Does Buhari Have A Plan To Improve Nigerian Economy?
- No (70%, 1,107 Votes)
- Yes (30%, 465 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,572
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz says international community “turning a blind eye” to Iranian misconduct • Meanwhile, new report says Iran violated a Security Council resolution in October by test-firing a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
An Iranian Emad rocket is launched as it is tested at an undisclosed location October 11, 2015
Photo credit: Reuters
Israel on Wednesday responded with consternation over the International Atomic Energy Agency’s decision to close its 12-year investigation into whether Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program. The decision seemingly runs counter to a report produced by the IAEA earlier this month, which strongly suggested Iran engaged in coordinated activities aimed at developing a nuclear bomb up until 2003, though it found no credible sign of weapons-related work beyond 2009.
“Once again, the report clearly indicates that Iran made a coordinated effort to develop a nuclear weapon, including efforts beyond 2003” the Foreign Ministry said.
National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz remarked Tuesday that “the IAEA’s decision runs contrary to IAEA Director Yukiya Amano’s report that concluded that not only was Iran involved in researching and developing nuclear weapons until 2003, it continued some of its activity to develop a bomb until 2009.”
According to Steinitz: “The IAEA director made another claim, no less disconcerting, that Iran has been working up until recently to conceal its illegal nuclear activity in order to disrupt the IAEA’s investigation. It appears, therefore, that the decision made [on Tuesday] is politically motivated and off point, and it sends a bad message to the Iranians that the international community is willing to turn a blind eye to their conduct in order to speedily advance the agreement and the removal of sanctions.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the decision to close the investigation. In a written statement released in Moscow, where he is holding talks with top Russian officials on the Syrian civil war, Kerry said: “Closing the [Possible Military Dimensions] agenda item will in no way preclude the IAEA from investigating if there is reason to believe Iran is pursuing any covert nuclear activities in the future, as it had in the past.”
He added that the July 14 nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, improved the IAEA’s ability to monitor Iran.
The IAEA’s decision, meanwhile, appeared doubly outrageous after a team of sanctions monitors on Tuesday said Iran violated a U.N. Security Council resolution in October by test-firing a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
According to a confidential report by the Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Iran, first reported by Reuters, the launch showed the rocket met its requirements for considering that a missile could deliver a nuclear weapon.
“On the basis of its analysis and findings, the panel concludes that the Emad launch is a violation by Iran of paragraph 9 of Security Council resolution 1929,” the panel said.
Diplomats have said the rocket test on Oct. 10 was not technically a violation of the July nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, but the U.N. report could put U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration in an awkward position.
Iran has said any new sanctions would jeopardize the nuclear deal but if Washington fails to call for sanctions over the Emad launch, it would likely be perceived as weakness.
Diplomats said it was possible for the U.N. sanctions committee to blacklist additional Iranian individuals or entities, something Washington and European countries are likely to ask for. But they said Russia and China, which dislike the sanctions on Iran’s missile program, might block any such moves.
The panel’s report was dated last Friday and went to members of the Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee in recent days. The report came up on Tuesday when the 15-nation council discussed the Iran sanctions regime.
It said the panel considered ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons to be those that can deliver at least a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) payload within a range of at least 300 kilometers (190 miles).
“The panel assesses that the launch of the Emad has a range of not less than 1,000 km with a payload of at least 1,000 kg and that Emad was also a launch ‘using ballistic missile technology,'” the report said.
Iran’s U.N. mission did not respond to a request for comment. In October, Tehran disputed the Western assessment that the missile was capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
The panel noted that Iranian rocket launches from 2012 and 2013 also violated the U.N. ban on ballistic missile tests.
The chair of the Iran sanctions committee, Spanish Ambassador Roman Oyarzun, told the council the Panel of Experts had concluded the attempt by Iran to procure titanium alloy bars earlier this year also violated U.N. nuclear sanctions.
Republicans in Congress who disapprove of the Iran nuclear deal were seizing on the U.N. panel’s findings as grounds for additional congressional sanctions. Even some Democrats supported unilateral U.S. action on the missile violations.
Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a member of the foreign relations panel who backed the Iran nuclear deal, said it was up to the Security Council to act, but if it did not, the United States should, including by imposing direct sanctions on Iranians responsible for the missile tests.
While ballistic missile tests may violate U.N. Security Council sanctions, council diplomats note that such launches are not a violation of the nuclear deal, which is focused on specific nuclear activities by Iran.
Iran, which has always rejected sanctions against it as illegal and unjustified, has repeatedly made clear it has no intention of complying with the restrictions on its missile program.