Monday October 02, 2023

Israel accuses UN nuclear watchdog of ‘capitulating’ to Iran

June 05, 2023

OCCUPIED-AL-QUDS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the International Atomic Energy Agency on Sunday of ineffectually policing Iran’s nuclear activities and suggested the UN watchdog risked becoming politicised and irrelevant. The unusual criticism followed an IAEA report last week that Iran had provided a satisfactory answer on one case of suspect uranium particles and re-installed some monitoring equipment originally put in place under a now-defunct 2015 nuclear deal. With Iran having enriched enough uranium to 60 per cent fissile purity for two nuclear bombs, if refined further - something it denies wanting or planning - Israel has redoubled threats to launch preemptive military strikes if international diplomacy fails. “Iran is continuing to lie to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The agency’s capitulation to Iranian pressure is a black stain on its record,” Netanyahu told his cabinet in televised remarks. “If the IAEA becomes a political organisation, then its oversight activity in Iran is without significance, as will be its reports on Iran’s nuclear activity.” The IAEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Wednesday, it reported that after years of investigation and lack of progress, Iran had given a satisfactory answer to explain one of three sites at which uranium particles had been detected. Those particles could be explained by the presence of a Soviet-operated mine and lab there and the IAEA had no further questions, a senior diplomat in Vienna said. In an apparent reference to this, Netanyahu said: “Iran’s excuses ... regarding the finding of nuclear material in prohibited locations are not only unreliable, they are technically impossible.” However, the Vienna diplomat said the IAEA’s assessment remained that Iran carried out explosives testing there decades ago that was relevant to nuclear weapons. After then US president Donald Trump quit the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, Tehran ramped up uranium enrichment. Israeli and Western officials say it could switch from enrichment at 60 per cent fissile purity to 90 per cent - weapons-grade - within a few weeks.