Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Rice Criticizes IAEA Iranian Plan: “The IAEA is not in the business of diplomacy.”

Posted by K.E. White on September 19, 2007

Guess not everyone guess with the NYTimes that the ElBaradei is an “indispensable” figure. Today Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took aim at the IAEA–and indirectly its chief Mohamed ElBaradei. From Reuters:

“The diplomatic track can work but it has to work both with a set of incentives and a set of teeth,” she said.

The United States has criticized a deal International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei has made with Iran to answer long-standing questions about its nuclear activities.

Washington and its European allies argue the IAEA moves divert attention from U.N. Security Council demands that Iran suspend uranium enrichment and grant broader inspections.

Rice, who in June accused ElBaradei of “muddying the message” to Iran, voiced strong irritation with the IAEA chief, without naming him.

“The IAEA is not in the business of diplomacy. The IAEA is a technical agency that has a board of governors of which the United States is a member,” Rice told reporters traveling with her to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

“It is not up to anybody to diminish or to begin to cut back on the obligations that the Iranians have been ordered to take.”

Now this brings up an interesting question. What is the role of the IAEA? Rice argues the the IAEA should not be crafting independent deals with countries it wishes to inspect. Rather, according to Rice, the IAEA should step back: leaving the decision of whether inspections occur to international diplomacy, with the IAEA then merely implementing the inspections will occur.

This does run into a problem, though. What happens when a nation of focus—Iran—is not having formal talks with the United States? Suddenly intermediaries like the European Union or the IAEA become necessary.

And at a time when American credibility is at an all time low, it’s hardly surprising to see the IAEA’s stock go up—especially with ElBaradei’s notorious and exceptionally long stint as IAEA director general.

3 Responses to “Rice Criticizes IAEA Iranian Plan: “The IAEA is not in the business of diplomacy.””

  1. Elisa said

    Just wondering what is behind this strong stance against Iran. Are they really a threat? If they gain nuclear power, what would be the result? Seems like others in the region (Pakistan, India, Israel-undeclared) have this capability. I understand that there is a threat of Iran using the nuclear power for harm and extremism, but the US and other large countries have so many nuclear arms that can retaliate within minutes that Iran would be obliterated should they act in such a heinous manner.

    I see less diplomacy and more war propaganda going on. It feels eerily familiar to what we experienced leading up to the pre-emptive strike against Iraq.

    I am just concerned as I do not want additional war. I work on a crisis line for EAP’s throughout the US, Canada and the UK. One of the clients is the US military. The calls we get from our soldiers indicate that they are being burnt out and used up. How can we expect them to continue fighting right into a new war with Iran when we just need to give them rest and emotional recuperation time?

    I don’t claim to know everything. I am just asking these questions.

    We can’t go it alone again like we did with Iraq. We need to have a united stance with other larger countries and allies before we ever declare expand this war.

  2. Elisa, thank you for reading the blog. In terms of Iran, perhaps a selection from Norman Podhoretz article will help paint the case for greater US pressure on Iran.

    [In short, Iranian President Ahmadinejad seeks to: 1). destroy Israel, 2) rule the Middle East, and then 3) strip away America’s influence around the world.]

    From the Commentary article ‘The Case for Bombing Iran’:

    “The Iranians, of course, never cease denying that they intend to build a nuclear arsenal, and yet in the same breath they openly tell us what they intend to do with it. Their first priority, as repeatedly and unequivocally announced by their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is to “wipe Israel off the map”—a feat that could not be accomplished by conventional weapons alone.

    But Ahmadinejad’s ambitions are not confined to the destruction of Israel. He also wishes to dominate the greater Middle East, and thereby to control the oilfields of the region and the flow of oil out of it through the Persian Gulf. If he acquired a nuclear capability, he would not even have to use it in order to put all this within his reach. Intimidation and blackmail by themselves would do the trick.

    Nor are Ahmadinejad’s ambitions merely regional in scope. He has a larger dream of extending the power and influence of Islam throughout Europe, and this too he hopes to accomplish by playing on the fear that resistance to Iran would lead to a nuclear war. And then, finally, comes the largest dream of all: what Ahmadinejad does not shrink from describing as “a world without America.”

    Demented though he may be, I doubt that Ahmadinejad is so crazy as to imagine that he could wipe America off the map even if he had nuclear weapons. But what he probably does envisage is a diminution of the American will to oppose him: that is, if not a world without America, he will settle, at least in the short run, for a world without much American influence.”

    Now could you tell me more about this EAP crisis line for American soldiers? I didn’t know that American soldiers called crisis lines, let alone non-military crisis lines.

  3. […] House Split Over Iran Posted October 3, 2007 Proliferation Press blogged earlier on the split between the White House and ElBaradei over Iran. A September 29th Associated Press article by George Jahn probes the same […]

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