IAEA Visit To Iran Critical for War Avoidance
February 21, 2012 • 9:56AM

A senior U.S. intelligence source Monday described the visit by IAEA inspectors to Iran this week as vital to the war-avoidance efforts and to the prospects for an early resumption of the P5+1 talks. According to the source, the IAEA inspectors are bringing a very specific series of questions about Iran's ballistic missile modernization and the previous work allegedly conducted on weaponization. The inspectors are expected to ask to visit several sites. The source expected that Iran would give permission for inspectors to visit the sites, but not on this mission, leaving ambiguous how the IAEA inspectors report will characterize Iran's behavior. The source emphasized that both Russia and China have been deeply involved in pressuring the Iranians to be fully transparent with the IAEA inspectors, and to get the P5+1 talks underway as soon as possible. The intense factional fighting underway inside Iran have made this more difficult, the source emphasized. However, Iran has made clear through various diplomatic channels that they are anxious to resume the talks and reach a political settlement.

The IAEA is due to issue a report on the two recent inspections on March 5, and, according to the source, they do not wish to give any further ammunition to the war faction, beyond what was done in the report issued last November. March 5 is also when the AIPAC convention is scheduled in Washington, D.C. and when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will be in town to address the convention and meet at the White House with President Obama.

The source noted that, coming out of the AIPAC meeting, a massive propaganda pressure campaign will be launched against Obama, to make sure that he falls in line with London and Tel Aviv—or face a heavy-handed effort to defeat him in the November elections.