[From PANA, a fact sheet on Iran by Dr. David Morrison. Much gratitude to chairman, Roger Cole for allowing us to reprint at Come Home America. PDFs are available for print out. –Angela]
“The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.” (Reuters Special Report, 23 March 2012)
Iran has no nuclear weapons
Iran has no nuclear weapons programme
The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said that the possession of nuclear weapons is a “grave sin”
The November 2011 report of the IAEA did not claim that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme
Iran is not in breach of any obligations under the NPT
Uranium enrichment is Iran’s “inalienable right” under the NPT
The US and its allies are trying to deny Iran its right to uranium enrichment under the NPT
Iran’s nuclear facilities are open to IAEA inspection, Israel’s are not
A double standard is being applied with regard to nuclear weapons in the Middle East:-
(1) Iran, which has none, is the object of ferocious economic sanctions and threats of military action;
(2) Israel, which has many (perhaps as many as 400) and the ability to deliver them to any capital in the Middle East, is the object of over $3 billion a year of military aid.
The US, Israel and others, who are threatening military action against Iran, are in breach of Article 2.4 of the UN Charter, which requires that all UN member states “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”.
Iran hasn’t got a nuclear weapons programme
It is the consensus view of the 16 US intelligence services that Iran hasn’t got a nuclear weapons programme, let alone a nuclear weapon .
That has been their consistent view since November 2007, when they first published it in the National Intelligence Estimate [NIE], Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities .
The publication of the NIE caused President George Bush to abandon any thought of taking military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. As he wrote in his memoir, Decision Points:
“But after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?” (see Annex A)
Commenting on the NIE, Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, who was the IAEA Director General at the time, noted that “the Estimate 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.” 
This view that Iran hasn’t got a nuclear weapons programme has been reiterated every year since 2007 in reports to the US Congress by the US Director of National Intelligence.
On 16 February this year, for example, giving evidence to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the present Director, James Clapper, was asked by the Committee Chairman, Senator Carl Levin, to confirm that in his opinion Iran has not yet decided to develop nuclear weapons. The Director replied unequivocally: “That is the intelligence community’s assessment” .
According to the US intelligence services, the Israeli intelligence services “largely agree” with their assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities. The Directorsaid so in later evidence to the Committee . This was confirmed by the Israeli Chief of Staff, General Benny Gantz, in an interview with Haaretz on 25 April 2012 , who expressed the view that Iran hadn’t decided to develop nuclear weapons and probably wouldn’t decide to do so.
A Reuters Special Report, dated 23 March 2012, entitled Intel[ligence] shows Iran nuclear threat not imminent , came to the following conclusions:
“The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.”
The Report says that those conclusions were “drawn from extensive interviews with current and former US and European officials with access to intelligence on Iran” and “contrast starkly with the heated debate surrounding a possible Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities”. Indeed, they do.
Nuclear weapons a “grave sin” says Supreme Leader of Iran
Iran has repeatedly denied that it has any ambitions to develop nuclear weapons. What is more, Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has declared the possession of such weapons a “grave sin”. He did so in a speech to nuclear scientists on 22 February 2012, saying:
“The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.” 
There was nothing new in this statement. In 2005, Ayatollah Khamenei issued a fatwa – a religious edict – saying that “the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons”  and he has repeated this message many times since then .
Iran is not in breach of its obligations under the NPT
Iran is not in breach of its obligations as a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) .
As a “non-nuclear-weapon” state party to the NPT, Iran is obliged under Article II of the treaty “not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons”– which it hasn’t done – and, under Article III, to subject its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection to ensure that nuclear material is not diverted for the production of weapons – which it has done.
As regards the latter, Iran has declared to the IAEA 15 nuclear facilities, including its uranium enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow, and 9 other locations (LOFs) where nuclear material is customarily used. All these sites are being monitored by the IAEA. In his latest report to the IAEA Board on 24 February 2012 , the IAEA Director General confirmed for the umpteenth time that there was no diversion of nuclear material from these facilities:
“… the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement …” (Paragraph 50)
Uranium enrichment is Iran’s “inalienable right” as a party to the NPT
It must be emphasised that Iran is not breaching the NPT by enriching uranium. On the contrary, uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes is “the inalienable right” of all parties to the NPT, Article IV(1) of which states:
“Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.” 
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Netherlands and South Korea, which like Iran are “non-nuclear-weapon” state parties to the NPT, have uranium enrichment facilities (as have the 5 “nuclear-weapon” state parties to the NPT: China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) .
