Why did talks between Iran and the IAEA fail?

By Vestnik Kavkaza

The next round of talks between Iran and the IAEA on the Iranian nuclear program will take place on February 13. The last meeting between representatives of the organization and the Iranian authorities ended in Tehran last week, but the sides didn’t manage to agree on a structural approach to solving their disputes.

“The outcome of the talks with the IAEA in Tehran was predicted,” Vladimir Yevseyev, military expert, the head of the Socio-Political Studies Center, thinks. “There are several reasons for this. The most important is that the IAEA has no influence. This is the problem. What does worry Iran today? Elimination of sanctions, first of all by the European Union. The IAEA has nothing to do with this. The IAEA and Iran have nothing to agree on, because Iran is not obliged to meet it halfway. Iran doesn’t feel the need to do this. The other question is that the coming meeting with “the Group of Six” international mediators on the settlement of the Iranian nuclear program – I hope it will take place with representatives of Iran – could provide certain conditions for positive steps.

The second reason for the expected outcome is a subjective factor. When Mohamed El-Baradei was the Director General of the IAEA, understanding between the IAEA and Iran was stronger. Unfortunately, the policies provided by Yukiya Amano made Iran think that the IAEA had become a political instrument for the United States. I want to be independent, but you can compare the reports of the IAEA under El-Baradei and Amano. They are very different.

Last year Iran took a very serious step – it recycled more than 30 per cent of uranium enriched to 20 per cent for production of nuclear fuel. Last year Iran recycled almost 40% of its 20-percent uranium resources to oxide for production of nuclear fuel. This means it has seriously reduced its uranium resources. The IAEA had to react positively to this, but it didn’t happen. It wasn’t noticed. The accusations against Iran are the same year after year. If you look at the November report of the Director General of the IAEA, you will see no fresh points.”

Radzhab Safarov, the general director of the Center of Contemporary Iranian Research, criticized the position of Western countries and Israel: “The spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has published a fatwa which says that creating, storing and using nuclear weapons are a great sin and are forbidden for the Iranian nation. It means that this fatwa stands over the constitutional norms of the IRI. The statement cannot be discussed and must be fulfilled. There are no other variants. It seems this should be enough for considering the position of Iran seriously.

Iran has once again stated that it proposes creating a UN political decision on declaring the Middle East a territory free of nuclear weapons. No country which is trying to create nuclear weapon proposes such ideas for making its territory free from nuclear weapons. By the way, nobody is reacting to this proposal. The West and the IAEA have gained strong immunity to positive proposals from Iran. They ignore these crucial proposals.

Iran is open to a wide spectrum of cooperation with the IAEA and other structures of the international society – to open access to its facilities which are interesting to various organizations and structures; to contribute to getting any information from the facilities and structures which can cause concern in the West and in the international community. At the same time, Iran has only one demand: to admit officially at the international level that Iran has the essential right to develop nuclear energy and all sanctions should be cancelled.

All the suspicions, all the fake proposals of the IAEA are based on intelligence information from the USA and Israel. They not only receive the information, but also falsify it, even photos. We have all seen that many facilities in Parchin and near Parchin are virgin territory, nothing is going on there; but the IAEA has photos showing that a huge territory is under canvas and pits are being dug for some reasons. Recently a new accusation has been made against Iran in Tehran. They say that near Parchin Iran is digging a pit of 2.5 hectares and is trying to cover the traces of a military component of the nuclear program. Where is this information from? Who has checked it? Why do people at such a top level rely on such information? This is a big question.

In other words the Tehran talks yielded no results. The next round of negotiations is planned for February 12. Even though Nakers stated that the progress was obvious, it is clear that the West and the US, which control and almost manage the IAEA, are interested in this sluggish process of the Iranian nuclear program settlement. They are interested in not solving the problem, because every day is a heavy load, a huge problem for millions of Iranians who are under drastic sanctions – economic, political, financial, and so on.

