Inspectors to Deliver Final Judgment to IAEA Governors

Inspectors to Deliver Final Judgment to IAEA Governors

Investigators probing Iran will let national officials from places including the US, China, and Russia make the final judgment about the allegation that Tehran may have pursued military objectives in its nuclear program, Bloomberg on Monday quoted two officials familiar with their work as saying.  

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspection team will likely have to make an assessment based on incomplete information and let its board of nationally-appointed governors draw definitive conclusion about the country’s past nuclear work, said the two senior international officials, who asked not to be named because the information is not public.

Nuclear Deal in Sight 

Eleven years into the UN investigation, diplomats are closer than ever to reaching a permanent agreement to resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program. The IAEA’s inability to provide a conclusive assessment means the final decision on whether to close the file on Iran will be taken by political appointees rather than scientists.   

Under the interim deal running to November 24, the IAEA was put in charge of wider monitoring of Iran’s nuclear work and continuing to investigate its past activities. The interim nuclear agreement also envisioned a “joint commission” that would “work with the IAEA to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern.”

****Deadline for Probe   

It is not realistic to expect the IAEA to provide a black-and-white assessment showing that Iran either did or did not have a nuclear-weapons program, the officials said. The IAEA will set a time to end the investigation and submit its findings to the 35-member board of governors to make a ruling, they said. The board also includes representatives of France and Germany as well as India, Pakistan and Venezuela.

Whether the directors give inspectors another one, five or seven years to investigate will not help them reach a firmer decision, they added. The officials did not say when inspectors will deliver their assessment to the board.

Better Understanding   

“Iran’s engagement with the agency, including the provision of information, and the agency’s ongoing analysis” are building a better understanding of Iran’s nuclear program, inspectors said last week in a 19-page report. 

Iran denies ever having a nuclear-weapons program and says the IAEA is being led by forged intelligence.

IAEA monitors will again meet with their Iranian counterparts at the end of this month, according to the officials.

The IAEA’s board of governors convenes September 15 in Vienna. Their encounter will overlap with the next meeting between Iran and the P5+1 -- China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and US -- scheduled to begin September 18 in New York.

Unity among the six nations negotiating with Iran is at risk as the US and European countries involved in the talks have themselves targeted Russia with sanctions because of President Vladimir Putin’s role in the Ukraine conflict. Russia has also sought to boost its economic ties with Iran even as the US and Europe want to maintain leverage through trade restrictions.

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