Closing the Case of Differences between Iran and the “Agency”

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sirous Nasseri
Former Member of Iran’s Nuclear Negotiating Team

A draft resolution drawn up by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s nuclear program was adopted by the Agency’s Board of Governors recently, thus, confirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program for the first time in history of relations between Iran and IAEA. This unprecedented event took place after Iran and the Agency had gone through four difficult stages over the past 12 Years. The first stage was when a set of surprise accusations was leveled against Iran. Those accusations, along with the viewpoint that IAEA claimed to have on Iran’s nuclear program, created a complicated situation against the Islamic Republic. In that stage, the biggest problem that faced Iran was the serious charge of having enriched uranium to over 95 percent, which of course, was due to contamination of Iran's centrifuges. In addition to this accusation, there were other accusations brought up against the Islamic Republic. This stage led to a happy ending through a series of calculated measures over a period of three years. As a result, the bulk of charges against Iran were dropped and, for example, it was proven to the Agency that the contamination of Iran’s centrifuges was related to another country, namely, Pakistan, and had nothing to do with Iran’s activities.

The second stage was when a specific “modality” was formulated for the resolution of differences between the two sides and relations between Iran and IAEA proceeded within a set frame, which was to a large extent successful as well. Among highlights of that period one can point out full resolution of most accusations that had remained against Iran within the framework of the aforesaid modality. However, the void that remained in place was due to a set of other issues, which were mostly based on a series of unreliable claims and the two sides could not reach a final roundup on those claims within framework of the modality. As a result, they entered the third stage of their relations.

In the third stage, outstanding issues with the Agency included a set of charges under 12 sections against Iran, which were first announced unofficially and were then officially raised by the IAEA’s Board of Governors in 2011, which perhaps led to the most difficult and worst conditions in Iran’s relations with the Agency. This set of charges practically made the United Nations Security Council take hard positions on Iran while mounting tough sanctions against the country. During this stage, Iran and IAEA did their best to somehow settle problems between them one way or another, but their efforts did not have a clear outcome.

The fourth and last stage was the period of the past two years in which an end was finally put to a continuous, protracted, and serious case. During this period, both sides agreed to make a concerted and purposive effort based on a common political rule and agreement in order to totally and completely close all claims that had been raised against Iran over a long period of time. In this way, they tried to close the case of fictitious charges against Iran for good and open a new chapter in Iran’s relations with IAEA.

Although the IAEA resolution put an end to the case of the Agency’s differences with Iran, some people may refer to parts of it, which pertain to certain controversial activities by Iran in a given period of time, and say that this issue can lead to substantiation of some of Iran’s past activities and, as a result, cause trouble for the country. In response to these worries, it must be noted that IAEA has clearly announced that what has been possibly done by Iran does not contravene the country’s obligations as per the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Iran has not violated the treaty. This issue was also pointed out by the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in his opening address to the recent meeting of the Board of Governors in which he officially announced that Iran is not running any military nuclear program.

On the other hand, the IAEA’s report includes three determining and important conclusions whose outcomes for Iran will be far from closing the case of past accusations. Firstly, IAEA has announced and the Board of Governors has accepted that there has been no sign of diversion in the nuclear material used in Iran's peaceful nuclear activities. This announcement is a watershed and a totally new point.

Secondly, they have announced that Iran's nuclear fuel program has had no diversion in it, which means that Iran's uranium enrichment program has never diverted toward production of nuclear weapons. In the next step, IAEA has announced that, at least, after 2009, no sign has been detected in Iran's nuclear program to denote any activity in Iran that would have been carried out for non-peaceful purposes.

Now, such assessments are usually offered about countries, which from IAEA's viewpoint, have a totally clear, well-defined and regular nuclear program. Therefore, IAEA's conclusion about lack of any diversion in our country’s nuclear material and activities has taken Iran one more step closer to acquittal with regard to suspicious nuclear activities. This is very important taking into account that the number of countries that have been able to get this final judgment from IAEA after many years of full implementation of the Additional Protocol to the NPT are few. Therefore, according to IAEA's roundup in its last report and the final resolution adopted by the IAEA's Board of Governors, Iran has taken a stride toward this conclusion, whose tangible result could be shortening of the time period considered for the removal of the remaining sanctions at the Security Council instead of this process taking eight to 10 years.

In this situation, our country must focus on the future and follow up on its peaceful nuclear program through interaction with IAEA and with due care so that this final stage will end as soon as possible after which Iran will have time to focus its energy on completion of its nuclear projects and also gain a better standing within IAEA.

Key Word: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran’s Nuclear Program, Resolution, Board of Governors, United Nations Security Council, Additional Protocol, NPT, Iran's Peaceful Nuclear Activities, Unreliable Claims, Yukiya Amano, Naseri

Source: Iran Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

*Photo Credit: Daily Sabah

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