Posts Tagged 'Amano'

Weekly roundup

Articles and reports from the past week
“UN sanctions passed without unanimity for first time”

The UN Security Council passed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran with 12 votes in favor, 2 against by Turkey and Brazil, and 1 abstention by Lebanon. No UNSC member had voted against any of the previous 3 sanctions. The US called the sanctions the “toughest” imposed on Iran, but Iranian leaders said their nuclear program would continue (Christian Science Monitor). AFP lists the new Iranian entities and individuals targeted by the sanctions (AFP).
Despite US claims of a diplomatic victory, analysts are calling the sanctions “remarkably weak” (Race for Iran) and “ineffective (Foreign Policy), and James M. Lindsay argues that division within the UNSC makes tougher sanctions in the future unlikely (Council on Foreign Relations).

“US, Iran avoid rejecting nuclear fuel swap deal”
Despite earlier warnings that new UN sanctions would derail talks on the proposed nuclear fuel swap, Iran has indicated would continue its cooperation with Turkey and Brazil (Today’s Zaman). Unnamed diplomats had previously stated that the Vienna Group (US, Russia and France) had rejected the fuel swap proposal (AP), but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reports the US is prepared to meet with Iran to discuss the Iran-Turkey-Brazil agreement (Today’s Zaman).

“Iran sidesteps sanctions with shell companies, key alliances”
Jo Becker outlines some of Iran’s tactics for circumventing sanctions by using networks of shell companies (New York Times). Thomas Erdbrink and Colum Lynch write that Iran has also succeeded in building alliances with states such as Turkey, Brazil, India and Japan, though Karim Sadjadpour argues that these states will not jeopardize their relationship with the US for Iran (Washington Post).
The US has appointed a new Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control to oversee the implementation of all UN sanctions against Iran and North Korea (US Department of State).

“Iran threatens to downgrade relations with IAEA”
As the IAEA convened a quarterly Board of Governors meeting with Iran on the agenda, Iran’s parliament announced it will draft a bill to reduce relations with the agency (The National). IAEA head Yukiya Amano recently described Iran as a “special case” for the agency (AFP).
Mark Hibbs outlines the agenda of the Board of Governors meeting (Carnegie Endowment).

“Iran one year after Ahmadinejad’s reelection”
Foreign Policy magazine provides special coverage on Iran one year after the controversial reelection of President Ahmadinejad. A series of articles assesses the Western media’s coverage of Iran’s domestic politics and the significance of the Green Movement (Foreign Policy). Meanwhile, Abbas Milani, Gary Sick, Karim Sadjadpour and Steve Inskeep discuss the impact of last year’s elections (Carnegie Endowment).
Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the elections, but opposition leaders Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have called off planned protests due to safety concerns (New York Times).
Trita Parsi argues that international pressure on Iran is helping the government sideline the domestic opposition (Bloomberg).

“Iran, US compete to set nuclear agenda ahead of NPT Review Conference”

“Iran, US compete to set nuclear agenda ahead of NPT Review Conference”
April 13-19, 2010
     Iran’s 2-day nuclear conference, titled “Nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for no one”, was attended by representatives of 56 countries, which exceeded the 47 countries represented in last week’s US Nuclear Security Summit but included fewer senior officials (Telegraph). President Ahmadinejad called for a new international nuclear agency to counterbalance the IAEA and argued that nuclear weapon states (NWS) should be suspended from the IAEA and its board of governors (Al Jazeera), while Supreme Leader Khamenei sharply criticized the US and Israel (PressTV). The IAEA is not listed among the conference’s participants and has not released any official statements, although Director Yukiya Amano was invited to attend (The National).
     Julian Borger describes last week’s nuclear conferences in the US and Tehran as “qualifying rounds” ahead of next month’s NPT Review Conference, where Iran will likely attempt to deflect attention from its own nuclear program to the failure of the NWS to disarm and Israel’s non-NPT status (Guardian). Barbara Slavin suggests that the US Nuclear Posture Review, which indicates that nuclear force may be used against Iran, has given Iran a “public relations tool” to try and focus global attention on US nuclear policy (Foreign Policy).
Telegraph | Al Jazeera | PressTV | The National | Guardian | Foreign Policy

