Iran expert: IAEA needs to be able to inspect everywhere

Everyone’s assumption is that most of the intelligence is coming from the US, Israel and maybe a few European countries.

IAEA Director General Amano arrives for a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. (photo credit: REUTERS)
IAEA Director General Amano arrives for a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The International Atomic Energy Agency needs to be able to inspect everywhere in Iran, from military bases to suspicious run-down warehouses, INSS Arms Control program head Emily Landau told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
Landau was reacting to the IAEA’s seeming thumbing its nose at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement issued on Tuesday, in which it seemed to brush off his demand during his September UN speech that it probe certain newly disclosed Iranian nuclear sites.
The Iran expert said that the real question is not whether the IAEA needs to do more inspections of Iranian military facilities or of undeclared clandestine sites, but, rather, “the point is to be able to inspect any suspicious facility: whether a warehouse, materials and equipment, archives or actual military bases.
“It should all be in one category of undeclared nuclear facilities where Iran is conducting activities which are relevant to its nuclear program,” she said.
She said that part of the problem is that “the JCPOA unfortunately doesn’t give them that authority. That’s why the P5+1 need to press for this. But the P5+1 are not pressing them to do that, because they agreed to the miserably inadequate” inspection provisions in the first place.
“The hypocrisy needs to be revealed. Key European states say they need to save the JCPOA for their own security. If it is for their security and they took these revelations [from Israel about undisclosed Iranian sites] seriously, how could it be that they aren’t pressing for immediate inspections?
“One thing that is very important to emphasize,” she explained, “which is not recognized enough by the wider public: in the context of the JCPOA, the P5+1 caved to Iran’s demand to be treated” by the IAEA “as a ‘normal member’ of the NPT.”
This means that “many of the dealings of the IAEA with member states of the NPT are confidential, and Iran wanted that confidentiality. Iran is obviously anything but a normal member state of the NPT. Concluding the JCPOA doesn’t change that Iran... is a serial violator of the NPT.”
Landau said that the JCPOA has meant that all IAEA reports on Iran’s nuclear program in recent years have been gutted of anything but superficial and thin information confirming that Iran is “upholding the minimal concessions it made.
“So we get these very laconic statements: ‘We have visited what we need to visit’ – that’s not sufficient. We need to know: Where has the IAEA gone?” she asked.
“In Netanyahu’s speech at the UN, he said: ‘Here are the coordinates. Here is the warehouse – check it out.’ We heard from Amano: ‘We check what we need to check.’ We are ‘assessing.’ What are you assessing? Old information from April 30? This new information?
“Then Amano added something quite outrageous. The implication is that because the information comes from Netanyahu, he’s complicating their effort because he is undermining the agency’s impartiality,” said Landau.
Continuing, she stated, “Netanyahu made this information public at the UN because he had quietly passed information from [Iran’s nuclear] archives to the IAEA and he said nothing had been done. That was April 30. Now it was late September, and in order to push the IAEA to do something, he disclosed this at the UN.”
Also, Landau said that “the IAEA doesn’t have an intelligence arm and is not searching out intelligence at these other facilities. Whenever it has gathered that kind of information – for example, with Parchin – it was based on intelligence passed to it by countries.”
Acknowledging that “normally those countries remain anonymous – everyone’s assumption is that most of the intelligence is coming from the US, Israel and maybe a few European countries. The fact that it came from Netanyahu, and not anonymous states, when everyone assumes it is Israel, is not that different.”
Asked if she believes that the Islamic Republic still had illicit aspects of its nuclear program at the new location by the time Netanyahu disclosed its location, she said that Netanyahu, along with the defense establishment, had probably chosen to take a calculated risk in that regard.
They put public pressure on the IAEA even at the cost of tipping off Iran – which might start cleaning up the site once it was outed – but there could still be some material there.
In addition, she said that it is possible that there were also other sites that Israel has informed the IAEA about that it has not publicly mentioned.