Take that, France: Iran has Halted Expansion of Nuclear Facilities: IAEA

Iran has actually done some of the things that French Foriegn Minister Laurent Fabius was demanding when he derailed the agreement on confidence-building at the Geneva conference last weekend, according to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency.

IAEA head Yukiya Amano was in Tehran on Monday for discussions, which from all accounts went well.

UN inspectors this week visited the Natanz and Fordo gas centrifuge enrichment plants, as well as the Arak heavy water reactor.

They reported that there has been no expansion worth mentioning at either Natanz or Fordo. New, high-capacity centrifuges have not been installed or worked. No new work has been done at Arak.

Fabius had made last-minute demands at Geneva that work stop at Arak and that the new centrifuges be abandoned, but apparently Iran had already taken these steps as part of its own confidence-building measures.

Presumably Iran must have told Secretary of State John Kerry in confidence about these steps, but my guess is that Kerry did not share details with individual UNSC foreign ministries for fear of leaks. Fabius was therefore in the dark that his demands had already been met, at least in part, and was probably angry about not having full information from Kerry.

The diplomats will try again soon, and presumably Iran’s president Hasan Rouhani has encouraged the IAEA to make these findings public as an indirect way of assuaging France. The next time, Fabius should make some discreet inquiries before charging out in public to make allegations and reveal negotiating points.

In any case, the IAEA press release suggests that the next step toward negotiations may go more smoothly than Geneva did.

16 Responses

  1. “my guess is that Kerry did not share details with individual UNSC foreign ministries for fear of leaks…”
    There is also the possibility that he told Fabius in confidence, but Fabius decided to go ahead in order to score political points with those who want to keep Iran locked in a box. I suspect that is the real underlying motivation in some quarters, and all the talk of Nuclear fears is just an indirect means of accomplishing that goal.

    • ..”but Fabius decided to go ahead in order to score political points with those who want to keep Iran locked in a box”…

      Or to score political points with Some Certain Countries who are waving around $billion weapons orders.

      After all, how many Rafale jet fighters has Dassault managed to sell into overseas markets?

      Ans: Nowhere near enough, but I suspect that’s about to change.

  2. No worries – now that this demand has been met I’m sure a new set of goalposts will be along shortly.

    • Correct. Curtailing the sovereignty of a nation with 70-80 million citizens is a process, not an event.

      And the new nation of Aipacia (a merging of the prior nations of USA and Israel) is quite adept at the process.

      The US has honed the art with decades of practice on CUBA.
      Example: If you buy a Cuban cigar in Toronto, thinking you can legally go back to your hotel room (or anywhere else on earth) to smoke it,no, the purchase puts you in violation of “Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515″. (And we have an extradition treaty with Canada.)

  3. link to ft.com

    Iran has not pledged not bring this online. North Korea and India both used this type of reactor to create material for their bombs. Luckily, France is demanding that this plant be disabled.

    • “Luckily, France is demanding that this plant be disabled.”

      No, not in the interim agreement.

      The deal that the USA found acceptable was that the Iranians continue construction work but NOT introduce any fissile material until the final deal is done.

      The deal that France insists upon is that the Iranians cease all construction work on Arak until the final deal determines its fate.

      But France isn’t demanding that the plant be “disabled”, merely that work on it be “frozen”.

  4. I just hope the media here picks up the positive developments rather than repeating untrue obstructionist hawkish views about the nuclear program, be it from France, US, Canada, etc.

    Iran seems to be setting their priorities in order and been smart about their PR, even when they called out Kerry’s contradictory and false remarks, from what was reported, of why the negotiations stalled.

    With Rouhani’s team, I think the shift in Iran’s outlook is showing and the US, and other nations such as the UK, are receiving it pragmatically. Besides the need to undo the stifling sanctions, the main driver maybe the geo-political concerns in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, which includes the rivalries with Saudi Arabia and Israel, than just the nukes itself. The Iranian Foreign Minister made a particularly interesting statement about sectarianism being a global threat, highlighting a concern which they may have finally realized that’s greater than their US and Israel fixation and not worth the isolation, concepts which were lost with the previous Ahmadinejad admin.

  5. It seems strange to me that information like that would be so secret that even the other negotiating teams would be kept in the dark. How are France and the other countries expected to make reasonable choices if nobody tells them what is actually going on? What damage would having that ‘leaked’ really do?

    • Kerry was sharing with Ashton as head of European Union negotiating team. The press has suggested that Fabius felt upstaged.

  6. Are we happy if Iran does not increase the average rate of executions per day?

    • @ Q Relevance?

      BTW what are the daily execution statistics according to Iranian law within Iran’s sovereign territory, compared to with Israel’s daily execution statistics under the laws of occupation in territories the Israeli Government claimed were outside the State of Israel” …”in Palestine”? link to pages.citebite.com

  7. When has anything the U.N. says factored into the thinking
    of Israel and it’s allies in Congress. Moot.

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