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April 1, 2004
Iran Still Playing Games: IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that despite Iranian claims of full cooperation with IAEA inspectors, Iran has continued to interfere with the inspections and block the investigations into its nuclear program:

An internal report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency challenges Iran's contention that it has provided international inspectors with free access to workshops where it has manufactured parts for centrifuges. The document contradicts Iranian assurances this month that it had allowed inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, unrestricted access to the sites during inspections in January.

"The agency's visit was 'managed' by the Iranians in the sense that the inspectors were not permitted to take pictures with IAEA cameras or use their own electronic equipment," said the document, which was first reported by Reuters and obtained Wednesday by The Times.

The last time that the IAEA or the UN issued a critical report on Iranian cooperation, the mullahs responded by throwing the inspectors out of the country and accusing them of being dupes for the US. This time, the Iranians again deny that they have provided anything less than full cooperation, but have not issued any threats. The Iranians continue to insist that their nuclear program relates only to domestic energy production and that IAEA concerns about weapons proliferation are baseless.

Well, maybe. However, for a country with massive oil reserves, nuclear energy seems like an odd and expensive way to generate electricity, and the discovery of enrichment centrifuges on military bases doesn't give confidence to their peaceful intentions. I believe that the Iranians have fixed on Saddam's cheat-and-retreat strategy and will stick to it until a show of force makes the mullahs on the Supreme Guardian Council understand that either they or Syria will be the next focus in the war on terror. The choice will be left to them; Syria is already looking for ways to shed their status as a rogue state.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 1, 2004 6:07 AM

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