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West must build on success of Iran-IAEA work plan - US academics

London, Feb 27, IRNA - Two American academics on Wednesday praised the success of Iran cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and suggested that the west should build upon this rather than seeking more sanctions.

The IAEA process, particularly last year's agreed work plan "is working," said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the US Council on Foreign Relations and Joseph Cirincione, the incoming president of the Ploughshares Fund to prevent the threat of nuclear weapons.

The investigation and inspections have, in effect, "resolved many of the outstanding historical questions" about Iran's nuclear program, Takeyh and Cirincione said.

In an article for the Financial Times, they said that the latest IAEA report accepts that the discovery of traces of highly-enriched uranium on machinery, which was one of the main issues, came from contamination in Pakistan - the country that reportedly sold Iran the machines.

"Similarly, the agency accepts Iran's evidence that equipment it acquired, such as balancing machines and magnets that could be used for nuclear weapons research, is now being used for legitimate civilian purposes," the two academics said.

The IAEA, they added, was "also satisfied that experiments with polonium-210 (that can be used as a trigger for an explosive nuclear chain reaction) were not part of a larger weapon project." Their joint article suggested that the evidence to date indicated similar findings by the US National Intelligence Estimate, which was belatedly published last November that gave Iran a clean bill of health.

Takeyh and Cirincione criticized the "popular parlour game in Washington's corridors of power and European chancelleries to deride Mohamed ElBaradei as a quixotic bureaucrat determined to subvert the western strategy of restraining Iran's nuclear program."

The latest report suggesting progress is "quietly disparaged by the Bush administration" but the that ElBaradei's critics miss "is that he is judiciously achieving the goals that they seemingly desire." The two American academics said that the path now should be to the success of the cooperation with Iran and to deepen it by offering Iran a chance for a resumed relationship.

"Instead of sanctions, the west should appreciate that a nuanced diplomacy of reconciliation could both regulate Iran's nuclear programme and help stabilize the Middle East," they proposed.

... Payvand News - 02/27/08 ... --

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