Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

IAEA On Iran

Not sure why this is considered news. I had not heard of anyone outside of the US call for the EU 3 to be more careful in the negotiations, now we hear lamentations from El Baradei:

VIENNA (Reuters) - Inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog would like to visit a secret military site in Iran that an exile group said was a nuclear weapons site, but they lack the legal authority to go there, U.N. diplomats told Reuters.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is solely for electricity generation, earlier this week escaped possible U.N. Security Council economic sanctions after agreeing to freeze all activities which could be used to make bomb-grade material.

The New York Times reported Thursday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes satellite photographs show that high explosives are being tested and that procurement records show equipment has been bought that can be used for making bomb-grade uranium, citing unnamed diplomats.
The intelligence came from several sources, including nations that are members of the IAEA, the Times reported.

But the military sites the inspectors would like to inspect -- the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran and Lavizan II in northeastern Tehran -- are legally off limits to the IAEA, which only has the right to monitor civilian nuclear programs.

"The IAEA simply has no authority to go to sites that are not declared nuclear sites," a diplomat close to the IAEA inspection process told Reuters. He said that the IAEA had not asked to inspect Lavizan II, although they would like to.

Last December, Iran signed the IAEA's Additional Protocol, granting the agency more authority to conduct short-notice, intrusive inspections. Although the protocol has not been ratified, Tehran has been acting as if it was in force.

However, this extended authority is only limited to declared sites. Additional access to locations like Parchin and Lavizan II has to be negotiated with the country under inspection.

[. . .]

He said that if Iran was hiding a nuclear weapons program, as Washington believes, the IAEA would probably never find it without additional inspection authority.

Diplomats and weapons experts said that the IAEA inspection process had been dealt a severe blow this week when France, Britain and Germany gave in to Iranian demands that a clause demanding Iran grant the IAEA "unrestricted access" to sites in Iran be removed from a draft resolution.

The resolution passed by the IAEA board only calls on Iran to grant access "in accordance with the Additional Protocol."

"It was a terrible blow to this effort to find these potential nuclear weapons sites," David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and head of a Washington-based think-tank, told Reuters.
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