranian bomb 1984

Maariv March 1984 headline predicts “Khomeini’s atomic bomb in final stage of production”

Israel (and western ) media have a long history of predicting an impending Iranian nuke.  That history goes back at least to 1984 if not before.  Thanks to Israeli blogger and reporter for Calcalist, Omer Kabir, we have this history (Hebrew) in headlines and screenshots from Israel’s media.  Scott Peterson performed the same research to prepare this timeline of world media predictions.  Prof. Muhammad Sahimi published his own report on this subject here.  Nima Shirazi also prepared his own here.

What’s most unfortunate about all this is that a blast from the past is not past, but present.  The delusions which Israel’s media and leaders harbored in 1984 are the same they harbor today.  No lessons learned.

It reminds me of Orwell’s Ministry Truth from 1984.  Every time Big Brother made a prediction that turned out false, the ministry’s job was to go back and rewrite history, falsifying  the original prediction to conform with reality.  That’s why this blog exists–not to allow the Israeli equivalent.

To those who decry the Geneva nuclear agreement, claiming it at most delays Iran’s nuclear threshold by a month or two, remember this illustrious history of miserable failed predictions.

"Projections: Iran can achieve nuclear capability within 36 days." Maariv--November 27 2013

“Projections: Iran can achieve nuclear capability within 36 days.” Maariv–November 27 2013

Kabir calls this Israeli illusion, Xeno’s Paradox, always drawing closer, never arriving.  Khrushchev, according to Billmon, is also reputed to have similarly consoled the Politburo members when they asked how long it would take to bring ‘true Communism’ to the Soviet Union:

“We all know, comrades, that the horizon constantly recedes as we approach it.”

So here is the honor roll of Israeli media delusion concerning an Iranian bomb (featured in accompanying image):

Khomeini’s atomic bomb enters final stages of production with German assistance.

–Maariv, April 25 1984

It should be noted that the Jane’s Defense Weekly report on which this story is based actually said an Iranian bomb was “two years” away.  It also quoted sources in the U.S. and elsewhere who denied the prediction.  Here is Micha Zenko’s report on that interesting historical footnote in the annals of nuclear prediction.  That didn’t stop Maariv from throwing the fear of Khomeini into Israelis.

Also note on Maariv’s front page, the historic oddity of then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, an Ashkenazi immigrant from Poland, dancing at the Moroccan Mizrahi festival, Maimouna.

To confirm that Israel has learned no lessons about Iran’s nuclear program in the past thirty years, today’s Maariv brings things full circle from 1984 to 2013.  Its latest headline:

Projections: Iran Can Reach Nuclear Capacity Within 36 Days

This would appear to be a complete distortion of the actual Obama administration claim that the six month agreement will delay Iran crossing the nuclear threshold overall by a month or possibly more.

This archive of old headlines reads like a reign of error (all are from Yediot Achronot):

Iran will be capable of producing a nuclear weapon in another seven years.
–June 26 1984

Nuclear Expert: Iran will have a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade or in seven to eight years if China, Pakistan and Argentina continue aiding it.
–November 15 1991

Within 10 years Syria will have a nuclear weapon.
June 15 1992

Iran will have an operational nuclear weapon in the next five to eight years
September 20, 1992

Iran will have a nuclear weapon by 2000
December 1 1992

Rabin: Iran has the manpower and will to get a nuclear weapon within ten years.
January 21 1993

Iran has in its possession a nuclear weapon ready for immediate deployment
January 24, 1993

By year’s end Iran will be a nuclear threat against Israel
April 9 1993

Iran may achieve nuclear capability at any moment
January 9 1995

Iran wants a nuclear weapon by 2001.
December 27 1995

U.S.: Iran will have a nuclear weapon around 2000.
June 27 1997

Iran will threaten Israel with a nuclear weapon within four years.
July 10 2001

Nuclear weapon for Iran in 2005.
August 5 2003

IDF: Preparing for an Iranian atomic bomb in 2005
August 8 2003

Iran announces: we will achieve a nuclear weapon within four years
August 20 2004

Israeli intelligence sources: within two years they will have a bomb on the shelf
July 8 2005

Entire Middle East will arm itself with nukes.
December 2005

Iranian atomic bomb in three years.
March 26 2006

Olmert: Within months Iran will be able to assemble a nuclear bomb
June 22 2006

U.S.: Iran will have a nuclear weapon in a year or two.
June 22 2011

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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Muhammad November 26, 2013, 11:29 PM

    Richard:

    I published a piece on the subject in which I listed most of the “dire” predictions since 1984, as well as before the Iranian Revolution of 1979:

    http://original.antiwar.com/sahimi/2010/05/04/irans-ever-imminent-nukes/

  • Oui November 27, 2013, 12:02 AM

    Iran to pursue investment in French Eurodif

    In 1974, Iran invested more than $1 bn in a joint French-Iranian company specialising in uranium enrichment called Sofidif, which itself owns 25 pct of Eurodif. As a result, Iran holds indirectly about 10 pct of Eurodif, which is 60 pct owned by Aréva.

