Thursday, December 02, 2004
The inspection charade continues
Diplomats: U.N. Lacks Right to Inspect Sites in Iran
Inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog would like to visit a secret military site in Iran that an exile group said was a nuclear weapons site, but they lack the legal authority to go there, U.N. diplomats told Reuters.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes satellite photographs show that high explosives are being tested and that procurement records show equipment has been bought that can be used for making bomb-grade uranium, citing unnamed diplomats.
But the military sites the inspectors would like to inspect -- the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran and Lavizan II in northeastern Tehran -- are legally off limits to the IAEA, which only has the right to monitor civilian nuclear programs.
"The IAEA simply has no authority to go to sites that are not declared nuclear sites," a diplomat close to the IAEA inspection process told Reuters. He said that the IAEA had not asked to inspect Lavizan II, although they would like to.
"If a country has a strategy for hiding its nuclear program, then the Additional Protocol is of little use," a U.N. diplomat said, adding that the IAEA would not have been able to prove that Libya had an atomic arms program if Muammar Gaddafi had not confessed and handed over his atom bomb designs.