Two physics experts say a document obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday, which the news organization said “suggests” that Iran is “working on” a nuclear weapon, contains a “massive error” and might be a “hoax.”
The AP’s publication of the document generated headlines on Tuesday because the graph, according to the AP, showed that Iran was running “computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.”
But Yousaf Butt and Faronc Delnaki-Veress, writing in the Bulletin for Atomic Scientists, say that the massive error contained in the document is “unlikely to have been made by research scientists working at a national level.” To Butt and Dalnaki-Veress, the document “does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax.”
In the AP article, titled “Graph suggests Iran working on bomb,” the news organization claims that the document was obtained from officials of “a country critical of Iran’s atomic program.” The AP also states that a “senior diplomat” confirmed that the International Atomic Energy Agency “cited” the diagram in a reportfrom last year.
Butt and Delnaki Veress, however, say the graph contains key errors and that “the level of scientific sophistication needed to produce such a graph corresponds to that typically found in graduate or advanced undergraduate-level nuclear physics courses.”