The position of the IAEA, which is aimed at maintaining the current situation, the huge pressure on the Islamic Republic, unfortunately, tends to continue. We analyzed the IAEA approaches yesterday and the day before yesterday at the session. The IAEA suggested no rational ideas. They say we need structural changes in the policy of the Islamic Republic. But what are structural changes? Who defines these structural changes? Who is interested in them? Who gives the right to propose such ideas toward an independent state? Who defines such principles of structural changes in the Islamic Republic? The IAEA is not interested in settling the Iranian nuclear program or stabilizing the situation in the country. The main goal is changing the political system of the Islamic Republic, but not non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

“The past year, 2012, was very active in terms of negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program,” Vladimir Sazhin, professor, expert of the Institute of Oriental Studies, reminds. “Many months before there was complete silence and calm. Negotiations with Iran are conducted at two sites, in two formats - Iran with "the Group of Six" and Iran with the IAEA. These are completely different formats and different talks. If the IAEA is working to identify the violations that any country, not just Iran, may commit in its nuclear activities, the format of "the Group of Six" - Iran concerns several other political issues. Certainly, "the Group of Six" is based on the materials of the IAEA, because there are highly skilled nuclear specialists with extensive experience. Incidentally, I would note that it is not a pro-American organization, or even a pro-Western organization. There are many representatives of non-Western countries. So the decisions of the recent resolutions of the IAEA Board were supported almost unanimously, with few exceptions. I mean the resolutions concerning Iran.

Of course the leader always, I mean Amano unlike Baradei, has his own views, and there are nuances in the work of the IAEA. But it is a totally independent professional organization which is subject to the UN.

Regarding "the Group of Six", this is a different thing. As we have said, there is no complete unity on Iran here. I mean the United States, Western Europe, Russia and China. Everyone has their own views on the Iranian nuclear issue. But I stress, both Russia and China are very concerned about the situation with Iran's nuclear activities. If this were not the case, Russia and China would not vote for the resolutions of the Security Council, and in the framework of the IAEA, too. Therefore, there are some concerns.

The Director General of the IAEA visited Tehran in May 2012. Everyone has already said that he was about to sign an agreement between the IAEA and Iran on cooperation between the two sides. In this Agreement it was intended to approve the provision of free access for IAEA inspectors to all places of interest, including in Parchin, to all documents and computer data, enabling the IAEA experts to communicate with the employees of selected facilities and collect the necessary information. Most of all, of course, the IAEA is concerned about the activities of Iran until 2003, when Iran, being a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons for almost 20 years, conducted research working in the nuclear field unknown to the organization. It found serious issues that began to worry everyone, including Russia and China. There are no answers to many of these questions yet.”

“Since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran has conducted an active policy in the Greater Middle East,” Boris Dolgov, research officer at the Center for Arab Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies, says.”We are seeing a policy of Iran which annoys or, shall we say, counters NATO and the West. It is necessary to find the cause of the long-term, many-years discussion on Iran's nuclear program, as Iran is seen by the United States, by Israel and by NATO as an enemy. Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, 1978-1979, there has been this tension between Iran and the West. The rhetoric of Iran - anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israeli, as there were statements by the Iranian leadership related to the Palestinian cause, even those statements that Israel has no right to exist, however, then an explanation followed that this was a quote from the former leaders of Iran, and in general, this tension was removed. But Iran implements a very active policy on the Palestinian issue and raises the question of a Palestinian state. Iran supports Hezbollah in Lebanon very actively. Iran supports a number of Palestinian factions.

Israel fears seriously and takes seriously the threat posed by Iran. Israel has its own pro-Israeli lobby in the United States, the most powerful lobby that influences the policy, including foreign policy, of the United States. It does not matter what Iran will do, no matter what evidence it may provide the IAEA, "the Group of Six", the West - the West's position will not change. The purpose of the West is regime change in Iran, and even some experts say that this goal is even the dismemberment of Iran and its elimination as a global player, as a power center in the region.

If we look at the countries that have a nuclear program, develop their nuclear program and even have nuclear weapons - Pakistan has nuclear weapons, but it does not make anybody feel any concern, Israel has nuclear weapons, and a number of Arab countries are developing a nuclear program, Algeria is working on nuclear reactor research, Egypt, under Mubarak, had plans for building 10 nuclear power stations, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have stated that they will develop their nuclear program. But it has not caused, so far at least, any worries. And around Iran there is such a situation.

Here, I would like once again to continue this theme - Iran as a power center in the region. Iran plays a big role in the Non-Aligned Movement. Now, we know, Iran is the Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement. Iran has great influence in Iraq. Immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the role of Iran in Iraq increased. This is also one of the concerns, above all, of the United States, as in Iraq we see the clear failure of  U.S. policy: first the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, then relying on the Shiites, and then failure, an actual withdrawal from Iraq and the increasing Iranian influence there. The only way to resolve Iran's nuclear program is to find some compromise.”