IAEA Begins Week-Long Iran Meeting in Vienna

US, France are pushing to censure Iran during meeting

The IAEA has begun its quarterly Board of Governors meeting in Vienna on Monday, and as always the focus is squarely on Iran. Coming in a pause in the Iran nuclear talks, this meeting seems poised to rehash anti-Iran rhetoric. The first day was described as ‘tense.’

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi complains that Iran isn’t providing “credible” answers on undeclared nuclear sites and isn’t complying with monitoring expectations.

The reality is that monitoring agreements expired long ago, and there should be no expectations until a new agreement is reached. Likewise, Iran provided what it says are the documents on the undeclared sites. Iran has seen this as an interminable line of questioning about trivial amounts of uranium, and dismissing their latest engagement only adds to the sense that Iran can do nothing to end those questions.

Perhaps the most galling, however, was Grossi trying to piggyback on the breakout warnings of Iran, claiming the nation is only weeks away from a “significant quantity of enriched uranium.” This mirrors Israel repeatedly claiming Iran is weeks away from a bomb, and while Grossi both knows better and conceded that what he’s saying “does not mean having a bomb,” it is plain that he’s trying to use the fear-mongering formula.

That’s just plain part of the IAEA chief’s job, as the US and other nations are constantly pressuring him to do something to Iran. It is expected this week’s meeting will end with a censure of Iran, but Grossi is likely trying to prove he is playing ball with a flurry of anti-Iran statements.

The undeclared sites issue will probably remain the biggest unresolved issue, with the US and France both pushing the IAEA on the matter. The sites were “uncovered” by Israeli spying, and Israel has lobbied the US heavily on the Iran issue.

Israel is also pushing the IAEA hard on the matter, and is is interesting that the IAEA works so hard to placate them, given that Israel has very limited relations with the IAEA and is incredibly secretive about their nuclear weapons program.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.