Iran’s battle with the IAEA continues (see my previous blog). They have been granted yet another month to advance their program while the international community watches on. January 16th will be the next meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog and the Islamic Republic.
This Reuters piece is on the whole balanced. Although its headline and opening paragraphs are reflective of the general optimistic tone in much of the western media. A tone, which is often so optimistic, it verges on the delusional.
Fredrik Dahl notes that ‘Even though the International Atomic Energy Agency failed to gain access to the Parchin military complex during Thursday’s visit to the Iranian capital as requested, IAEA delegation head Herman Nackaerts said progress had been made.”
What progress? Shashank Joshi, an analyst normally in the “let’s give Iran the benefit of the doubt” school, puts it lightly (in the same Reuters piece):
“We have now had so many false starts that there are grounds to be skeptical”.
Dahl correctly emphasizes Iran’s “refusal[s] to curb activity which can have both civilian and military purposes and lack of openness with the IAEA have drawn increasingly tough Western sanctions.”
Most notably; still no visit to Parchin. Maybe the Iranian regime hasn’t quite finished the sterilization and reconstruction process!? (See this ISIS analysis on the matter).
In the meantime the US continues to lead from the front in the sanctions effort, “Targeting international procurement operations of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA), and Iran’s uranium enrichment program.”
The Department of Treasury website delineates the logic behind these further sanctions:
Given Iran’s continued intransigence on its nuclear program, most recently demonstrated at last month’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Board of Governors meeting, it is essential to continue to expose and target Iran’s continued proliferation activities.
Most major outlets paid little to no attention, however, to these additional sanctions. They were too busy focusing on the Nodong A, North Korean missile launch. Yet credit must go to NPR for approaching experts and making the connection.
Missile expert Charles Vick was quoted as saying that:
“In every detail, right down to the re-entry vehicles, Nodong-A is the Shahab-3,” he says. “The technology is being transferred in both directions, and I think that’s what’s going on in the nuclear technology, too.“
While “Theodore Postol, a missile expert at MIT, says the third stage of the North Korean rocket launched this week looks like a comparable stage in a rocket designed by the Iranians.”
The significance of a rogue republic aiding a like-minded ally with its missile technology should not be analyzed in a vacuum. It must be seen within the context of a belligerent state, spreading its knowledge, and spreading its technology to the most dangerous states (and non-state actors) around the world. Is this the sort of country we want to go nuclear!?
The New York Times noticed the connection… did you?