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July 20, 2015 11:46 am

Former IAEA Official: Inspectors to Rely on Israeli, US Intelligence for Iran Surveillance

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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Former Head of Trilateral Initiative Office, Department of Safeguards, International Atomic Energy Agency. Photo: Screenshot.

Thomas Shea, Former Head of Trilateral Initiative Office, Department of Safeguards, International Atomic Energy Agency. Photo: Screenshot.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will rely on foreign intelligence by countries like Israel and the U.S. to identify possible concerns in Iran’s nuclear program, said a former IAEA official on Sunday.

“[Iran] is under close scrutiny by its neighbors, by Israel, by the United States and others, with satellite imagery going on. And in those cases the intelligence services have spies on the ground and carry out electronic eavesdropping so their knowledge is much greater than any international organization can have,” Thomas Shea, former senior IAEA official at the Safeguards Department, told C-SPAN.

“But, as … in Iraq and North Korea, providing intelligence came to be part of the overall system. And so the access to this remarkably strong source is available. Once you know there’s a location, getting to it is a matter of request,” he said.

Shea addressed concerns that the 24-day process set out by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the official name for the Iran nuclear deal struck by 6 world powers and Iran, and approved by the EU and U.N. Security Council on Monday — to resolve disputes over suspicious Iranian sites or activities would allow Tehran to cover-up any possible violations.

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“Twenty-four days may sound like a long time, but the other 126 countries that have Additional Protocol don’t even have that as a restriction,” said Shea, referring to IAEA regulations allowing inspectors more freedom in detecting suspicious nuclear sites.

Shea hardly backed away from potential challenges facing nuclear inspectors in the Middle East’s second largest country, where Tehran went to great lengths to burrow elements of its nuclear program deep inside mountains or out in remote locations, one of which, Natanz, Shea notes was uncovered by resistance figures, and another site by satellite imagery.

Shea said, given the history of Iran’s remote nuclear sites being discovered and touted as proof of nefarious activity, Tehran would likely pursue a different path were it to seek under-the-radar developments this time.

“It is likely that if Iran were to go forward with a new construction that it might not do it in the hinterlands, but try to come into a city with smaller facilities in a better hidden location,” said Shea.

He also cautioned that it would be rather easy for Iran to move uranium undetected.

“Radiation levels from uranium is rather low, so provided the container is hermetically sealed so that nothing gets out of it, you could hide it virtually anywhere,” he said.

Shea also affirmed his support for the agreement, saying that it allowed Iran a “clean slate.”

“What’s happened in the past can be forgiven… And now we have  an agreement and Iran will be expected to stick to the letter of it,” he said.

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  • zadimel

    Thank you!

  • zadimel

    Where are the other three replies? Why is this a continuous problem with you people?

  • DockyWocky

    International “inspectors” are all in Iran’s pocket to start with, so why pay any attention to them?

    Since Iran sits on the committee that decides about inspections, I seriously doubt whether there will be any inspections at all.

  • zadimel

    Where is the sixth reply?

  • JohnWV

    Israel has an abundance of nuclear weapons, sophisticated delivery systems, and increasingly threatens Iran. Iran has obvious need and right to have nukes, but mutually assured destruction is probably beyond Mideast thinking. Solution: Nothing less than an internationally imposed and enforced nuclear free Mideast including Israel.

    • zadimel

      The Iranians should be denied nuclear weapons.It has threatened the US, parts of Europe and the Jewish State with annihilation. Israel has not threatened Iran in any way, except for its mere presence in the Middle East. Iran, on the other hand, has engaged in terrorism through its proxies Hamas, Hezbollah and other homicidal groups. The presence of Israel armed with nuclear weapons has maintained a defensive shield sufficient to persuade any enemy from directly attacking it. Indeed, Israel has a sufficient nuclear arsenal to destroy Iran, sending that nation back to the stone age many times over.

    • Kris Kristian

      John WV.
      Please get your facts right.

      Iran has constantly threatened to ;WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE MAP”

      The Iranians have been so brain washed, that they keep shouting “DEATH TO ISRAEL. DETH TO ANERICA”
      Israel has never threatened to “wipe Iran off the map”
      But they have threatened to destroy the Iranain nuclear sites, knowing that Iran IS developing nuclear bombs to destroy the Jewish state,
      Maybe Israel has many nuclear weapons. This is one way to threaten any country which tries to destroy Israel. Tey knkow that Israel will retaliate and destroy them.
      That is Israel’s insurance policy against Arab threats.

  • Lia

    This is how we bluff ourselves and make evil sound good. Mr Shea’s comments belong in a how not to textbook.

  • art

    Israel can not trust the US to protect its sources or methods. Obama has promised the iranians that he will train them to protect their nuclear program from cyber attacks and to train them at Amherst University

  • Julian Clovelley

    It is not unusual for old facilities and equipment to be retained quietly rusting away,

    The United Kingdom is riddled with such places as is the old Soviet Union and much of the US.

    It is present use that matters – not storage. i would not be trying to start up those old generators from WWII

    As for uranium – Iran has low level deposits anyway

  • brenrod

    “Shea also affirmed his support for the agreement, saying that it allowed Iran a “clean slate.”

    Is a clean slate a reason to support the deal?

    “And now we have an agreement and Iran will be expected to stick to the letter of it,” he said.”

    LOL, great expectations