Sunday, February 21, 2010

IAEA report confirms ‘military intentions’ of Iran

From JPost, 21/02/2010, by HAVIV RETTIG GUR AND AP:

... an International Atomic Energy Agency report released on Thursday that says Iran may be developing a nuclear warhead.

...Noting that the report is the first during the term of new IAEA chief Yukiya Amano of Japan, Israel said it “establishes that the agency has a lot of trustworthy information about the past and present activities that testify to the military tendencies of the Iranian program.”

Among these activities were the recently declared decisions to enrich uranium to 20 percent and the continued construction of the Qom nuclear facility, kept secret until it was discovered by Western intelligence agencies and made public in recent months.

The UN nuclear agency report suggested for the first time that Teheran had either resumed such work or had never stopped when US intelligence thought it did.

Thursday’s report appeared to put the UN nuclear monitor on the side of Germany, France, Britain and Israel.

...The confidential IAEA report said Iran’s resistance to agency efforts to probe for signs of a nuclear cover-up “give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.”

...The language of the report appeared to be more directly critical of Iran’s refusal to cooperate with the IAEA than most of those compiled by Amano’s predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei of Egypt.

It strongly suggested that intelligence supplied by the US, Israel and other IAEA member states on Iran’s attempts to use the cover of a civilian nuclear program to move toward a weapons program was compelling...

...Meanwhile on Friday, Russia’s foreign minister said he was “very alarmed” over Iran’s failure to prove its nuclear program is peaceful, suggesting Moscow may be closer to acceding to Western demands for new UN sanctions against Teheran.

“We are very alarmed, and we cannot accept that Iran is refusing to cooperate” with the IAEA, Lavrov said on Ekho Moskvy radio. He added that he did not understand the need for Iran to conduct its nuclear program in secret, withholding information from the IAEA...

...Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said the IAEA report “underscores that Iran continues to flout its international obligations” and indicates that Teheran is pursuing “a nuclear weapons program with the purpose of evasion.”

The United States has circulated elements for a possible new UN sanctions resolution to other veto-wielding UN Security Council members – Russia, China, Britain and France – and Germany. The six countries have been trying, to no avail, to get Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program and return to negotiations on its nuclear program.

...“We now have no other choice, given this report, than to seek, together with our partners, the adoption of new measures by the UN Security Council over the next few weeks,” the [French Foreign Ministry] said in a statement.

The United States and its Western allies have been pushing for a fourth round of UN sanctions. But China, which relies on Iran’s energy exports, is skeptical of any new sanctions.
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