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September 14, 2004
IAEA Dithers

After the US finally started talking tough about Iran's nuclear research and development and the EU stiffened its own backbone this past week, the focus shifted to the International Atomic Energy Agency for completion of its investigation and inspection of Iranian nuclear efforts. The West seems to agree in principle to a deadline of October 31 for Iranian compliance with its non-proliferation responsibilities.

The IAEA, on the other hand, argues that deadlines are meaningless altogether, revealing the uselessness of the agency and its head, Mohammed ElBaradei, in combating proliferation and its connections to terrorism:

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Tuesday that he cannot guarantee his probe of Iran's suspect nuclear activities will be complete by November, the deadline sought by the United States and its European allies.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also repeated that his investigation has not definitely established whether Iran is trying to make nuclear weapons as Washington asserts.

"We haven't seen any concrete proof that there is a weapons program," he told reporters. "Can we say everything is peaceful? Obviously we are not at that stage." ... While ElBaradei said it was up to the board to decide whether to set a deadline, "we cannot just say there is a magic date."

"There is no artificial deadline where I can say, 'in November everything will be completed,'" he said.

Well, after two years, when do we get some answers? This is exactly like the Iraqi weapons "inspections", which were originally designed to ensure and document compliance, not turn international bureaucrats into a bunch of Barnaby Jones wannabes. Instead of reporting the lack of transparency and cooperation and putting the effort back into the hands of the negotiators, the agency instead argues for a perpetual inspection regime that will find nothing and do nothing.

We've had ample evidence of Iranian violations of the treaty, and all indications are that the Iranians are well on their way to constructing a nuclear weapon. Even the IAEA has said that Iran has been playing games with the inspectors; France admits that Iran has cheated the system; hell, even Iran admitted it lied to the IAEA about violations. How many more provocations will it take for ElBaradei to write his report?

ElBaradei and the reliance on bureaucracts outside the loop of any responsibility is symptomatic of the world's response to terror and nuclear blackmail. The prevailing wisdom seems to be to do just enough to be seen doing something while giving lifetime jobs to anyone who is willing to never reach a conclusion. It's the same strategy that led to the twelve-year Iraqi quagmire, and all it does is postpone the inevitable. These days, and especially in Iran, the time wasted by the West is put to good use by the fanatics.

Stalemates never hold, and only those who are willing to take action wind up gaining the edge. Iran has been the only party in this multilateral chicken dance with the willingness to act, encouraged by the West's dithering. The time for vacillation has long since passed, and if ElBaradei and the IAEA can't figure out how to set a deadline, then their usefulness is at an end.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 14, 2004 12:14 PM

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» What To Do With Iran from Diggers Realm
With Iran seeming to thumb its nose at the IAEA, both the EU and the US have recently been circulating proposals with recommendations on how to handle the situation. It is also to set a deadline for compliance by Iran.... [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2004 4:19 AM

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