The International Atomic Energy Agency's knowledge of Iran's current nuclear program is "diminishing," the agency's director general reported Thursday, because Iran suspended cooperation in key areas in early 2006 and has not restored it.
The IAEA "is not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities," the agency said in a report issued to its 35 board members.
The report confirmed that Tehran has continued to defy the U.N. Security Council by ignoring its repeated demands to freeze uranium enrichment, a potential pathway to nuclear arms.
So, all the assurances the IAEA have been giving reports of over the last year have been nothing more than false assurances since they have no way of confirming them, as they have just admitted that the information they have been supplying is not "credible".
The report was unlikely to satisfy the United States and its allies, who have said they will press for new Security Council sanctions unless Iran suspends enrichment and provides a full and detailed disclosure of past suspicious nuclear activities.
Reflecting that stance, Britain's Foreign Office said shortly after the report was issued that it would pursue further sanctions from the Security Council and the European Union.
"If Iran wants to restore trust in its program, it must come clean on all outstanding issues without delay," the statement said. It also said Tehran must restore broader and stronger inspection rights to IAEA teams and mothball its enrichment activities to avoid such penalties.
Much of the 10-page report made available to The Associated Press focused on the history of Iran's black-market procurements and past development of its enrichment technology — and the agency appeared to be giving Tehran a pass on that issue, repeatedly saying it concludes that "Iran's statements are consistent with ... information available to the agency."
The IAEA's standard of deciding Tehran's truthfulness are written reports FROM Tehran instead of being able to verify the information themselves.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said that the agency received written answers to the questions supporting documentation and interview with officials involved in the P-1 and P-2 uranium enrichment program.
The agency continued discussions with the Iranian authorities on the centrifuge enrichment program, Iran provided additional supporting documentation and written amplification and the agency held discussions and interviews with the Iranian officials in nuclear activities in the 1980s and 1990s.
On November 5-12, 2007, Iran provided in writing its response to the agency's questions about the P-1 and P-2 uranium enrichment program, it said.
Iran wouldn't dare lie, now would they?
Anyone think the IAEA is naive instead of obviously crooked?
The IAEA said it remained unable to ascertain that Iran did not have a secret, parallel military enrichment program because Tehran was still denying inspector visits to anything but its few declared nuclear facilities.
"... its cooperation has been reactive rather than proactive," the International Atomic Energy Agency said. "Iran's active cooperation and full transparency are indispensable for full and prompt implementation of the work plan."
The United States said the report showed Iran continued to defy the international community and to give only "partial answers." Britain urged Tehran to "come clean."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the IAEA report showed Iran had been telling the truth about its nuclear plans and was right to resist Western pressure to halt the program.
A senior Iranian atomic official said the report meant further Security Council action would be illegal.
In a disclosure likely to alarm the West, the International Atomic Energy Agency report said Iran's number of centrifuges enriching uranium had jumped by a third to 3,000 since August, a level that could start industrial output of nuclear fuel.
Iran has reached a landmark stage in its nuclear programme, the United Nation's nuclear watchdog has confirmed.
The IAEA said Tehran had expanded uranium enrichment despite demands to stop and had raised the number of centrifuge machines to 3,000.
Recently Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel visited with President Bush and in a joint press conference she made it clear that the U.S. with Germany would be pushing for further sanctions against Iran.
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: (Translation continues.) Let me say, first of all, that we did make the best possible use of our time to exchange our views on a number of issues. We did talk about Afghanistan, as the President already said, where we just recently were, and where we say that together with the Afghan government, we need to do more in order to help them continue to build up the police and to continue to also build up the army there, improve that, and go on with the training that we have already embarked on.
We addressed the issue of Iran. We were at one in saying that the threat posed through the nuclear program of Iran is indeed a serious one. We both share this view, but that we also were of the opinion that we think that this issue can be solved through diplomatic means; that the next step, then, obviously, would be a resolution. There is already work underway to prepare for this next step.
We have also been very clear in saying that if the talks with the representatives of Iran and Mr. Solana, as the representative on the European Union side, do not yield any results, then further steps will have to be made. Also, if the reports remain unsatisfactory that the International Atomic Energy Organization puts on the table, unsatisfactory, we need to think about further possible sanctions. And we do not only need to think about them, but we also have to then talk and agree on further possible sanctions, if all of these conditions are [not] met.
She went on to discuss what type of unilateral measures Germany will take, bypassing what has been an ineffective UN.
We then also said that Germany needs to look somewhat closer at the existing business ties with Iran. There are certain companies that have business with Iran. We have already done that. And we need to look, as the situation unfolds, whether we have to have a closer look again at that, and possibly need to work together with our German business community. I will talk with them again on further possible reductions of those commercial ties, as we have already launched that in that tendency already now.
The U.S. has already implemented further unilateral sanctions against Iran, just recently.
The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has also issued statements warning of their own sanctions:
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he would push for a block on foreign investment in new Iranian oil and gas projects along with sanctions on the financial sector if the Gulf state did not comply with requests to suspend its nuclear enrichment programme.
In a speech to the Lord Mayor's banquet here, Brown said Iran now faced a choice of either 'confrontation with the international community... or a transformed relationship with the world'.
The reason we and our allies are imposing unilateral sanctions against Iran is because China and Russia are the weak links that prevent the UN Security Council of implementing any meaningful sanctions and have rendered the UN impotent.
Russia talks a good game, threatening Iran, but as of yet has not followed up with any action:
Despite the well known opposition of the Russians and Chinese to harsher U.N. sanctions against Iran, sources said Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his recent visit to Tehran, used "extremely harsh language" in his personal meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, warning him that more sanctions will be forthcoming if Iran does not halt its enrichment of uranium.
The so-called "Putin proposal" for ending the standoff between Iran and the West over enrichment, never publicly defined or explained, was nothing more than a restatement of Russia's previous offer to Iran to conduct enrichment on foreign soil so Iran can enjoy the benefits of nuclear energy without suspicion that it is diverting nuclear fuel for military purposes.
Ahmadinejad rejected that proposal swiftly.
The international community is headed toward a showdown with Iran and Putin's offer to Ahmadinejad could have prevented it, but Iran shows, once again, they words do not match their actions and the IAEA has finally admitted that they can give no "credible" assurances about Iran.