Posted tagged ‘IAEI’

Top Iranian Official Denounces UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief Yukiya Amano, Confirms Tehran Will Not Open Military Sites to International Inspection

September 13, 2017

Top Iranian Official Denounces UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief Yukiya Amano, Confirms Tehran Will Not Open Military Sites to International Inspection, AlgemeinerBen Cohen, September 12, 2017

(How diligently has the IAEA sought evidence to justify inspections of military and other non-declared Iranian sites? The Iranian position appears to be that even with substantial such evidence inspections would not be permitted.– DM)

Amano did not back down on his statement of September 1, delivered in an interview with the Associated Press, that under the provisions of the JCPOA, the IAEA “has access to all locations without making distinctions between military and civilian locations.” In private briefings with journalists, however, IAEA officials have said they are not seeking to inspect Iranian military sites, as they have no evidence to suspect Iran of carrying out banned activities; critics of the JCPOA have depicted such statements as a face-saving device, countering that the IAEA wants to avoid a losing confrontation with Iran, which has made clear that its military sites are off-limits.

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A senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader has fiercely denounced Yukiya Amano – the head of the UN’s nuclear monitoring body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – for his assertion that IAEA inspectors are entitled to access all “relevant locations,” including military sites, inside Iran.

“The claim of such a right is fabricated by Mr. Amano,” Ali Akbar Velayati – a former Iranian foreign minister who now advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on international affairs – told the regime’s official news agency, IRNAon Tuesday. “If he was independent, and his decisions were based fully on independence, he would have pressed inspecting the nuclear centers of the Zionist regime, because nuclear arms in the occupied lands set as the biggest danger to the entire Middle East region.”

Velayati’s attack on Amano is notable in that it comes two days after the IAEA chief confirmed that Iran, in the view of the agency, is abiding by the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)  – the official name of the nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers, led by the United States, in July 2015.

“The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the deal are being implemented,” Amano told the quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-member Board of Governors in Vienna. Amano also told the meeting that Iran had agreed to a “high number” of short-notice inspections of its nuclear sites, without specifically addressing the concern voiced last month by Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, that the IAEA does not have enough access in Iran.

At the same time, Amano did not back down on his statement of September 1, delivered in an interview with the Associated Press, that under the provisions of the JCPOA, the IAEA “has access to all locations without making distinctions between military and civilian locations.” In private briefings with journalists, however, IAEA officials have said they are not seeking to inspect Iranian military sites, as they have no evidence to suspect Iran of carrying out banned activities; critics of the JCPOA have depicted such statements as a face-saving device, countering that the IAEA wants to avoid a losing confrontation with Iran, which has made clear that its military sites are off-limits.

In his statement on Tuesday, Velayati bluntly confirmed this position. “Neither Mr. Amano, his officers nor any other foreigner is entitled to visit our military centers, because the centers are fully secret security zones for any foreigner and foreign affiliates,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

Velayati’s comments come amid persistent rumors that US President Donald Trump’s Administration is looking to ratchet up pressure on Tehran over its ballistic missile tests and its sponsorship of Shia Islamist organizations like Hezbollah in Lebanon. According to a Reuters news agency report on Tuesday, Trump was presented last Friday with a plan assembled by Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and other top officials. The plan “could allow more aggressive U.S. responses to Iran’s forces, its Shi‘ite Muslim proxies in Iraq and Syria, and its support for militant groups,” the report said.

Also in question is whether Trump will re-certify the JCPOA in October, as the president is legally required to do every 100 days. While Trump has made no secret of his distaste for the deal, the Iran strategy presented to him on Friday by his advisers reportedly does not advocate a withdrawal from the JCPOA, but rather increased economic sanctions and limited military moves to counter Iran’s growing influence.

Iran: Inspectors may access suspect nuclear site

November 23, 2014

Iran: Inspectors may access suspect nuclear site, Times of Israel, November 22, 2014

(Why not Parchin? Please see also, West seen easing demands on Iran atom bomb ‘mea culpa’ in deal. — DM)

Austria-Iran-Nuclear_Horo-e1401748045152Yukiya Amano of Japan, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) awaits the board of governors meeting at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, Monday, June 2, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Ronald Zak)

IAEA says ‘large-scale, high-explosive experiments’ may have been conducted at the Marivan military base.

As well as Marivan, IAEA inspectors are also interested in the Parchin military base, where they suspect tests that could be applied to a potential nuclear site have been carried out.

Iran has so far denied access to Parchin.

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TEHRAN, Iran – Tehran is ready to allow nuclear inspectors access to its Marivan military site, an Iranian official said Saturday, a facility long suspected of being used to develop explosive weapons.

The declaration comes as Iran and six world powers hold talks in Vienna to reach a lasting agreement on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program before November 24.

Such a deal, after 12 years of rising tensions, is aimed at easing fears that Tehran will develop nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian activities — an ambition the Islamic Republic has always fiercely denied.

The Marivan site, close to the Iraqi border, was mentioned in a 2011 report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The UN agency suggested at the time that “large scale high explosive experiments” may have been carried out at the complex.

Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany have been locked in talks with Iran since February after an interim accord gave it some relief from economic sanctions in return for nuclear curbs.

“We are ready to allow the IAEA controlled access to the Marivan site,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, was quoted as saying by the IRNA news agency.

He said the IAEA’s view of Marivan was based on “false” information.

IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said the watchdog “will discuss the offer” with Tehran.

“The situation regarding a visit to the Marivan region is not as simple as that conveyed by Iran,” she told AFP.

As well as Marivan, IAEA inspectors are also interested in the Parchin military base, where they suspect tests that could be applied to a potential nuclear site have been carried out.

