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Friday, April 28, 2006

Iran's nuclear "transparency"

Over the past week, a number of Iranian leaders said curiously similar statements:
Ahmadenijad: "Iran is the sole country whose nuclear activities are completely transparent. We are ready to hold talks to prove there has been no diversion in our peaceful nuclear activities," he added.
Chairman of Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani: "Since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran has adopted transparency on nuclear program and met all requirements of NPT.

"We decided not to hide anything and proved our goodwill to UN nuclear agency," Rafsanjani said.

Deputy Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) for international affairs Javad Vaeedi: He said that Iranian nuclear program is transparent and Iran has observed Additional Protocol to NPT for the past three years.

Apparently, the IAEA disagrees about Iran's transparency. In the report released today, they write:
After more than three years of Agency efforts to seek clarity about all aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme, the existing gaps in knowledge continue to be a matter of concern. Any progress in that regard requires full transparency and active cooperation by Iran — transparency that goes beyond the measures prescribed in the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol — if the Agency is to be able to understand fully the twenty years of undeclared nuclear activities by Iran. Iran continues to facilitate the implementation of the Safeguards Agreement and had, until February 2006, acted on a voluntary basis as if the Additional Protocol were in force. Until February 2006, Iran had also agreed to some transparency measures requested by the Agency, including access to certain military sites. Additional transparency measures, including access to documentation, dual use equipment and
relevant individuals, are, however, still needed for the Agency to be able to verify the scope and nature of Iran’s enrichment programme, the purpose and use of the dual use equipment and materials purchased by the PHRC, and the alleged studies which could have a military nuclear dimension.

Regrettably, these transparency measures are not yet forthcoming.
But, not to worry: Helmut Schmidt says that Iran's nuclear program is just hunky-dory, and he brings as proof a supposed fatwa (unpublished, of course) that was supposedly made by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei forbidding the creation of nuclear weapons. Everything's great! We can trust Iran's statements - why would they lie?

Unfortunately, Schmidt seems to ignore another little fatwa from this past February:
Iran's hardline spiritual leaders have issued an unprecedented new fatwa, or holy order, sanctioning the use of atomic weapons against its enemies.

One senior mullah has now said it is "only natural" to have nuclear bombs as a "countermeasure" against other nuclear powers, thought to be a reference to America and Israel.

The pronouncement is particularly worrying because it has come from Mohsen Gharavian, a disciple of the ultra-conservative Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, who is widely regarded as the cleric closest to Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.