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International Atomic Energy Agency

Tag Archives | International Atomic Energy Agency

IAEA Credibility and its Latest Report on Iran’s Nuclear Program

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IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Vienna. Dean Calma/IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its latest periodic report on Iran’s nuclear program last Tuesday after weeks of mainstream Western media fanfare around it.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Vienna. Dean Calma/IAEA

Wide debates have been going on since then in media circles about the significance and implications of this report for Iran’s nuclear issue. While some mainstream Western media journalists and political analysts have endorsed the entire content of the IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program as gospel or have interpreted the report as next to a green light for a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, others have cast serious doubts on both the motives and veracity of the claims made against Iran by the Japanese chief of the IAEA. To add to this ongoing debate, I would like to highlight several major facts about the latest IAEA report.

The first major fact is that while the IAEA report states, more or less as in the past, that it has concerns regarding “possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program” it recognizes that it is not in a position yet to make any judgment about the existence or non-existence of military nuclear activities in Iran. It is in line with this fact that the IAEA report concludes with the now-too-familiar statement that while the IAEA “continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear Facilities” of Iran, it is “unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

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Moscow’s Dangerous Iran Policy

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Kremlin Photo
Kremlin Photo

Kremlin Photo

Russia relishes in its role as both the gate keeper to Iran and Tehran’s voice to the West. This bipolar Iran policy, however, is destined to backfire. The Kremlin perceives that its role as the principle interlocutor between Tehran and the P5+1 reaffirms in western and Chinese eyes Russia’s position as a global leader, while affording Moscow a key issue with which to leverage the West on matters of interest to the Kremlin.

While Russia has at times supported UN sanctions on Iran because of Tehran’s intransigence with its nuclear program, Moscow has done so timidly so as to not undermine ties with Iran or appear as if Russia is capitulating to western, and namely American, prerogatives. But by doing so, Moscow also buys Iran time to advance its nuclear program, makes the P5+1 look divided in the eyes of Tehran and the international community, and creates a moral hazard by appearing soft on states seeking to join the nuclear club.

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Nuclear Energy after the Fukushima Disaster

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Greg Webb/IAEA
Greg Webb/IAEA

Greg Webb/IAEA

The potential nuclear meltdown of two Japanese nuclear reactors resulting from the March 11th earthquake and subsequent tsunami has the nuclear industry anticipating questions regarding overall plant safety. Nuclear power plant safety in developed nations like Japan and the U.S. does not elicit the same levels of alarm as potential disasters in developing nations. Several Eastern European states still use the same High Power Channel Reactor design as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine that has since been taken offline.

Around 200,000 people have been evacuated from a 12-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. All four Units at the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant were shut down because of radiological contamination. If the situation worsens at Fukushima additional evacuations will become necessary. Officials are under the assumption that a meltdown at Daiichi’s Unit 3 reactor is under way. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that a meltdown is “highly possible” at Daiichi’s Unit 1 reactor and briefed reporters on Daiichi’s Unit 3 reactor, “Because it’s inside the reactor, we cannot directly check it, but we are taking measures on the assumption of the possible partial meltdown.”

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