Jeffrey LewisTwo Can Play at This Game

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Arak Heavy Water Plant.

Paul has a wrap up of the Iranian bureaucratic machinery behind Iran’s decision to bar 38 French, British, German and Canadian nationals from serving as IAEA inspectors in Iran.

Mark Hibbs, meanwhile, reports that the IAEA Board of Governors is close to asking the IAEA secretariat to suspend or terminate selected technical cooperation (TC) projects in Iran. (For more, see “Technical Cooperation for Arak,” 21 November 2006 and “Iran Honked Off Over TC Denial,” 23 November 2006.)

First, however, the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs must report on current and past TC projects in Iran:

According to Vienna officials, [the IAEA Board of Governors] asked [the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs in November] to provide explanations for the IAEA’s support for the Arak project. During the meeting, these sources said, the IAEA agreed to suspend its support for the Arak TC project, and to provide the governors with a comprehensive report on the status of the IAEA’s TC programs in Iran.

Sources said that, thus far, the report has not been provided to the governors, and that the IAEA would inform board members this week when the report will be completed. The report, the sources said, would cover about 50 TC projects, some of them current, carried out in Iran.


Other officials said that the governors also want historical information on past TC programs in Iran in order to establish whether Iran has abused these programs to further nuclear development activities not associated with legitimate TC targets.

Hibbs implies that this report may not be very flattering for the IAEA. Oh, what I would give for a copy of that report, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more!


  1. hass (History)

    Note the unquestioned assumption that the IAEA can LEGALLY refuse technical aid to Iran’s arak reactor based on the UNSC Res. That’s not as self-evidence as you may think. Check it out.

  2. hass (History)

    Note that Iran’s technical assistance is not for building the reactor, but for maintaining its safety. What legal basis is there to deny Iran’s TC request?

    Ana Maria Cetto, the IAEA deputy director general for technical co-operation, told the committee that the IAEA secretariat believed that the project was not at odds with Resolution 1696 and that there was no legal basis for refusing Iran’s request since the IAEA’s statutes assert that ‘the Agency shall not make assistance to members subject to any political, economic, military or other conditions incompatible’ with its objectives, which are ‘to meet the needs of research on, and development and practical application of, atomic energy for peaceful purposes’.(LRB)


    “Ana-Maria Cetto, IAEA deputy director for technical cooperation, said the agency had no legal objections to the Arak request as it did not involve uranium enrichment-related or fuel-reprocessing work the Security Council ordered suspended”