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Iran's inspection curb hobbles key IAEA atom probe (Greenpeace stands up for the mullahs!)
Yahoo News ^ | Feb. 7, 2006 | Mark Heinrich

Posted on 02/07/2006 9:53:36 PM PST by FreeKeys

Iran's order that U.N. nuclear surveillance gear be removed from key sites by mid-February may prevent U.N. inspectors from discovering whether Tehran's atomic drive has wholly peaceful aims, diplomats said.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog's board of governors voted on Saturday to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council over fears that it secretly wants to build atomic bombs. Iran, insisting it wants only nuclear power, retaliated by halting compliance with a U.N. system of short-notice nuclear inspections.

Diplomats said this could make it difficult for Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to get clear answers for a sweeping report on nuclear activity in Iran he is due to give at a March 6 IAEA board meeting.

"The IAEA's ability to verify an absence of undeclared nuclear activity in Iran will be impaired," said a diplomat from one of the European Union trio -- Germany, France and Britain -- leading Western efforts to rein in Iran's nuclear project.

"If IAEA inspectors lose short-notice access to undeclared nuclear materials and sites, the crux of IAEA investigations, to ensure no diversions to bomb-making, some sort of Security Council action after March 6 gets more likely."

While no sanctions against Iran are on the horizon given opposition by veto-wielding Russia and China on the Council, the IAEA report puts Tehran under the scrutiny of the world body and a diplomatic showdown is brewing.

Confident that critics will eventually prefer not to isolate the world's No. 4 oil exporter, Iran called off voluntary cooperation with snap checks of nuclear sites and vowed to pursue full-scale enrichment of uranium for nuclear plant fuel.

TIMELY INSPECTIONS AT STAKE

Tehran told the IAEA to scrap "containment and surveillance measures" under a 1997 Additional Protocol that gave inspectors more intrusive powers than allowed by the IAEA's original atomic safeguards covenant, the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

If the Additional Protocol is not in force, IAEA inspectors will have to give up to six months' notice to visit sites or equipment not part of Iran's declared nuclear program.

This would deny them rapid access to areas in question, including premises linked to the Iranian military where the IAEA believes covert nuclear fuel research and uranium enrichment experiments may have been carried out.

"The agency now won't be able to tell how far the Iranians are ahead with enrichment, which may mean that estimates could err on the side of more rather than less," Greenpeace nuclear analyst Felicity Hill told Reuters.

"This creates a confidence vacuum. What the IAEA will be unable to do is answer or calm some of the fears and expunge rumors and doubts about Iran's true intentions." [emphasis added]

Before the IAEA's 27-3 vote, ElBaradei said Tehran would have a month-long "window of opportunity" before the March board session to be open about its nuclear goals.

"If the IAEA wants to get to the bottom of past Iranian practices, I don't see how it will be able to do that now," said another EU3 diplomat, who like others asked not to be named because of the delicacy of Iran's standoff with the West.

"This is certainly bad news for ElBaradei's efforts."

Iran argues it has every right to leave the Additional Protocol because its adherence to it was always voluntary -- Tehran had not ratified the measure.

It also says that the vote to notify the Security Council has no legal standing because the IAEA has never found hard proof of bomb-building in violation of the NPT.

But EU officials warn that Iran's curbs on inspections and move to resume enrichment after a two-year moratorium could alienate nations that might otherwise be sympathetic to its case and heighten the prospect of steps toward punitive sanctions.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: atomprobe; greenpeace; iaea; inspections; iran; nukes; traitors; treehuggers
Help spread the word about this outrage and the love so many American non-thinkers have for the tree-huggers will come to an end.
1 posted on 02/07/2006 9:53:41 PM PST by FreeKeys
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To: FreeKeys
"Iran's order that U.N. nuclear surveillance gear be removed from key sites by mid-February may prevent U.N. inspectors from discovering whether Tehran's atomic drive has wholly peaceful aims, diplomats said."

There is no need for inspections now. This is a Prima Facia case that they are pursuing Nuclear Arms.

2 posted on 02/07/2006 10:05:33 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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