Noch wenige Tage bis September….

….und wir werden sehen, ob Deutschland, Frankreich und der Rest der Freien Welt wirklich die harten Maßnahmen ergreifen, die angekündigt worden waren – und vor allen Dingen welche. Und zwischendurch vernehmen wir El-Baradeis mahnende Worte: „Nur keine militärischen Einsätze gegen die Atomanlagen!“

Germany and France Take Hard Line on Iran

(NY Times) On the eve of the publication of a report on Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France have threatened tough new sanctions if Tehran does not show a willingness to negotiate on its nuclear program.

At a news conference in Berlin on Thursday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Mrs. Merkel dangled the possibility of new penalties against Iran in the energy and financial sectors. “If there is no positive answer by September we will have to consider further measures,” she said, the Reuters news agency reported.

The United States has given Iran until September to give up nuclear enrichment in return for talks on economic incentives or face tougher sanctions.

Echoing the growing impatience with Iranian intransigence in Washington and Berlin, Mr. Sarkozy on Wednesday also warned of the possibility of “severe” new sanctions against Iran and stronger inspection powers for the I.A.E.A if Iran did not cease its nuclear activities.

“There are the same leaders, in Iran, who tell us that the nuclear program is peaceful and that the elections were honest. Frankly, who believes them?” he asked in the president’s annual address to French ambassadors.

The I.A.E.A. is expected to release its report on Iran on Friday. The administration of President Barack Obama and its European allies are pressing the agency to make public evidence that they believe points toward an Iranian drive to gain the ability to build a nuclear weapon, part of a broad effort to build a case for far more punishing sanctions against the country.

The request has touched off a debate at the I.A.E.A. over how directly to confront Iran over its continued refusal over several years to answer questions about documents and computer files suggesting military-led efforts to design a nuclear weapon.

Iran has charged that the documents, many of which came from American, Israeli and European intelligence services, are fabrications. The agency, say current and former officials there, has studied them with care and determined that they are probably genuine.

“What we and all the allies are pressing for is for the full case to be laid out, in public,” a senior Obama administration official said last week, speaking anonymously because he was discussing intelligence data.

The administration’s push for an open discussion of Iran’s suspected weapons program, and for tougher sanctions, reflects a growing pessimism about efforts to engage with Tehran’s leaders. Administration officials said that while they had received some communications from the Iranians before the presidential election in June, there had been no communications of substance since.

A senior European official said the I.A.E.A.’s report on Iran contained “no bombshells,” but it was unclear how much analysis of previous information on bomb design and conversations among Iran’s nuclear engineers it might reveal. Much of that information came from a laptop, from a penetration of Iran’s computer networks and from the agency’s own findings, American and European officials said.

A nuclear official familiar with the preparation of the report said that a dispute had broken out at a high level of the atomic agency over whether the report should include a toughly worded analysis of Iran’s activities, in hopes of forcing a response from Iran. But Mohamed ElBaradei, the departing director general, has remained cautious, the official said, and it was unlikely that much of the material would be included in the report.

Agency officials said Dr. ElBaradei resisted a public airing, fearing that such a presentation would make the agency appear biased toward the West in the effort to impose what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called “crippling” sanctions.

Dr. ElBaradei, who has argued for allowing Iran to maintain a token capacity to produce uranium under strict inspection, has said that the evidence does not create an airtight case against Iran.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions against Iran three times since 2006 for its refusal to freeze its uranium enrichment program, which Tehran says is for peaceful use and the West asserts is a pretext to develop nuclear weapons.

The Obama administration’s effort to make the case public contrasts with the approach of President George W. Bush. After the intelligence debacle surrounding Iraq, Bush administration officials said they lacked the credibility to make public the evidence about Iran’s nuclear efforts. Mr. Bush admitted as much in 2005, saying that the case would have to be made quietly.

Moreover, U.S. intelligence agencies had balked at publishing some of their most sensitive discoveries, including data stripped from a laptop computer that was slipped out of Iran by an Iranian nuclear engineer.

Some of that information was described to member countries of the I.A.E.A. by its chief inspector at a closed meeting in February 2008. The official, Olli Heinonen, laid out an array of documents, sketches and video that he said were “not consistent with any application other than the development of a nuclear weapon.” News of that presentation quickly leaked, and the details were denounced by Iranian officials as fabrications.

But before and since Mr. Heinonen’s briefing, Iran has refused to allow the agency to talk with Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who the I.A.E.A. believes is leading two secret efforts inside the Iranian government called Project 110 and Project 111. The evidence collected by the agency suggests that each project centers on elements of designing and delivering a nuclear weapon, though the United States said in a National Intelligence Estimate published nearly two years ago that it believed the projects were halted, at least temporarily, in late 2003.

A European diplomat familiar with the agency’s internal deliberations said that Britain, France, Germany and the United States were pressing the agency to reveal the strongest information it had gathered. “There’s multilateral activity under way to ramp up pressure on Iran,” the official said. “It’s not just Israel.”

Assessing the progress that Iran has made in the nuclear arena over the past year is difficult, and it has been made more complex by the upheaval that followed the election there.

On Wednesday, U.S. and European officials are set to meet to discuss their next steps on Iran, and President Obama has said he will use the opening of the U.N. General Assembly later in the month, and perhaps an economic summit meeting in Pittsburgh, to press for far tougher sanctions. Among the penalties under consideration is a cutoff of refined gasoline to Iran, but a senior administration official said last week that such a step would be “a hard sell for China and Russia,” which have extensive economic ties to Tehran.

When the inspectors last reported on their periodic visits to Iran’s main nuclear site, at Natanz, they said that about 7,000 centrifuges had been installed to produce uranium. All of it was low-enriched uranium, which is not suitable for weapons.

But Iran has barred inspectors from other sites, including some suspected of being part of a nuclear weapons program. It was during such an inspection five years ago that I.A.E.A. inspectors discovered enrichment activities that had been hidden for 18 years.

Last week, however, inspectors were allowed to visit the nearly finished Arak heavy water reactor after being barred from the site for nearly a year. That facility has been of intense interest to the inspectors because its technology could aid nuclear weapons development.

U.S. officials said they suspected the visit was part of an effort to show cooperation just before the I.A.E.A.’s report. But they said that since Iran’s election, they had not received a response to Mr. Obama’s invitation to open discussions on nuclear issues.

Quelle: NY Times


Published: August 27, 2009

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