Weekly roundup

Articles and reports from the past week
“US media hyping Iranian nuclear threat”
Scott Lucas strongly criticizes a recent New York Times report claiming that Western intelligence agencies believe Iran is planning two new nuclear sites. The same edition of the Times also features an article on the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran, and Lucus criticizes the juxtaposition as “dangerous journalism” designed to gain support for military action against Iran (Enduring America).
Glenn Greenwald criticizes Fox News coverage of an unclassified US intelligence report. The intelligence report states that Iran expanded its nuclear infrastructure in 2009 and is “keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons…if a decision is made to do so”, but Fox claims the report concludes Iran is working toward a nuclear weapon (Salon).

“Questioning Turkey’s ability to mediate Iran issue”
The National reports that Turkish officials are becoming frustrated with Iran’s inability to offer solutions to resolve the nuclear issue (The National). Zaman suggests that, due to traditional rivalry and Turkey’s close relations with Arab states, it is not clear whether Iran trusts Turkey enough to act as a mediator (Zaman).
David Kenner writes that Turkey, despite its strong rhetoric of independence in regional issues, is more a “developing power caught between two stronger poles” and will ultimately side with its Western allies if pressed (Foreign Policy).

“US and Iran courting China ahead of sanctions vote”
The New York Times outlines recent tensions and thaws in US-China relations, including China’s move toward supporting UN sanctions against Iran (New York Times). While US President Obama spoke with Chinese President Hu Jintao for an hour to discuss ties, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili visited Beijing to speak against sanctions and call for continued international negotiations (Wall Street Journal).

Iran nuclear scientist defects to US in CIA ‘intelligence coup’ (ABC News)
ABC News reports that Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who disappeared last year, defected to the US in an “intelligence coup” for the CIA. Iran had accused the US of abducting Amiri, while the US denied any involvement [previously covered here].

IAEA Chief: Iran sanctions will make life hard for agency (German Press Agency)
In an interview, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano stated that sanctions against Iran would make the efforts of nuclear inspectors more difficult in the short term. Amano added that Iran had yet to provide an adequate response regarding several outstanding issues.

“Amano’s tough line highlights IAEA divide seen during election”

“Amano’s tough line highlights IAEA divide seen during election”
March 1, 2010
     At the first IAEA Board of Governors meeting since starting his term, Director General Yukiya Amano stated that the agency continued to verify “the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran” but was unable to confirm that “all nuclear material in Iran” was being used in peaceful activities due to a lack of Iranian cooperation [emphases in original statement] (IAEA). Amano’s new “tougher line”, first indicated in the agency’s February report, has been welcomed by many Western analysts but has led Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to accuse the IAEA of lacking independence from the US and “some other countries”.
     Borzou Daragahi writes that Tehran has “dropped its previous deference” to the agency and is criticizing Amano specifically to apply pressure. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called the new director general “a nonstarter and a novice” and senior MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi made a pointed reference to Amano’s contentious election victory last year (Los Angeles Times).
     The Non-Aligned Movement also prepared a statement criticizing the February report for its language and its exclusion of Iran’s responses on “several issues”, and suggests the report was influenced by “undue political pressure” (Press TV).
IAEA | Los Angeles Times | Press TV

Related posts:
“Narrow victory for new IAEA chief highlights strong divisions”
“Amano to inherit divided IAEA, ‘stalemate’ on Iran”

Weekly roundup

Additional articles and reports from the past week
“IAEA Iran report” (IAEA)
The latest IAEA report on Iran cites growing concern over possible “past and current” military nuclear activities. A BBC report argues that the stronger language of the report indicates a tougher approach under new IAEA head Yukiya Amano.

