PRESS RELEASE – 14th March 2013
SSII, a new private institute with Dr Mazari as its CEO/DG, held a public talk today on Iran’s Nuclear Programme by Tariq Rauf, former Head of Verification and Security Policy IAEA. Dr Maleeha Lodhi chaired the meeting.
Rauf separated the political from the technical issues because the former he said were based more on intent while the IAEA could not decipher intent and based its findings on technical verifications. He explained the technical aspects of the Iranian nuclear programme which commenced at the time of the Shah and explained why verification issues arose with the IAEA. On the technical side he did convey that a number of these issues had been resolved. The talk was particularly useful because Rauf explained the concept and process of IAEA verifications and State Evaluation Process – premised on the flow of information from a variety of sources as well as IAEA inspections. He also pointed out the difference between states with IAEA safeguards agreements and those with comprehensive safeguards agreements plus additional protocols. The Safeguards timeline was also explained commencing with a state becoming party to the NPT.
Rauf went on to give details of the declared nuclear facilities in Iran under safeguards where the IAEA continues to verify the non-diversion of declared materials and especially focused on Natanz and Fordow facilities, explaining how according to the IAEA the Nantanz FEP was operating as declared – less than 5% U 235 enrichment. At Fordow FEP also according to the IAEA there was no indication of presence of enriched uranium.
In conclusion, Rauf did highlight possible military dimensions, or what they could be, highlighting seven areas of concern. He then ended by asking “what next” and felt Iran should engage with the IAEA on substance, provide access to documentation, locations and individuals; provide access to Parchin and other locations; address all aspects of possible military dimensions; work out modalities for protecting sensitive information. He emphasized the point that no country had made its uranium enrichment programme as transparent as Iran.
After an intensive and interesting Q&A session, in which Dr Mazari pointed out the contradictions in the US approach to Iran and North Korea as well as the political bias of the present DG IAEA Amano, Dr Maleeha Lodhi concluded the session by pointing out that both Iran and the US had moved somewhat from their original entrenched positions. She talked about the possible outcomes through a grand political bargain between Iran and the P 5 countries. However she reiterated the consensual view that unless there was a dialogue and political rapprochement between the US and Iran, the Iranian nuclear issue could not be resolved. Through a political understanding technical issues would resolve themselves.
Hassan Hakeem, Research Associate