Little Progress Seen in Iran Nuclear Inspections

U.N. Agency Sees Stalemate in Yearlong Effort

By Reuters

Published November 29, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The U.N. nuclear agency made no progress in a year-long push to find out if Iran worked on developing an atomic bomb, its chief said on Thursday, calling for urgent efforts to end Tehran’s standoff with the West.

Yukiya Amano said he would not give up seeking to end what Western diplomats describe as Iranian stonewalling of the agency’s investigation into possible military dimensions to the Islamic state’s nuclear programme.

U.N. inspectors will meet Iranian officials for a new round of talks in Tehran next month to seek an agreement to allow the agency to resume its inquiry, after several meetings since January failed to achieve a breakthrough.

“Now is the time for all of us to work with a sense of urgency and seize the opportunity for a diplomatic solution,” Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told its 35-nation governing board.

Iran rejects suspicions it is on a covert quest for atomic bomb capability.

But its refusal to curb nuclear work with both civilian and military applications, and its lack of openness with the IAEA, have drawn tough Western sanctions and a threat of pre-emptive military strikes by Israel.

A year ago, the IAEA published a report with a trove of intelligence indicating past, and some possibly continuing, research in Iran that could be relevant for nuclear weapons.

They included suspected high-explosive experiments at the Parchin military site southeast of Tehran, and possible work on designing a device to produce a burst of neutrons for setting off a fission chain reaction.

The U.N. agency, whose mission is preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the world, has since tried to gain access to Iranian sites, officials and documents it says it needs for the inquiry.

“I am unable to report any progress on clarifying the issues relating to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme,” Amano said, in a frank statement to the agency’s policy-making body in Vienna.

“WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY”

He expressed concern that “extensive activities” at Parchin - an allusion to suspected clean-up work there - would seriously undermine the agency’s investigation, if and when it was allowed to visit the sprawling facility.

“Satellite imagery shows that extensive activities, including the removal and replacement of considerable quantities of earth, have taken place at this location,” Amano said, according to a copy of his speech to the closed-door meeting.

Tehran says Parchin is a conventional military facility and has dismissed Western allegations that it is trying to remove evidence of any illicit nuclear-related experiments.

It says it must first reach a broader agreement with the IAEA on how the agency should conduct its investigation before it possibly allows inspectors to visit Parchin.

The IAEA’s talks with Iran are separate from - but closely linked to - efforts by six world powers to resolve the decade-long nuclear dispute with Iran that has raised fears of a new war in the Middle East.

Diplomacy between Iran and the powers - the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany, and Britain - has been deadlocked since a June meeting that ended without success.

Both sides now say they want to resume talks soon, after the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, and diplomats expect a new meeting in Istanbul in December or January.

“We all recognise that there is a window of opportunity and that window is not very big and it is not going to be open for very long,” one envoy in Vienna said.

Iran has faced a tightening of Western trade sanctions which the United States and its allies hope will force Iran to curb its nuclear programme.

Tehran has so far showed no sign of doing so, with its atomic energy chief this week saying Iran will go on refining uranium “with intensity”. Enriched uranium can fuel nuclear power plants but also provide material for bombs.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.