Jerusalem, May 2 – The Iranian government will face tough questions in two different sets of talks this month about its rogue nuclear program.
A former top Israeli defense official, Ilan Mizrachi, warned that Iran has a history of pretending to cooperate in order to gain time to enrich more uranium for its nuclear program. The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has issued several reports and statements indicating it found evidence of Iranian work on nuclear weapons.
“What’s happened until today teaches us that the Iranians are always deceptive,” said Mizrachi, the former head of Israel’s National Security Council and Deputy Director of the Mossad. “They lied and they played for time.”
The central issue remains Iran’s refusal to comply with repeated United Nations Security Council resolutions that since 2006 have required Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and allow international inspection of its nuclear facilities. Next week Iranian officials will go to the IAEA headquarters in Vienna for two days of talks. Earlier this year, Iran refused to give IAEA inspectors access to key nuclear facilities, but continued to claim its program is for civilian use only.
Following the IAEA talks, Iran will meet with representatives of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany (P5+1) at a summit in Iraq scheduled for May 23. The U.N., European Union and other countries have imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran, trying to force the Tehran government to comply with six U.N. Security Council resolutions.
“I fear that there will be a lot of wishful thinking by the P5” that they would accept Iranian promises for compromise that in the past proved to be baseless, Mizrachi said. “This business is not ending now, it is just beginning,” he said, noting that the economic sanctions were indeed having an effect and should stay in place until Iran complied with the U.N. demands.
Iran is insisting that sanctions first be lifted, and only then will they allow inspection of a top secret facility suspected of being used to develop nuclear bombs.
Despite repeated Iranian news articles that Tehran hopes to resolve all issues, the European Union said Iran needs to be serious about addressing “the international community’s concerns on its nuclear programme.”
Referring to pressuring Iran with sanctions, the EU called “on all U.N. member states to support these efforts by fully implementing relevant Security Council resolutions.”