UN Atomic Agency Mustn’t Let Itself Be Used Over Iran, Blix Says
United Nations nuclear inspectors probing Iran must resist being used by special interests intent on spinning facts to fit their theories about what is happening inside the Persian Gulf nation, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Hans Blix said.
“The agency is there to be completely impartial and fact-finding,” Blix said today in an interview in Geneva. “There is always an interest in various quarters that the facts should be such that it supports their tenets.”
The IAEA’s 35-member board of governors is meeting this week in Vienna amid Israeli threats of military strikes against Iran’s nuclear program. Blix led the IAEA for 16 years until
1997 and was in charge of the UN’s Iraq nuclear-monitoring and verification group from 2000 to 2003.
He sees similarities between Iran’s nuclear file and Iraq’s preceding the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. While the U.S. staged the attack to eliminate Saddam Hussein’s nuclear-weapons program, subsequent investigations inside Iraq confirmed IAEA reports that the program had been dismantled before the invasion.
“We had the same situation when I was head of the Iraqi operations in 2002, that some states had an interest that we should make such and such findings,” Blix said. “There will be pressure on the IAEA. They should not allow themselves to be used as someone putting a stamp of approval on evidence that is not certain.”
The IAEA reported in November that it received intelligence it called “credible” showing Iran worked on designing and calibrating components needed to trigger a nuclear explosion.
The agency has declined to specify where it received the information.
“The IAEA says it sees some reality in the evidence that is submitted to them,” Blix said. “They have said they can no longer guarantee that there are no hidden installations in Iran.
This I would be skeptical about. The point is that the IAEA can never say that about anybody. You cannot prove the negative.
Singling out that we cannot say this about Iran is a little misleading.”
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said on Aug. 30 that while inspectors hadn’t detected any diversion of declared atomic material in Iran, the agency “is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.”