It’s not often we hear from the IAEA and their inspections in Iran. To us on the outside it seems pretty obvious that the Islamic Republic aims to build a nuclear bomb, but the IAEA is reluctant to conclude this. They are also reluctant to conclude the opposite. In fact they seem pretty reluctant to say anything at all. This may be fair; perhaps having their information go public would make inspections harder. On the other hand they could possess information that would be pretty conclusive against the regime’s claims that they are simply building nuclear power plants for civil use. The IAEA boss, Mohammed El-Baradei, have said in interviews that he consider negotiations to be the only acceptable solution and that the use of military force should under no circumstances be considered. It’s obviously not his job to have an opinion on what to do if dark discoveries are made, and one might even take the view that the fact that he has strong opinions on this makes him unsuitable for the task he’s been handed. And given his rather strong view on the matter, one could even suspect that he would delay or possibly even try to stop reports saying that the situation is indeed grave. I obviously have no idea whether such a suspicion would be warranted or not, but the uncertainty is a bit worrying.
And it isn’t made better by this article in the German paper die Welt (the article is in German; a less-than-perfect but still acceptable Google translation can be found here). The article tells the story of the Belgian Chris Charlier, who led the inspections in Iran until April this year, and who was pretty much fired by Mr El-Baradei after Iranian representatives asked the IAEA boss to get rid of him. It seems that his work was too competently done, and not at all in the laissez faire spirit of Hans Blix.
What Mr Charlier thought about Iran’s nuclear programme? (In my translation)
I think that they hide their nuclear programme and other activities. It’s highly likely that Teheran, does things in the nuclear field, that we have no knowledge of.
And one of his inspectors had this to say about his dismissal:
It’s obvious that Teheran is building the bomb, and that Charlier had solved the puzzle that they had laid out. Therefore, he now pays the price.
Worrying is what it is. The IAEA need to get their act together. The world community need make a clear statement that they will not tolerate a world where the crazy Mullahs are in possession of nuclear weapons, and they need to be prepared to back that up. If not tomorrow’s world could be a lot bleaker than that of today. A push on the red button in islamistic Teheran or in mad communist Kim Jung-Il’s North Korea would spell disaster. Let’s do what we can to avoid that, eh?
(Thanks to Peder Hyllengren for the heads-up)