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Farhi on the IAEA Reporting

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Farideh Farhi has a good post at the ICGA blog with her assessment of the new IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear energy program.  The IAEA has found no evidence that any nuclear material has been diverted for weapons production.  Iran is being criticized by the western press for not suspending enrichment—an extra measure that is not part of the NPT, but imposed by the Security Council.

Juan Cole observes:

Farhi shows that the IAEA is saying that Iran has satisfactorily answered questions about its past nuclear energy research, and that the international body can certify that Iran has not diverted nuclear material to weapons purposes. Farhi points out that the NYT did not report either of these important findings.

The IAEA is clearly frustrated with Iran for a) continuing to enrich uranium (the Iranians say it is for fuel and international law allows them to do this), and for not being 100% transparent about their energy research program. But it finds no evidence that Iran even has a weapons program, and finds a consistency between Iranian statements and IAEA findings.

Farhi doesn’t bring this point up, but the Israeli government is trying to get the IAEA head, Mohammed Elbaradei, fired, because he is not producing the reports that the Kadima and Likud parties want him to produce. The Israeli government had also been a big proponent of the theory that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in 2002, with Efraim Halevy, the head of Mossad [Israeli intelligence], making wild charges that he may have known were not true.

Ironically, Israel is the country that broke the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty in the Middle East and introduced nuclear weapons into the region, kicking off an arms race with Iraq that in many ways led to the Iraq War. US and American complaints about Iran’s civilian energy research program never acknowledge Israel’s own outlaw status with regard to nonproliferation.

Regarding the reporting in the American press, an excerpt from Farhi’s post reads:

 After several changes in the Internet versions, the Washington Post’s heading ended up slightly less provocative (“U.S. to Seek New Sanctions against Iran: UN Report Faults Tehran’s Input on Nuclear Program”). But the text begins by saying “The Bush administration plans to push for new sanctions against Iran after the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency reported yesterday that Tehran is providing “diminishing” information about its controversial nuclear program, U.S. officials said. In a critically timed assessment, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran provided “timely” and helpful new information on a secret program that became public in 2002, but that it did not fully answer questions or allow full access to Iranian personnel. Iran is even less cooperative on its current program, the IAEA reported.” This reporting is not only flatly wrong regarding what the report said about full access to Iranian personnel but also completely mum, like the reporting from AP and NYT, about the reasons for the “diminishing” information (the suspension of the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol which was instigated by the Security Council action).

If you are wondering if there is reporting that accurately uses the language used by the IAEA findings, I think the BBC piece entitled “Mixed UN Nuclear Report for Iran,” although short and still mum on the reasons for why the Additional Protocol is no longer voluntarily implemented by Iran, gives a relatively accurate description of the issues involved. So it can be done! Why it is not, make a guess….

Irancove @ November 17, 2007

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