    Aréva denies unit supplied Iran with enriched uranium (2007)

    How many nuclear scientists did the Mossad murder in the last 30 years? Who killed George Besse? Was an intelligence agency involved in the Alps killing of a British family in September 2012? The DGSE was responsible for bombing the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbor, a participant to protest French nuclear tests in the Pacific.

  • Oui November 27, 2013, 12:10 AM

    A Recent Timeline Shows How Israel’s Deadly Intelligence Agency May Be Their Best Nuclear Deterrent

    (Business Insider) Feb. 4, 2013 – There’s no doubt these guys [Mossad] are just as deadly as their deadly accurate intelligence. Lately, we’ve heard a lot about the worries over Iran’s nuclear aspirations, and whether or not the U.S. and Israel should launch a strike.

    However, it also appears possible, or even likely, that Israel has been launching several strikes of their own, through the Mossad. Though they haven’t exactly taken responsibility for the attacks, the signatures do seem to point to Mossad agents as the most prominent suspects for strikes in Iran.

    The list of the most recent mishaps, accidents and explosions which took out Iranian scientists appears to show how good Israel has become at covertly deterring Iran’s nuclear ambitions — not to mention scaring the pants off future nuclear scientists.


    Here a list from the blog Global Conflict Analysis (which itself makes use of this list from the Guardian) of just the last two years of incidents.

    Was a foreign intelligence agency involved in quadruple Alps murder?

    • Richard Silverstein November 27, 2013, 1:21 AM

      @ Oui: The Business Insider story contains so many over the top claims about Mossad omnipotence that it can’t be taken seriously, not least because all those terror assassinations haven’t deterred Iran’s nuclear program. The only thing that can do that is a diplomatic negotiation.

  • Frederick Rhodes November 27, 2013, 5:08 AM

    What’s more scary is that Israeli religious superstitious paranoid delusions about becoming victims again is bringing them closer to starting an Israeli/Islamic nuclear holocaust even before Iran gets a chance to develop their own nuclear weapons.

  • Fred Plester November 27, 2013, 8:20 AM

    Reminds me somehow of Jasper Carrot’s assertion that the Quakers were preparing for a nuclear holocaust by stockpiling “I Told You So” T-shirts.

  • pabelmont November 27, 2013, 9:36 AM

    RS: “The delusions which Israel’s media and leaders harbored in 1984 are the same they harbor today. No lessons learned.”

    Unless they are in fact madmen, I suppose something that might be true. this assertion is missing the point.

    These scares are aimed at unifying the Israeli-Jewish people in fear and determination to fight to the last drop of non-Jewish blood. And they have worked, as far as I can see. I don’t see the Israeli-Jewish people hooting N’yahu off the stage of history — I see them re-electing him.

    The BIG LIE works. Give it credit. It is not a mistake, not foolishness, but deliberate big-lying.

    • Hasbarist settler November 27, 2013, 11:28 AM

      The big lie? If this is the big lie, then who is the big liar? Bibi, Olmert, Barak, maybe Rabin or Peres? all? or maybe the US gov’t or the CIA? because more than half of those headlines are based on western analystics and intel’

      • Richard Silverstein November 28, 2013, 2:07 AM

        @ Hasbarist settler: Saying an Israeli headline is “based on” a source is like saying that the species homo sapiens is “based on” amoebas. There is often almost no connection between what the source actually said or wrote and how the headline interprets that. Though there of course have been western media reports all along that were as wrong as Israeli news reports, I don’t think any country’s media was as willing to report these distortions and lies without caveat as Israel’s.

    • dickerson3870 November 27, 2013, 3:00 PM

      RE: “These scares are aimed at unifying the Israeli-Jewish people in fear and determination to fight to the last drop of non-Jewish blood.” ~ pabelmont

      MY REPLY: I find Ira Chernus’ take* on this to make a great deal of sense. He is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and blogs at MythicAmerica.

      * SEE: “Israel’s Defense Chief OK’s Hundreds of Israeli Deaths”, By Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.org, 11/11/11

      [EXCERPT] . . . An essential motive of Zionism from its beginning was a fierce desire to end the centuries of Jewish weakness, to show the world that Jews would no longer be pushed around, that they’d fight back and prove themselves tougher than their enemies. There was more to Zionism than that. But the “pride through strength” piece came to dominate the whole project. Hence the massive Israeli military machine with its nuclear arsenal.
      But you can’t prove that you’re stronger than your enemies unless you’ve also got enemies — or at least believe you’ve got enemies — to fight against. So there has to be a myth of Israel’s insecurity, fueled by an image of vicious anti-semites lurking somewhere out there, for Zionism to work. Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran has gradually risen to the top of Israel oh-so-necessary enemies list. Iranophobia is rampant in Israel, as one Israeli scholar writes, because “Israel needs an existential threat.”
      Anyone who has grown up in Israel, or in the U.S. Jewish community (as I did), and paid attention knows all this. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/11-2

  • Dolores Jennings November 27, 2013, 12:19 PM

    [ed., offensive crap like this will NEVER be published at this site]

  • Pip November 27, 2013, 10:40 PM

    “It should be noted that the Jane’s Defense Weekly report on which this story is based actually said an Iranian bomb was “two years” away.” ” That didn’t stop Maariv from throwing the fear of Khomeini into Israelis.”

