New IAEA Head: No Evidence Iran Seeking Nuclear Weapons

Outgoing Head Cited 'Gut Feeling' in Accusations

by Jason Ditz, July 03, 2009

New International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano may have been the candidate of choice for Western nations, and in particular Israel, but he sought to assure the world today that he would remain independent and would seek to de-politicize the office.

Yukiya Amano

In particular, Amano noted that going through the IAEA’s documents he didn’t see any evidence that Iran was trying to develop nuclear weapons. The IAEA had repeatedly certified that Iran was not diverting any of its civilian program’s enriched uranium to any other purpose, but outgoing chief Mohamed ElBaradei claimed to have a “gut feeling” that Iran secretly wanted the technology.

Amano seems less inclined, at least so far, to rely on his gut and is looking for hard evidence to back up the allegations by Western nations in general and Israel in particular, that the Iranians have a covert program.

He did however claim that the Iranian government had an ‘obligation’ to abandon its civilian program, despite the lack of evidence of anything untoward in the program, citing demands from the UN Security Council. Those demands are separate from any Iranian obligations under the IAEA’s protocols however, under which Iran would seem to have every right to civilian energy generation.

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