IAEA's New Iran Report a Test for West’s Commitment to Obligations

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Amir Hossein Yazdanpanah
Expert on International Issues

The latest report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the “implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement” in the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially the information contained in one of the paragraphs of this report, has opened a new chapter in relations between Iran and this international body. As a result, the main question raised here is will these relations really have a good impact on the final resolution of Iran’s nuclear case, which had been politicized by the Agency from the very outset? Of course, the IAEA has once again tried in its new report to cast doubt on the activities of Iran’s nuclear industry by taking advantage of ambiguous terms. However, there are two main points which help to differentiate the IAEA's recent report from other reports released by the Agency: A) temporal conditions; and B) exchange of information between Iran and the IAEA about one of the issues related to “alleged studies.”

A. Temporal conditions

The IAEA's report was released after the latest round of the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers (also known as Vienna 4) ended in the Austrian capital city of Vienna “with no tangible results.” Almost from early hours after this sensitive and complex round of negotiations between the two sides came to an end, Western news agencies, especially Reuters and some American newspapers, started a concerted effort to promote their own favorable scenario by introducing Iran as the main party to blame for the failure of the talks. By doing this, they also tried to pave the way for the Islamic Republic to be blamed for the possible failure of next rounds of nuclear negotiations. Therefore, a reason for the high importance of the latest IAEA report is that it has been released under conditions when the West is trying to introduce Iran as the main party responsible for the recent unfavorable conditions. In reality, although the P5+1 group and the IAEA have announced frequently that the process of technical negotiations between Iran and the IAEA will have no effect on the course of political talks between Iran and the P5+1 group, the text of the interim Geneva agreement – also known as the Joint Plan of Action – has clearly specified that the IAEA is responsible for the verification of all measures taken by Iran in relation to its nuclear energy program. It is for this reason that the role played by the IAEA should be considered as important and determining even in terms of its impact on the political negotiations (between Iran and the P5+1 group) and their possible result. Of course, this is true if the IAEA decides to stop treating Iran’s nuclear case as a political matter – like what happened with regard to the accepted modality in 2007 when the Agency failed to comply with its obligations – and take firm steps to act in line with its supervisory, scientific and technical duties without doing anything to add to the complexity of the negotiations. The recent IAEA report should be considered as a written document, which can be used to refute the negative propaganda against Iran and will “take the wind out of the sails of those alleging Iran is stonewalling them.” It can be also taken as a testament by the IAEA before the world’s public opinion to Iran’s commitment to its obligations as per the interim Geneva deal. This is important because this international institution has been constantly used as a pressure took against Iran.

B. Exchange of information between Iran and IAEA about a sensitive issue

Four days before the beginning of the latest Vienna talks on Iran’s nuclear energy program, which ended in no result, the Reuters news agency, which is considered one of news services close to the IAEA, suddenly put its focus on the issue of “exploding bridge wires.” In its report, Reuters quoted an unnamed source as saying that “Iran provided information to the IAEA about the fast-functioning detonators, which it says are for civilian use, in late April.” The news agency added that “the IAEA had asked Iran follow-up questions, but they (Iranian officials) did not give details of these and there was no immediate comment from the IAEA or Iran.” This report, on the one hand, clearly proves that when the IAEA focuses on an issue, it will not easily change that focus even after suitable answers have been given by Iran, and continues to ask new questions. A more important aspect of Reuters’ report, however, was that it helped to create a negative atmosphere against the Islamic Republic on the eve of the important negotiations in Vienna, which were seen as a major step toward formulation of a draft comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Now, and in its May 23 report, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said in Paragraph 56 of the report that “at a technical meeting in Tehran on 20 May 2014, in response to a request from the Agency, Iran provided additional information and explanations, including showing documents, to substantiate its stated need and application of EBW. Iran showed information to the Agency that simultaneous firing of EBW was tested for a civilian application.” This issue is part of the alleged studies, which have been used by the West to claim that there is a possible military aspect to Iran’s nuclear energy program. The alleged studies have been used since 2008 as a means to mount pressure on and wage a propaganda war against Iran. Now, to the contrary of all those accusations, the IAEA has clearly noted that exploding bridge wires have been tested “for a civilian application.”

Of course, in its latest report, like its previous reports, the IAEA has asserted in some paragraphs, including Paragraph 36 and in the summary section of the report that “the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” However, with the Agency confirming that Iran has taken necessary steps to implement the interim Geneva agreement and also in view of what the Agency has explained in Paragraph 56 of its new report, the West is now faced with a crucial test as a result of Iran’s compliance with its obligations. After it has been proven that Iran has abided by its obligations as per the interim Geneva agreement, the world public opinion is waiting to see if the opposite parties will do the same. Will the IAEA once again come up with a new issue to mount pressure on Iran, or will it choose a different course of action? And more importantly, will reports released by an institution, which is supposed to have the last say in the field of nuclear technology and supervision, be able to stop the West in its effort to level charges against Iran or not? Of course, the point which should be mentioned here is that the void for a supervisory institution to oversee correct implementation of the interim Geneva agreement by the member states of the P5+1 group, especially the United States, is greatly felt. Such a body would have been able to prove which party has remained committed to its obligations and which party has violated those obligations.

Key Words: Iran, IAEA's New Report, West’s Commitment, P5+1 Group, Alleged Studies, Iran’s Nuclear Program, Vienna 4, Interim Geneva Agreement, Yazdanpanah

Source: Khorasan Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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