Iran is not in breach of the NPT by engaging in uranium enrichment, so long as this activity is under IAEA supervision to ensure that no nuclear material is diverted for military purposes. That is the case at Iran’s uranium enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow – and the IAEA has verifed that no material is being diverted and that each facility is operating as declared by Iran in the relevant design document.
In order to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon, uranium has to be enriched to over 90% U235. At the moment, enrichment has not gone beyondthe 20% figure, which is required to fuel a research reactor in Tehran (supplied to Iran by the US in the late 60s). This has been verified by the IAEA, which in each of its reports on Iran’s nuclear activity gives an inventory of the amounts of uranium enriched to 5% and 20% at each facility (see, for example, paragraphs 10 to 27 of its latest report ).
If Iran were to proceed to enrich uranium to a level above 20%, that is, towards the 90% level required to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon,this would be immediately apparent to the IAEA.
November 2011 IAEA report
But surely the IAEA report of 8 November 2011 on Iran’s nuclear activities  presented evidence that Iran has an active nuclear weapons programme? The answer is an unequivocal NO.
Like all other IAEA reports on Iran, the November 2011 report gives detailed information on the activities at its nuclear facilities. For example, it records the amounts of uranium enriched to 5% and 20% at each facility and confirms that enrichment hadn’t taken place to a higher level and that no nuclear material is unaccounted for. This is factual information, based on actual observations by IAEA inspectors on the ground in Iran.
Famously, the November 2011 report contains a 16-page annex entitled Possible Military Dimensions to Iran’s Nuclear Programme. The “information” contained in this annex is of a very different character. None of it was acquired by IAEA inspectors as a result of direct observations in Iran. It consists of allegations – the words “alleged”, “allegedly” and “allegation” occur 28 times in total – supplied to the IAEA by third parties, including the US and Israel, most of them referring to possible activities by Iran before 2003.
Most of these allegations have been available to the IAEA since 2005 and were already in the public domain. Despite being pressed by the US and its allies to publish them, the previous IAEA Director General, Dr Mohammed ElBaradei, refused do so, because they were unsubstantiated allegations that couldn’t be verified by the IAEA.
Dr ElBaradei retired on 30 November 2009. His successor is Yukiya Amano of Japan. The US used its considerable influence to get him elected by the IAEA Board, understandably so, since in the opinion of the US mission to the IAEA, he is “solidly in the US court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program” (see Wikileaks cable dated 16 October 2009  and Annex B below).
It is hardly surprising that, unlike his predecessor, Director General Amano acceded to US demands that the allegations supplied by the US and other third parties be published under the name of the IAEA and thereby be given credibility.
The annex of the November 2011 IAEA report contained little or nothing new – and did not present evidence that Iran has an active nuclear weapons programme. To confirm this, here are the views of a number of experts on the matter:
Joseph Cirincione, who serves on Hillary Clinton’s International Security Advisory Board, (and is the president of the disarmament group, the Ploughshare Fund):
“I was briefed on most of this stuff several years ago at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. There’s little new in the report. Most of this information is well known to experts who follow the issue.” (quoted by Seymour Hersh in Iran and the IAEA, The New Yorker, 18 November 2011 ).
Professor Paul Pillar, who retired from the CIA in 2005 after 28 years service, his last post being National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia:
“Despite references in the surge of report commentary about new evidence on this or that aspect of the subject, the report told us nothing of importance to policy on Iran that was not already well known.” (The IAEA’s Yawner, The National Interest, 10 November 2011, ).
Peter Jenkins, who was the UK’s ambassador to the IAEA from 2001 to 2006:
“The IAEA says that prior to 2003 Iran researched some of the know-how needed for a weapon, and that further research may have taken place in the years since. The IAEA has not reported evidence of attempts to produce nuclear weapons, or of a decision to do so.” (The deal the West could strike with Iran, Daily Telegraph, 23 January 2012, )
Hans Blix, former head of the IAEA:
“The IAEA did not … conclude that Iran was making a weapon or had taken a decision to make one.” (The road to hell, The New Statesman, 22 February 2012, ).
The US and its allies want to deny Iran its right to uranium enrichment
So, what’s the problem with Iran’s nuclear activities? Why are the US and its allies imposing ferocious economic sanctions on Iran and are contemplating a military assault on its nuclear facilities?
