Divisions among the six global powers come out to the fore
Iran has slammed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for committing a “historic mistake” by releasing a controversial report, which has already sown divisions among the six global powers that are dealing with Tehran's nuclear programme.
Iran's representative to the IAEA, Ali Asgar Soltaniyeh, described the report released on Tuesday as “skewed, unprofessional and political”.
He stressed that the findings of IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano had impaired the agency's credibility.
Mr. Soltaniyeh accused Mr. Amano of unprofessional conduct and behaving in a politically motivated manner, citing the Director-General's refusal to hold as requested, negotiations with Iran to clear the air.
Mr. Amano's report that was distributed among the 35 members of the IAEA Board on Tuesday evening contains a 15-page annexure, which focuses on Iran's alleged studies that appears to suggest that Tehran has been engaged in developing atomic weapons.
The report specifically refers to satellite pictures taken at Iran's Parchin military facility, of a steel container that can be used for testing explosives, triggering pressure waves that can detonate fissile material. It has also claimed that Tehran is building computer models of a missile cone that can carry a nuclear payload.
Besides, Iran has apparently benefited from foreign expertise in carrying out experiments with nuclear material.
On his part, Mr. Soltaniyeh has rubbished these claims. “Almost all of the items which have been reflected in the annex are obsolete and repetitive, and we have discussed them before,” he said while addressing the media in Vienna.
The Iranian envoy pointed out that Tehran had earlier released a 117-pages document, where “precise responses” had been given to the claims that have been repeated in the IAEA report that was released on Tuesday.
A Reuters report quotes Ali Vaez, an Iran specialist at the Federation of American Scientists think tank, as saying “the most important source in the past of the agency's information consisted of a collection of electronic files stored in the so-called “Laptop of Death”, that had been shown by U.S. intelligence officials to the IAEA in 2005.
But the Iranians point out that, despite their repeated requests, they have not been provided access to this data. Mr. Soltaniyeh pointed out that in an earlier report to the Board of Governors, former IAEA chief, Mohamed ElBaradei revealed that “a certain country” that “has provided the agency with the evidence on the allegations has not allowed the agency to submit the documents in question to Iran,” Iran's English language Press TV reported.
The latest IAEA report on Iran has already divided the six nations — the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany — which have been dealing with Iran's nuclear file.
France has advocated tighter sanctions, the U.S has expressed readiness for “additional” pressure, including fresh sanctions and a spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, the European Union Chief has said that and the IAEA findings “strongly indicate the existence of a fully-fledged nuclear weapons development programme in Iran”.
But Russia has picked holes both in the timing as well as the content of Mr. Amano's report.
The Russian Foreign Ministry points out that the release of the report has dampened the chances of the revival of a dialogue with Iran, which had brightened recently.
The Russians have also expressed reservations about Mr. Amano's report, on whether it had indeed unearthed any new information regarding the Iranian nuclear programme.
“The analysis must take place in a calm atmosphere, since it is important to determine whether some new, reliable evidence strengthening suspicions of a military element in Iran's nuclear programme has really appeared, or whether we are talking about an intentional — and counterproductive — whipping up of emotions,” said the Ministry.