by Dr David
“The United States,
European allies and even Israel
generally agree on three things about Iran's
nuclear program: Tehran
does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away
from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.” (Reuters Special Report, 23 March
- Iran has no nuclear weapons
- Iran has no nuclear weapons programme
- The Supreme Leader
of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said that the possession of nuclear
weapons is a “grave sin”
- The November 2011
report of the IAEA did not claim that Iran has a nuclear weapons
- Iran is not in breach of any obligations under the
- Uranium enrichment
“inalienable right” under the NPT
- The US and its allies are trying to deny Iran its
right to uranium enrichment under the NPT
- Iran’s nuclear facilities are open to IAEA
- A double standard is being applied with regard to
nuclear weapons in the Middle East:-
which has none, is the object of ferocious economic sanctions and threats of
(2) Israel, which has many (perhaps as many as
400) and the ability to
deliver them to any capital in the Middle East,
is the object of over $3 billion a year of military aid.
- The US,
Israel and others, who
are threatening military action against Iran, are in breach of Article
2.4 of the UN Charter, which requires
that all UN member states “shall refrain in their international relations
from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or
political independence of any state”.
hasn’t got a nuclear weapons programme
It is the consensus view of the 16 US intelligence services that Iran hasn’t got
a nuclear weapons programme, let alone a nuclear weapon .
That has been their consistent view since
November 2007, when they first published it in the National Intelligence
Estimate [NIE], Iran: Nuclear Intentions
and Capabilities .
The publication of the NIE caused President
George Bush to abandon any thought of taking military action against Iran’s nuclear
facilities. As he wrote in his memoir, Decision Points:
“But after the NIE, how
could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities
of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons
program?” (see Annex A)
Commenting on the NIE, Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, who
was the IAEA Director General at the time, noted that “the Estimate tallies
with the Agency’s consistent statements over the last few years that, although
Iran still needs to clarify some important aspects of its past and present
nuclear activities, the Agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear
weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran.” 
This view that Iran
hasn’t got a nuclear weapons programme has been reiterated every year since 2007
in reports to the US Congress by the US Director of National
On 16 February this year, for example, giving
evidence to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the present Director, James
Clapper, was asked by the Committee Chairman, Senator Carl Levin, to confirm
that in his opinion Iran has not yet decided to develop nuclear weapons. The Director replied unequivocally: “That is
the intelligence community’s assessment” .
According to the US
intelligence services, the Israeli intelligence services “largely agree” with
their assessment of Iran’s
nuclear activities. The Director said so
in later evidence to the Committee . This was confirmed by the Israeli Chief of
Staff, General Benny Gantz, in an interview with Haaretz on 25 April 2012 , who expressed the view that Iran hadn’t decided
to develop nuclear weapons and probably wouldn’t decide to do so.
A Reuters Special Report, dated 23 March 2012,
entitled Intel[ligence] shows Iran
nuclear threat not imminent , came to the following conclusions:
“The United States,
European allies and even Israel
generally agree on three things about Iran's
nuclear program: Tehran
does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away
from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.”
The Report says that
those conclusions were “drawn from extensive interviews with current and former
US and European officials with access to intelligence on Iran” and “contrast
starkly with the heated debate surrounding a possible Israeli strike on
Tehran's nuclear facilities”. Indeed,
weapons a “grave sin” says Supreme Leader of Iran
Iran has repeatedly denied
that it has any ambitions to develop nuclear weapons. What is more, Supreme Leader of Iran,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has declared the possession of such weapons a “grave
sin”. He did so in a speech to nuclear
scientists on 22 February 2012, saying:
“The Iranian nation has
never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in
the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons
because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically,
considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the
proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.” 
There was nothing new in this statement. In 2005, Ayatollah Khamenei issued a fatwa –
a religious edict – saying that “the production, stockpiling, and use of
nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran
shall never acquire these weapons”  and he has repeated this message many
times since then .
Iran is not in breach of
its obligations under the NPT
Iran is not in breach of its
obligations as a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
Weapons (NPT) .
