By Javad Heirannia

'IAEA main weaknesses is relying on information provided by its members'

March 11, 2020 - 13:46

TEHRAN - Marc Finaud, the former French Foreign Ministry spokesman, says that one of the main weaknesses of the Agency is not to have any means of collecting its own intelligence and relying on the information provided by its Member States.

Former Senior Resident Fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) adds “The only way for the IAEA to check the validity of such information is to conduct on-site inspections and report on its findings.”

A senior member of Geneva Centre for Security Policy also says that “The fact that Israel, as a non-party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is not subject to inspections and possesses nuclear weapons, of course, does not grant Israel any particular rights but fuels the feeling of double standards in the Middle East and worldwide.”

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, has said that he wants Iran to clarify the "undisclosed location" in Tehran where uranium particles were found last year. Iran has also stated that such requests should be based on clear reasons and principles consistent with relevant Agency documents, which do not apply to the two recent requests for additional access. What is your assessment of the Agency's recent report?

A: The Vienna Agency has the legitimacy and the mandate of inspecting Iran's nuclear activities and facilities, including undeclared ones, in application of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, the Additional Protocol, and the JCPOA. Despite Iran's announced suspension of the implementation of five provisions of the JCPOA, it has been the practice of Iran to continue cooperating with the IAEA. It is in Iran's interest to do so.

Q: The dispute that the Agency has recently stated is based on Israel's claim and espionage of Iran's nuclear documents. Although the PMD has been shut down by the IAEA, Israel and the US have been trying to get it under the new IAEA director-general because they were not able to do so under the late IAEA secretary-general, Yukiya Amano. Why has the military dimension of Iran's nuclear program been raised again?

A: It is not clear whether the sites mentioned by the IAEA are related to the so-called "past military dimensions". It may be just sites that the Agency considers undeclared and it should be allowed to find out whether this is the case or not. In any case, it is true that one of the main weaknesses of the Agency is not to have any means of collecting its own intelligence and relying on the information provided by its Member States. The only way for the IAEA to check the validity of such information is to conduct on-site inspections and report on its findings.

Q: It seems that one of the goals pursued by the Agency is to introduce Iran in violation of the IAEA safeguards in order to bring the Iranian nuclear file back to the UN Security Council. What is your assessment?

A: The Agency as such does not have this power but needs a decision of its Board of Governors that cannot be taken for granted. If Iran was referred to the UN Security Council for non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement, the evidence to be provided should be overwhelming. At this stage, there does not seem to be any agreement among the Permanent Members of the Security Council to re-instate sanctions against Iran.

Q: Overall, 5% of inspections carried out by the Agency are carried out worldwide in Iran, with an average of 6 inspectors in Iran every day. However, there have always been allegations of Israeli claims against Iran's nuclear program. Is Israel having a nuclear bomb fundamentally entitled to these claims?

A: It is true that Iran has accepted to be one of the most inspected Member States of the IAEA. The fact that Israel, as a non-party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is not subject to inspections and possesses nuclear weapons, of course, does not grant Israel any particular rights but fuels the feeling of double standards in the Middle East and worldwide.

Q: IAEA is a regulatory body, not a research body. That is to say, no allegation by any country is to be raised by the Agency as a question to Iran. Suppose Israel tends to ask numerous questions based on documents that allegedly spy on Iran. Is it the Agency's duty to ask Iran any questions? (Because the Agency's questions should be based on solid, not Israeli claims that Iran's number one enemy is).

A: As said previously, the flaw of the IAEA is to rely on intelligence provided by its Member States that can be inaccurate or manipulated. Israel is known for its rivalry with Iran, and this is not surprising. So the best way of proving that those allegations are false is to cooperate with the IAEA and show that Iran does not have anything inconsistent with its commitments to hide.
 

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