Iran nuke chief to speak at IAEA conference in Vienna

"The nomination of Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani proves yet again that Iran is determined to pursue its nuclear goals," Iran expert says.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
September 19, 2011 05:01
3 minute read.
head of Iran's Atomic Energy Org. Abbasi Davani

head of Iran's Atomic Energy Org. Abbasi Davani_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

BERLIN – The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, is slated to deliver a talk at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference in Vienna on Monday.

Dr. Diana Gregor, a Vienna-based expert on Austrian-Iranian relations, told The Jerusalem Post, “UN [Security Council] Resolution 1747 does not allow Abbasi-Davani to travel abroad nor to hold international assets. The EU also issued sanctions against him.

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“The nomination of Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani proves yet again that Iran is determined to pursue its nuclear goals. Abbasi-Davani does not at all want a change of heart with regard to Iran’s hitherto course but recently announced that Iran is preparing to triple its production of high-enriched (high-grade) uranium (20-percent enriched uranium), which will significantly shorten the time required to produce weapons-grade material,” Gregor said.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed Abbasi-Davani in February to oversee the Atomic Energy Organization.

“Iran obliviously and repeatedly tries to cover up and camouflage its nuclear ambitions before the IAEA inspectors.

There are no economic reasons for Iran to pursue its enrichment program. Iran’s gas reserves are sufficient enough to be generating electricity that will last for years and years to come. However, Iran does not have the slightest intention nor willingness to abide by the proposals and resolutions that have so far resulted from negotiations. Iran simply does not wish to come around. On the contrary,” Gregor said.

Karl Pfeifer, an Austrian journalist who has covered Iranian terrorist activities in his country, told the Post, “Austrian foreign policy is sometimes hard to understand abroad. The Iranian Kurd leader Dr. Abdul- Rahman Ghassemlou and two of his aides were murdered by Iranian agents on July 13, 1989, in Vienna. The perpetrators were escorted by police cars to Vienna airport.”

Pfeifer added, “The Iranian president can visit New York, and Columbia University students are thrilled to meet with Iran’s mass murderer, and so nobody should wonder that high-ranking Iranian officials receive an Austrian visa.”

American media outlets reported last week that Columbia University students in New York plan to host Ahmadinejad at a dinner banquet this week.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal wrote a scathing editorial titled “Iran Sanctions E-Z Pass. Tehran officials exploit a loophole to travel the world.” E-Z Pass is an electronic toll-collection system used on many tolled roads, bridges and tunnels in the US.

The Journal called Abbasi- Davani a “dangerous man,” and slammed gaps in sanctions targeting Iran that permit penalized representatives such as Abbasi-Davani to travel freely.

“So what was Mr. Abbasi doing giving a press conference in Vienna in June? As the recently appointed head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, he can take advantage of a sanctions loophole that allows him to attend intergovernmental meetings, particularly those convened ‘under the auspices of the United Nations,’” the newspaper wrote.

“But there’s no point in enacting sanctions if there is no serious intention of enforcing them. When the best the international community can do against Iran is a sanctions E-Z Pass, it’s no wonder Iran’s illicit nuclear programs are speeding ahead in broad daylight,” the Journal continued.

Samuel Laster, a veteran observer of Austrian-Israeli relations and editor-in-chief of the Vienna-based Jewish news and blog site Die Jüdische, told the Post in connection with Abbasi’s visit that “the IAEA, which is based in Vienna, should press for greater control and not continue to act like a toothless entity under ElBaradei.”

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian scientist, was director-general of the IAEA from 1997 to 2009, and was criticized for a lax approach toward inspecting and scrutinizing Iran’s nuclear weapons activities.

Laster, who was raised in Israel and served in the IDF, told the Post that “Austria should enforce the sanctions and not place them in question” concerning Abbasi’s visit.

“Vienna has always been an important strategic place for Iran. Austria’s foreign minister has the possibility to stop beating around the bush and to severely criticize Iran,” he said.

“Austria should not continue to seek dialogue with such figures” like Abbasi, Laster said.


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