As a “non-nuclear-weapon” state party to the
NPT, Iran is obliged under Article II of the treaty “not to manufacture or
otherwise acquire nuclear weapons” – which it hasn’t done – and, under Article
III, to subject its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection to ensure that
nuclear material is not diverted for the production of weapons – which it has
As regards the latter, Iran has declared to the
IAEA 15 nuclear facilities, including its uranium enrichment plants at Natanz
and Fordow, and 9 other locations (LOFs) where nuclear material is customarily
used. All these sites are being
monitored by the IAEA. In his latest report
to the IAEA Board on 24 February 2012 , the IAEA Director General confirmed
for the umpteenth time that there was no diversion of nuclear material from
“… the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared
nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran
under its Safeguards Agreement …” (Paragraph 50)
Uranium enrichment is Iran’s
“inalienable right” as a party to the NPT
It must be emphasised that Iran is not
breaching the NPT by enriching uranium. On
the contrary, uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes is “the inalienable
right” of all parties to the NPT, Article IV(1) of which states:
“Nothing in this Treaty
shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to
the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and
II of this Treaty.” 
Brazil, Germany, Japan, Netherlands and South Korea, which like Iran are
“non-nuclear-weapon” state parties to the NPT, have uranium enrichment
facilities (as have the 5 “nuclear-weapon”
state parties to the NPT: China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) .
Iran is not in breach of the
NPT by engaging in uranium enrichment, so long as this activity is under IAEA
supervision to ensure that no nuclear material is diverted for military
purposes. That is the case at Iran’s uranium enrichment plants at Natanz and
Fordow – and the IAEA has verifed that no material is being diverted and that
each facility is operating as declared by Iran in the relevant design
In order to produce fissile material for a
nuclear weapon, uranium has to be enriched to over 90% U235. At the moment, enrichment has not gone beyond
the 20% figure, which is required to fuel a research reactor in Tehran (supplied to Iran
by the US
in the late 60s). This has been verified
by the IAEA, which in each of its reports on Iran’s nuclear activity gives an
inventory of the amounts of uranium enriched to 5% and 20% at each facility
(see, for example, paragraphs 10 to 27 of its latest report ).
If Iran were to proceed to enrich uranium to a
level above 20%, that is, towards the 90% level required to produce fissile
material for a nuclear weapon, this would be immediately apparent to the IAEA.
November 2011 IAEA report
But surely the IAEA report of 8 November 2011 on
Iran’s nuclear activities  presented evidence that Iran has an
active nuclear weapons programme? The
answer is an unequivocal NO.
Like all other IAEA reports on Iran, the
November 2011 report gives detailed information on the activities at its
nuclear facilities. For example, it
records the amounts of uranium enriched to 5% and 20% at each facility and
confirms that enrichment hadn’t taken place to a higher level and that no nuclear
material is unaccounted for. This is
factual information, based on actual observations by IAEA inspectors on the
ground in Iran.
Famously, the November 2011 report contains a
16-page annex entitled Possible Military
Dimensions to Iran’s Nuclear Programme.
The “information” contained in this annex is of a very different
character. None of it was acquired by
IAEA inspectors as a result of direct observations in Iran. It consists of allegations – the words
“alleged”, “allegedly” and “allegation” occur 28 times in total – supplied to
the IAEA by third parties, including the US and Israel, most of them referring
to possible activities by Iran before 2003.
Most of these allegations have been available to
the IAEA since 2005 and were already in the public domain. Despite being pressed by the US and its
allies to publish them, the previous IAEA Director General, Dr Mohammed
ElBaradei, refused do so, because they were unsubstantiated allegations that
couldn’t be verified by the IAEA.
Dr ElBaradei retired on 30 November 2009. His successor is Yukiya Amano of Japan. The US used its considerable influence to get
him elected by the IAEA Board, understandably so, since in the opinion of the
US mission to the IAEA, he is “solidly in the US court on every key strategic
decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran's
alleged nuclear weapons program” (see Wikileaks cable dated 16 October 2009  and Annex B below).
It is hardly surprising that, unlike his
predecessor, Director General Amano acceded to US demands that the allegations
supplied by the US and other third parties be published under the name of the
IAEA and thereby be given credibility.
