Israel pleased with recent IAEA report

PMO says IAEA report shows that "Iran continues its tricks of deception and evasiveness."

ElBaradei IAEA 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
ElBaradei IAEA 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Israel renewed its call to members of the international community on Tuesday to increase the pressure on Iran to "abandon its dangerous plans to acquire nuclear weapons." Responding to an International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran's nuclear program released a day earlier, which said that Iran may be withholding information needed to establish whether it tried to make nuclear arms, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "Iran continues its tricks of deception and evasiveness." The tone of the report suggesting that Teheran continues to stonewall the agency - the UN nuclear monitor - revealed a glimpse of the frustration felt by agency investigators stymied in their attempts to gain full answers to suspicious aspects of Iran's past nuclear activities. A senior UN official familiar with the agency investigation into Iran's nuclear program said none of the dozens of agency reports issued in that context had ever been as plain spoken in calling Teheran to task for not being forthright. Iran has described its cooperation with the agency probe of its alleged nuclear weapons experiments as positive, suggesting it was providing information requested by agency officials. Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency said as much again on Monday, saying that the report described "the peaceful nature of our nuclear actions." "The Americans failed... in shameful attempts" to co-opt the agency into delivering anti-Iranian findings, he added, highlighting a paragraph in the report saying that agency experts have been given access to all declared nuclear material in the country and verified that all of it was accounted for. But Gregory L. Schulte, his US counterpart, suggested the report was a strong indictment of Iran's defiance of the international community's efforts to seek answers about troubling parts of its nuclear program, noting it "details a long list of questions that Iran has failed to answer." "At the same time that Iran is stonewalling its inspectors, it's moving forward in developing its enrichment capability in violation of security council resolutions," Schulte said. He described parts of the report as a "direct rebuttal" of Iranian claims that all nuclear questions had been answered. The restricted report forwarded to the UN Security Council and to the 35 board members of the International Atomic Energy Agency noted that Iran remains defiant of UN Security Council demands to stop uranium enrichment. Shrugging off three sets of council sanctions, Iran had instead expanded its operational centrifuges - machines that churn out enriched uranium - by about 500 since the last International Atomic Energy Agency report, in February, said the report. The report, said Israel's Foreign Ministry, "reaffirms that Iran continues to flout UN Security Council resolutions." "Iran's response," it added, "does nothing to remove the fears of the international community concerning the true purpose of its nuclear program." In addressing whether Iran was complying with agency requests, the report appeared to come down on the side of the US. It said, "Iran has not provided the Agency with all the information, access to documents and access to individuals necessary to support Iran's statements" that its activities were purely peaceful in intent. "The Agency is of the view that Iran may have additional information, in particular on high explosives testing and missile related activities which... Iran should share with the agency," said the report. It was referring to two alleged sets of tests that agency officials say could be linked to a nuclear program. The allegations of nuclear military programs "remain a matter of serious concern," the report said. Suggesting that fears of clandestine weapons activities remain, it added: "Clarification of these is critical to an assessment of the nature of Iran's past and present nuclear program." Intelligence received by the International Atomic Energy Agency from the US and other agency board member nations and the agency's own investigations suggest that Iran experimented with an undeclared uranium enrichment program that was linked to a missile project and drew up blueprints on refitting missiles to allow them to carry nuclear warheads. Its nuclear programs have been under International Atomic Energy Agency investigation since 2003, when a dissident group revealed the existence of a clandestine enrichment program. The IAEA board referred Iran's atomic dossier to the Security Council two years ago.