Iran proposal ignored again

IssueOctober 2008
News by Milan Rai

Once again, Iran’s recent cooperation with UN inspectors, and its positive proposal for an international consortium to control its uranium enrichment, are being ignored, and the Iranian government is being pilloried in the press.

As PN goes to press, a new report on Iran is being presented to the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), accusing Tehran of failing to cooperate with IAEA investigations into alleged “weaponisation” research.

The IAEA has also come by indications that Iran may have benefited from “foreign expertise” in the suspected testing of high explosives or the alleged modification of missile nose cones to hold nuclear warheads.

Five out of six
The “work plan” agreed between the IAEA and Iran last August set out six major areas of investigation. Iran has been cleared by the IAEA on five of the six areas: its plutonium experiments; the contamination of containers with highly-enriched uranium; the acquisition of P-1 and P-2 centrifuges; a suspicious document on working uranium metal; research using polonium; and, finally, Iran’s activities regarding the Gchine uranium mine and mill.

All of this progress – especially on the nature and the scope of Iran’s enrichment programme, which IAEA head Mohamed ElBa-radei identified as “the most sensitive part of the Iranian programme” – is being ignored.

The IAEA may or may not make progress on the weaponisation allegations, which are based on documents acquired by US intelligence that Iran condemns as forgeries.


The key issue is not the past, but the future. On 13 May, Iran put forward a proposal to hand over control of its uranium enrichment facilities to an international consortium.

Together with expanded inspection rights, this would deal with the global concern over Iran’s nuclear programme. That should be the focus of attention, rather than attempts to undermine Iran’s government by imposing stricter economic sanctions.