Covering up for Iran
France and Israel have led the charge against Dr ElBaradei, saying that his latest report on Iran’s nuclear programme omitted evidence that the agency had been given about an alleged covert weaponisation plan.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that the report did not reflect all that the agency knew about Iran’s “efforts to continue to pursue its military programme”.
France went farther, alleging the existence of an unpublished annexe that addresses the evidence that Iran may be building an atom bomb.
Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, said that France had attended a technical briefing that covered the material, so was surprised to find it missing from the report.
“In the annexes there are specifically elements which enable us to ask about the reality of an atomic bomb,” he said “There are issues of warheads, of transport.”
The published section of the report focused more on the positive, noting that Iran had slowed its production of enriched uranium and had agreed to closer monitoring of its plant.
Western intelligence agencies had given the IAEA material suggesting that Tehran secretly combined uranium processing, airborne high-explosive tests and efforts to revamp a missile cone in a way that would fit a nuclear warhead.
Mr. ElBaradei's blindness is not only willful, but he apparently gained it from Hans Blix, the man he replaced. He has been running interference for Iran, and for North Korea, since his arrival at the IAEA. He has been the chief apologist for the UN, and has had a habit of turning a blind eye to anything that might be "embarrassing" to nations like Iran and North Korea. Such information would reinforce the need for tougher sanctions on not only those two countries, but possibly on nations like Russia and China; both of which have helped both nations in their respective nuclear programs.
We'd love nothing better than to see the US demand a full and complete audit of the IAEA, but don't hold your breath, folks. Our UN ambassador is Susan Rice. And while she seems bright enough for the position, she is clearly the sort that won't rock the boat on this issue. She has worked with administration officials before who have had dealings with the UN (during the Clinton Administration), and she won't call for any investigation. However, when Mr. ElBaradei does leave (don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you, Mohammed) we can hope that the Security Council will oversee the appointment of a more open-eyed and competent nuclear watchdog to head up the IAEA.