Mohammed ElBaradei will leave the IAEA at the end of the year, but for some, that won’t be soon enough. France accused the chief of the UN’s nuclear-control agency of burying part of a report that provides details of nuclear-weapons work in Iran. Foreign Minister Bernard Koucher says he personally saw the removed part of the report earlier and demands to know why ElBaradei did not include it in his presentation to the UN:
Long chided for being soft on Iran, he goes into this year’s conference amid a diplomatic storm over whether he has deliberately hidden evidence of Iran’s work on a nuclear bomb.
France and Israel have led the charge against Dr ElBaradei, saying that his latest report on Iran’s nuclear programme omitted evidence that the agency had been given about an alleged covert weaponisation plan. …
France went farther, alleging the existence of an unpublished annexe that addresses the evidence that Iran may be building an atom bomb.
Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, said that France had attended a technical briefing that covered the material, so was surprised to find it missing from the report.
“In the annexes there are specifically elements which enable us to ask about the reality of an atomic bomb,” he said “There are issues of warheads, of transport.”
The published section of the report focused more on the positive, noting that Iran had slowed its production of enriched uranium and had agreed to closer monitoring of its plant.
It would surprise few to find ElBaradei cooking the books for Iran. The IAEA chief has acted as the UN’s chief apologist for inaction on both Iran and earlier with Iraq, during the Saddam Hussein era. ElBaradei succeeded Hans Blix as IAEA chief, but mainly continued the emphasis on talk over action.
In this case, though, it looks like ElBaradei may have gone a little too far in covering up for Tehran. France and Israel have seen the same intelligence as ElBaradei, something ElBaradei should have known. The sudden omission of evidence of weaponization seems rather significant, and ElBaradei apparently offered no explanation for it.
That prompts the question of what else ElBaradei has chosen to keep hidden, about Iran’s nuclear efforts and those of other nations as well. The US should call for a complete audit and investigation of the IAEA — but since we’re currently represented by Dr. Susan Rice, I’d be surprised if we even supported our allies France and Israel in getting the answer to this specific question.