The annex of the November 2011 IAEA report
contained little or nothing new – and did not present evidence that Iran has an
active nuclear weapons programme. To
confirm this, here are the views of a number of experts on the matter:
Cirincione, who serves on Hillary Clinton’s International Security Advisory
Board, (and is the president of the disarmament group, the Ploughshare Fund):
“I was briefed on most
of this stuff several years ago at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. There’s little new in the report.
Most of this information is well known to experts who follow the issue.” (quoted by Seymour Hersh in Iran and the IAEA, The New Yorker, 18 November 2011 ).
Paul Pillar, who retired from the CIA in 2005 after 28 years service, his
last post being National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia:
“Despite references in
the surge of report commentary about new evidence on this or that aspect of the
subject, the report told us nothing of importance to policy on Iran that was
not already well known.” (The IAEA’s
Yawner, The National Interest, 10 November 2011, ).
who was the UK’s
ambassador to the IAEA from 2001 to 2006:
“The IAEA says that
prior to 2003 Iran
researched some of the know-how needed for a weapon, and that further research
may have taken place in the years since. The IAEA has not reported evidence of
attempts to produce nuclear weapons, or of a decision to do so.” (The deal the West could strike with Iran, Daily
Telegraph, 23 January 2012, )
Hans Blix, former head of the
“The IAEA did not …
conclude that Iran
was making a weapon or had taken a decision to make one.” (The road to hell, The New
Statesman, 22 February 2012, ).
The US and its allies want to deny Iran its right
to uranium enrichment
So, what’s the problem with Iran’s nuclear
activities? Why are the US and its allies imposing ferocious economic
sanctions on Iran
and are contemplating a military assault on its nuclear facilities?
These days, the message from the US and its allies is that Iran is failing
to meet unspecified international obligations.
Speaking alongside President Obama at the White House on 15 March 2012,
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, put it this way:
“We also discussed the
continuing threat posed by Iran’s
failure to meet its international obligations. On this, we are fully
united. We are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear
weapon. We believe there is still time and space to pursue a diplomatic
solution and we are going to keep coordinating closely with our P5+1
partners. At the same time, we are going to keep up the pressure with the
sanctions to date and the European Union preparing to impose an embargo on
Iranian oil. Tehran
must understand that it cannot escape or evade the choice before it: meet your
international obligations or face the consequences.” 
But, if the US
intelligence services are to be believed, Iran hasn’t got a nuclear weapon,
or even a programme to develop nuclear weapons.
And its nuclear facilities are being monitored by the IAEA as required
by the NPT. So, how can there be a
“continuing threat posed by Iran’s
failure to meet its international obligations”?
What are the “international obligations” which Iran’s failure
to meet warrants ferocious economic sanctions and possible military attack?
These days, the US and it allies rarely specify
the “international obligations” that Iran is evading, understandably so,
because they are obligations that no other state in this world is being asked
First and foremost, as we will see below, Iran is being asked
to cease uranium enrichment on its own soil and cease it permanently. This is a transparent attempt to deny Iran its
“inalienable right” under Article IV(1) of the NPT “to develop research,
production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without
discrimination”. It demands that Iran accept
permanent treatment as a second-class party to the NPT, with fewer rights than
all other parties.
That is why, despite having to endure economic
sanctions of increasing severity and being threatened with military attack, Iran continues to refuse to meet what the US and its
allies term “international obligations”.
The EU states required Iran to cease
A little bit of history. In October 2003, the Foreign Ministers of the
UK, France and Germany
visited Tehran and initiated discussions with Iran on a broad
range of issues, including its nuclear programme. In a statement issued with Iran at the
time, the three EU states said:
recognise the right of Iran
to enjoy peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the NPT.” 
This was a clear statement that these EU states
accepted that Iran
had a right to uranium enrichment on its own soil like other parties to the
NPT. This clear statement was repeated
in the later Paris Agreement signed by Iran and the
three EU states (aka E3/EU) on 15 November 2004 , which said:
“The E3/EU recognise Iran's
rights under the NPT exercised in conformity with its obligations under the
Treaty, without discrimination.”
