U.N. Agency Avoided Elaborating on Iran Suspicions

Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 27, 2014, 5:25 a.m.

U.N. nuc­le­ar in­spect­ors last year de­cided against is­su­ing an as­sess­ment that may have elab­or­ated on Ir­an’s al­leged nuc­le­ar stud­ies, Re­u­ters re­ports.

The pro­posed In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency doc­u­ment might have provided more in­form­a­tion on ex­per­i­ments that Ir­an is sus­pec­ted to have con­duc­ted in a pos­sible bid for know­ledge on build­ing nuc­le­ar weapons, in­siders told the news ser­vice for a Thursday re­port. They said the U.N. or­gan­iz­a­tion ap­peared to shelve the pos­sib­il­ity as Ir­an launched a new dip­lo­mat­ic push on its atom­ic activ­it­ies un­der Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani, who was voted in­to of­fice last June.

The agency find­ings — had they been dis­closed — prob­ably would have be­come an obstacle in ef­forts to re­solve in­ter­na­tion­al fears that the Per­sian Gulf re­gion­al power is seek­ing an atom­ic-arms ca­pa­city un­der the guise of a peace­ful nuc­le­ar pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to Re­u­ters. Ir­an, which con­tends its nuc­le­ar am­bi­tions have been solely non­mil­it­ary in nature, began dis­cus­sions last week with the five per­man­ent U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil mem­ber na­tions and Ger­many on a po­ten­tial long-term deal to ad­dress the fears.

Speak­ing to journ­al­ists on Wed­nes­day, U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry said Wash­ing­ton wants “to fig­ure out if be­fore we go to war there ac­tu­ally might be a peace­ful solu­tion” to the dis­pute, Re­u­ters re­por­ted sep­ar­ately.

In­siders sug­ges­ted the scuttled IAEA ana­lys­is might have built on the con­tents of a 2011 as­sess­ment in which the agency out­lined some of its key sus­pi­cions about the Middle East­ern na­tion’s past nuc­le­ar ef­forts. Last week, the agency re­por­ted in a quarterly safe­guards doc­u­ment that it had “ob­tained more in­form­a­tion since Novem­ber 2011 that has fur­ther cor­rob­or­ated the ana­lys­is con­tained in that an­nex.”

Ir­an has chal­lenged the au­then­ti­city of ma­ter­i­als on which the IAEA sus­pi­cions are based. Earli­er this month, though, Tehran agreed to re­spond to cer­tain in­quir­ies by a long-stalled agency probe in­ten­ded to help con­firm or de­bunk al­leg­a­tions about Ir­an’s al­leged past nuc­le­ar-re­lated re­search.

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