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December 5, 2007
And What do the 'Watchdogs" at the IAEA say about the NIE?
Surprisingly, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sounds more realistic about the Iranian regime than the Bush hating lefties who have all but given the mullahs in Tehran a clean bill of health:
The International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday publicly embraced the new American intelligence assessment stating that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons effort, but in truth the agency is taking a more cautious approach in drawing conclusions about Iran’s nuclear program. Apparently, the only "commonly held assumptions" not upended by this report are those held by the left who have believed all along that the Iranians are just poor, misunderstood theocrats - sort of like our Christian conservatives except they don't vote Republican - and that mean old BushCheney have been picking on them because they like to make war. Liberals believe the NIE validates their critique of the Bushies when a close reading of the document does no such thing. Our spooks still see Iran as a threat.
“To be frank, we are more skeptical,” a senior official close to the agency said. “We don’t buy the American analysis 100 percent. We are not that generous with Iran.”
The official called the American assertion that Iran had “halted” its weapons program in 2003 “somewhat surprising.” That the nuclear watchdog agency based in Vienna is sounding a somewhat tougher line than the Bush administration is surprising, given that the administration has long criticized it for not pressuring Iran hard enough to curb its nuclear program.
But the American finding has so unsettled governments, agencies and officials dealing with Iran that it has suddenly upended commonly held assumptions.
But the IAEA having a hard time believing the findings? Not according to its Chief, Mohamed ElBaradei:
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s public stance, and the main message of Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general, was to praise the new finding as proof that his agency had been right in its analysis. ElBaradei, a career bureaucrat, has made it a core principle of the IAEA not to confront rogue nuclear states like Iran or North Korea while showing no hesitation about going to the mat with the west over our efforts to stop those states from getting nukes. One would think that an anti-proliferation agency would, you know, like try and prevent proliferation. Instead, ElBaradei has proven over the years he is much more enamored of impressing western liberals as evidenced by his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 than he is with carrying out his duties to protect the world from madmen who want to get their fingers on the nuclear trigger.
The American assessment “tallies with the agency’s consistent statements over the last few years that — although Iran still needs to clarify some important aspects of its past and present nuclear activities — the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran,” Dr. ElBaradei said in a statement.
He said the American intelligence assessment “should help to defuse the current crisis.”
At least the IAEA will continue supporting the sanctions against Iran that are already in place. Those sanctions are not for the Iranian bomb program but for their enrichment program which was ordered stopped by the Security Council - an order Iran ignored. As long as there are unanswered questions about the Iranian nuclear program, those sanctions should be kept.
But whether ElBaradei will go for a third round of sanctions probably won't be known for a while as the impact from the NIE works its way through the international community.