Amano’s Report Entails Threats

Monday, May 30, 2011

Interview with Rahman Ghahremanpour
Director of Disarmament Studies Group, Center for Strategic Research

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano has distributed his latest Safeguards Report on the nuclear program of Iran among 35 member states of IAEA and members of the United Nations Security Council. In the following interview, Dr. Ghahremanpour director of Disarmament Studies Group at the Center for Strategic Research discusses the contents and consequences of the report.

Q: Dr. Ghahremanpour, it seems that the new IAEA report has created a new wave of negative propaganda against Iran’s nuclear program. Is that right?

A: I don’t think so. Such reports had been released before and propaganda against Iran’s nuclear program is nothing new. There have also been international sanctions against Iran. I think that 5+1 is trying to both expand scope of sanctions and increase their impact.

Although one cannot be sure, IAEA seems to be helping with that scenario. In general, since Amano replaced ElBaradei as Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, his reports have been closer to positions of 5+1 on Iran’s nuclear program. That is, his safeguards reports have contained more negative points compared to those of his predecessor and the same is true about his latest report. Perhaps, he is moving in a direction to claim that there is diversion in Iran’s nuclear program.

Q: What important points did Amano’s recent report contain?

A: In general, the report contains a legal argument on the binding nature of IAEA's demands. Part of it is about alleged studies, which is relatively important, with another part being about Code 3.1.

Q: As for legal argument, are there any new points in that argument and why such an argument should be included in Amano’s report?

A: At the beginning of his report he has pointed that IAEA's report to the Security Council and requests on Iran to suspend enrichment have legal basis. Paragraphs one through three allege that IAEA's requests are, for these reasons, binding. This is, in fact, a response to Iran’s criticism that IAEA is working along political lines. Iran has been criticizing the Agency that IAEA has been distancing from its technical duties. The past two safeguards reports tried to address Iran’s criticism. In other words, repeating that IAEA's request on Iran enjoys legal basis is answer to Iran’s protests that the Agency is more politically motivated than technically.

Q: There is high sensitivity around new information on diversion in Iran’s nuclear program. What is the problem?

A: Amano had noted in his past reports that he has found new information on the alleged studies. In the new report, he has repeated that. In Paragraph 35 of the report, Amano has noted that “…the Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.” He has claimed that the Agency is assessing the new information. That is, while a report issued by 16 US intelligence bodies in 2007, which was reaffirmed lately, acquitted Iran from such charges, Amano’s report asserts quite the opposite. He claims to have information to show that alleged studies have been underway since 2004. As such, Amano’s report contradicts US intelligence reports. The Agency, though, has not explained how it has reached such a conclusion.

Q: What is the exact meaning of this claim and how Iran should react to it?

A: International Atomic Energy Agency claims to have found and is assessing new information and has called on Iran to explain about documents linking Tehran to the alleged studies. The Islamic Republic of Iran has frequently announced that those documents are forged because the originals have never been shown to the Iranian officials and only electronic copies have been sent to them.

Q: What issues is Code 3.1 related to?

A: The report has urged Iran to implement Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements. The Agency has noted that Iran’s announced schedule for Fordo enrichment plant cannot be confirmed by the Agency. The main difference here is about implementation of Code 3.1. The Islamic Republic of Iran maintains that since the code has not been implemented in Iran, the government is under no obligation to provide information on design of Fordo plant before introduction of fuel and the information it has presented to IAEA thus far was meant to build confidence with the Agency. The Agency, on the other hand, argues that based on the Safeguards Contract, Iran cannot suspend implementation of Code 3.1 unilaterally. In fact, IAEA rejects Iran’s interpretation of Code 3.1. The Agency has also come up with a new interpretation for inspection of unannounced facilities, which has not been accepted by Iran.

Q: Amano’s report will be discussed at the Board of Governors’ meeting which has been scheduled for June 6-10. What decisions may Board of Governors reach at and in what direction Iran’s nuclear case may be set?

A: Our nuclear program is independent of decisions of IAEA or its Board of Governors because the case has already been taken to the United Nations Security Council. The sure point, which has also been mentioned in the Security Council resolutions, is that Director Generals’ reports and decisions of Board of Governors form a basis for further moves by the Security Council. When such reports are negative, they are sure to negatively affect the Security Council’s decisions.

Such reports, therefore, are mostly meant to provide psychological grounds. It is important to IAEA to maintain its credit. Therefore, it withholds too much information on what it wants to do next because it does not want its credit to be tarnished. Perhaps this is why some analysts still maintain that IAEA's positions are less politically motivated and attach more credit to the Agency than certain western countries. Therefore, such reports may entail threats to our country.

Q: On the whole, how do you see the situation in the international scene, especially with regard to 5+1, in the light of this report?

A: It seems that 5+1 still pursues to maintain and intensify the previous atmosphere. Their unwillingness to continue negotiations following Istanbul talks also indicates that they are bent on enforcing their past decisions before reaching at new ones. This is why the United States and Europe are trying to impose more unilateral sanctions on Iran.

Source: Iranian Diplomacy
Translated By: Iran Review