“The Iran nuclear issue: the view from Beijing” (International Crisis Group)
International Crisis Group argues that despite China’s strategic and economic interests in maintaining strong ties with Iran, China prioritizes its relations with the US and will favor a “delay-and-weaken” strategy over blocking UN sanctions, especially if there is unanimous support among UNSC members.

“Consensus emerges on Iran’s centrifuges” (Arms Control Wonk)
Joshua Pollack outlines an emerging consensus in Western estimates of Iran’s centrifuge capabilities.

“Why chuckles greeted Hillary’s Gulf tour” (Daily Star)
Rami G. Khouri writes that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s warnings of an Iranian threat were plagued by a lack of credibility among Arab states.

“Will engaging Syria deal a ‘blow to Iran’? Not likely” (Syria Comment)
Joshua Landis argues against the claim that Washington’s recent diplomatic engagement of Damascus will deprive Tehran of a key ally.

“Mullahs, guards, and bonyads: an exploration of Iranian leadership dynamics” (RAND)
RAND Corporation provides an extensive overview of Iran’s formal and informal power structures. The report argues that US policymakers should deal with the existing government in Iran rather than attempt to exploit the country’s complex domestic politics.

“Western analysts urge Amano to be more forceful, less divisive than ElBaradei”

“Western analysts urge Amano to be more forceful, less divisive than ElBaradei”
December 1-3, 2009
     James M. Acton outlines the challenges faced by new IAEA head Yukiya Amano, focusing on the need to secure more funding from member states and resolve tensions surrounding Iran and Syria. According to Acton, the US and other developed states believe Amano will be less divisive than his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei, whose hesitation to exploit the agency’s full investigative authority eroded both Western and non-Western confidence in the agency. Acton urges Amano to draft “honest” and “straightforward” reports to ensure that agency regulations are enforced against uncooperative member states (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace).
     Leonard Spector likewise urges Amano to make full use of the agency’s authorities. William Potter recounts his experience working with Amano, writing that Amano has “demonstrated the knowledge and fortitude” to address the stark challenges faced by the IAEA. Lawrence Scheinman writes that Amano’s most important challenge will be strengthening the agency’s safeguards system (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies).
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Related posts:
“ElBaradei: IAEA lacks sufficient funding, legal authority to combat proliferation”
“Narrow victory for IAEA chief highlights strong divisions”
“IAEA infighting continues over disputed Iran evidence”

“IAEA infighting continues over disputed Iran evidence”

“IAEA infighting continues over disputed Iran evidence”
September 29-October 2, 2009
     Jeffrey Lewis describes a Nucleonics Week report by Mark Hibbs detailing infighting at the IAEA over disputed evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons activities. The Department of External Relations and Policy Coordination (EXPO), the IAEA’s diplomatic branch, raised concerns that evidence compiled by the Department of Safeguards may be faked, preventing the evidence from being presented to the Board of Governors in September. Lewis, citing previous efforts to discredit EXPO head Tariq Rauf, writes that the situation has exceeded “normal, healthy sparring”, and some IAEA delegates have urged IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei to begin discussions on the evidence to be continued by his successor Yukiya Amano (Arms Control Wonk). In an internal email leaked in September, Rauf warned against making the “same mistakes” from the lead up to the Iraq War and pointed to “certain (known) sources” that were exaggerating the threat from Iran (Newsweek).
     ISIS lists several excerpts from an unreleased IAEA report on the disputed evidence, writing that technical experts believe the evidence appears authentic. The IAEA report, titled “Possible Military Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Program” [previously covered here], alleges that Iran has developed explosive technologies that could be used in a nuclear weapon and may be pursuing technologies to deliver a nuclear payload on their Shahab-3 missiles (ISIS).
     William J. Broad and others report that disputes over evidence also divide the US from its European and Israeli allies, leading to more pressure on the IAEA to disclose its unreleased reports. While the US has judged that Iran halted weapons design in 2003, Israeli and European officials believe the US is being overly cautious due to the intelligence failure leading to the Iraq War (New York Times).
Arms Control Wonk | Newsweek | ISIS | New York Times