    Can you imagine? A newspaper that sensationalizes!

  • Oui November 27, 2013, 11:24 PM

    Mondoweiss – The Country that Cried Wolf

    This is delicious. From Richard Silverstein. 1984.

    (photo Maariv newspaper)

    Iran in final stages of production of nuclear bomb: Maariv headline April 25, 1984 – pic.twitter.com/xbkekk6hwF.
    Thx to Scott Roth.

  • Ya choe November 27, 2013, 11:51 PM

    I guess what people don’t factor in is that there has been a 30 plus year clandestine campaign against Iranian nuclear weapon acquisition. The public side of it,stunt next,targeted assassinations is a relatively new aspect of it in the last 5 years or so.

    German companies did in fact help Iran. They acquired centrifuges from the same company Israel did, Urenco.in fact Israel had the same centrifuges so they knew the virus would damage the centrifuges. And we would have never ave known except for Obama haveing the information intentionaly leaked.

    Yesterday the Iranian government announced that the information concerning this agreement as presented on the White House website is incorrect. And the Iranians have a different understanding than the White House as to the substance of the agreement.

    Today a Iranian general publicaly announced that Iran has developed indeginus inter continental ballistic missile that is able to deliver a nuclear weapons payload. What a waste to develop such a weapon when the Iranians have publicaly stated that they are not even contemplating the production of a nuclear weapon.

    • Oui November 28, 2013, 1:15 AM

      Israel: Uranium Processing and Enrichment

      As I understand the facts, France supplied the nuclear know-how for the Dimona plant and uranium enrichment facilities. The Urenco consortium delivers enriched uranium through gas centrifuges. The secrets were stolen by A. G. Khan in the early 1970’s, supported by the CIA (to thwart Soviet support for a nuclear India), and later proliferated to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

      The Israel nuclear bomb was based on secrets stolen from the US and UK. Israel worked together with South Africa under the apartheid regime to develop and test both nuclear devices and CBW weapons.

      Germany delivers the Dolphin class submarines to Israel which can deliver nuclear warheads by cruise missiles.

    • Richard Silverstein November 28, 2013, 2:01 AM

      @ Ya choe: My comment rules insist that commmenters published verified, credible facts rather than unsupported opinion. As far as I’m concerned any of your claims about Iran are unsubstantiated rumor. If you intend to publish here in future, make sure that you offer links and quotations from your alleged sources. And make sure those sources are credible. I will not only not believe you (unless you do), I won’t allow you to publish the equivalent of rumors here. Take this warning very seriously.

      • Pip November 28, 2013, 8:36 AM

        Animal Farm Rule #17.

        Only Richard can publish unsubstantiated rumors, like the rumors he gets from his ‘source’.

        • Richard Silverstein November 29, 2013, 1:07 AM

          @ Pip: The difference between me and you is that you & folks like Ya Choe spout nonsense and then refuse to offer ANY source to support it. While I offer the views of my source whose credibility and accuracy have been proven time and again. That means his information isn’t “rumor” or “unsubstantiated.” On the contrary, it is fact and verifiable.

          As for Animal Farm, you and your ilk appear increasingly like big, fat Napoleon the Pig with each passing day.

    • Robert Mullen November 28, 2013, 6:28 AM

      This may be a bit off topic, but assassinations of nuclear scientists may date to at least June 1980.

      On 14 Jun 80 an Egyptian nuclear scientist, Yahia el Meshad (Yehia al-Meshad, Yahya el- Meshad, Yahya al-Meshad), employed by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, was found murdered in his Paris, France hotel room at the Meridien Hotel. The only known claimed witness to the crime, Marie Claude Magal (Magalle), whom was said to occupy a room next to Meshad’s, was killed in a hit and run “accident” on 12 Jul 80, either shortly before police sought to question her, or shortly after she had given a statement or statements to the police, depending on source.

      Ref: Science, 29 Aug 80; Rand WD-809-SL, Nov 80 & WD-1508-SL, Jun 82; Weissman, Steve, Herbert Krosney. The Islamic Bomb, Times Books, NY, 81; Raviv, Dan, Yossi Melman. Every Spy a Prince, Houghton Miflin, Boston, 1990; Thomas, Gordon. Gideon’s Spies, St. Martin’s Press, 1999; Hamza, Khidir. Sadam’s Bombmaker, Scribner, NY, 2000.

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