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Iran unmoved by IAEA report: ‘Won’t budge an iota’

Unsurprisingly, Iran has refused to alter anything in its nuclear program after the UN atomic watchdog alleged that it may be being used to develop a bomb. Iran’s opponents are calling for crippling sanctions against Tehran.

Tehran denied all the allegations even before the report was officially released, because leaks from it have been circulating since the start of the week. Iran says the report is politically motivated and based on false evidence cooked up by American intelligence services. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, a pawn of the US.On Wednesday, President Ahmadinejad reiterated Iran’s position, saying its nuclear program would not “budge an iota” in the wake of the report. He reiterated that his country has no need for a nuclear bomb.The IAEA said in a controversial appendix to the report that Iran may have been working on a nuclear weapon before 2003 and may be doing so now. No direct evidence of the allegations was presented.Meanwhile, France has called a UN Security Council session to discuss a new round of sanctions against Iran. Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said in an interview that Paris wants tougher sanctions that “will be able to stop its nuclear weapons program.”Washington is reportedly considering issuing further unilateral sanctions against Iran, according to the US media.The EU’s Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton said the report “greatly increases” the concern of the international community over the Iranian nuclear program.The position was mirrored by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who said a new round of sanctions may be introduced by the EU in the wake of the report. Germany favors increased diplomatic and economic pressure, he said in a statement from Berlin.Moscow has announced it will not support tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, Interfax news agency reports, quoting Russia`s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gennady Gatilov. Russia has once again suggested Iran fully cooperate with nuclear inspections to prove their program is not used as a cover-up for nuclear weapons development. China says it is studying the report, but has refrained from commenting on the allegations. China, too, opposes the idea to impose further crippling sanctions on Iran as the country does not want Teheran’s economy utterly undermined. The release of the IAEA report follows several days of hyped media speculation over a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities by Israel. Several Israeli officials, including its defense minister, said the option of  military action is on the table.On Wednesday, Iran’s deputy Chief of General Staff, Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, said that if such an attack is carried out, Iranian retaliation would likely target the Israeli nuclear site in Dimona.The General, who spoke to the Arabic-language channel Al-Alam, added that Iran’s response “would not be limited to the Middle East.”Iran will have to follow the additional Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty protocol to convince the world that its nuclear program is peaceful, Rouzbeh Parsi, Research Fellow at the EU Institute for Security Studies, believes."The additional protocol allows more intrusive inspections: on site, without prior warning, etc. These are all things that Iran agreed to earlier in the 2000s. They signed an agreement tentatively, but have not ratified it so far. That is a problem for the IAEA, as it circumscribes their ability to inspect," Parsi expained to RT.

Political analyst Chris Bambery believes that the West might push Tehran towards creating a nuclear weapon – but ultimately Washington would not object to interfering with Iran’s current regime. “This report in no way says Iran is developing nuclear weapons, but they are ganging up. I think the danger is that even if Iran is not creating nuclear weapons it may well do so in response to the continuing war drums being beaten in Western capitals and in Tel-Aviv,” Bambery told RT.Washington has always held Iran in the Axis of Terror, not forgiving the ousting of the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi during the Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis of 1979, when 52 Americans were held for 444 days after the American Embassy was taken over in Tehran. With that in mind, the US would want to see regime change in Iran, says Bambery.

John Glaser, an assistant editor at antiwar.com says that US policy towards Iran strongly influences the Islamic republic towards attaining a nuclear deterrent. “No-one should be surprised that the Iranians might have intent to have nuclear weapons,” he declared. “Look at the map of Iran, the United States has waged two aggressive unnecessary wars on Iran’s East and West coast, they constantly flood the Persian Gulf to Iran’s South with thousands of Navy warships, they fund with money and weapons dozens of client states around Iran. During the Bush administration and into the Obama administration the United States has been waging a covert war of cyber terrorism, commercial sabotage and assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. In this context we should not be surprised that Iran might be getting information it needs to protect itself.” Speaking of the International Atomic Energy Agency report, Glaser argues that despite the pro-war media coverage, the report itself says nothing of the sort. “The report says no such thing. It does not say Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons, it doesn’t even say Iran is nuclear capable, what it says is that past 2003, Iran has still been doing research on information it would need to attain nuclear weapons and may still be doing so, but they can’t prove it,” he said.