The Paris Agreement set the scene for
negotiations between the E3/EU and Iran, which were supposed to lead
to a long term comprehensive agreement.
In the Paris Agreement, Iran agreed “on
a voluntary basis” to suspend “all enrichment related and reprocessing
activities”. In turn, the E3/EU
recognized that “this suspension is a voluntary confidence building measure and
not a legal obligation”.
The final agreement was supposed to “provide
objective guarantees that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful
purposes”, that is, arrangements over and above the requirements of the NPT for
monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities in order to give confidence to the outside
world that they are not for military purposes.
France and Germany published
proposals for a final agreement on 5 August 2005 .
These demanded that Iran
make “a binding commitment not to pursue fuel cycle activities other than the
construction and operation of light water power and research reactors”, in
other words, all enrichment and related activities on Iranian soil had to cease
for good. Iran was required to make permanent
its voluntary suspension of these activities.
France and Germany had negotiated in bad faith and broken
their commitment at the outset to “recognise the right of Iran to enjoy
peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the NPT”. Iran was to be the only party to
the NPT that was forbidden to have uranium enrichment on its own soil.
The EU states made no attempt to devise “objective
guarantees that Iran's
nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes”, as required by the
Paris Agreement. In the course of the
made a number of proposals in this regard ,
conversion of all enriched uranium to fuel rods to preclude the
possibility of further enrichment
on-site presence of IAEA inspectors at the conversion and enrichment
facilities to provide unprecedented added guarantees.
Iran also suggested that the
IAEA be asked to devise appropriate “objective guarantees”. All of these suggestions were ignored by the
In a speech at the UN on 17 September 2005,
President Ahmadinejad made a further proposal:
“As a further confidence
building measure and in order to provide the greatest degree of transparency,
the Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to engage in serious partnership with
private and public sectors of other countries in the implementation of uranium
enrichment program in Iran.
This represents the most far reaching step, outside all requirements of the
NPT, being proposed by Iran
as a further confidence building measure.” 
This offer by Iran to have its enrichment
programme managed by an international consortium was also ignored. US Under Secretary of State, Nicholas Burns, went
so far as to describe Ahmadinejad’s speech as “excessively harsh and
The EU states (and the US) were not interested in “objective guarantees
nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes”. Their goal was to halt permanently the core
elements of the programme – uranium enrichment and related activities.
Jenkins says the “objective
was to put a stop to all enrichment in Iran”
That this was the goal of the US and its allies in 2005 was confirmed recently
by Peter Jenkins, who was the UK
Ambassador to the IAEA from 2001 and 2006 and was involved in these
negotiations. Looking back, he regrets
offer of additional safeguards was not taken up. Writing in the Daily Telegraph on 23 January
2012, he said:
“My hunch is that this
gathering crisis could be avoided by a deal along the following lines: Iran would
accept top-notch IAEA safeguards in return for being allowed to continue
enriching uranium. In addition, Iran
would volunteer some confidence-building measures to show that it has no
intention of making nuclear weapons.
“This, essentially, is
the deal that Iran offered
the UK, France and Germany in 2005. With hindsight,
that offer should have been snapped up. It wasn’t, because our objective was
to put a stop to all enrichment in Iran [my emphasis]. That has remained
the West’s aim ever since, despite countless Iranian reminders that they are
unwilling to be treated as a second-class party to the NPT – with fewer rights
than other signatories – and despite all the evidence that the Iranian
character is more inclined to defiance than buckling under pressure.
“But that missed
opportunity need not prove lethal if the West can pull back now and join the
rest of the world in seeing an agreement of this kind as the prudent way
This is persuasive evidence that the obstacle to
a settlement with Iran on
the nuclear issue at that time was the refusal of the US and its allies to recognise Iran’s right
under the NPT to uranium enrichment on its own soil.
There is no reason to believe that this policy
referred to the Security Council and sanctioned
rejected the August 2005 proposals from the UK,
France and Germany and
over the next six months or so resumed the various activities which it had
voluntarily suspended during the negotiations.
