The International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday that it had suspended 22 of its 55 technical aid programs with Iran, giving Washington a modest victory in its efforts to isolate Tehran internationally in the hope of curbing its nuclear ambitions. The agency, in a report to its board, said it had also suspended a number of lesser activities, including three fellowships, participation in a training course and procurement of 15 pieces of equipment. Washington objected to the programs and projects as aiding Tehran’s nuclear efforts, which like many around the world could have military as well as civilian uses.
Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the agency, based in Vienna, denounced the suspensions as “a very dangerous game” that would have no impact on its disputed nuclear program. Rather, he said in an interview, they will undermine the atomic energy agency’s authority and many countries’ desire to join it. “This is a negative message to developing countries,” Mr. Soltanieh said. “It will put in jeopardy their incentive to become members” of the agency and the treaty that seeks to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.
The United States lobbied hard to have the nuclear agency cut roughly in half its 55 programs of technical aid to Iran, but it faced stiff opposition. Developing countries feared that the cuts would set a bad precedent that could threaten their own aid. An American official said Washington’s position on the disputed projects was similar to that of Britain, France and Germany.
On Friday, Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency’s director, issued a report to its 35-nation board detailing the suspensions called for by the Security Council. It said Iran participated in 55 projects, including 15 individual and 40 regional and interregional endeavors. It further said the agency’s secretariat had determined that cooperation should continue for 33 projects but end for 22 others, including ones meant to aid Iran’s development of nuclear power, its radiation processing of metals and plastics and its improvement of atomic management and strategic planning.
Mr. Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the agency, said the suspensions would be likely to have large political repercussions and strengthen the hand of those Iranians who wanted to cut off all cooperation with the atomic agency. “This will give ammunition to those who are putting pressure on the government,” he said. “This whole thing is making a more poisonous environment.”
Ein sehr zweischneidiges Schwert, die Projekte auf Eis zu legen. Sicherlich ist es eine symbolische Botschaft an den Iran, seine Ambitionen zu überdenken, andererseits verliert die IAEO dadurch an Kontrolle über Irans nukleare Bestrebungen.