News | US Sets March Deadline for Nuke Cooperation; Iran Girds for Assad's Fall
by DAN GEIST
30 Nov 2012 00:49
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U.S. gives Iran four months to come clean on nuclear program
In a statement Thursday addressed to the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), senior State Department officer Robert Wood repeated U.S. assertions that the Iranian government has been far from open with the U.N. watchdog agency about the full scope of its nuclear program. Calling on agency Director-General Yukiya Amano to issue a determination in his next quarterly report on Iran over whether it has taken "substantive steps" to address those transparency concerns, Wood declared, "If by March Iran has not begun substantive cooperation with the IAEA, the United States will work with other board members to pursue appropriate board action, and would urge the board to consider reporting this lack of progress to the U.N. Security Council."
At a press conference two weeks ago, following his reelection, President Barack Obama stated that he would "try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue between Iran and not just us but the international community" to resolve the dispute over the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities. A series of talks held over the past year between representatives of Iran and the P5+1 -- the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany -- yielded no material progress. A report last month that Iran and the United States were moving toward direct bilateral negotiations was denied by both sides. Iranian and IAEA representatives are scheduled to meet for talks on December 13.
The IAEA board first reported Iran's nuclear dossier to the Security Council in February 2006 -- a move the Iranian government contends was illegal. Security Council Resolution 1696, adopted that July, called on Iran to entirely suspend its uranium enrichment activities and take steps laid out by the IAEA board "to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme." The Security Council subsequently imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic in an attempt to make it comply with those demands in Resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835, and 1929.
Wood, the interim chargé d'affaires and acting permanent representative to the international organizations in Vienna -- an ambassador-level position -- stated to the IAEA board, "Iran cannot be allowed to indefinitely ignore its obligations.... Iran must act now, in substance." Speaking later with reporters, he expressed hope that the Iran-IAEA talks next month would prove productive, but added, "I have my doubts about the sincerity of Iran." Amano, meanwhile, suggested to reporters that the agency's inspectors in Iran were facing increased pressure, the nature of which he did not describe.
Video of the Day
Lecture delivered by Matthew Machowski of the School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary, University of London on issues related to the Iranian nuclear program, including an introduction to the nuclear fuel cycle and the process of uranium enrichment, Iran's obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its relationship with the IAEA, "what we actually know about Iran's nuclearization as opposed to all the international accusations," the potential for a U.S. or Israeli preemptive strike, and the hypothetical of "what happens the day after Iran becomes a nuclearized-weapon state."
Headline of the Day
-- From the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al Arabiya website. The accompanying story describes an "Iranian report...obtained by an embassy of a Western country in Tehran." According to Al Arabiya's description, the report details Iranian frustration over the diversion of funds it has provided to support the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the private bank accounts of Syrian military officers. The Islamic Republic has been Assad's most important ally in the civil war that has been waged in Syria over the past 20 months. The report indicates that Tehran will continue to back Assad until the Iranian presidential election next June, but that it is already planning for the eventual fall of his regime. No details were provided on what agency or individual drafted the report.
Photos of the Week
Mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hossein ibn Ali on the Day of Ashura. One of the holiest days in the Shia calendar, it was observed in Iran this year on November 25.
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