18.02.2013 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Iran-IAEA: Who is Behind Keeping the Talks Stalled

5133The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) failed to reach a deal with Iran in relation to Iran’s nuclear program and failed to get access to a military facility in Parchin at the recent talks in Tehran, said IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards Herman Nackaerts. “We discussed the document based on the structural approach (to resolve the nuclear problem), but could not agree on its formulation. We did not reach any agreement on the date for our next meeting”, he said. According to his statement, the IAEA is ready to resume negotiations, but it needs time to contemplate further steps on the way forward.

Meanwhile Iran’s IAEA envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh maintained that the Iranian representatives and IEAL experts had succeeded in achieving some progress in negotiating the issues about Iran’s nuclear agenda. “Some disagreements have been bridged and the two sides would meet again to discuss fresh proposals articulated during the meeting”, A.A. Soltanieh is quoted as saying by Fars, an Iranian news agency (FNA). The date tentatively scheduled for holding such negotiations has not been revealed.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi earlier stated that the IAEA experts would discuss a range of issues related to their cooperation regarding the Parchin military site, located bout 30 kilometers southeast of the Iranian capital. Although Iran has constantly claimed that its nuclear program is targeted exclusively to meet the demands of its residents in electrical energy, it has nevertheless denied the so-called international inspectors access to this military site.

If we try to analyze the outcome of the last visit to Tehran, we might assert with confidence that it has not produced any tangible new results for the international community or Iran. Same as before, the IAEA chief inspector, fulfilling a mandate from its Western patrons, has informed us on the lack of progress in the negotiations. In contrast to his comment, the Iranian negotiators maintain that some progress has been attained and the two sides have somehow narrowed the existing gap in their positions.

Over the recent period, the Parchin military base, where, according to the opinion of the IAEA officials, Iran might have allegedly built a blast chamber for testing nuclear weapons components, has been a serious bottleneck on the road to constructive talks. However, while admitting that Parchin is a military base that is part of Iran’s national defense system, Tehran does not allow the international nuclear watchdog inspectors to visit the Parchin facility. But, why on earth should anyone, including the allegedly authorized international inspectors, some of whom are shrewd spies, be allowed to pry into the national secrets of Iran? Iranians are totally right in their stance on this matter, they are perfectly well aware of the story involving similar “inspectors” in Iraq. They were granted unrestricted freedom of action then, and without a sense of compunction they started to inspect the homes of local residents and almost literally checked every inch of the Presidential Palaces. Once they staged a row over the fact that one door was locked. It was at that time that the most acid-tongued Iranian journalists wrote that “there was no resource for the international inspectors in their weapons search but to prowl over Iranian women under their abayas – toe-length loose black dresses.

And what happened afterwards? After failing to find any evidence, the Washington administration representatives resorted to the tawdry deception of the world community. Speaking on the UN podium, the then US Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered an intimidating address about the biological, nuclear and chemical weapons in possession of the “villain”, Saddam Hussein. After that, despite the opinion of the world community, the vast military might unleashed on helpless Iraq. American generals, thanks to the work carried out by the “international inspectors” were fully knowledgeable about the location of all the Iraqi military facilities, air defense systems and the entire defense structure.

Apparently, a similar scenario is being developed now. The “international inspectors” are faced with the task of identifying all of Iran’s military installations on the maps of American generals. And afterwards, the US vultures will deliver aerial strikes against those sites and also the homes of civilian population. However, the Washington scribblers will put the guilt for that on the civilians themselves, claiming that, ostensibly, the Iranians live in an extremely scrambled environment, in close quarters, so they couldn’t escape being caught under pinpoint strikes delivered by the US Air Force.

Normally, under requirements of the international practice, it is the IEAE and representatives of the Western nations who are obliged to provide evidence of the evil intent of Tehran. But they cannot possibly do so, even the American appointee, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, said that his agency did not have any convincing evidence that Iran had built a nuclear weapon. And if we take into account this fact, then in this case we witness an instance of insolent intervention into the affairs of a sovereign nation, a plan hatched by the American top brass to bomb the Iranian territory and degrade the country to the stone-age époque in the same way as the US “democracy” has done it before in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya. And in the same way as the US is trying to do it in Syria, without being loath to actively cooperate with blatantly terrorist organizations as Al Qaeda.

Now the efforts to resume negotiations with the IEAE officials and the six world powers (known as P5+1, or 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council + Germany) will be launched again, and we will hear on more than one occasion about the discontent of the IAEA officials and Western representatives over the uncompromising position held by Tehran. The more so as the fact that Iran has heightened the level of uranium enrichment to 20% is the core issue underlying the so-called Iranian dossier. According to a statement made by the IEAE on 25 May, 2012, 10,000 centrifuges were used by Iran to enrich uranium to 20%: 9,330 centrifuges – at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (NFEP) and 696 ones – at the underground Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP). In July, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that his country had increased the number of centrifuges for the uranium enrichment by 10% – from 10,000 to 11,000. In late January, Iran notified the IAEA about its plans to further increase the number of modern centrifuges for uranium enrichment (IR-2M modification) at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant. The Iranian authorities have reiterated their intention to bring the number of centrifuges to 50,000 in order to supply fuel for its nuclear power plants. By the way, no comments have been offered by the West so far.

Apparently, the best leverage for the entire Middle East is the creation of the nuclear-free zone which is actively encouraged and repeatedly advocated for by Russia. Then, everything would fall right into place, and it would be clear who does not wish to support that initiative. Incidentally, Iran has reiterated its desire to sign such a treaty together with all Middle East nations. However, this would not be in line with the aggressive plans of the US to deploy its anti-missile defense systems against Russia, inter alia on the Middle East territory. If the Iranian pretext is non-existent, then how will Washington explain the presence of its sizeable military contingent in close proximity with Iran, not too far from its Russian frontier? And since the situation remains as it is, we will hear more demagogic statements and witness more actions undertaken by the Western allies led by the US until the time when it comes to a military conflict.

 Viktor Mikhin is a columnist for New Eastern Outlook.