The International Atomic Energy Agency has produced its report on Iran’s conformance with Security Council resolutions 1737 and 1747 dealing with Iran’s implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards required of it:
VIENNA, Nov. 15 — The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report on Thursday that Iran had made new but incomplete disclosures about its past nuclear activities, missing a critical deadline under an agreement with the agency and virtually assuring a new push by the United States to impose stricter international sanctions.
In the report, the agency confirmed for the first time that Iran had reached the major milestone of 3,000 operating centrifuges, a tenfold increase from just a year ago. In theory, that means that it could produce enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon within a year to 18 months.
But the agency said that the centrifuges — fast-spinning machines used to enrich uranium — were operating well below their capacity, and that so far it had not discovered any evidence that Iran was enriching to a level that would produce bomb-grade fuel.
The report made clear that even while providing some answers, Iran has continued to shield many aspects of its nuclear program. Iran’s “cooperation has been reactive rather than proactive,” the report said, adding that because of restrictions Iran has placed on inspectors the agency’s understanding of the full scope of Iran’s nuclear program is “diminishing.”
The text of the report is here.
The Iranians are seeing the cup that this report represents as half-full—they’re demanding an apology:
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran called on its Western foes on Friday to apologize to the Islamic Republic after the release of a U.N. nuclear agency report which Tehran said showed it had been telling the truth about its atomic plans, according to state media.
The United States, which accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear bombs, said Thursday’s report showed Tehran still defying the international community and that Washington would proceed with allies to draft broader United Nations sanctions against it.
But Iranian officials said the country had been vindicated in the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and that further discussion at the U.N. Security Council about the nuclear dispute would have no legal basis.
As Lord Chesterfield noted effrontery is valuable equipment with which to confront life. On the other hand the West, epitomized here by Germany sees the cup as mostly empty:
BERLIN, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Germany would consider the possibility of separate EU measures against Iran if the U.N. Security Council fails to agree on a new sanctions resolution, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday.
Reacting to the latest report on Iran’s nuclear programme by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the United States said on Thursday it would work with its allies for a third round of U.N. sanctions against Tehran for refusing to suspend nuclear enrichment.
But Russia and China, permanent veto-wielding members of the Security Council, are opposed to more sanctions. As a result, France has been pushing for the European Union to impose its own separate U.S.-style sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
A German Foreign Ministry spokesman was asked at a regular news conference what Germany, which diplomats have been saying opposed the idea of separate EU measures, would do if the Security Council failed to approve tougher sanctions.
“The foreign minister has made clear that if this is the case we would take up this issue in Europe and consider together what steps could be taken by Europe,” spokesman Martin Jaeger said.
He also said that Thursday’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna “makes clear that Iran has still not fulfilled its international obligations as laid down in resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and shows that enrichment activities continue.”
Several bullet-style observations:
- It’s not the job of the IAEA to balance competing interests. The agency has not confirmed that Iran’s nuclear development program is peaceful and it has confirmed that Iran has not cooperated fully with the agency’s doing its job. Offering figleaves to Iran foments discord rather than promoting agreement. This is the core problem of the IAEA’s nature as an independent agency answerable only to itself. That inclines the IAEA to see itself as a policy-creating agency which I do not believe it was ever intended to be.
- Iran needs to conform to its obligations under the NPT and comply fully with the IAEA so that the agency can certify that Iran’s nuclear development program is for peaceful purposes only as is its right under the NPT. There is no gradient of acceptable behaviors on Iran’s part. Progress, the figleaf held out by the IAEA is unacceptable.
- The U. S. does not have the option, as suggested by Julian Borger in The Guardian of deciding that Iran cannot be entrusted with civilian applications of nuclear energy. That is Iran’s right as a signatory of the NPT to which the U. S. is also a signatory. If the U. S. is to change its posture, it should abrogate the NPT. Wouldn’t that require the approval of the Senate?