Monday, January 30, 2006


Iran To Face
Security Council


It looks like Iran will be sanctioned:


The United States and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed Tuesday that Iran should be hauled before that powerful body over its disputed nuclear program.

China and Russia, longtime allies and trading partners of Iran, signed on to a statement that calls on the U.N. nuclear watchdog to transfer the Iran dossier to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions or take other harsh action.

Foreign ministers from those nations, plus the United States, Britain and France, also said the Security Council should wait until March to take up the Iran case, after a formal report on Tehran's activities from the watchdog agency.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other foreign ministers discussed Iran at a private dinner at the home of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. After the four-hour meeting, which spilled over into the early hours Tuesday, a joint statement called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to report the Iran case when it meets in Vienna on Thursday.

Foreign ministers from Germany and the European Union also attended the dinner and agreed to what amounted to a compromise _ take the case to the Security Council but allow a short breather before the council must undertake what could be a divisive debate.

The group agreed that the IAEA "should report to the Security Council its decision on the steps required of Iran, and should also report to the Security Council all IAEA reports as resolutions as adopted relating to this issue," a statement from the group said.

The IAEA has already found Iran in violation of nuclear obligations and issued a stern warning to Tehran in September. Thursday's vote would be the next step, one long sought by the United States.

It is still not clear how Russia and China would vote if the questions of sanctions came before the Security Council. It is also not clear that the United States will win the broad international consensus it seeks when the IAEA votes.


In other news, the London Telegraph is reporting that Iran has spies infiltrating the IAEA:


Iran has formed a top secret team of nuclear specialists to infiltrate the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the UN-sponsored body that monitors its nuclear programme, The Daily Telegraph has been told.

Its target is the IAEA’s safeguards division and its aim is to obtain information on the work of IAEA inspectors so that Iran can conceal the more sensitive areas of its nuclear research, according to information recently received by western intelligence. ...

The operation to target the IAEA is being run by Hosein Afarideh, the former head of the Iranian parliament’s energy committee. Mr Afarideh, reported to have close links with Iran’s ministry of intelligence, is in regular contact with a team of Iranian nuclear engineers seconded to work at the IAEA’s Vienna headquarters.

According to western intelligence reports, Mr Afarideh heads a three-man team at the headquarters of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran in Teheran, to prevent more embarrassing disclosures about its nuclear facilities. ...

As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is entitled to full access to the IAEA for help with the development of its nuclear programme, so long as it is purely for peaceful purposes.

But western intelligence officials believe that the Iranians are now taking advantage of their access to the IAEA to spy on its inspection procedures so that they can conceal sensitive areas of their nuclear operations from the outside world.


I wonder if one of the spies is named Mohammed El-Baradei?