Iran, IAEA ink pact to facilitate inspection of nuclear sites
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inked a road-map agreement to allow inspectors greater access to country’s nuclear sites.
However, the IAEA inspectors would not be permitted to inspect the Parchin military site near Tehran, where the West suspects Iran conducted tests linked to nuclear weapons. The pact also does not allow the IAEA to investigate other research activities linked to an alleged nuclear weapons programme.
The deal came a day after Iran and six world powers failed at nuclear negotiations in Geneva to strike an agreement on restricting Tehran’s controversial uranium enrichment in exchange for relaxing economic sanctions.
What is the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme?
The advent of Iran’s nuclear programme can be traced back to 1950s when the country in collaboration with the US launched Atoms of Peace programme. The participation of the US and Western European governments in Iran’s nuclear program persisted until the 1979 Iranian Revolution that subverted the regime Shah of Iran who was a pro-West semi-monarch and had the US backing. Following this, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution came to power, who disbanded the nuke program as he considered the secret nuclear weapon development programme against Islamic law.
Iran also inked a number of treaties repudiating the possession of weapons of mass destruction including the Biological Weapons Convention,the Chemical Weapons Convention,and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
However, Iran continued to set up nuclear reactors for generating electricity. In 2011, country’s first nuclear power plant, Bushehr I reactor was complete with major assistance of Russian government agency Rosatom.
In 2003, reports from IAEA investigations revealed that Iran likely had undertaken research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability. It alleged that Iran conducted studies related to nuclear weapons design, including detonator development, the multiple-point initiation of high explosives, and experiments involving nuclear payload integration into a missile delivery vehicle.
Since then, the six countries (the P5+1) have been trying to negotiate a curb to Tehran’s atomic activities, apprehending that they are part of a nuclear weapons programme. As Iran did not give up its nuke plans, the US and other western nations imposed oil export and banking sector embargoes on the country in order to pressurize the country. The negotiations held in Geneva last week were also aimed to stop Iran’s current efforts to enrich uranium to 20%.
Iran has been vociferous that it only needs the nuke technology to for peaceful purposes like making electricity and for other civilian uses. The six nations are concerned that such material can easily be used in a nuclear warhead. Israel fears that Iran’s nuke activities can endanger Israel’s existence. Iran has clarified that it will not stop its uranium enrichment programme as it considers the nuclear programme its national interest and right.
What is P5+1 group of countries?
The P5+1 is a group of six world powers which in 2006 joined the diplomatic endeavors with Iran in regard to its nuclear program. The term refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany. P5+1 is often referred to as the E3+3 by European countries.