Expert on Iran: There is a way for Iran to resolve the impasse

Posted on February 25, 2012

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There is a way for Iran to resolve the impasse, Fellow for Science and Technology at the Federation of American Scientists, Ali Vaez believes.

“If Iran is provided with guarantees that it will not be penalized for admitting to its past transgressions, it might be more willing to open up to greater IAEA scrutiny,” Vaez said, commenting on the current relations between Iran and the IAEA.

He added that similar approach worked well in Libya in 2003 and could work in Iran as well.

The IAEA, which in November issued a report voicing strong suspicions that Iran was researching an atomic weapon and missile warheads, confirmed last month that a new, fortified uranium enrichment plant outside Iran’s holy city of Qom had been activated.

The West has ratcheted up its sanctions to try to force Iran to stop enrichment, but with no success so far.

Iran has taken an increasingly defiant stance against Western sanctions and Israeli threats of military action against it – including banning oil exports to France and Britain.

Israel, which believes its existence is threatened by a nuclear Iran, has stepped up its warnings that it could launch air strikes, prompting the United States and Britain to urge restraint.

Vaez believes Iran’s relations with the IAEA have deteriorated since Yukiya Amano became the head of the agency.

“When in November 2011 Mr. Amano published staggering details about the potential military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, the relations took a turn for the worse and mistrust between Iran and the IAEA reached new levels,” he said.

Several days ago UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that “Iran has not been able to convince the international community” that its nuclear program is of peaceful nature. He added that “it was up to Iran to show that its nuclear program is peaceful”.

“Tehran knows that the only way to come clean on its past nuclear activities in through the IAEA,” Vaez noted.

“Iranians seem concerned that cooperation with the IAEA would prove to be self-incriminatory at the time that they are under unprecedented international pressure and threatened with military action on daily basis,” he added.

Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons but its refusal to curb uranium enrichment work, which can have both military and civilian purposes, and stonewalling of the IAEA’s investigation have raised certain concerns.

For the first time in three years, Iran indicated readiness to address the IAEA’s questions but also repeatedly dismissed the allegations as baseless and forged, doing little to counter scepticism about its nuclear intentions.

Western capitals suspect Iran is trying to buy time by offering “talks about talks” while it accumulates higher-enriched uranium in a mountain bunker that may be largely invulnerable to air strikes, mooted by the United States and Israel as a last resort if diplomacy and sanctions fail.

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