Iran Shows Resistance, Hides its Nuclear Program Military Aspects, US Ambassador to IAEA Said

Baku, Azerbaijan, 22 September / Trend corr. D.Ibrahimova/ Interview with US Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Gregory Schulte:

Question: Why did not IAEA show Iran the original of the documents making the Iranian nuclear program doubtful? Or original documents were shown to Iran and Iranianїs claims are groundless?

Answer: Actually, the IAEA has shown Iran these documents and given Iran a chance to explain them.  However, Iran has failed to do so.  The IAEA Director Generalїs report makes clear that Iranїs answers have been insufficient and non-substantive.  The IAEA noted in both the May report and the most recent report that without substantive answers to the IAEAїs questions on the possible military dimensions of Iranїs nuclear program, and without implementation of the Additional Protocol, the IAEA will not be able to provide assurances that there are not undeclared nuclear sites or materials in Iran.  We share the IAEAїs їserious concernї about Iranїs stonewalling and failure to explain military involvement in its nuclear program.

Question: Earlier you stated that the new documents regarding the Iranian nuclear program were developed by 10 countries. To what extent, were IAEA members satisfied with these documents and what arguments does Iran bring to prove the falseness of the documents? 

Answer: The IAEA has presented Board members and Iran with compelling information about їpossible military dimensionsї of Iranїs nuclear program, including work to develop a reentry vehicle for the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile that could carry a nuclear weapon.  In response to detailed information about Iranїs activities, Iranian officials have responded with comments on the form and format of the data rather than providing any convincing information to support their claims that documents were fabricated.  Iran passed copies of the argument it made to the IAEA to member states.  We and other member states were dismayed at Iranїs failure to address the key questions the IAEA asked of it.  The IAEA has told the Board that the documentation it has on the possible military dimensions of Iranїs program is sufficiently comprehensive and detailed to warrant a substantive response, and that Iran needs to take these questions and this information seriously.  The recent report makes very clear that Iran has not done so.

Question: A report publicized by El-Baradei in May was more promising and positive as compared to the current one. What could be reasons for developing such pessimistic and alarming report in this time?

Answer: Both the May report and the most recent report are tough on Iran, and both are tough for good reasons.  The last report showed the large body of information that the IAEA has amassed which points to military involvement in Iranїs nuclear program.  IAEA Deputy Director General Heinonen explained to states that this information was consistent and corroborative over time.  The more recent report shows a clear Iranian pattern of refusing to answer the IAEAїs legitimate questions about the nature of its nuclear program. It confirms that Iran still refuses to comply with its UN Security Council obligations to suspend its enrichment-related activities.  It is certainly alarming that Iran continues a program that the Security Council found to be a threat to international peace and security.  That worries us all.

Question: The United States is currently cooperating with India, which before it imposed sanctions with the accusations of nuclear weapons production. Could this fact make the Iranian officials braver and persistent to continue the nuclear program?

Answer: The deal with India is exceptional and unique reflecting India's unique circumstances. It's a country that has committed to the non-proliferation system and wants to live by the world's rules. It was not allowed to come into that system in the 1970s, when it developed its nuclear program. It now wants to come in. India is a democratic country. India is a peaceful country. India has a doctrine of "no first use" of nuclear weapons. India's strategic force is a deterrent force. It is a country that's saying to the IAEA, "Please come into our country and inspect on a permanent basis the vast majority of our nuclear industry." Indiaїs enhanced nonproliferation commitments strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation framework and constitute a net gain for the global nonproliferation regime.

Iran, on the other hand, is trying to push everybody away and escape from the international system, so the difference could not be more stark. Iran is a country that's saying to the IAEA, "Get out of our country. We don't want an additional protocol. We insist on our right to cross all the red lines that the United Nations and the IAEA have set forth in front of Iran." 

Iran has a demonstrated record of not being transparent or truthful.  Nevertheless, the U.S., along with Russia, China, and the European Union have made a generous offer - a suspension of sanctions and the start of cooperation on civil nuclear energy and regional issues of common concern if Iran takes confidence building measures.  Iran only needs to suspend uranium enrichment -- an activity that Iran has no need to conduct for its civil nuclear program but one that violates multiple Security Council resolutions. 

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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