Iran has so far denied access to Parchin.

How to understand Obama’s Iran diplomacy

November 8, 2014

How to understand Obama’s Iran diplomacy, Power LineScott Johnson, November 7, 2014

I think the easiest way to understand Obama’s diplomacy is this. Assume that Obama believes Iran should have nuclear weapons and would like to facilitate the mullahs’ nuclear weapons program. This assumption is the Occam’s Razor that clarifies what might otherwise be obscure. The assumption may not be correct, but it should prove a handy guide to coming attractions.

Obama bids against himself chasing after the mullahs. You can say that he doesn’t know how to negotiate, and it’s a plausible hypothesis. As Michael Rubin explains, “Desperation is not a good negotiating position” (unless you want to give it away).

But how explain Obama’s vehement opposition in the past to the imposition of sanctions against Iran by Congress, or the threat of such sanctions in the future in the case no final deal were to be reached?

How explain his concession up front (in the P5+1 interim agreement with Iran) to Iran’s nuclear enrichment?

How explain the offer to agree to an ever increasing number of centrifuges for enrichment?

How explain the apparent acceptance of a prospective deal without proof that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful in nature, which is in itself an absurd and unbelievable proposition?

And so on, and so on.

When Obama makes the famously false promise that he is from the government and he is here to help, he means it in the case of the mullahs.

Today’s page-one story in the Wall Street Journal reveals Obama’s fourth secret letter to the mullahs in search of a deal. He is pleading with them. He will not take no for an answer. See Michael Rubin, “White House ignores Khameni response to letters.”

Obama’s most recent letter is already yesterday’s news. Today’s news comes via the IAEA. Omri Ceren summarizes it as follows in an email message this morning:

The new IAEA report went online about two hours ago. No changes from last time: not only are the Iranians continuing to block the Agency’s work, but they’re refusing to offer new ways of moving forward. Zero progress during the reporting period, and no sign that the next one will be any better.

The report is here The key lines are:

“The Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurances 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”

“Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the Agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures, nor has it proposed any new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for cooperation”

The Iranians seem to be betting that the West will eventually drop the demand that Tehran come clean about the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of its nuclear program. Negotiations will come down to the wire, all of the other issues will have been massaged, and Iranian negotiators will look up and say the equivalent of ‘you’re not really going to blow up this whole deal over something we did in the past, are you?’ Under that scenario the message will be echoed by a few advocates in the nonproliferation world, the P5+1 will latch on to the reasoning, and that’ll be that.

The problem is that the PMD issue has very little to do with the past and everything to do with future verification. Unless the Iranians disclose what they’ve been doing on the nuclear front – including whatever the military is doing to surreptitiously enrich and store uranium – there’s no way to verify that they’ve stopped doing those things.

Remember how we got here. The P5+1 was supposed to be working with Iran on uranium, plutonium, and ballitsic missiles. Underneath all of those issues, the IAEA was supposed to be working on getting Iran to come clean on the full scope of its program: both the civilian and the military aspects (i.e. the PMDs).

People often talk and write about the PMD issue as if it’s just about weapons work – suspected Iranian experiments with detonators, warheads, etc. Those things matter but the issue is much broader. The IAEA wants access to all the places where the Iranian military had its hand in any atomic work – uranium mining, centrifuge construction, enrichment, and so on. The goal is to get a full picture of everything the Iranians are doing, so that the IAEA can confirm that they’ve stopped.

When the Iranians jam the IAEA up on PMDs, it’s not just another fourth core issue that can be negotiated alongside uranium, plutonium, and ballistic missiles. Transparency is the prerequisite to creating any robust verification scheme on those other three issues. It’s not possible for Western negotiators to say something like: ‘ok, we’ll give you a little on PMDs, but you have to give us something back on centrifuges.’ Without disclosure, there’s no way to verify that the Iranians are actually living up to their half of the trade.

Isn’t this obviously true? That’s where my Occam’s Razor cuts through the fog to help us understand what is happening now and what will in all likelihood be happening soon.

In related news, see Adam Kredo, “Report: Iran nuclear program more advanced than previously believed” and “Pentagon: Iran giving ‘lethal aid to the Taliban’ to fight US.”

UPDATE: Omri Ceren writes to update his message with news of today’s State Department briefing:

The issue came up in today’s State Department press briefing between the AP’s Matt Lee and State spox Jen Psaki. It actually came up twice, with [AP State Department reporter] Matt [Lee] circling back to it….The [short] version is that Jen left open the possibility that the US will take a deal with Iran even if the Iranians continue to obstruct the IAEA, i.e. even if they refuse to come clean on their past nuclear activity including military atomic work. If that happens it would mark another erosion in the US position, alongside reported walkbacks in the other three core areas: uranium, plutonium, and ballistic missiles. More problematically, letting Iran slide on IAEA inspections now risks gutting any verification regime set up later.

It is “problematic,” however, only if your (our) goal is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

IAEA: No Progress on Iranian Nukes

November 8, 2014

IAEA: No Progress on Iranian Nukes, Daily Beast, November 7, 2014

(Don’t bother P5+1 with irrelevant details. The deal has to be based on mutual trust! — DM)

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Iran continues to refuse to disclose its nuclear activity, and experts do not anticipate the country will become more transparent in the future. That’s the assessment released Friday from the International Atomic Energy Agency. “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,” said the report, which was also pessimistic about the chance that Iran will be forthright with its nuclear activities in the future. The report notes that Iran has not “proposed any new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for cooperation.” President Obama recently wrote a letter to Iran’s supreme leader asking for help fighting ISIS in exchange for a deal to resolve the nuclear standoff. [Emphasis added.]

Read it at IAEA Report