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Amano’s New Report on Iran's Nuclear Program

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hassan Beheshtipour
Expert on International Affairs

Introduction

Two days after the high-ranking delegation of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) returned from their second trip to Tehran within the past month, Yukiya Amano, the agency’s director general, released his official 11-page report. In this report, which unlike the previous one is more brief and practical, the latest developments in Iran's peaceful activities to produce nuclear energy have been examined. While admitting to Iran's great breakthroughs and achievements in building nuclear fuel rods – which are to be used in the Tehran Research Reactor for producing medical drugs – the report discusses some details about activities carried out in 15 Iranian nuclear power centres and emphasizes the futility of Iran-IAEA negotiations primarily because of Tehran’s refusal to allow the agency’s officials to inspect the Parchin centre. The present piece will explore and analyze the most important parts of the latest IAEA report on Iran's nuclear program.

Analyzing Amano’s Report

1) The IAEA Secretariat’s Repeated Breaches of Its Reports’ Confidentiality

On Friday, 24 February 2012, the International Atomic Energy Agency circulated the report written by its director general, Amano, among the agency’s members. Once again, in violation of the IAEA charter, which underscores the confidentiality of the agency’s reports on member states, the full text of Amano’s report about Iran was released to the Western media outlets, so that they use it as material to wage negative propaganda against Iran. Interestingly enough and in spite of the repetition of this patent contravention, no member of the IAEA secretariat or the secretary general himself is willing to provide an explanation why such a confidential and specialist text is published on news websites even before reaching the agency’s members.

2) Parchin Site and the Media Fault-Finding

Amano’s report emphasizes the peaceful nature of those nuclear activities by Iran of which the UN nuclear watchdog has been informed and which are monitored by the agency’s experts. The IAEA, however, expects Iran to go beyond fulfilling its commitments regarding the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the related safeguards agreement and thus allow the IAEA inspectors to visit other sites and centers which are not connected with the country’s nuclear activities. The Islamic Republic is opposed to this request for two simple reasons.

Firstly, based upon the NPT safeguards agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency is only supposed to oversee the declared nuclear sites and in fact is not entitled to request for the inspection of a given country’s non-nuclear center. Secondly, in 2005 the Islamic Republic of Iran allowed the IAEA experts to inspect the Parchin military center to prove its goodwill as well as willingness to cooperate voluntarily with the agency. At the time, Mohamed ElBaradei, the then secretary general of IAEA, stressed in his report issued a while later that no trace of nuclear work has been found in Parchin. Given this explanation, what motive other than fault-finding can there be behind an attempt to visit the site once again after seven years? Of course, the IAEA officials argue that according to the NPT Additional Protocol, which Iran signed provisionally but voluntarily in 2003, they are entitled to visit any place they wish without limitation and should only inform the Iranian authorities of their plan at most 48 hours before the inspection. Accordingly, they would like Iran to give permission for a revisit to the Parchin site in order to relieve some other members of their doubts about the country’s nuclear activities.

In response to this argument, one should say that the Additional Protocol has not yet received final ratification in the Iranian parliament and the government cannot cooperate with the UN nuclear agency within its framework. Moreover, as Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh says, Tehran has provided the agency’s delegation with the relevant evidence, informing it of the reasons why the allegations raised about Parchin are baseless. According to him,

“Regular inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty have always been carried out and continue to date. The agency’s request to visit Parchin site is different from, and the calls by the agency for the clarification of some questions and ambiguities require an agreement on a framework within which the considerations of both sides should be taken into account.” (1)

Obviously, Iran has a set of conditions for the IAEA inspection of its military centers, which should be met within the framework of a mutual agreement. In other words, the Islamic Republic and 100 other members of the agency that have not yet ratified the Additional Protocol cannot open all their military centers – which have no connection with nuclear activities – to inspectors, who indeed refuse to make any commitment to keep the results of the visits confidential.

