Iran Attack Moves Forward
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Iran permitted the U.S. and Israel to score a propaganda victory on Monday when it refused to allow two International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors entry into the country for an inspection of its nuclear program.
“This action [banning the inspectors from entering Iran] is in reality a regulatory notice to Amano to be careful so that the agency’s inspectors do not violate the international entity’s charter,” Iran’s state news agency IRNA quoted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying on Tuesday. “Amano should manage the agency professionally.”
Yukiya Amano took over as head of the agency in December. The Japanese diplomat has adopted a less flexible approach toward Iran than his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei. On numerous occasions ElBaradei stated there is no evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Monday that the two inspectors made an ”untruthful” assessment of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, according to state media. Salehi added that the ban imposed on United Nations personnel falls under an IAEA “safeguards agreement” and stressed Iran’s commitment to the the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
On June 3, Salehi questioned the IAEA’s failure to mention a nuclear fuel swap declaration signed between Iran, Brazil and Turkey in Tehran on May 17, an effort by Iran to demonstrate that it is not secretly using its nuclear energy program to develop nuclear weapons. “Such an approach does not indicate good intentions on behalf of the agency and we hope that the agency will change its approach,” ISNA quoted Salehi as saying.
“It is worrisome that Iran has taken this step, which is symptomatic of its longstanding practice of intimidating inspectors,” U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said following Iran’s action. “This will not … encourage the international community to believe that Iran’s program is peaceful in nature.”
Also on Monday, Congress announced legislation that would block foreign banks that do business with Iranian institutions from gaining access to the U.S. financial system. In addition, Congress has drafted sanctions that would impose third-party sanctions against companies, countries and individuals that deal with Iran’s energy and shipping sectors. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has praised the pending legislation.
A United Nations Security Council resolution passed on June 9 significantly expands sanctions. The resolution envisages a tighter embargo including military, commercial and financial measures.
In April, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas stated the obvious — sanctions imposed on Iran are tantamount to a declaration of war against the country.
“This legislation, whether the House or Senate version, will lead us to war on Iran. The sanctions in this bill, and the blockade of Iran necessary to fully enforce them, are in themselves acts of war according to international law. A vote for sanctions on Iran is a vote for war against Iran,” said Paul during debate on HR 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act.
“We need to see all this for what it is: Propaganda to speed us to war against Iran for the benefit of special interests,” Paul added.