The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is set to meet Monday to discuss Iran's nuclear weapons situation. Tehran insists that it is not interested in using its nuclear technology towards the building of nuclear weapons. The US insist that Tehran must have nuclear weapons in mind, since its has at least two "hidden" nuclear facilities. Even France agrees upon the fact that Tehran is "close" to having the material and expertise to build a nuclear bomb. The UK has warned Iran to open itself up to more stringent inspections.
Tehran has expressed the opinion that the US is pressuring the IAEA into harassing Tehran in regards to its "peaceful" nuclear program. To wit, the Tehran Times reports:
"The board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are going to start formal discussions about the Iranian nuclear programs today.
The UN nuclear watchdog is facing a big test and must prove its independence from the United States, which has been pressuring the IAEA.
Of course, all indications suggest that Iran has been transparent in its nuclear activities regardless of all the uproar by Washington that Iran has breached ITS nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) commitments."
Further, Tehran states that if the IAEA presses too hard, then "nuclear tensions could be aggravated", whatever that means.
Iran's chief delegate to the U.N. atomic agency warned the United States and other nations ahead of a Monday meeting that nuclear tensions could be aggravated if they put too much pressure on Tehran to open its programs to inspectors.
Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran still was open to negotiating the inspection issue with the International Atomic Energy Agency, but indicated the offer could be withdrawn if IAEA board meeting ''disrupted the whole process.''
The meeting likely will urge Iran to make its nuclear program accessible by agreeing to a protocol allowing tougher IAEA inspections without notice. Under strong international pressure, Iran last month offered to negotiate the IAEA protocol.
Monday's meeting also will ask Tehran to explain agency findings that the Americans and others say point to the existence of a covert nuclear weapons program.
''We are sitting on a very thin edge,'' Salehi said. ''It could tilt one way or the other very easily.''
The United States accuses Iran of working on a secret nuclear weapons program, and a recent confidential IAEA report, obtained by The Associated Press, said traces of highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium were found at an Iranian nuclear facility.
The report also said Iran was conducting tests that experts say make little sense unless the country was pursuing nuclear weapons.
Tehran insists its nuclear programs are for generating electricity and says its equipment was ''contaminated'' with enriched uranium by a previous owner.
Facts are fact. Even the less than objective IAEA realizes that the numbers aren't adding up regarding Iran's nuclear program. Even the fact that Iran is pursuing a "peaceful" nuclear program is suspect. Iran is home to a large percent of the world's known energy reserves.
It has been reported that both the US and Israel have independent plans to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The US seems best suited for this mission, since it is extremely doubtful that Iranian radar could pick up our F-117 stealth fighters. However, Israel has a track record for these things, having bombed Iraq's nuclear facility before it could produce a nuclear weapon.
The Washington Times had this report Monday:
An underground Iranian uranium-enrichment facility holds about 1,000 gas centrifuges and can accommodate more than 1,000 people, says a 10-page report to be delivered in Vienna, Austria, today by Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency.
In his report, a copy of which has been obtained by the Sunday Telegraph, Mr. ElBaradei also lists several other serious concerns raised by U.N. weapons inspectors about the scope of Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran continues to insist is aimed at developing a nuclear power industry.
Inspectors are particularly concerned about the activity at the Natanz facility, which has sophisticated equipment for enriching uranium to weapons-grade standard. Even though the complex was built five years ago, the Iranian authorities confirmed its existence to the IAEA earlier this year only after Iranian exiles revealed its location.
U.N. inspectors who visited the site — due to be operational in 2005 — discovered an underground complex capable of holding more than 1,000 personnel. Two large halls designed to carry out uranium enrichment are sunk 25 feet underground with an 8-foot-thick concrete shell to protect them from air strikes.
Inside the complex, U.N. officials found 1,000 gas centrifuges, used for enriching uranium, and components for the manufacture of up to 50,000 more centrifuges.
Mr. ElBaradei's 10-page report also says the Iranians have been forced to acknowledge — despite earlier denials — that they have used nuclear materials for research and have manufactured uranium metal, another key element for producing an atom bomb.
The report also details the inspectors' concerns about the development of a heavy-water facility at Arak, another installation that the Iranians had kept secret from the IAEA officials until Iranian exiles revealed its existence.
If the sole purpose of Iran's nuclear research were to develop an alternative-fuel supply, as Tehran claims, it would have no use for a heavy-water facility. The Bushehr nuclear-power complex being built with Russian help is designed to be run by a light-water nuclear reactor.
That all sounds "peaceful" enough, right?