[A-List] The IAEA: From UN Nuclear Watchdog to US Lapdog
tal1 at cogeco.ca
Thu Jun 10 20:58:29 MDT 2010
The IAEA: From UN Nuclear Watchdog to US Lapdog
By Finian Cunningham
June 08, 2010 -- - As the United Nations' nuclear inspections body, the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), meets in Vienna later this week
to discuss its latest report on Iran, there are signs that Washington is now
writing the IAEA's script.
The most glaring indication of the IAEA's appeasement of US belligerence
over the latter's allegations of Iranian nuclear ambitions, and therefore
the need for further punitive UN sanctions, is the gaping omission from the
agency's report of the Tehran nuclear fuel swap declaration.
Despite acknowledging that the agency has yet again not found any evidence
to suggest the diversion of nuclear material from civilian purposes, the
IAEA nevertheless draws the conclusion that it "remains concerned about the
possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related
activities, involving military related organisations, including activities
related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile".
The report dated 31 May found its way into the media on 1 June ahead of the
IAEA Board of Governors' meeting scheduled for this week.
The report also states that Iran has amassed 2,427 kg of low-enriched (3-5
per cent) uranium. "Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the [IAEA's]
Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended
enrichment related activities," it says, adding: "Iran is not implementing
the requirements contained in the relevant resolutions of the Board of
Governors and the Security Council. which are essential to building
confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of Iran's nuclear programme".
Conveniently for Washington's strenuous efforts to cohere the five permanent
members of the UN Security Council to vote through a fourth round of
sanctions against Iran - perhaps also this week - the IAEA report played
into the fevered imaginations of mainstream Western media outlets.
The Associated Press said it was "a report that heightened Western concerns
about the country developing the ability to produce a nuclear weapon".
AP asserted: "Two tons [approximately 2,000 kg] of uranium would be enough
for two nuclear warheads."  Similar overblown claims were made by the New
York Times and other US media.
But, in truth, the latest IAEA report has very little to add to its previous
ones, the last one being in February. Iran's ambassador to the agency Ali
Asghar Soltanieh dismissed the report as raising "repetitive" issues, which
he said damaged the IAEA's credibility.
"The continuation of this trend is seriously damaging the IAEA. [Yukiya]
Amano [the agency's director general] should put an end to this boring game
and this sort of repetitive request and partial reflection of facts".
William Beeman, professor at the University of Minnesota, said: "It is clear
that the IAEA is being pressured to toughen their stance, but the tough
is almost completely rhetorical. They still clearly assert that 'the agency
continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran,'
which is the bottom line. Aside from this there is barely anything new in
Beeman added: "One wonders how much the United States contributed to this
report because the technical aspects are cut and dried. The final sections
have all dark speculation - speculation that mirrors what we hear from the
Yukiya Amano took over from Mohamed ElBaradei as the IAEA chief at the end
of last year. ElBaradei had earned a reputation for scientific independence
and he often clashed with the US, which accused him of "muddying the waters"
and sending the "wrong message to Iran". Most notably, ElBaradei forcefully
stated that there was "no evidence" of Tehran having or intending to build a
nuclear bomb, that its nuclear activities were legal, and he reiterated that
Iran had met all its obligations with regard to facilitating IAEA
The same independence cannot be attributed to Amano. The disturbing question
is why the IAEA under his charge did not give a single mention to the Tehran
nuclear fuel swap declaration.
That deal was signed on 17 May between Iran, Turkey and Brazil in which Iran
committed to swap half of its stock of low-enriched uranium in exchange for
nuclear fuel rods enriched to the 20 per cent level from either France or
Russia. This material would then be used for medical research and
treatments. Iran, Turkey and Brazil are still advocating the proposal, which
they say could be overseen by the IAEA. The 20 per cent uranium that Iran
would receive, under Turkey's guarantee, would be far below the 80-90 per
cent level required for weaponisation, which Iran has repeatedly said that
it is not interested in anyway, despite relentless western claims.
Tellingly, the US moved swiftly to dismiss the tripartite declaration within
hours of its announcement, with secretary of state Hillary Clinton
immediately renewing the push for the fourth round of sanctions.
This despite the fact that the Tehran declaration was hailed by several
world leaders, including the UN chief Ban Ki-moon, as a "breakthrough" in
the long-running US confrontation with Iran. The deal was formally submitted
to the IAEA on 24 May  - a full week before the agency's latest report
The IAEA is supposedly a scientific body dedicated to promoting the peaceful
use of atomic energy. Evidently, a serious exposure to US politics has
contaminated that body.
Finian Cunningham is a journalist and musician www.myspace.com/f
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