Saturday, July 08, 2006

Atomic secrets: The man, who knew too much

Bruno Schirra, Die Welt: The IAEA tried to prevent the publication of this article. Hattip to Henrietta
When Chris Charlier arrived in Iran in April of this year, he was received the same way as had always been the case in each of over 20 visits to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"Wherever we went, whatever we did, they always followed us, monitoring us with video cameras and capturing every single one of our conversations. Never letting us out of their sight for a second, watching everything over our shoulder."

"How the devil were we supposed to rationally do our work" comments the 64-year old Belgian.

Chris Charlier, who heads a team of 15 Atomic Energy inspectors of the IAEA have been inspecting the Islamic Republic's nuclear program since 2003.

For the first time a Viennese based inspector speaks openly and under his own name about the conditions under which UN inspectors try to bring to light the darkness surrounding the Iranian nuclear program.

The reason for his outspoken comments is because since April of this year he is for all practical purposes unemployed. Responsible for this is his Vienna based direct superior, Mohammad El-Baradei.

When Baradei went to Tehran in April for consultations, the chief negotiator of the Shiite theocracy, Ali Larijani gave him an ultimatum to fire Chris Charlier.

Iran's hasty demand.

Mohammad El-Baradei acted swiftly in accepting the demand.

Chris Charlier had made himself highly unpopular in Tehran since 2003. "I am not a politician, I am a technician and as such the only thing which interests me is whether Iran's nuclear program is a civil or military one", Charlier states. "The inspections have to reach an unambiguous conclusion".

"I believe they are hiding what they are doing with their nuclear activities. It is probable they are doing things of which we have no knowledge," Charlier responds to a question as to whether Tehran operates a secret parallel nuclear program.

Inside countless memos and work reports, Charlier notes the results of inspections and lists the tricks and deceptions of the Tehran rulers, which leads the inspectors in Vienna to a single conclusion: based on pieces of the puzzle gathered by Charlier, "Tehran is obviously making a bomb."

"For that he is now paying the price" says one of his colleagues. "El-Baradei has sacrificed Charlier and set him to counting paper clips in Vienna till he eventually retires".

The real reason is that in discussions with Mohammad El-Baradei, Charlier has always refused to close the Iran nuclear file and to absolve Tehran of effectively operating a military atomic program. READ MORE

No Access to Iranian Atomic Documents.

In conversation, Charlier confirmed what European diplomats would only mention in secretive whispers.

On his last visit to Tehran, Mohammad El-Baradei promised Ali Larijani, the most trusted person of Iran's Supreme Ruler Ali Khamenei not only to remove Charlier, the team leader of the inspectors, but also to no longer allow him access to any documents in Vienna, relative to Iran's nuclear program.

"As of April, I may no longer travel to Iran. As of April, I no longer have access to the Iranian Nuclear file," says Chris Charlier.

Mohammad El-Baradei's capitulation to Iran has made huge waves at the IAEA in Vienna. The other inspectors are up in arms. "This totally bankrupts our work" says a Viennese inspector. "Mohammad El-Baradei folds vis-a-vis the Mullahs and leaves us standing in the rain. Why don't we just let Iran be in charge of inspecting their own nuclear program?"

Mohammad El-Baradei is unavailable to respond about his attitude in Charlier matter. A spokesman for El-Baradei confirms that Chris Charlier is no longer authorized to travel to Iran. Tehran has demanded his removal.

IAEA Tries to Prevent Publication

In a long telephone conversation, shortly after the facts were confirmed by the IAEA, they tried to prevent publication.

Publication would jeopardize Chris Charlier and additionally put at risk the work basis of our inspectors.

"What work basis?" Chris Charlier, who sees it differently , asks. "Just conceding, without any need, to the extortion of Tehran, by itself puts an end to a working basis. This has "de facto" ended even a half-way rational inspection of the Iranian nuclear program by the IAEA."

How necessary these inspections were was confirmed by statements coming from Tehran a long time ago.

On August 1st, 2005, the brother of Iran's chief negotiator, Ali Larijani, spoke openly of the true nature of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran's news agency ILNA quoted him as saying "the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is dead. Iran's dispute with the West does not hinge on that but on whether we cease enriching uranium. It has nothing to do with whether we have the right to make bomb. We are not fighting with Europe about enrichment. If our bloodthirsty enemies like America and Israel threaten us, we have the right to defend ourselves with nuclear weapons and we are not going to give up this right".

Consequence: Western Position Weakened

Clear words out of Tehran that emphasize what putting the prominent IAEA inspector out in the cold implies. In coming negotiations by Western partners, the dismissal of Chris Charlier has weakened their hand.

The results obtained by his inspection trips and of his colleagues have been the trump card in the the nuclear poker game with the Islamic Republic. A trump card that the IAEA boss, Mohammad El-Baradei has dropped from his hand.

Translated by Alan Peters.
This is a must read article that we have just translated. It needs wide distribution in the English speaking world, immediately. Spread the word.

Update: The Washington Post has now published an AP version of the story but it leaves out many important details. Compare the reports.

Thank you InstaPundit, Littlegreenfootballs, Roger L Simon, Pajamas Media and the many other faithful bloggers out there that have been spreading the word. Now we need a campaign to have El Baradei removed from the IAEA.
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