Naturally, the New York Times seized on this -- the story that an official in charge of Iran's nuclear program, Fereydoon Abbasi, has "admitted" that Iran occasionally tried to mislead on its nuclear program:
Iran's top atomic energy official said in an article published Thursday that because of foreign espionage, his government had sometimes provided false information to protect its nuclear program.
Note the crucial bit of missing information here, left out by the NY Times in order to spin this sentence as some sort of "confession" by Iran of having hidden nukes: WHO WHOM? TO WHOM has he said Iran provided false information - to the IAEA or to Western spies?
Because that's a real crucial bit of difference! Needless to explain: There's generally no obligation on a country to allow foreign spying, especially when its scientists are being assasinated. However the NY Time's simply runs with the assumption that this official is saying "We lied to the IAEA because we're making nukes" rather than "We tried to mislead foreign intelligence agencies so they would not assasinate us". Go back and read it again, better yet read the original Arabian news report. Or translate it. You won't see him saying "We lied TO THE IAEA because we're hiding nukes" Instead, he's referring to foreign intelligence agencies. But that's not how the NY Times spins it.
The bottom line is, as much as the NY Times and friends would like to exploit these 2 sentences, there is still no evidence of any nuclear weapons program, and Iran has never diverted nuclear material for non-peaceful uses, and all of this is verified by regular, intensive IAEA inspections. So what precisely is it that Iran has been lying about to the IAEA? Because the IAEA would sure like to know.
Of course the NY Times has to raise the suspicions by referring to a list of events in a one-sided way. For example, the Times repeats the lie that Iran "hid" its enrichment facilities until 2002 -- but in fact Iran had simply not officially declared them to the IAEA since legally it wasn't obligated to do so yet, and in any case Iran's enrichment program was in fact never a secret. Or, the lie that Iran was "hiding" Fordo and only disclosed it when it had found out that the US knew about it? What a sad attempt to distort the true facts: Iran is not legally obligated to disclose a facility until 180-days prior to the introduction of nuclear material into the facility. If the US "beats them to the punch" and makes the site publicly known, it wasn't because Iran was "hiding" it - it was simply not within the 180-day time limit yet. And aside from that, the IAEA went to Fordo and investigated it, and the IAEA director said bluntly that it was nothing more than a hole in a mountain and nothing to be concerned about. That's another crucial bit of fact left out by the Times. Or the lie that Iran is not cooperating with IAEA efforts about the in-famous "Alleged Studies" -- leaving out the crucial fact that IRan has responded to them, to the best degree possible, especially considering that the IAEA has not been permitted by the US to actually show the evidence to Iran, that Iran is expected to rebut - something the former IAEA director complained about in his book where he also recounted that some of the documents cited as proof of Iranian nukes were in fact so obvious forgeries that in one case he simply returned the a document to the Israelis who had provided it to him. (I'm too tired to find all the links verifying what I've written here - google it.)
So what's really going on here? Why is the NY Times putting this spin on the story? Because for the longest time they've been looking for a way to kill the US National INtelligence Estimate, which has been saying for a while now that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and has shown no interest in one either. Boy when that NIE came out, it went off like a bomb. Bush ran off to Israel and disassociated himself from his own intelligence agencies. There was talk about intelligence agencies having carried out a "coup" and gone rogue. The Israelis were steaming. They've been pressing ever since to either get that NIE rewritten, or to somehow find a way around it, even if it means denigrating US intelligence analysts. Well, here you go! Here's an Iranian official saying "We lied". How much hay can you make out of that?!