These days, the message from the US and its allies is that Iran is failing to meet unspecified international obligations. Speaking alongside President Obama at the White House on 15 March 2012, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, put it this way:
“We also discussed the continuing threat posed by Iran’s failure to meet its international obligations. On this, we are fully united. We are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. We believe there is still time and space to pursue a diplomatic solution and we are going to keep coordinating closely with our P5+1 partners. At the same time, we are going to keep up the pressure with the strongest US sanctions to date and the European Union preparing to impose an embargo on Iranian oil. Tehran must understand that it cannot escape or evade the choice before it: meet your international obligations or face the consequences.” 
But, if the US intelligence services are to be believed, Iran hasn’t got a nuclear weapon, or even a programme to develop nuclear weapons. And its nuclear facilities are being monitored by the IAEA as required by the NPT. So, how can there be a “continuing threat posed by Iran’s failure to meet its international obligations”? What are the “international obligations” which Iran’s failure to meet warrants ferocious economic sanctions and possible military attack?
These days, the US and it allies rarely specify the “international obligations” that Iran is evading, understandably so, because they are obligations that no other state in this world is being asked to fulfil.
First and foremost, as we will see below, Iran is being asked to cease uranium enrichment on its own soil and cease it permanently. This is a transparent attempt to deny Iran its “inalienable right” under Article IV(1) of the NPT “to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination”. It demands that Iran accept permanent treatment as a second-class party to the NPT, with fewer rights than all other parties.
That is why, despite having to endure economic sanctions of increasing severity and being threatened with military attack, Iran continues to refuse to meet what the US and its allies term “international obligations”.
The EU states required Iran to cease enrichment permanently
A little bit of history. In October 2003, the Foreign Ministers of the UK, France and Germany visited Tehran and initiated discussions with Iran on a broad range of issues, including its nuclear programme. In a statement issued with Iran at the time, the three EU states said:
“Their governments recognise the right of Iran to enjoy peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the NPT.” 
This was a clear statement that these EU states accepted that Iran had a right to uranium enrichment on its own soil like other parties to the NPT. This clear statement was repeated in the later Paris Agreement signed by Iran and the three EU states (aka E3/EU) on 15 November 2004 , which said:
“The E3/EU recognise Iran’s rights under the NPT exercised in conformity with its obligations under the Treaty, without discrimination.”
The Paris Agreement set the scene for negotiations between the E3/EU and Iran, which were supposed to lead to a long term comprehensive agreement.
In the Paris Agreement, Iran agreed “on a voluntary basis” to suspend “all enrichment related and reprocessing activities”. In turn, the E3/EU recognized that “this suspension is a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation”.
The final agreement was supposed to “provide objective guarantees that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes”, that is, arrangements over and above the requirements of the NPT for monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities in order to give confidence to the outside world that they are not for military purposes.
The UK, France and Germany published proposals for a final agreement on 5 August 2005 . These demanded that Iran make “a binding commitment not to pursue fuel cycle activities other than the construction and operation of light water power and research reactors”, in other words, all enrichment and related activities on Iranian soil had to cease for good. Iran was required to make permanent its voluntary suspension of these activities.
The UK, France and Germany had negotiated in bad faith and broken their commitment at the outset to “recognise the right of Iran to enjoy peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the NPT”. Iran was to be the only party to the NPT that was forbidden to have uranium enrichment on its own soil.
The EU states made no attempt to devise “objective guarantees that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes”, as required by the Paris Agreement. In the course of the negotiations, Iran made a number of proposals in this regard , for example,
immediate conversion of all enriched uranium to fuel rods to preclude the possibility of further enrichment
continuous on-site presence of IAEA inspectors at the conversion and enrichment facilities to provide unprecedented added guarantees.
Iran also suggested that the IAEA be asked to devise appropriate “objective guarantees”. All of these suggestions were ignored by the EU states.
In a speech at the UN on 17 September 2005, President Ahmadinejad made a further proposal:
“As a further confidence building measure and in order to provide the greatest degree of transparency, the Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to engage in serious partnership with private and public sectors of other countries in the implementation of uranium enrichment program in Iran. This represents the most far reaching step, outside all requirements of the NPT, being proposed by Iran as a further confidence building measure.” 
This offer by Iran to have its enrichment programme managed by an international consortium was also ignored. US Under Secretary of State, Nicholas Burns, went so far as to describe Ahmadinejad’s speech as “excessively harsh and uncompromising” .
The EU states (and the US) were not interested in “objective guarantees that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes”. Their goal was to halt permanently the core elements of the programme – uranium enrichment and related activities.
