Yesterday’s Slogans, Today’s Troubles
How different is the new Amano report from previous ones? Are new issues discussed in this report?
The major difference between this report and former Amano reports is the extent of enrichment progress in the enrichment sites of Natanz and Fordow. This report has stated the increasing amount of enriched uranium and declared how much it has increased in relation to the previous amount. This time, there is more sensitivity over the issue of visiting the Parchin site explaining that satellite developments show that widespread measures have been taken to change the appearance of this site which makes inspection and verification difficult. It means that these changes are so vast that they cannot approve their previous reports. Of course, Iranian representatives have responded to these allegations. Foreign Minister Salehi has said that this proclamation is not technical and scientific. He is right because if there have been nuclear activities in this area, removing the soil and making superficial changes would not have destroyed the impacts of these activities. But, apparently, they talk about another issue and that is huge explosions in this area. These explosions are not necessarily nuclear; rather, they can be non-nuclear military tests. Therefore, these tests are legitimate and permitted for any country.
Nevertheless, this difference of opinion exists. If it is claimed that there are nuclear activities in Parchin, the impact of these activities cannot be easily destroyed and the traces of radioactive materials can be found in distant areas. Therefore, it is not something that one can hide, except if it is claimed that these measures were taken to build missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but discussing these matters is intervening in issues not related to nuclear activities and beyond IAEA mandates. Of course, the IAEA also claims that, since it is given permission by the Security Council to follow dubious measures, it can intervene in these matters too. In fact, they mean that Iran is duty-bound to exercise the Additional Protocol. Iran has not yet signed the Additional Protocol, but due to the fact that the records written for Iran and decisions made by the Security Council are binding, this issue will become part of Iran's obligations. This is what the IAEA claims and it believes that, although Iran has not signed the Additional Protocol, the IAEA, based on Security Council decisions, has the right to ask Iran to provide more access for the Agency's inspectors. This challenge has existed before and still continues to exist.
Last week representatives of Iran and the IAEA met with each other and discussed the Parchin site. After the meeting, there were two different interpretations from the results of these negotiations. The Iranian representative expressed hope but the IAEA representative announced that there has been no progress. Both sides believe that a modality must be drawn. Why is there no agreement on modality?
The reason that no agreement has been made on modality is perhaps related to the issues that are not within the authority of Mr. Soltaniyeh, hence, he cannot make any commitments to the IAEA representative. It means that issues that he is in charge of are nuclear issues. He is Iran's representative in the International Atomic Energy Agency and has no authority to give commitments or a positive response to the Agency's demands. Even in cases where Mr. Jalili has positively responded to the Agency's demands, no practical measure has been taken. For example, with regard to the issue of visiting Parchin, the Agency had received a green light from Mr. Jalili and hoped that steps would be taken in this regard, but, in practice, there was no visitation. Therefore, it cannot be expected that Mr. Soltaniyeh, whose level of authority is lower, could do something about this matter.
Therefore, it seems that when Mr. Soltaniyeh expresses hope, it is for domestic use. In the Board of Governors or the Security Council, decisions are not made based on the opinion of Mr. Soltaniyeh, but rather based on the opinion of the Agency. Therefore, if Mr. Soltaniyeh expresses hope, this is only to raise the spirit of the people and it has no impact on decisions.
The previous Amano report to the IAEA Governing Council was the basis for further measures by the Governing Council and the Security Council against Iran. Is this report going to have the same effect as the previous one?
It depends, to a large degree, on international political conditions. Under the current situation when the NAM conference was held in Tehran, Iran’s political situation has temporarily strengthened and it seems improbable that this time Amano’s report can be the basis of a decision by the Security Council. At any rate, it seems that prevailing conditions are very crucial. Neither the US, facing a presidential election, is prepared to put more pressure on Iran, nor will Iran’s present conditions convening the NAM conference allow others to take extreme measures in this regard. Only the Zionist regime adds more fuel to the fire. It seems that the Zionist regime is only bluffing and in practice does not want to do anything, because, in the past, it took some measures which became known to the public afterwards. After bombarding nuclear sites in Iraq and Syria, it became evident that bombings took place. This time too when so much hubbub have been surfaced, it seems that other aspects are being followed.
It does not seem, however, that the new report of the Agency will be the basis for further measures against Iran because no important change in Iran’s situation has occurred. The only demand is to visit Parchin which is being magnified. Previously, this demand was not considered as important. However, it is becoming more important today. It is possible that this issue will become difficult for Iran to tackle over time.
What is the negative aspect of the report?
In late 2009, Mr. Ahmadinejad ordered Mr. Salehi, the then president of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, to locate places for the establishment of 10 enrichment centers. In paragraph 27 of Amano’s report, a question is raised with regards to the prospect of this issue. The information on these 10 centers should be given to the Agency. Why should we raise a claim which is documented in the IAEA and is now introduced as a paragraph of Amano’s report? If 10 enrichment sites were supposed to be built in Iran, their information should have been given to the Agency. If no center was supposed to be established, why has such a discussion been raised which in turn has become a basis for exerting costs on the country? Slogans in the past have made our hands tied and, without having any benefit for Iran, they have only imposed high costs on us.