Is IAEA Playing Second Fiddle to the Anti-Iran War Party?
February 23, 2012 • 9:56AM

A visit to Iran by UN inspectors probing Iran's suspected nuclear weapons activities failed to achieve a breakthrough to reach an agreement, IAEA reported. "Intensive efforts were made to reach agreement on a document facilitating the clarification of unresolved issues in connection with Iran's nuclear program. Unfortunately, agreement was not reached on this document," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement.

It has been also said that the team requested access, both during this visit and during a first trip in late January, to the Parchin military site, near Tehran, where it believes explosives testing was carried out, but Iran "did not grant permission."

However, the official Iranian statement is somewhat different. In an article with the Asia Times on Feb. 22, analyst Kaveh L Afrasiabi quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast saying that the IAEA team was not there to inspect nuclear facilities. "The titles of the members of the visiting delegation is not inspectors. This is an expert delegation. The purpose of visit is not inspection," Mehmanparast said. "The aim is to negotiate about co-operation between Iran and the agency and to set a framework for a continuation of the talks," Mehmanparast was quoted by the Guardian of London.

It is likely that there is an ongoing tussle between the hardliners in Iran, represented by President Ahmadinejad, and some others on this issue. For instance, Fars news agency cited Iran's deputy head of armed forces, Mohammad Hejazi, saying Iran would take pre-emptive action against its enemies if it felt its national interests were endangered. However, Hejazi was contradicted by Seyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi, Iranian Ambassador to Russia, who said in an interview in Moscow: "We have no policy of taking action to pre-empt attacks against us," adding, "Fars isn't the official agency of the government, IRNA is," referring to the Islamic Republic News Agency.