IAEA inspectors end fruitless mission in Iran

Petraeus; ‘Sanctions having an effect’

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Posted on: 
1 Feb 2012
IAEA inspectors end fruitless mission in Iran

A team of specialists from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has finished a short visit to Iran, during which several rounds of discussions with senior Iranian officials failed to produce a breakthrough in tensions over the Islamic Republic’s renegade nuclear program. Ahead of the inspection team' visit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had declared that the "onus is on Iran...to prove themselves that their nuclear development program is genuinely for peaceful purposes, which they have not yet done." Despite the apparent lack of progress, and the fact that the IAEA team "did not visit any of the nuclear centers and facilities" in Iran according to the official ISNA news agency, the talks were characterized as “constructive” by an Iranian official and Iranian media said the two sides agreed to hold further talks but did not give a date.

In related news, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei slammed American "interference" in the internal affairs of Syria on Tuesday, ignoring widely reported incidents of Iranian snipers murdering civilians in support of the Assad regimes brutal crackdown on protests and intercepted shipments of Iranian weapons on their way to Damascus. On a more cautious note, Khamenei added that he hoped Assad would institute reforms in Syria, as a way to avoid giving the Arab League and Western countries an excuse to take action either at the UN or independently with military force.

“When one looks at the developments in that country ... America's plans for Syria are evident and unfortunately some foreign and regional countries take part in America's plans," Khamenei said.

Elsewhere, CIA director David Petraeus told a Senate intelligence committee hearing on Tuesday that sanctions on Iran "have been biting much, much more literally in recent weeks than they have until this time. What we have to see now is how does that play out, what is the level of popular discontent inside Iran, does that influence the strategic decision making of the Supreme Leader and the regime, keeping in mind that the regime's paramount goal in all that they do is their regime survival."

He explained that Saudi Arabia has increased oil production to compensate for shortfalls from Iran and China has reduced its imports of Iranian crude, adding "it remains to be seen whether that continues. It appears that Saudi Arabian production is ramping up and can fill some of the demand that might have been met by Iranian exports now that there are the sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran."


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