As a result, the US and its allies persuaded the IAEA Board to pass a
resolution on 4 February 2006  demanding, inter alia, that Iran “re-establish
full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing
activities, including research and development” and referring the matter to the
Subsequently, the Security Council passed a series
of resolutions demanding that Iran
cease uranium enrichment, amongst other things.
Four of these resolutions included tranches of economic sanctions
These UN-approved sanctions were relatively
mild. However, in December 2011,
legislation was passed by the US Congress at the behest of the Israeli lobby
(and accepted by President Obama, who dare not offend the Israeli lobby), which
may do significant damage to the Iranian economy.
The legislation requires the Obama
administration to bully other states around the world to stop trading with
Iran, specifically, to stop buying Iranian oil, by threatening to cut off foreign
financial institutions from the US financial system, if they conduct
transactions with the Central Bank of Iran or other Iranian financial
institutions. (Whatever happened to the US commitment
to free trade?) Its own trade with Iran will be
unaffected since it has been negligible since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The EU has meekly followed the US lead, even though this may be economically
painful for some EU states (eg Greece
and Italy) who get a
significant amount of their oil requirements from Iran.
On 20 March 2012, the US
graciously conceded that the financial institutions in 11 states would, for the
next 180 days at least, be exempt from US sanctions, because they had obeyed Washington’s edict. In a
statement, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said:
“I am pleased to
announce that an initial group of eleven countries has significantly reduced
their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran
– Belgium, the Czech Republic, France,
Germany, Greece, Italy,
Japan, the Netherlands, Poland,
Spain, and the United Kingdom.
As a result, I will report to the Congress that sanctions pursuant to Section
1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA) will not apply
to the financial institutions based in these countries, for a renewable period
of 180 days.” 
The degree to which this US bullying
will succeed remains to be seen. For
instance, will China reduce
its substantial oil purchases from Iran? And, if it refuses to do so, will the US cut off
Chinese financial institutions from the US financial system – which has the
potential for disrupting trade between the US and China?
applying a double standard
a strange world we live in? The US and its allies, which claim they want to see
the Middle East free from nuclear weapons, are applying ferocious economic
sanctions, and threatening military action, against Iran, which hasn’t got a single
nuclear weapon – and its nuclear facilities are open to IAEA inspection.
they are utterly opposed to applying any sanctions to Israel, despite its
possession of perhaps as many as 400 nuclear warheads with the ability to deliver
them by aircraft, ballistic missile and submarine-launched cruise missiles and wipe any capital in the Middle East (and probably much further
afield) off the map – and its nuclear facilities are almost entirely closed to
from sanctioning Israel, the
gives it over US$3 billion a year in military aid and, despite an enormous
budget deficit, the amount has increased every year under the Obama
administration, as the President was at pains to emphasise in his speech to
AIPAC on 4 March 2012 .
More US tax dollars
go to Israel
than to any other state in this world.
One could be forgiven for thinking that a double
standard is being applied to Iran
in this regard.
and its allies frequently say that, if Iran
acquires nuclear weapons, this would inevitably lead to widespread proliferation
of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. That, they say, is one of the reasons why Iran must not
be allowed to acquire them.
What is rarely mentioned is that, because of Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, Iran and other states in the region would at
this moment be within their rights to withdraw from the NPT and develop nuclear
weapons as Israel,
which never joined the NPT, has done, without breaching any international
IX of the NPT says:
“Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the
right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events,
related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme
interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other
Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months
in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events
it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.” 
any objective standard, Iran
and other states in the region have good grounds for withdrawal, because, since
they signed the NPT, Israel
has acquired a large nuclear arsenal, which is sure to be targeted on
them. There could hardly be a better example of “extraordinary events,
related to the subject matter of this Treaty”, which “have jeopardized [their]
might not be wise for Iran or other states in the region to withdraw from the
NPT at the present time but there is no doubt that such an action would be
within Article IX of the NPT.
is usually mentioned as being certain to acquire nuclear weapons, if Iran does
so. In this context, it is worth drawing
attention to remarks by Jack Straw, the former British Foreign Minister, in the
House of Commons on 20 February 2012 .
