IAEA challenges Israel

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed El Baradei made the bald statement while visiting Russia for a nuclear power conference.

The IAEA chief said that while Israel agreed with the principle of disarmament, there has been resistance to initiate compliance until after peace agreements.

“My proposal is maybe we need to start to have a parallel dialogue on security at the same time when we’re working on the peace process,” Dr El Baradei said.

That suggestion will be taken to Israel when he visits there in July.

Israel’s Committee on Atomic Energy replied, saying it will “respond with pertinent detail within the parameters of [Israel’s] well-known current policy”, making an apparent reference to the country’s strategic ambiguity over its nuclear capabilities.

Israel neither admits nor denies having nuclear weapons, and some experts have estimated Israel possesses between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads.

Dr El Baradei said Israeli cooperation would stimulate peace efforts, by building confidence and reducing widespread frustration in the region “about what is seen to be a security imbalance.”

The IAEA is now struggling to maintain compliance from Iran, which has threatened to resume “the manufacturing of centrifuge components and assembly testing of centrifuges as of June 29”, according to a letter reportedly sent to the IAEA, Britain, France and Germany.

Tehran has warned it will end its suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities after claiming an agreement to close the IAEA’s 15-month-long investigation of the country’s nuclear program in June has been broken.

The 35-member IAEA board passed a resolution on June 18 rebuking Iran for failing to come clean on its nuclear program during the inspection process and called for the investigation to be wrapped-up within a few months.

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