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IAEA Up To Its Old Tricks Again – OpEd

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By Hassan Beheshtipour

Representatives of the 35 members of the IAEA Board of Governors gathered at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s headquarters in Vienna on June 6 to discuss a wide range of relevant issues.

According to the IAEA Secretariat, the current meeting, scheduled to last until June 10, will cover seven broad categories:

(1) Nuclear verification, including the examination of IAEA reports on the nuclear activities of North Korea, Iran, and Syria as well as those on the implementation of safeguards agreements in 2010 and the conclusion of safeguards agreements and additional protocols;

(2) Consideration of applications for membership in the IAEA as well as discussion about the agency’s technical annual report on its members (for) 2010;

(3) Discussions of the means to increase the IAEA’s technical cooperation with member states;

(4) Examination of the Program and Budget Committee’s report;

(5) Examination of the consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi incident and its effects on Japan and the region;

(6) Designation of Board members for 2011-12; and

(7) Preparation of a preliminary agenda for the 55th regular session of the agency’s General Assembly.

In the opening speech of the meeting, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano claimed that he has certain information which demonstrates that Iran might have continued working on the military dimension of its nuclear activities until recently. However, he did not provide any evidence or document to prove his claim, which had also been stated in his May 6 letter to the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) as well as in the May 24 IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear activities. Amano has shown that he is willing, under US and European pressure, to demand that Iran prove that what is raised in his reports under the title of “alleged studies” is inaccurate, rather than demand that the Western powers provide evidence to prove the authenticity of their charges against Iran.

In a letter to Amano dispatched on June 5, AEOI Director Fereydoun Abbasi Davani explained in detail that Iran regards the issue of “alleged studies” to be a concluded issue but is ready to answer the agency’s questions about its nuclear program, provided that the IAEA return Iran’s nuclear dossier to normal status according to its commitments based on the August 27, 2007 modality plan that the Islamic Republic and the IAEA reached an agreement on. Abbasi has emphasized that until the abovementioned condition is met, Iran will cooperate with the agency “solely” within the framework of the safeguards agreement.

In his opening speech to the IAEA Board of Governors, Amano said, “The agency has received further information related to possible past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities that seem to point to the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program. There are indications that certain of these activities may have continued until recently.”

However, Amano failed to make any reference to the source of this information or to the availability of anything in addition to what the agency discussed with Iran in 2007 under “alleged studies.” He also failed to explain how and through which standards the IAEA decides to include allegations against one of its members — which have not been substantiated by its experts — in its official reports and then releases them to the mass media.

It is obvious that anti-Iran media outlets are happy to receive ammunition, in the form of Amano’s reports, for propaganda campaigns against the country in which they make unsubstantiated allegations.

Amano did not find Abbasi’s response to his recent letter satisfactory and claimed that new information has been delivered to the agency which shows the possible existence of a military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program. Amano stated, “There are indications that certain of these activities may have continued until recently.” Failing to mention the source of these indications, he also asked for the agency’s “prompt access to relevant locations, equipment, documentation and persons” connected with Iran’s nuclear activities.

He made it clear that Iran’s response to the allegations was not satisfactory and that he had sent a letter of response to Abbasi Davani on June 3, underlining the agency’s demands once again. Oddly, the significant points of his letter, which should be treated as confidential according to the IAEA Statute, have been revealed by Reuters and other news agencies.

In addition, certain media outlets released a report draft on May 24, claiming that IAEA experts have discovered activities related to the development of nuclear weapons in Iran. The report underlined clues indicating the possible continuation of some of these activities even after 2004.

Strangely, the IAEA experts have been assessing these accusations and have not yet found a single proof verifying them. In his first response to the report, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran described the documents referred to by the International Atomic Energy Agency as incorrect and called for the agency to “correct” its behavior.

Although officials of the Islamic Republic have invariably presented evidence proving the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear activities, Tel Aviv launched a propaganda campaign about Iran’s civilian nuclear activities and the US and its allies followed its game plan at the UN nuclear agency.

The Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said in an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) that he will distribute and elaborate on Abbasi’s letter of response to Amano on Tuesday, June 19 during a briefing session — which will review the IAEA director general’s reports on the nuclear activities of Iran and Syria — to counter the propaganda disseminated by the Western media about Iran’s nuclear program.

With respect to the content of the IAEO director’s letter to Amano, he observed, “In this letter, the groundlessness of the allegations leveled against Iran in the framework of ‘alleged studies’ has been emphasized. The agency has also been urged in the letter to meet its commitments to Iran about ending the issue of nuclear modality, as it has already been resolved.” He also elaborated on the agency’s briefing session on its reports about Iran and Syria, saying, “In this two-hour session, the IAEA reports on Iran and Syria were discussed, and I gave detailed explanations about the director general’s report, and also responded to different questions about it.”

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared in an interview with Bloomberg that the International Atomic Energy Agency has no proof that Iran’s nuclear program has a military component.

He also replied to a question about Russia’s assessment of Iran’s potential access to nuclear weapons, saying, “We don’t have any proof that Iran has taken a political decision to produce a bomb. And whatever information the IAEA has does not support the conclusion that Iran already is making a bomb. The IAEA has access to all sites which Iran legally must show to the inspectors.”

Lavrov added, “Iran does not apply, as I said, the additional protocol and the modified Code 3.1, which are not obligatory, but which I think are very important, especially for Iran because apart from its rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has quite important obligations, obligations related to the need to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program, and there are some questions… the international community wants to clarify. So the IAEA resolutions, the Security Council resolutions are aimed exactly at this, and they must be implemented, but Iran must see the light at the end of the tunnel, as I said. And the conclusions of the agency would be the crucial criteria. So far, as I said, they cannot confirm exclusively a peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, but they cannot conclude that the Iranian nuclear program has a military vein. So it’s a process which can only be successful if we count, not only (on the) use (of) sanctions and threats, but on negotiations, as (in) any other situation in the world actually.”

Lavrov is acknowledging the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency is seeking to extract more and more concessions from Iran without being willing to recognize its right to uranium enrichment. The IAEA demands that Iran take more confidence-building measures, even though Iran has allowed more inspections of its nuclear facilities than any other country over the past eight years.

However, in response, Western countries have unequivocally refused to cooperate with Iran and provide fuel for the Tehran research reactor. Though Iran moved independently toward producing fuel for the Tehran research reactor, it can never forget the irresponsible behavior of the Vienna Group in 2010.

The experience of the past eight years has hammered home the point for Western countries that the language of force does not work in the case of Iran, and the best way forward is to return to the negotiating table to try to build trust.

Since 2002, the IAEA director general has persistently adopted a double-standard position in all his 26 reports about the peaceful nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic. On the one hand, the agency has announced that it cannot confirm the peaceful nature of all Iran’s nuclear activities, but on the other, it has made it clear that none of Iran’s nuclear facilities reported to the agency show evidence of any deviation. This repetition of allegations ad nauseam has gravitated, during the directorship of Yukiya Amano in contrast to Mohamed ElBaradei’s term in office, toward the whims of the United States and its allies.

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Press TV is a 24-hour English language global news network owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran. Press TV carries news analysis, documentary talk shows and sports news worldwide with special focus on West Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

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