IAEA Report Praises Improved Iran Cooperation, Cautions Questions Remain

Report May Set Stage for New Iran Sanctions

by Jason Ditz, August 28, 2009

The International Atomic Energy Agency has circulated its latest report on Iran’s nuclear program, outlining changes to the nation’s program since early June.

The IAEA’s new report on Iran shows a remarkable combination of praise and caution, which has allowed international media outlets to focus on either the positive or negative aspects, and will likely allow the Iranian government to tout its cooperation at the same time it may provide sufficient fodder for the West to press new sanctions against them.

On the one hand, the report praised Iran for providing access to the Arak site recently, and said its cooperation has improved in recent months. It once again also confirmed that none of the nation’s declared nuclear material has been diverted to any military or other use.

At the same time, the report claimed “a number of outstanding issues which give rise to concerns,” adding that it could not totally rule out “possible military dimensions” in Iran’s nuclear program. In essence the IAEA conceded that it had no concrete evidence of such a program, but insisted it couldn’t prove one didn’t exist.

The IAEA has been under considerable pressure from the West in general and the US in particular to issue such a report, as it would provide some fodder, even with its paucity of evidence, to allow the US to pressure for more sanctions against the nation. Such sanctions have been presented as a possible olive branch to Israel for returning to the peace process.

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