In recent years, Iran has invariably raised the significant point that if countries take on international commitments and honour them, then in return they are given advantages and concessions to promote the level of their cooperation. If countries such as Iran should comply with international obligations enforced by global centres of power on them, but in return are not rewarded with concessions but are also subjected to increasing pressure caused by sanctions, then how Amano and his colleagues could expect these countries to find and give a logical answer to their publics about their unilateral collaborations; collaborations that have nothing for them other than increasing commitments?

Therefore, the issue of visiting Parchin site has simply been raised to make a case for Western media to spread propaganda against the Islamic Republic and influence their audience into believing that since Iran denies permission for the inspection of requested sites, it conducts illegal activities. Such an attempt is made in spite of the fact that the atomic agency’s reports on Iran since 2003 have invariably stressed that all Tehran’s nuclear work has been under IAEA scrutiny and no deviation from the NPT safeguards has been traced during the period. This means that one cannot question Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities simply by relying upon allegations devised by Tel Aviv or policies adopted by Washington.

3) Implementing the UN Security Council Resolutions

In his latest report, Amano has underlined Iran’s failure to implement the UN Security Council resolutions about its uranium enrichment activities, while the Islamic Republic considers these resolutions illegal and unjust, referring to numerous articles in the UN Charter, according to which sovereign states have the right to determine their own fates. Iran’s peaceful activities regarding the enrichment of uranium have all been fully under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog, as testified by its 30 reports, and thus in no sense threaten international peace and security. The US force and the Israeli lobbying have, however, caused seven resolutions to be passed totally unilaterally against Iran in the UN Security Council so far, of which four have imposed extensive sanctions on Iranians. Meanwhile, the United States, Canada, and the European Union have, in concert with Japan, South Korea, and Australia, slapped broader sanctions outside the framework of Security Council resolutions against the Iranian people; sanctions which have no relevance to Tehran’s efforts concerning nuclear energy production and uranium enrichment. The latest round of sanctions included an embargo on the purchase of Iranian oil and financial transactions with Iran’s Central Bank, which have caused so much trouble for international markets while they are not yet fully in force. In such unfair circumstances, how Amano can expect Iran to halt its uranium enrichment work?

Conclusion

The part of Amano’s report which highlights Iranian nuclear advancements demonstrates that in spite of wide and severe sanctions, Iran has managed to build nuclear fuel rods successfully and use them in Tehran Research Reactor to produce anti-cancer drugs. This is a very promising development, which should please all those who understand the meaning of dominance and know how delightful scientific confrontation with that monopolistic system is. Amano’s report should equally embarrass and sadden all those who contended, until recently, that Iran would never succeed in building nuclear fuel rods.

In another part of the report where Amano talks about Iran’s failure to implement the UN Security Council resolutions and its continuation of uranium enrichment, he is making a repetition of what has been repeated before. The insistence that Iran should allow the inspection of non-authorized centers according to the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty will not deliver any results other than supplying the material for propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Such a behaviour is in contradiction with the charter of the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose main goals are to control and oversee the nuclear activities of member states as well as to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the world.

It seems that if the IAEA manages to free itself of the pressure put upon it by domineering powers, which seek to preserve a monopoly on the production and use of high-level technology including the nuclear energy know-how, it can easily reach an agreement with Iran according to a model similar to the previous modality, so that a practical solution is achieved for removing all the existing doubts and ambiguities about Tehran’s nuclear program.

Notes:

(1) Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), 06/12/1390 (Persian Calendar) [25/02/2012].

More By Hassan Beheshtipour:

*Necessity of Playing with China-Russia Ball in Iran's Court: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Necessity_of_Playing_with_China_Russia_Ball_in_Iran_s_Court.htm

*Iran-Russia-China Relations: Challenges & Interests?: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran_Russia_China_Relations_Challenges_Interests_.htm

*Iran Sanctions Will Backfire on EU: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran_Sanctions_Will_Backfire_on_EU.htm

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