Jenkins says the “objective was to put a stop to all enrichment in Iran”
That this was the goal of the US and its allies in 2005 was confirmed recently by Peter Jenkins, who was the UK Ambassador to the IAEA from 2001 and 2006 and was involved in these negotiations. Looking back, he regrets that Iran’s offer of additional safeguards was not taken up. Writing in the Daily Telegraph on 23 January 2012, he said:
“My hunch is that this gathering crisis could be avoided by a deal along the following lines: Iran would accept top-notch IAEA safeguards in return for being allowed to continue enriching uranium. In addition, Iran would volunteer some confidence-building measures to show that it has no intention of making nuclear weapons.
“This, essentially, is the deal that Iran offered the UK, France and Germany in 2005. With hindsight, that offer should have been snapped up. It wasn’t, because our objective was to put a stop to all enrichment in Iran [my emphasis]. That has remained the West’s aim ever since, despite countless Iranian reminders that they are unwilling to be treated as a second-class party to the NPT – with fewer rights than other signatories – and despite all the evidence that the Iranian character is more inclined to defiance than buckling under pressure.
“But that missed opportunity need not prove lethal if the West can pull back now and join the rest of the world in seeing an agreement of this kind as the prudent way forward.” 
This is persuasive evidence that the obstacle to a settlement with Iran on the nuclear issue at that time was the refusal of the US and its allies to recognise Iran’s right under the NPT to uranium enrichment on its own soil.
There is no reason to believe that this policy has changed.
Iran referred to the Security Council and sanctioned
Understandably, Iran rejected the August 2005 proposals from the UK, France and Germany and over the next six months or so resumed the various activities which it had voluntarily suspended during the negotiations. As a result, the US and its allies persuaded the IAEA Board to pass a resolution on 4 February 2006  demanding, inter alia, that Iran “re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development” and referring the matter to the Security Council.
Subsequently, the Security Council passed a series of resolutions demanding that Iran cease uranium enrichment, amongst other things. Four of these resolutions included tranches of economic sanctions against Iran.
These UN-approved sanctions were relatively mild. However, in December 2011, legislation was passed by the US Congress at the behest of the Israeli lobby (and accepted by President Obama, who dare not offend the Israeli lobby), which may do significant damage to the Iranian economy.
The legislation requires the Obama administration to bully other states around the world to stop trading with Iran, specifically, to stop buying Iranian oil, by threatening to cut off foreign financial institutions from the US financial system, if they conduct transactions with the Central Bank of Iran or other Iranian financial institutions. (Whatever happened to the US commitment to free trade?) Its own trade with Iran will be unaffected since it has been negligiblesince the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The EU has meekly followed the US lead, even though this may be economically painful for some EU states (eg Greece and Italy) who get a significant amount of their oil requirements from Iran.
On 20 March 2012, the US graciously conceded that the financial institutions in 11 states would, for the next 180 days at least, be exempt from US sanctions, because they had obeyed Washington’s edict. In a statement, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said:
“I am pleased to announce that an initial group of eleven countries has significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran – Belgium, theCzech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. As a result, I will report to the Congress that sanctions pursuant to Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA) will not apply to the financial institutions based in these countries, for a renewable period of 180 days.” 
The degree to which this US bullying will succeed remains to be seen. For instance, will China reduce its substantial oil purchases from Iran? And, if it refuses to do so, will the US cut off Chinese financial institutions from the US financial system – which has the potential for disrupting trade between the US and China?
Iran & Israel: applying a double standard
What a strange world we live in? The US and its allies, which claim they want to see the Middle East free from nuclear weapons, are applying ferocious economic sanctions, and threatening military action, against Iran, which hasn’t got a single nuclear weapon – and its nuclear facilities are open to IAEA inspection.
However, they are utterly opposed to applying any sanctions to Israel, despite its possession of perhaps as many as 400 nuclear warheads with the ability to deliver them by aircraft, ballistic missile and submarine-launched cruise missiles and wipe any capital in the Middle East (and probably much further afield) off the map – and its nuclear facilities are almost entirely closed to the IAEA.
Far from sanctioning Israel, the US gives it over US$3 billion a year in military aid and, despite an enormous budget deficit, the amount has increased every year under the Obama administration, as the President was at pains to emphasise in his speech to AIPAC on 4 March 2012 . More US tax dollars go to Israel than to any other state in this world.
One could be forgiven for thinking that a double standard is being applied to Iran and Israel in this regard.
The US and its allies frequently say that, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, this would inevitably lead to widespread proliferation of nuclear weapons in theMiddle East. That, they say, is one of the reasons why Iran must not be allowed to acquire them.