He questioned whether there would be a race for nuclear capability in
the region and quoted a senior Saudi diplomat who told him: “I know what we’re
saying publicly, but do you really think that having told people that there is
no need for us to make any direct response to Israel holding nuclear weapons,
we could seriously make a case for developing a nuclear weapons capability to
deal with another Muslim country?”)
On breaching “international
The US and its allies are forever
lecturing other states about living up to their “international obligations”.
The UN Charter contains a set of international obligations,
which all UN members are supposed to fulfil.
The most fundamental of all is in Article 2.4, which requires that all
UN member states “shall refrain in their international relations from the
threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political
independence of any state” .
By threatening military action against Iran, the US
and Israel and other states
(including the UK)
are in flagrant and continuous breach of Article 2.4.
should be expelled from the UN under Article 6 of the Charter, which provides
for the expulsion of a member which “has persistently violated the Principles
contained in the present Charter”.
That’s not going to happen, of course, since the US is a
veto-wielding member of the Security Council (which must recommend any expulsion)
and the other is its close ally.
That’s the way the UN system works, or rather
Annex A: George Bush was “angry” at NIE finding
In the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,
produced in November 2007, the 16 US
intelligence services expressed the consensus view that Iran hadn’t got
an active nuclear weapons programme at that time.
The reaction of President George Bush to this
good news is instructive – it made him “angry”.
We know this because he says so in his memoir, Decision Points.
One might have thought that the President would
have welcomed intelligence that Iran
wasn’t developing nuclear weapons. After
all, preventing Iran
acquiring nuclear weapons was supposed to be a major objective of his foreign
But instead he was “angry” – because it cut the
ground from under his efforts to gain international support for what he termed
“dealing with Iran”,
which clearly went beyond ensuring that it did not possess nuclear
weapons. Specifically, it made it
impossible for him to take military action against Iran:
“The NIE didn’t just
undermine diplomacy. It also tied my
hands on the military side. There were many reasons I was concerned about
undertaking a military strike on Iran,
including its uncertain effectiveness and the serious problems it would create
fragile young democracy. But after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using
the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence
community said had no active nuclear weapons program?
The NIE had a big impact, he concluded – and not
a good one.
(The full text of the President’s comments on
the NIE can be read at ).
Annex B: IAEA
Director General, Yukiya Amano
In July 2009, Yukiya
Amano was elected by the IAEA Board to succeed Dr Mohamed ElBaradei as Director
General of the IAEA, having been Japan’s Ambassador to the IAEA from
Wikileaks cables from
the US mission to the IAEA to
the US State Department demonstrate the closeness of his relationship with the US. He has been elected by the narrowest of
margins over the South African Ambassador to the IAEA, Abdul Minty, thanks largely to US support.
At a meeting on 16 September 2009 with the US NPT Special Representative
Susan Burk, he acknowledged his debt to the US
in this regard, saying to her "if you are determined, the US can do anything!” (see cable dated
16 October 2009 ).
The US looked
forward with enthusiasm to Amano replacing ElBaradei. In a cable dated 10 July 2009 , the American Chargé d’Affaires,
Geoffrey Pyatt, wrote:
“The IAEA transition that will come as DG
[Director General] ElBaradei's term ends November 30 provides a once-a-decade
opportunity to overcome bureaucratic inertia, modernize Agency operations, and
position the new director general for strong leadership from the DG's office.”
In the October cable
cited above, he was described as “DG of all states, but in agreement with
us". According to the same cable:
“Amano reminded [the] ambassador on several
occasions that he would need to make concessions to the G-77 [the developing
countries group], which correctly required him to be fair-minded and
independent, but that he was solidly in the US court on every key strategic
decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran's
alleged nuclear weapons program.”
The October cable ended by saying that “his willingness to speak candidly with
US interlocutors on his strategy and various balancing acts bodes well for our
future relationship”. The US had
good reason to be satisfied with the new Director General.
 c-spanvideo.org/program/ThreatstoUSN (39 minutes
 c-spanvideo.org/program/ThreatstoUSN (96 minutes