Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 1 /Trend T.Konyayeva/
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano's decision to publish a new report detailing the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program is well-timed, ex-Deputy Director General of the IAEA Olli Heinonen believes.
"Last time the IAEA provided details about the military dimension was in 2008, more than two years ago," Heinonen, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, wrote Trend in an email.
According to Heinonen, Amano has repeatedly stated the IAEA has received new information "Therefore, I think that it is appropriate and fair to provide an update so that the Member States and Security Council can make their assessments on this issue, and decide on further actions," Heinonen said.
On Sept. 12, Amano announced plans to publish a new report detailing the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme. The report is due to be circulated among 35 members of IAEA board of governors, during their meeting in Vienna on November 17-18.
In the joint note, issued on Tuesday, Moscow and Beijing warned the UN atomic agency against "groundless haste" and urge him to "act cautiously," adding that "such kind of report will only drive the Iranians into a corner making them less cooperative."
Heinonen thinks that sanctions have certainly slowed down Iran's nuclear program and it has made it harder for Iran to procure items related to its program. However, sanctions alone do not bring about a solution, he added.
"They [sanctions] are just one of the tools in the toolkit," Heinonen underscored. "What we may see is an increasing cocktail of a wider range of incentives and disincentives that continue to include deeper sanctions that would hopefully change the direction of Iran's nuclear program."
Iran's refusal to abandon its nuclear activities has resulted in resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 2010, as well as additional unilateral sanctions approved by the U.S. Congress and the foreign ministers of all EU countries, which were primarily directed against the banking, financial and energy sectors of Iran.
The United Nations has imposed four rounds of Security Council sanctions over Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or materials for an atomic bomb.
The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the charges, saying its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity and producing isotopes to treat medical patients.
In mid-September, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Saeed Jalili sent a letter to the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton with a proposal to begin new talks on Iran's nuclear program.
The last round of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program took place in January 2011 in Istanbul.