Israel hoping IAEA report will spur West into action

By
November 8, 2011 05:18

Information expected to be published in report on Iranian nuclear program believed to have come from US, UK intelligence agencies; US Treasury official coming to region to discuss sanctions against Tehran.

3 minute read.



Iranian workers stand in front of Bushehr.

bushehr_311 reuters. (photo credit: Stringer Iran / Reuters)

Israel is expecting the United States to take the lead in pushing the United Nations and other Western countries to impose tougher, new sanctions on Iran following the publication of an incriminating International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report later this week.

The report is tentatively scheduled to be published on Tuesday or Wednesday. Some of the sensitive information expected to be revealed in the IAEA report is believed to have come from intelligence agencies in the US and the United Kingdom.

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On Monday, The Washington Post revealed that Russian scientists have been assisting Iran in designing and developing a nuclear weapon. Israel has consistently claimed over the years that Iran’s work on a nuclear weapon never stopped.

Russian assistance to Iran’s nuclear program has always been a contentious issue between Jerusalem and Moscow, and Israeli officials said Monday they were not surprised by the reports.

“Russia has always played this role and there is very little that we, a small country called Israel, could have done to stop it,” one official said.

The Washington Post cited Western diplomats and nuclear experts who claimed Russian scientists had taught the Iranians to construct the kind of “high-precision detonators” that can be used to “trigger a nuclear chain reaction.”

The report is also expected to provide satellite footage of the Parchin facility, where Iran is believed to have built large steel containers to test high explosives that can be used in nuclear weapons.

The Prime Minister’s Office refused to officially comment on media reports regarding the contents of the IAEA document, saying it would first need to receive the report and then have it reviewed by a team of experts.

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David S. Cohen, the US Treasury Department’s under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, is due to arrive in the region later this month for talks in Israel and several key Gulf States about ways to increase sanctions against Iran.

Cohen has been working to get European countries to back a series of sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran, which has yet to be directly affected by earlier rounds of sanctions.

An Israeli official said that for quite some time, Israel has called for “beefed up” international pressure on Iran.

“We hope this report will serve to galvanize the international community against Iran’s nuclear program and in support of increased sanctions,” the official said.

A second Israeli official noted that it was Western powers such as the US, France, Germany and the UK – and not Israel – that must take the lead in the drive for increased sanctions.

“We expect the countries that are involved to draw the necessary conclusions and to try to reach a decision on harsher and more efficient sanctions on Iran,” the official said.

“We expect Russia and China to chip in and not to sideline themselves from this international effort.”

On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that military action against Iran would be a grave mistake with repercussions.

“This would be a very serious mistake fraught with unpredictable consequences,” Lavrov said.

He said there could be no military resolution to the Iranian nuclear problem, and said the conflicts in Iran’s neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, had led to human suffering and high numbers of casualties.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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