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IAEA Continues Its Focus On The Iranian Nuclear Program

NGOWatch

April 11, 2006

The International Atomic Energy Agency ("IAEA") continues its focus on the Iranian nuclear program. On Monday, March 27, 2006, IAEA Director General Mohammed El-Baradei met with newly elected German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany is playing a leading role in Europe in bringing the issue of Iran's nuclear program to a head. Their meeting followed Dr. El-Baradei's speech to a group of dentists in Karlsruhe, Germany on Saturday. See:http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Statements/2006/ebsp2006n004.html

Dr. El-Baradei's speech focused on reforming nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and suggested that regulation and disarmament under the Non Proliferation Treaty should begin with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in order to ensure the Security Council's credibility. See:http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Statements/2006/ebsp2006n004.html

The United States is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Dr. El-Baradei's suggestion seems designed to encourage the United States to cede its own sovereignty in an effort to buy credibility for the Security Council. Dr. El-Baradei's criticism seemed to target the current administration, saying, "An atmosphere of cynicism regarding the nuclear-weapon States adhering to their disarmament commitments is becoming widespread, and the regime is increasingly perceived by many to be discriminatory." See:http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Statements/2006/ebsp2006n004.html

However, Dr. El-Baradei saved his most direct criticism for India, Israel, and Pakistan, suggesting that they developed nuclear weapons to reduce their vulnerability and project their power, and pointing out that they did so outside the nuclear non-proliferation regime. See:http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Statements/2006/ebsp2006n004.html

Earlier this month, the IAEA released a report it gave to the UN Security Council on February 27, 2006. The full text of the report is available at:http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2006/gov2006-15.pdf.

The report states that the IAEA has not seen any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons in Iran, but cannot conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear activities in Iran. See:http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2006/gov2006-15.pdf (see paragraph 53).

The report followed the IAEA's February 4, 2006 decision to report Iran to the UN Security Council. See:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4680294.stm

The IAEA reported Iran to the UN Security Council after Iran removed IAEA seals on enrichment-related equipment and material at Natanz in early January. See:http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/PressReleases/2006/prn200602.html