Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today declared “victory” over superpowers after IAEA published its report on the country’s nuclear program. Ahmadinejad said he would have ordered a nationwide celebration if the country was not observing the religious month of Safar [IRIB, 23 February].
Yesterday, the IAEA had said in its report that because of unresolved issues concerning an alleged Iranian program to produce a nuclear weapon (Green Salt project), it was not in a position to determine the full nature of Iran’s nuclear program. IAEA report expressed “serious concerns” in this regard. Iran analysts were bewildered today how President Ahmadinejad could declare victory over such strongly-worded statement by the IAEA.
In a related development, France said the IAEA report raises questions about the nature of Iran’s nuclear activities [AFP, 23 February]. A French foreign ministry statement said “important uncertainties remain, in particular on activities that could have a military nuclear dimension.”
In the US, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a quick UN action to penalize Iran for refusing to roll back its nuclear program. Rice said the new IAEA report strengthened the case for further UN sanctions against Iran [AP, 23 February].