What is rarely mentioned is that, because of Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, Iran and other states in the region would at this moment be within their rights to withdraw from the NPT and develop nuclear weapons as Israel, which never joined the NPT, has done, without breaching any international obligations.
Article IX of the NPT says:
“Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.” 
By any objective standard, Iran and other states in the region have good grounds for withdrawal, because, since they signed the NPT, Israel has acquireda large nuclear arsenal, which is sure to be targeted on them. There could hardly be a better example of “extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty”, which “have jeopardized [their] supreme interests”.
It might not be wise for Iran or other states in the region to withdraw from the NPT at the present time but there is no doubt that such an action would be within Article IX of the NPT.
(Saudi Arabia is usually mentioned as being certain to acquire nuclear weapons, if Iran does so. In this context, it is worth drawing attention to remarks by Jack Straw, the former British Foreign Minister, in the House of Commons on 20 February 2012 . He questioned whether there would be a race for nuclear capability in the region and quoted a senior Saudi diplomat who told him: “I know what we’re saying publicly, but do you really think that having told people that there is no need for us to make any direct response to Israel holding nuclear weapons, we could seriously make a case for developing a nuclear weapons capability to deal with another Muslim country?”)
On breaching “international obligations”
The US and its allies are forever lecturing other states about living up to their “international obligations”.
The UN Charter contains a set of international obligations, which all UN members are supposed to fulfil. The most fundamental of all is in Article 2.4, which requires that all UN member states “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state” .
By threatening military action against Iran, the US and Israel and other states (including the UK) are in flagrant and continuous breach of Article 2.4.
The US and Israel should be expelled from the UN under Article 6 of the Charter, which provides for the expulsion of a member which “has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter”. That’s not going to happen, of course, since the US is a veto-wielding member of the Security Council (which must recommend any expulsion) and the other is its close ally.
That’s the way the UN system works, or rather doesn’t.
Annex A: George Bush was “angry” at NIE finding
In the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, produced in November 2007, the 16 US intelligence services expressed the consensus view that Iran hadn’t got an active nuclear weapons programme at that time.
The reaction of President George Bush to this good news is instructive – it made him “angry”. We know this because he says so in his memoir, Decision Points.
One might have thought that the President would have welcomed intelligence that Iran wasn’t developing nuclear weapons. After all, preventing Iranacquiring nuclear weapons was supposed to be a major objective of his foreign policy.
But instead he was “angry” – because it cut the ground from under his efforts to gain international support for what he termed “dealing with Iran”, which clearly went beyond ensuring that it did not possess nuclear weapons. Specifically, it made it impossible for him to take military action against Iran:
“The NIE didn’t just undermine diplomacy. It also tied my hands on the military side. There were many reasons I was concerned about undertaking a military strike on Iran, including its uncertain effectiveness and the serious problems it would create for Iraq’s fragile young democracy. But after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”
The NIE had a big impact, he concluded – and not a good one.
(The full text of the President’s comments on the NIE can be read at ).
Annex B: IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano
In July 2009, Yukiya Amano was elected by the IAEA Board to succeed Dr Mohamed ElBaradei as Director General of the IAEA, having been Japan’s Ambassador to the IAEA from 2005.
Wikileaks cables from the US mission to the IAEA to the US State Department demonstrate the closeness of his relationship with the US. He has been elected by the narrowest of margins over the South African Ambassador to the IAEA, Abdul Minty, thanks largely to US support.
At a meeting on 16 September 2009 with the US NPT Special Representative Susan Burk, he acknowledged his debt to the US in this regard, saying to her “if you are determined, the US can do anything!” (see cable dated 16 October 2009 ).
The US looked forward with enthusiasm to Amano replacing ElBaradei. In a cable dated 10 July 2009 , the American Chargé d’Affaires, Geoffrey Pyatt, wrote:
“The IAEA transition that will come as DG [Director General] ElBaradei’s term ends November 30 provides a once-a-decade opportunity to overcome bureaucratic inertia, modernize Agency operations, and position the new director general for strong leadership from the DG’s office.”
In the October cable cited above, he was described as “DG of all states, but in agreement with us”. According to the same cable:
“Amano reminded [the] ambassador on several occasions that he would need to make concessions to the G-77 [the developing countries group], which correctly required him to be fair-minded and independent, but that he was solidly in the US court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.”
The October cable ended by saying that “his willingness to speak candidly with US interlocutors on his strategy and various balancing acts bodes well for our future relationship”. The US had good reason to be satisfied with the new Director General.
Dr David Morrison