The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has dispatched a team of inspectors to Iran this weekend, and they began an intensive three-day inspection visit today under growing threats of an Israeli attack against Iran’s civilian nuclear sites.
The visit was being loudly welcomed by top Iranian officials, with their nuclear chief saying that the inspection would finally end international allegations that the program was anything but a legal, civilian program. Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi added that the IAEA inspectors would be given free and full access to any nuclear sites they requested.
The inspection team includes weapons experts, with the expectation that they will grill Iran over the alleged military ambitions of their program. Previous inspections have failed to uncover any solid evidence that there is any military program at all, which has only fueled further accusations from Western nations that Iran is hiding them. The IAEA’s current chief Amano Yukiya, has mostly gone along with these allegations, issuing a report warning that they couldn’t prove Iran didn’t secretly have a weapons program.
This time, however, the fear that Israel might start a massive regional war over the accusations is likely going to color any official IAEA statements coming out of the visit. Unfortunately any statement could theoretically be used as an excuse for a war, as Israel’s current government could spin any allegation as the “last straw” or present a lack of accusations as proof that the international community will never attack Iran and that they must do so unilaterally.