Great. Now that we’re all on the same page, now what? The prospects for the changing of the guard at the IAEA to improve the organization’s response to the Iranian nuclear threat are looking increasingly dismal. “IAEA says it can’t confirm Iran nuclear program is peaceful,” by Scott Peterson for the Christian Science Monitor, March 1:
Istanbul, Turkey – The UN’s top nuclear official on Monday said the Islamic Republic was not providing the “necessary cooperation” to guarantee that the Iran nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assessment comes as Iran has been stepping up uranium enrichment levels and expanding its nuclear fuel cycle plans in recent weeks, moves that have prompted President Barack Obama to warn of tougher sanctions against Iran.
“The agency continues…to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, but we cannot confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities because Iran has not provided the agency with the necessary cooperation,” Yukiya Amano, the new IAEA chief, told the agency’s governing board at the start of its meeting in Vienna this week.
Mr. Amano asked for “clarification of issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program,” and that Iran make “full implementation of its safeguards agreement and its other obligations [a] matter of high priority.”
The tougher IAEA line comes as momentum builds in Washington to impose more sanctions upon Iran – a “pressure track” to add to three sets of UN Security Council sanctions and an array of US and European measures that already target Iran.
“The pressure track does not mean that the engagement track is closed,” Glyn Davies, the US Ambassador to the IAEA, said in a recent Monitor interview in Istanbul. “But we are looking for Iranian bona fides. There is such an overhang of issues, it would require a significant change by [the] Iranians.”
The recent back-and-forth with Iran over its nuclear program “has been maximally frustrating” because of the mixed messages from Tehran, said Amb. Davies.
All they’re doing is buying time. No one seems willing to call them on it.
On Monday, Iran took issue with Amano’s remarks. “We have fully cooperated with the agency. This cooperation will continue,” said Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
Tougher sanctions? Analysts expect this week’s meeting of the IAEA’s governing board to pave the way for a tougher, fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran as it tussles with the IAEA over unresolved issues that point to a weaponization effort, but are based on US and Western intelligence that Iran says is fabricated….
And we’re right where we were four or five years ago. The only difference is, Iran has had all that time to progress with its plans.